With your critically acclaimed debut album Sucker Punch, you were essentially performing globally for four years, and then the pandemic hit, causing everything to come to a screeching halt. How did you adjust to the drastic change?
It was hard for everyone. It was strange because I’d gotten so used to this high tempo. It felt almost like being on top of the world—just going, going, going—and then all of sudden, I was there in my childhood bedroom in my parents’ house. But it was nice as well. I had time to go skiing and hiking and do other stuff, like go off the crazy carousel for a bit, which I think I needed. It’s really easy to burn out in this industry, so with the time I’ve had off, it’s shown me how much I love my job and how much I want this. Music is my favorite thing in the world, and I’m really happy to be back. Before, seeing my schedule would sometimes scare me. I would get really worried—like, How am I going to get through this? I was on the edge a little bit. And now, I’m just really excited when I look at my busy schedule. I’m ready, and I want it, and I feel stronger in a way. That sounds cheesy, but I can deal with the schedule in a better way.
Your second album, How to Let Go, is out this month. How does this collection of songs reflect where you are at personally but also as an artist?
I think this record is lyrically honest and a deeper cut into me than ever before. I was 100% being honest on Sucker Punch, but now, I’ve been writing so many songs and getting really into it. The record is about what the title is. It’s about how to let go and letting go of insecurities, doubts. … I mean trying [to let go], because it’s a question of, How do I do it? I’m still trying to figure it out. I can get self-critical sometimes, as we all can, and scared of doing the wrong thing, making the right decision. I can get pretty overwhelmed sometimes. But it’s pretty positive as well. I always like to write songs that stem from a frustrated state of mind because that just inspires me a lot. That’s usually when you want to go to the studio and write is when you are feeling some frustrating thoughts. But then, I always try to find a solution to it because I’m thinking, “I’m going to tour this album for so long. [I] might as well make it fun. There are some just straight-up sad songs in it, but there’s not that many of them. I feel like they all have this positive spin on it. That is calculated by me just because I want to have fun when I’m singing it night after night.
So this idea of letting things go, where did that come from for you? Did you feel like you hit a breaking point, where it was like, “I need to figure out how to let these things go”?
This is not a story I made up. It is very natural where it came from. We were writing most of the album in Copenhagen, Denmark, for the past year or two years, and it just kept popping up, this “letting go” thing. It would make it in almost every song at some point, and there would be a little hint of letting go of something. Even lyrically, there is “you gotta let it go” in “Burning Bridges,” and then there was “Grow,” and the chorus was literally, “How to let it go, how to let it go.” So there was a lot of it, and then all of a sudden, we were like, “Wow, you have a lot to let go of,” so that’s where the title came from. I think it’s a thing of age as well. Sucker Punch and that era was a lot about going openly into the world, and I was also 19 and 20 when I wrote that album, so the topics were very in that space and age. Whereas this record—of course because I’m writing all of these songs about me and my personal life—it’s going to have this second theme of being an artist. My job is my life, so that’s what I write about. But also, there is this second layer of being a 25-year-old or 23, 24, 25 and what happens and how you look at life maybe a bit differently because you’ve been through the washing machine and dryer of your early 20s. You are in your mid-20s now, and you know a little bit more, but you still feel like the more you know, the less you know. So yeah, it’s just written from an older perspective. But I’m still a kid in many ways!