Anna Lotterud has yet to get nervous — she’s still in the sweet spot before a show when the reality of stepping onstage is distant enough — but if she keeps talking about it, the nerves are bound to surface early.
“I get really nervous right before the show — but until that I’m really calm,” she says from her dressing room at Terminal 5. “But then had a hour before the show I’m like ‘deep breaths.’ But talking about it I’m like, ‘it’s coming!’”
Lotterud — who performs under the name Anna of the North — has had quite a rapid rise in the U.S., much in thanks to her song “Lovers” being included in this summer’s Netflix hit “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before.” The Norwegian-born singer-songwriter, who grew up near Lillehammer but calls Oslo home these days, has been opening for indie-pop band LANY on their U.S. tour, as she continues to introduce herself to American listeners.
“I’ve never actually done promo or anything in the U.S. before so it’ll be interesting to see,” she says. “Because of the Internet I’ve always had American listeners but never been here [playing music].”
Being onstage and performing for a crowd of swooning fans was almost too far away a reality for Lotterud, who struggled to find confidence in herself as a musician when she was younger.
“I moved to Melbourne for a year, about four or five years ago now, and Australian people, for me, were more open-minded,” she says. “Norwegian people have something where you’re not supposed to say you are something before you actually are, or you’re not supposed to speak highly of yourself in any way. In Melbourne I found people being like ‘I’m a writer’ or ‘I’m a musician.’ Even though you haven’t published anything you were still a writer. Even if you didn’t have a million plays on Spotify you were still a musician. And it was really cool.”
She’s written music since childhood — her father is a musician and she would borrow his studio to play guitar — “but I never thought I was going to do it on the full,” she says. “I think it’s always been inside of me to try to do something with music.”
She started out as part of a duo, alongside producer Brady Daniell-Smith, before turning solo and releasing her debut album, “Lovers” in 2017. In the new year, she’ll hunker down in the studio to work out the songs she’s been writing since November of last year.
The Australian outlook has certainly moved her along, but she still holds some of her Scandinavian views.
“I’m taking it step by step. I’m always thinking that tomorrow it might be over,” she says. “I’m probably not the most positive thinker in the world. I don’t like to have high hopes for myself because it’s not fun to be disappointed, I guess. To me, I don’t need to be super big or anything, I just need to be able to make music. I think even however it goes, I’ll always write music. Even if people don’t listen to it anymore, now I know that it’s possible to go into the studio and write and meet people who are doing it.”
The success of “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before” — and the impact it’s had on her career — seems to indicate she won’t have to think “worse case scenario” for long.
“I could definitely see a big difference in listeners. And then I understood the impact of movies. It’s crazy,” she says. “There is so much good music there but you need to be shown to people. All music needs a platform.”
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