A communal wave of chicken skin hits the crowd gathered to hear Anna Lotterud (AKA Anna of the North) perform in the USA for the first time as she sings the opening lines of "Sway," acoustic.
It’s just an intimate set at SoHo House in New York City, meant to be for music industry and media folk, but Anna’s invited a number of lucky fans to join her—over Instagram DM, no less—and they are swaying harder than anyone else in the room, ornery in their desire for her energy.
She bops and boogies her way across the stage, a 26-year-old young woman from the suburban town of Gjøvik in Norway on the up-and-up, taking this moment in stride.
American audiences might recognize the chicken-skin inducing vocals in question from Tyler, The Creator’s “911/Mr. Lonely.” In fact, in the summer of 2017, Anna was supposed to make her TV debut on Stephen Colbert’s The Late Show alongside Tyler and Steve Lacy, but visa problems ahead of the taping had her holed up in a hotel room instead. Still, it’s her favorite collaboration to date.
“I wouldn't have been here without the people who have supported me,” she explains later. “The gig without them would have been something different.”
What she means is she thrives off those magical, rare sparks of organic creativity: “I like those moments where you're on a train or you're at home or you're watching a movie or you have some feelings because of something that's happened, and then you make it into music—write it down and do something about it.”
There’s an honesty about Anna that subverts the industry machine’s manufactured polish. Maybe it’s her natural Scandi contentedness or maybe it’s just that she rolls without pretense. She cuts her own hair; she styles herself for shows; she says what she feels. After her SoHo house set, Anna departs the stage, with drink in hand and a message to the crowd that it’s time to party. She spends the rest of her time fluttering around the space, talking to her friends and her fans, knocking back a few, and chilling in the most Northern European sense of the word.
“I really hope that organic is what resounds and people find me interesting as an artist and that I can be a support for people,” she says. That's the thing with social media I feel that’s really positive, the fact that, whoever you are, you can find someone that you could look up to and that's for you, you know what I mean? I really hope I can be that person for someone.”
If you ask Anna-of-the-North-lovers, they’ll probably tell you she’s succeeded so far.
Makeup: Tatiana Donaldson
Hair: David Colvin
Digital Director: Jane Gayduk
Photography Assistant: Eric Van Nyatten
Styling Assistants: James Vazquez, Tine Ridder-Nielsen
Producers: Yael Quint, Jane Gayduk
Production Assistant: Seungjoo Kim
Special Thanks: The NoMad Hotel NYC