The Norwegian singer-songwriter makes promising LA debut with a sold-out show at the Resident DTLA.
When I first heard Anna Of The North, I was immediately drawn to the cool, wintry soundscapes and dreamy synths that the Norwegian artist was creating.
“I don’t need to find another lover
Just need someone who understands me”
In her single “Someone,” singer-songwriter Anna Lotterud writes about the feeling of warmth and desire for a connection with someone.
“I’m only human, baby
Sometimes act a little crazy (No, I’m not the only one)
I’m only human, baby
Need someone to come and save me”
The track beams with bouncy electronic synths and drumbeats that explode in euphoria. It’s infectious and incredibly listenable. She embraces the internal struggle we all may feel at one point in our lives, where we want to feel connected, understood and known by someone — lover or not.
The Oslo-based singer-songwriter has created soft, atmospheric beats with soul-baring lyrics on love and despair through a relationship that falls apart. The warmth of the sold-out crowd felt at her first show in Los Angeles was a clear indicator of her coming success.
Anna’s debut Lovers is an impressive body of electro-pop singles that each stand out and progress from track to track.
In album opener “Moving On,” the quiet build-up of the cool airy reverberating guitars and tight drumbeats are cool and collected; and when she seems to let listeners in on the heartache one may feel through a heartbreak, she ensures, “Darling, I know, sometimes it’s hard to take / Believe me, I know, you’re gonna make it through the day.” It’s the perfect introduction to a collection of songs that detail the messy, insecure and complicated feelings that often come with love.
For a new artist on the rise, Anna’s 10-track album (with producer Brady Daniell-Smith) blends the best of dream-pop with lyrics that bite just a little more than we’re used to hearing. Her soft and airy voice fits perfectly in pop, yet bares a little more heart and soul with a sense of conviction.
“Money,” a forewarning track where Anna calls someone to watch out for a girl who doesn’t want you but just wants your money (“Don’t want your baby / Don’t want your love / She just wants your money, honey, open up”) is a fun, euphoric synth-pop track that shows Anna calling someone out.
“Feels,” one of my personal favorites, shows Anna drawing on her experience in a relationship that has been lost and the love one-sided (“Feels like, feels like we’re lost in the dark now / Now that we’re drifting apart”). It displays the painful truth and feeling of betrayal when it “feels like you’re not even trying” and “I’m feeling like a shadow in the room.”
Anna initially hit the scene when she released her debut single “Sway” in 2014, which became an instant hit and landed her a record deal with Honeymoon in the US; the Chainsmokers then released their official remix of “Sway” that September.
For the fairly new artist, her collection of alt-pop ballads are refreshing, deep and incredibly self-aware. Though electronic beats and synths seem to find its way into all pop today, Anna’s very intimate and revealing songs on love and losing love are refreshing — breathy vocals meet electronic beats that make you feel good and groove, yet pained by the echoey, mysterious and soft soundscapes.
In her standout single “Lovers,” which seemed to be the crowd favorite and one track that got the entire room singing along, Anna sings about being in the thick of love — the messy, sometimes unclear and darkest parts of love, which is also the most vulnerable. She sings:
“You told me I would never see you walk away
Said you’d never break my heart
Never leave me in the dark
I guess there’s just some promises you shouldn’t make
Shoulda known from the start”
The single, which also got mainstream attention from being featured in the 2018 Netflix film To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, is a dynamic indie-pop track that feels ready for the radio, but also carries a sense of emotional depth and maturity that makes it a special find.
As Anna seemed to fully get into her element halfway through her set at the Resident, she waved her hands and danced across the stage. She let loose during her set closer “Fire,” the most upbeat track from her album which features danceable tropical house beats and a catchy chorus where she sings, “I don’t wanna go down in your fire.”
For her first headlining show in Los Angeles, Anna was all smiles, and had good reason to be: fans were hooked on every last word and dreamy pop beat that filled the room; they escaped into their own realities with her infectious synth-pop ballads; and she was equally grateful to have sold out her first Los Angeles show — a feat that does not go unrecognized and only shows a promising future.
For her one-song encore, Anna performed a stripped down version of “Baby” — an appropriate break from her three-piece live band set.
As Anna just finished opening up on a North American tour for indie-pop boy band sensation LANY, we can only look forward to what Anna will release next. Her percussive elements, dream-pop synths and cool guitars all contribute to her own kind of signature lovestruck Scandinavian sonic universe, and Anna of the North’s live performance made for a humbling discovery of why I was drawn to her in the first place, and why she will be here to stay. This is only the beginning.
This article is featured on Blurred Culture.