Coming out of a rural town in Norway, Ash Olsen has always strayed away from the Norwegian music scene, opting instead to rap in English, something which has become so much more natural to her as time passes on. With a big emphasis on rap, Olsen switches from a confident, unbothered by others energy to a vulnerable human such as on songs like Low. Now playing festivals all over and travelling the world, Olsen finds herself far from where she came from. Today, we caught up with the artist to talk about her career evolution, her own style and her upcoming album.
What’s up Ash? You’ve been in LA recently to shoot the music video for your new single The Juice. What was that like?
Yo! I’m just chilling, reflecting & moving forward. LA was dope! The video was actually not at all planned. We managed to get a friend of a friend to lend us their property for the day and then we just filmed everything. It was fun!
You grew up on a farm, in the rural town of Fredrikstad in Norway. Tell me, what does the rap scene – if there is one at all – look like there? And what about the larger Norwegian music scene?
To be honest, I don’t really know all that much about Norwegian music in general, but the things I’m hearing around nowadays are fire tho.
Most of your songs have quite a playful vibe accompanied by hip hop-style beats, but Low feels very different with its acoustic guitar songs and vulnerable lyrics like “I feel you’re thinking about leaving / Should I make you stay or what’s really the meaning”. What’s the story behind this song and what made you feel like opening up like that on a track?
Low is definitely one of my favourite songs that I’ve ever written, it was a very vulnerable time for me then. I was in a relationship that just didn’t work out because the person I was with was so sad and not grounded, that it became so hard to keep going even if that was all I wanted. So I wrote about what it was like for me in that situation. Also Low opened up a whole new door for me in music which I’m very grateful for.
Boring is the complete opposite vibe where you literally ask someone to “Stop f*cking with me”, giving off that bad b*tch energy. How do you want your listeners to feel when they hear your songs?
Boring was so much fun to make, it just carries this ‘not giving a fuck’ type of energy which just feels good as hell to me. I hope that people feel confident as f*ck when they listen to my songs. And even emotional too, and that they can find something that they can relate to and make it their own.
You once mentioned how you had to learn English to rap, now looking back on old tracks where your pronunciation of certain words make you cringe. Does the process of writing lyrics in English and rapping them out come more easily to you now?
Yeah 100%, now it’s like I even think in English a lot of the time, and it feels like I know how to word myself better and explain things so much easier in English. It’s weird but I guess that comes with a sh*t ton of practice
Could you ever see yourself rap in Norwegian?
Tell me about your creative process in general. Do you like to mess around in the studio? Is it a beat or lyrics that come to you first? How does it all work?
Usually it’s just me and my producer trying to find a vibe. We’re just messing around with different sounds and chords. When I feel like we have something I just hop on the mic and see what happens. If I like a melody or something I say, I just do everything around that and write to it. But sometimes I know what type of style and concepts I wanna do. Then it’s usually easier, because everything needs to fit my mood.
Apart from being a musician, you are also a skater, as we saw in your The Juice video. Does skateboarding influence your style, whether musically or fashion-wise?
I used to skate every single day when I was younger. I haven’t gotten back to it properly yet but I really want to and I miss it a lot. Skateboarding has definitely influenced me in all sorts of ways.
Your own fashion style is very cool, often wearing baggy trousers and hoodies, big puffers. You also wear a lot of headgear, whether it be a bandana, a backwards cap or a beanie. Who do you look up to for style inspiration?
Thank you! I don’t really have one person or anything I take inspiration from but I always see things here and there on different people. When I’m walking in the city, I’m like “damn that’s fire I need that”, so I take inspiration from everywhere and everyone. I like to be as comfortable as possible and I always dress how I feel.
With already 3 new singles out this year, you’ve been keeping busy. What else do you have in store for us this year?
Album on the way, June 16th! I’m just gonna try to be all over the place this year to be honest, releasing a ton of music, playing shows and yeah, I’m going to just do my thing.
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