hand picked by tyler the creator for her dreamy vocals, anna of the north is a popstar on the rise
The Norwegian musician talks Odd Future friends, her deep love of Celine Dion, and why breakups make for great album inspiration.
Anna of the North is feeling restless. She just arrived in London after a whirlwind 48 hours in New York during which she was supposed to perform on the Stephen Colbert Late Show with new music pals Tyler, the Creator and 18-year-old California producer kid Steve Lacy. Turns out Anna's visa didn't allow her to join them on stage, so instead they had a backstage piano jam and she sat in the audience to watch what exploded into one of the coolest TV performances ever; like soul train meets an Odd Future house party that Petra Collins crashed with a bunch of models.
Alongside Steve, A$AP Rocky, Lil Wayne, Frank Ocean, Corinne Bailey Rae and young British singer Rex Orange County, Anna is one of the few features on Tyler's new album, Flower Boy. She lent her vocals to the sunny 911, arguably the best track on the record and one that wraps heartache up in a deceivingly happy bow; as well as close second, the story of self-employed life everywhere, Boredom. Anna has been releasing music with Australian producer friend Brady as Anna of the North since 2014 and already has a loyal following of over 23k on Instagram alone, but this has sent a whole new world of fans in her direction. Rather than a stroke of A&R genius, it was Odd Taco that brought her and Tyler together. Back in 2015, Taco slid into her DMs on Twitter after falling for her tune Sway and playing it to the rest of Odd Future. Soon enough, they were all hanging out at a festival in Oslo and friendships were formed. Then, in what must've been the ultimate message to receive, they hit her up asking for help with the album.
Anna's got her own album in the pipeline too. Lovers, due on Different Records later this year, is a beautiful debut (I've heard it all, trust me) inspired by the breakdown of a relationship. The title track shone a little light on the record back in June, full of laid back tropical synths and that feeling when you're at a houseparty and suddenly everyone except you is hooking up. Someone soon followed, taking things all the way back to the '80s (right down to the blusher) with a very Jacquemus video shot in Miami. Juggling festivals, interviews, and release on top of release; it all seems to be happening this summer. Anna meets us for a much-needed coffee and after making her watch that Celine Dion fashion video over and over again, we get down to business.
Anna. You're killing it. How long have you had to keep quiet about the Tyler features?
Well, we recorded the vocals almost a year ago so I started thinking maybe it wouldn't happen. In the music industry you do so much and only about 10% of it actually happens in the end. It's crazy that both tracks ended up being on the album. I really respect those guys, and not just for the music but all the creative stuff they do. They're so fun. I actually just got a text from Taco. He said, "I always have nothing but love to give. I just want the world to see cool shit, and you're cool as shit."
Cute! The collaboration isn't the most obvious pairing but it makes so much sense.
Yeah, I saw a tweet that called it "awkward but so cool". It's weird but that's the thing, they don't care. If they think something sounds good, they want it.
You feature on 911. Have you ever called 911 before?
No, because it's 112 in Norway. But actually I haven't called that either. I did get robbed once though, and thought about it. This guy grabbed my phone but it was so busy but no one stopped him and I started crying. People are so cold now, we're numb to every situation. If someone's crying, people just walk past. It's not cool.
Not cool at all. You also feature on Boredom. What bores you?
Most television. Though I do love Sex and the City. When I was in New York I wanted to go to all the places that Sarah Jessica Parker had been. I wanted to make a video in the street hailing a cab like in the intro. I'll do it next time. I got so emotional when it ended.
What can you tell us about your album, Lovers?
I'm super scared. I never thought that I was going to have an album, but it's all happening now and it's such an insane place to be. Music has always been a huge part of my life. Aaron Carter was my first favourite pop star. I was so in love. I used to write letters and songs to him.
Is there a track on the album that you're particularly close to because of how personal it is?
Yep, Friends. When we made the album I was going through a breakup and… I felt like I was the only one who tried in that relationship. I love the song because I just had to get it all out, and I'm really glad that the other person can hear it.
We just watched the Celine Dion videos. Why do you love her so much?
I've been listening to her since I was 11 when I borrowed one of her albums from a friend of mine and she never got it back. A few years later, I was really sick and my dad asked if I needed anything and I told him I needed the new Celine Dion album, One Heart. It's the one with I Drove All Night on it. He went all the way to the gas station and came back with the album for me. I loved it so much.
He drove all night for you!
Yeah. When I do karaoke, I always do Celine Dion. She's probably the reason I sing.
Final question: If you, Tyler, and Steve were flowers, what sort of flower would you be?
I would wanna be a rose but I don't think I am am, because they're too classy and beautiful. I think we're all sunflowers.
Text Frankie Dunn
Photography Jonathan Vivaas Kise