Astrid S seemed at home on her first day in Toronto. It makes sense—Norway and Canada aren’t so different, after all. They’re both left leaning countries situated somewhere between frigid stereotypes and actual igloo living; both countries excel at winter sports; both have great heavy metal scenes. And both produce incredible music.
With millions of YouTube streams and her first album, Party’s Over, out today, Astrid S is a star on the rise. And with the internet buzzing, it made sense that she would eventually make her way to the 6ix. We figured that since we’re celebrating Canada 150, and since it was her first time in the Great White North, we would make it special for her. So we brought her some souvenirs.
Born in the small town of Rennubu, Norway, and now splitting her time between Oslo and Los Angeles, Astrid S knows a lot of the same things most non-Canadians do about the country. She knows that it gets cold here, and that we have a lot of wildlife, and trees, and nature (though maybe not in Toronto, where our interview took place under the nearby shadow of the CN Tower and beside the rattling streetcar tracks on Spadina Ave.). She knows about the stereotypes, too, because as a Norwegian, she experiences a lot of the same ones.
“I pictured Canada more snowy,” she jokes. “People expect that when they come to Norway, too, so we’re kind of in the same shoes. It’s funny, people will ask me if we have igloos and ice bears, and if we even have WiFi in Norway and you guys probably get asked the same thing right?”
As soon as we steered the conversation to Canada, and as soon as we tried to (playfully) grill her on what she did and didn’t know about our fair country, Astrid called our bluff. It turns out Astrid’s a bit of a history buff.
“I know hockey is popular,” she said, smiling, holding back a little. “I’m big geek with history—so I know about the diversion of upper and lower Canada, and that the French came in the 1800s, and that there’s a province here that actually speaks just French.”
For products of the Canadian school system this may sound familiar, but remember—Astrid is a 20-year-old from smalltown Norway.
“Where I live is more of a village,” she told us of her hometown. “There’s like a thousand people living there, so it’s super small.”
Consider that, then, and ask yourself: What do you know about Norway, really? When asked, Astrid is quick to name her favourite Canadian artists: The Weeknd, Justin Bieber, Alessia Cara and Drake. It says a lot about Canada that our singers have such broad, worldwide appeal. And if the wave Astrid S is riding right now carries upward, she might eventually be mentioned in the same breath.
Her debut album, Party’s Over, is out today. Just try not to vibe with “Breathe.” We double dog dare you.