Wonderland.

TOVE STYRKE

The Swedish pop sensation on confidence and finding freedom.

Jacket LANDEROS, earrings AREA, leg warmers DSQUARED2

Jacket LANDEROS, earrings AREA, leg warmers DSQUARED2

This summer, pop music picked up. Charli got us thinking ‘bout boys; Dua told us not to. Robyn returned in a nostalgic haze, to soundtrack our heartache all over again. T-Swift cancelled her old self, Ariana flourished, and most importantly, Tove Styrke reminded us to have some fun.

The Swedish singer’s third album Sway, released last May, is packed full with bouncy anthems embracing messing up and moving on, the thrill of the chase, an all-consuming crush.

Heavy bass-lines and synthetic sounds evoke a woozy, rushing feeling: the inflated, bubble-might-burst excitement of a blossoming romance, or just the build-up to a big night out. With the authority of a cooler big sister, Tove’s Sway invites you to share her secrets and come out to dance with her, no strings attached.

Having supported both Katy Perry and Lorde this year, the singer-songwriter’s mid-way through her own headline tour in the US, which kickstarts in the UK on 28th October.

We caught up with Tove to talk everything 00s pop, on-stage outfits and her new single “Vibe”, set for release this Friday.

Bodysuit ALIX, gloves LANDEROS, earrings BOND HARDWEAR

Bodysuit ALIX, gloves LANDEROS, earrings BOND HARDWEAR

How did you get into music?
I’ve always been singing, basically. When I was about ten, that was the first time that I realised that music can transform you, and transform the space that you’re in. I heard Björk, I closed my eyes, and all of a sudden I was somewhere else.

What other artists did you grow up listening to?
On one hand, I grew up with Britney and Robyn, and all this amazing pop from the 90s and early 00s. And on the other hand, one of the artists that I started listening to very early and I’ve loved for many years is Bob Dylan.

Do you feel like they’ve influenced the sound of your music now?
Yeah, I do. I feel like my relationship to pop music has only grown stronger the longer I’ve been doing this. I want to find a shortcut to people’s feelings, I want you to understand the vibe, the feeling of the song as fast as possible, and I think pop is perfect for that. But Bob Dylan – in terms of finding my own voice and the way you can use your voice as an expression, listening to him gave me a lot.

This year you’ve toured with Lorde and Katy Perry – how was that experience?
Those tours were the first thing I ever did on that level, and I feel like that experience changed me. It was the first time in my life I could connect the dots between where I am and the dream I’ve had for all my life – suddenly it’s a reality. I feel like this whole year’s been a long pinch me in the arm moment. That I could be in Stockholm in a little basement studio, making something that I think is really cool, and I release it and somebody like Lorde finds it on the other side of the world, and brings me on tour.

Jacket LANDEROS, earrings AREA, leg warmers DSQUARED2

Jacket LANDEROS, earrings AREA, leg warmers DSQUARED2

Who would you most like you collaborate with?
I think Rihanna would be the coolest. I feel like she’s a modern day Madonna, she can do no wrong. There’s so many interesting up and coming artists as well that I would love to collaborate with. I’ve really love Whack World, the audiovisual album that Tierra Whack did; I love that she’s doing her thing, and the visual side of the album is so cool.

Are visuals important to you as an artist?
For me, it’s important to keep this sort of vibrant, bold, very pop, but also interesting and unique visual language. But at the same time, it’s important that the core of the music needs to be real. The story needs to be real, and told in a way that feels genuine, that people can relate to.

Is it important to you that people connect with your lyrics?
Yeah, a big part of why I even do this is because I want to connect with people. I want to write it in a way that people can relate to it, and take that song, live with it, apply it to their own life, and recognise themselves in it. That’s where we connect and find common ground. For me, that’s such a comforting thing.

What’s the reception for Sway been like so far, have you had that kind of feedback?
I’m so grateful that people really seem to love these songs. Walking on stage and realising that people knew every word to every song brought me to tears the other night. And I’m not that person, I’m not emotional like that in public! It’s this complete understanding between me and them and it’s so amazing, it’s like I’ve found my people.

How do you want people to feel at your shows?
I want the show to be a space for people to celebrate. I want everybody to feel like their best self. It’s such a positive energy, not just for me, it’s a back and forth thing. My fans are the coolest people, they’re so smart and funny and they come to the shows with so much to give, and that makes it possible for me to give so much back to them.

Dress vintage MOSCHINO courtesy of Gabriel Held Vintage, hoop earrings BOND HARDWEAR, sequin earring ERICKSON BEAMON

Dress vintage MOSCHINO courtesy of Gabriel Held Vintage, hoop earrings BOND HARDWEAR, sequin earring ERICKSON BEAMON

How do you approach styling your outfits?
I love dressing up and I love doing my own makeup, that’s like my meditation before shows. With the clothes, I want to create a superhero version of myself, to feel like a larger than life version of me. For instance, I’m wearing an amazing cowboy hat that’s sparkly and pink, and it’s got my logo and name around the brim. I love it so much, it’s the corniest thing but my favourite thing and it makes me feel like I’m a cool anime figure.

Looking forward, have you got any plans to release more music?
Yes, I’m releasing a new song on Friday! It’s called ‘Vibe’. To me it’s very much like an ending but a new beginning at the same time. It’s definitely in the same world as the other songs from Sway, but it’s got a little bit more heartbreak. And I’ve been wanting to do a guitar-heavy song for a long time, I’m so excited about it.

What’s it about?
The lyric is “I thought we had a vibe”. Like, you really thought that there was something, but things just didn’t work out. I feel like a lot of the songs on the album are about beginnings, before you know if it’s going to work out or not. It was interesting to take it a little bit further into the future of knowing someone, where it actually pans out.

Where would you like to see your career going?
I want this project to keep growing. I want to keep expanding, keep exploring, keep being curious and challenging myself. Over the past two or three years I feel like I’ve gained so much confidence, and that confidence gives you a lot of freedom. I really feel like I can do anything – I mean, everybody can do anything. It’s a very good place to be in.

Photography
Photo assistant
Words
Rosie Byers
TOVE STYRKE

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