Comprised of Gjøvik, Norway-born and-based singer/songwriter and musician Anna Lotterud and New Zealand-born, Melbourne-based producer Brady Daniell-Smith, Anna of the North is an up-and-coming Norwegian/Aussie (by way of New Zealand), can trace their rather unlikely origins back to 2012. As the story goes, Lotterud was working in a shop in her small town, just outside of Oslo, and was settling down with her first love, anticipating a life of routine, normality and banality when a customer came in and changed her life. Polite, well-groomed and worldly, this stranger began making daily visits, browsing the shop’s wares but never buying anything. One afternoon, this customer suddenly approached and implored Lotterud to abandon the traditional life she had planned to set out and expand her horizons. This woman’s plea jolted something very deep in Lotterud, and in an act of rather uncharacteristic spontaneity she booked a flight to Australia, leaving her life and her partner behind.
The time Lotterud spent in Australia was both personally fulfilling and incredibly turbulent. She fell in love again, only to have her heart broken as suddenly and inexplicably as her decision to leave Norway and relocate to Australia was, but coincidentally around the same time, she managed to meet her then-future producer and collaborator Brady Daniell Smith. Smith, was also struggling with his own complicated relationships and was performing as an acoustic/folk singer-songwriter in Melbourne. Serendipitously, Lotterud, who was with a group of friends, caught Smith performing at a local cafe. After his set, Lotterud and Smith chatted and quickly became friends — with Smith encouraging his newfound friend and soon-to-be collaborator to find solace from her heartbreak in songwriting; after all through making music, the duo could exorcise the ghosts of their past love lives. And although the project developed from serious circumstances, its name is actually derived from an in-joke between the two: Smith would frequently refer to Lotterud as “Anna of the North” and the name stuck.
“Sway,” the duo’s debut single was released three years and it began an incredible run of attention grabbing, blogosphere dominating singles that have accumulated more than 60 million streams across all the streaming services, multiple number 1 spots on Hype Machine‘s charts and regular rotation on BBC Radio 1, Triple J and Beats 1, thanks in part to the duo’s unique sound and aesthetic, which pairs a brooding, icily Nordic minimalism with bright, buoyant New Zealand/Southern Hemisphere-inspired pop — and ultimately, the duo manages to craft material that’s both incredibly radio and club friendly.
Lovers, the duo’s highly-anticipated full-length effort is slated for a September 8, 2017 and unsurprisingly, the album’s material thematically focuses on heartbreak, in particular, the typical emotional stages people feel after a relationship ends — i.e., turmoil, grief, confusion and the tentative pangs of joy in letting yourself start moving forward with your life. Along with that, there’s the recognition that knowing and having love in your life, including the inevitable heartbreak is necessary and wonderful, because you will know it again and again and again.
Interestingly, album title track “Lovers” found the duo pairing a production featuring layers of shimmering synths, bouncy beats and a soaring hook with Lotterud’s tender and aching vocals, expressing a desperate an urgent longing that’s frustrated and can’t be fulfilled. “Money,” the third and latest single from the duo’s soon-to-be released debut is a breezy, radio friendly pop track featuring shimmering synths and a soaring hook paired with Lotterud singing an impassioned take-down of people who are driven by material goods — and while being among the most decidedly warmest songs they’ve released to date, there’s a subtle, underlying snarl and venom to the song.
“Fire,” Lovers latest single features a slick, radio and club-friendly production featuring twinkling, arpeggio synths, African-inspired percussive polyrhythm, finger snaps, ambient electronics and a soaring, anthemic hook paired with Lotterud’s sultry crooning expressing an urgent and carnal desire. And while being one of the more seductive songs the duo has released to date, sonically the song manages to be reminiscent of When The Night-era St. Lucia and Zonoscope-era Cut Copy while retaining the buoyant and breezy quality that first caught the attention of the blogosphere and elsewhere; but underneath is a subtle hint of the bitterness and recrimination that one feels when they feel as though they’ve been — or about to be — betrayed.