In just six short years, Astrid Smeplass has gone from Pop Idol contestant to a multiple award-winning artist. Now aged 22, she is releasing her fifth EP, Down Low, under her stage name Astrid S. (Yes, the fourth one came out only in August. This artist works fast). Encompassing four soothing, stripped back tracks, it's the autumnal sound you didn't know you needed.
Born in Norway, Astrid grew up with two major passions: music and football. As a teenager, she began writing her own songs, forcing her to put her emotions into words. "If there was something bugging me or I felt very hurt, it all just felt so complex and complicated," she explained to Wonderland magazine. "But as soon as it was put into words in a song, it didn’t feel as complicated anymore. Songwriting kind of feels like a close friend."
Funny she should say that because that's exactly what Down Low feels like. It's the shoulder you can rest on when you need some downtime; it's the lyrics you need to hear when things feel mixed up; it's a sound essential for a rainy Sunday afternoon spent looking out the window.
In a video for the acoustic EP, Astrid explains that she had a lot of songs she had never had the chance to release. Throughout the summer, she wrote more songs, adding them to the track list and playing them on tour. She describes the result as a "very genuine way to show my music and my songwriting" and says it showcases a side she doesn't get to often show.
Titular track "Down Low" is an incredibly chilled yet sensual sound that couples across the globe are about to name as "their song." Then there's "Favourite Part Of Me": a thing you'll hit play on whenever you need a little boost. The final two tracks, "Sidelove" and "Years", speak to anyone going through relationship issues, particularly those involving a third person.
Astrid's ultra modern tone doesn't just hit millennials and Generation Z in the heart. It has the ability to seep into the consciousness of any age group. "I’ve realised that being 16 and 70 is pretty much the same at least when it comes to love and relationships," she told Wonderland. "The one thing that we all can always come back to and relate to when writing in the studio is the conversations we have about break-ups and falling in love."
This cross-generational appeal may explain why she takes inspiration from a wide variety of performers. In a previous interview with Bustle, she listed the likes of Drake, Queen, and ABBA. In fact, expect such a mix to form the basis of her yet to be announced album. "I find making an album, it's hard to keep that right fit when it comes to genre and sound, because I'm so into so many different kind of songs," Astrid told Bustle.
Her debut album is a hot topic among Astrid S fans. While the singer-songwriter has released plenty of EPs, toured with Troye Sivan, Years & Years, and Zara Larsson, and sold out her own tour, the allusive album remains just that.
"I say this every year: ‘This year I’m going to make an album,'" she told Billboard in May. "And then a year passes and I don’t have the album. So hopefully it'll be finished later this year, but we’ll see."
Indeed we shall. The buzz that is sure to erupt following Down Low's release will certainly amp up that pressure.