I can’t exactly remember how I discovered Sigrid, which probably means that Spotify discovered her for me. She probably got thrown on my Discover Weekly by the Spotify algorithm one week serendipitously and the rest is history. Before I even knew her name, before I even knew the name of the song, “Sucker Punch” was playing over and over in my head. It infiltrated my dreams and became the soundtrack to my current romantic trauma and all the past ones.
From then on, I was obsessed. I listened to her debut album, also titled Sucker Punch, when it was released this past March. And then went back and listened to her smash EP Raw which landed her on the Norwegian music scene in 2018. From there, she came up in a refreshingly traditional manner: through local radio appearances and small venue gigs in her hometown of Ålesund and other places in Norway. Brendan Klinkenberg at Rolling Stone cites an appearance on the “‘The Norwegian equivalent of ‘BBC Radio 1 Introducing,’” as her first real break into popular media. Then came performing at Coachella in 2018, Lollapalooza this past August, and a tour around the U.S. and Europe that began soon after Sucker Punch dropped.
And that’s how she ended up here, in Boston, at the Paradise Rock Club this past Saturday and why I skipped out of class early to get as close to her as possible. When I got there, I was slightly surprised by the crowd she’d garnered. A mixture of teens with their cool moms, college students, young adults in their 20s, and 30 something denim-clad artsy professionals milled around sipping beers and singing along to the Maggie Rogers that played overhead. I planted myself firmly by the right corner of the stage, as far forward as I could go, which was about four rows deep and behind two tall women in heels with messy buns piled high. Luckily, since I was there alone and able to fit in small slots in the crowd, I found a view of the stage even from my five feet two inches off the ground.
When her opener came on, for a minute I thought it was her. But Raffaela, a young and dreamy pop artist from the Upper West Side, was missing Sigrid’s Scandanavian accent. But their styles were markedly similar, with Rafaella sporting a YMCA t-shirt from the 90s and red biker shorts to match. While Rafaella was completely new to me and most of the crowd, a good fourth did more than nod their heads and sway to the melody—they sang the lyrics. With her bright ringing voice and clever, attitude-abundant set I understood why some were more than familiar with her and made a note to look her up after the show.
Finally, when my phone was close to running out of battery and even Candy Crush became too dull to keep me occupied, blue lights transitioned the stage and Sigrid strolled out to the familiar sound of techno keyboard and electric bass. I felt the beginning of “Sucker Punch” in my bones before she even sang the first note. It was a feeling I hadn’t had at a concert in a pretty long time, the giddiness that accompanies knowing you’re about to scream every word to one of your favorite songs. And the rest of the crowd was right there with me.
Before jumping into her next song, Sigrid took a breath and a sip of water and then introduced herself and her band to enthusiastic applause. With her trademark middle part and classic white t-shirt and mom jeans, it was clear that her relatability came from more than the romantic poignancy of her songs. Each performance was filled with quirky hand movements, excited energy and facial expressions, and the ever-endearing ability to laugh at her own awkwardness. Sigrid’s stage presence reminded me again why I fell in love with her in the first place: her ability to embody the problems, worries, emotions and joys of a young woman in her 20s in zeitgeist of 2019. This is evident in “Business Dinners” and “Basic,” two songs that together capture the two sides of modern feminism; the drive to be thought of as more than arm candy and the desire to be appreciated for the “basic” things we enjoy as women.
Though she didn’t address the crowd directly very often during the concert, Sigrid made sure to emphasize her particular fondness for her smash single “Don’t Kill My Vibe.”
“This next one is a great song to listen to when you’re down. Sometimes I listen to it when I’ve had a bad day. Yes, I listen to my own music. It’s okay to be proud and appreciate what you’ve created.”
She’s unapologetic, she’s proud, and she makes me feel like I can be too. I walked out of that concert with so much more than I walked in with. A renewed love of Sigrid and her brand of pop music, a newfound confidence in myself, a bright blue tie-dyed sweatshirts with her name printed in white on the front that I’ll cherish forever, and the overwhelming desire to experience it all over again.