A few weeks ago we spoke to SKIA, ya know, before the world did it’s thing. We were upbeat and had a lovely chat, we were excited for summer and getting a bit ‘dark fruits’ in fields listening to her anthems. Well, that’s all changed, but what hasn’t changed is SKIA’s ability to write pop music with an authentic indie energy. If there anything we couldn’t be more excited about listening to at our self isolation garden barbecue’s it would be SKIA- the world may be falling apart, but at least we have some banging tunes to listen to whilst it happens… Here’s SKIA.

Hi SKIA, how are you? We’ve only heard one track from you so far but we love it so had to get in touch. We suspect it’s an exciting time for you having just released debut single IDWTAI?

Hiii, I am so glad you did! Thank you so much, it’s a very exciting time. I’ve just signed with Heist or Hit, released the first single with a video, and have more releases coming out in the next couple of weeks. My band and I also had our first gig at the Kaz Stockrom last week which sold out, so we’re well excited to be doing more live shows soon too!

We’re going to take things throughout to learn all we can about you, we hope that’s OK? Your birth name is Annie Norbye, but you perform under the name SKIA, who is SKIA and who is Annie and how do they overlap?

Yep, that’s right. I think I wanted to put out music under a different name just so it could give me more freedom to be shameless. It’s a great way to lose those inhibitions, especially on stage, I can live out this exaggerated version of myself. It also makes me less stressed about people not liking what I put out, especially cause all the lyrics are completely based on my thoughts and feelings, it separates the personal side and the professional side a bit, you know? The name came from my past as an aspiring professional alpine skier back in Norway. I wanted the name to have some roots in my real life, so SKIA seemed like a good one.

We’re aware that you grew up in Norway, but you now call Liverpool your adopted home. What parts of your sound have come from your Norwegian heritage and what has come from living in Liverpool?

When I first came here from Norway I was all about pop. I still really love pop and it’s what I’m doing, but I think my years in Liverpool have given my music a lot more depth genre-wise. I’m surrounding myself with people who play alt-rock, punk, jazz and soul, and it has definitely influenced my writing. All my friends from Liverpool are genuinely really interested in music too so the spectrum of what I listen to is much wider now than it was when I lived in Oslo. Living in an English-speaking country has helped develop my vocabulary so my lyrics are a lot more defined now than they were back then too.

Can you deconstruct your work for us? How does your work form initially and how do you work to create it to its final form?

I always use Logic when I write music. It often starts with a melody in my head, I sing it in to my voice-notes and then bring it into Logic where I build the track around it and write the lyrics. I create demos that I bring to my producer Emilie Krogh at Melon Studios in Liverpool and she puts her magic touch on them. We often sit together and try to figure out what sounds and noises we like and what’s missing from the track. I think finishing the tracks with her in the studio is one of my favourite parts of the process.

Can you talk to us about your message you want us to get from Anyone, it’s clear that it’s got strong empowering tones, but can you give us the vibes you want us to interpret from it?

I think there are few things that are more important than feeling at home in your own body, especially when you’re young and you’re about to go out and take on the world and your dreams. It’s not about what you look like, what other people say you should look like or what anyone may have to say about what you’re doing – it’s about finding self-acceptance and creating a home in yourself. No matter who you meet or what you do in life your body is going to be your home forever and the sooner you make it a comfortable one, the better. Anyone is an ode to self-confidence – when you’ve found it you can use it to focus on your ambitions, dreams and goals, and believing that you can do anything, and be anyone.

How did the pairing come about with Heist or Hit? 

Heist or Hit contacted me in August after I had released a single the month before. We have a lot of people in common, some people they had already signed, and some people they were about to sign at the same time as me. I think the guys at Heist were unaware that we all knew each other really well, so me and my friends have accidentally ended up on the same label. I think it’s really cool that they signed me to the label even though I’m quite different-sounding from a lot of the other acts on there.

A couple of weeks ago you played your debut live gig, how did that go? And how do you translate SKIA’s work into the live arena?

It truly went above all expectations. I’m still so happy and touched that so many people showed up to the first show, not knowing what to expect at all! We’re five people in the band. Bass-Nina, Guitar-Sam, Key-Max and Drum-Will, as well as myself on vocals and trigger-pad. Because we’re playing with a backing track and have 4 instruments on top of that, plus 4 vocals doing harmonies it sounds really full on stage! It also isn’t too far off from what it sounds like on the record, I think we’ve found a very good way to present the tracks on stage actually.

We’re led to believe that there’s a debut EP coming this summer, tell us all you can about it please?

Yes, I am so excited! It will be a 7-track EP full of pop tracks about self confidence, anxiety and heartache! I think the songs are quite relatable to a lot of people, and my lyrics are quite conversational. I will be releasing 4 singles over the course of these next months, and the full deal will be released in May.

Words: James Wadsworth @jamespart31