Norwegian pop starlet Dagny – Norvoll Sandvik, to her family – is a name that’s been on the lips of many industry types in recent months, with her debut album one of the most anticipated pop launches in recent years.
Despite the ‘fresh’ feel around the singer and her bubbly, emotion-laden pop, however, she’s actually been around the fringes of the London’s pop scene for many years, biding her time and waiting to make her move.
When we caught up with her just ahead of the album launch, she explained that things have changed recently, and she’d just had enough of messing around the edges. She decided to take some of her massive songwriting backlog public, with the likes of The Guardian and NME throwing their weight behind her.
“The last six months have really been a different thing,” she explains. “I’ve been working on the album, and it’s really been my first big project, in a way. That’s been super motivating and exciting, but also a bit scary.”
“I started off songwriting, not performing, but once the performance came, that kind of took over,” she continues. “I spent a lot of years just performing, releasing some singles and an EP and just going with the flow. I was trying to get as much traveling and performing into the diary as possible. At times, working on an album felt further and further away from happening, and it got to the point where I didn’t know what I was waiting for.”
“I said to myself, I have 250 songs, I’m sure I can find 12 that hold together as an album. Funnily enough, I’ve been writing songs for ten years and I ended up putting on tracks only from the last 18 months, as they just felt more relevant to me. I think everyone who writes thinks their most recent stuff is their best, and I just tried to concentrate on what my vibe is right now, rather than looking to the past. The album isn’t conceptual, but because of how it all relates in my head, it almost felt like that.”
Dagny’s music is sugary yet urgent, at times slightly manic, and absolutely laden with earworms. She loves a good pace change. While the debut album will be a sort of unveiling for many people, her work has already appeared on Grey’s Anatomy, while she’s also worked with Katy Perry as part of the cut and thrust of her songwriting.
She’s not always been a fan of the attention, or the cut and thrust, but she’s come to find her own way of processing things. Recently, that’s also involved moving back to her native Norway, from being a part of that manic London scene.
“London is full of amazing things and amazing writers and it helped me grow,” Dagny explains, “but there’s a real pressure to be out there playing and writing all the time. Norway is more quiet, there’s space, and less people. I got a bit restless when it came to trains and stuff like that. Now, I spend that time being creative.”
“I got a lot of positive attention for my music in London, and I don’t take that for granted, for sure. But it’s playing shows that I really love. Not the popularity, but the connection. It’s too easy to get wrapped up in your own bubble, and I want to avoid that.”
“There are times that you forget that people take something from your music, and that’s what really matters. When I hear that people connect my song with something special, or it takes them back to a special moment… Making people feel something, that’s what’s really cool.”
Dagny’s debut album is due later this year. Her modest streaming selection online is closing in on half a billion listens.