Q&A: Rising Swedish Pop Star Tove Styrke Talks New Music, Lorde, and Inspirations

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Photo Credit: Credit: Emma Svensson

2018 will be the year of Tove Skyrke. Coming straight from Sweden, the electro-pop singer and songwriter is slowly but surely gathering more attention from the pop scene with her relatable lyrics and catchy melodies.

Styrke has been singing for as long as she can remember and already gained the stamp of approval from some of the biggest pop stars in the world: Lorde and Katy Perry. After a 15-date U.S. tour opening for the Melodrama pop star, the 24 year old singer will embark on an European tour with Katy Perry in May 2018.

As the release of Tove Styrke’s fourth album, Sway, on May 4 is approaching, we were lucky enough to catch up with Tove Styrke before her show at The Staples Center to talk about the new record, inspirations, and the Swedish music scene. Read the full interview below.

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OTW: What is the story behind your song  “Changed My Mind”?

Tove Styrke: I have this collection of songs about love stories and the pros and cons of being in love. Some of the songs are super romantic and some of them are more fun and daring. You know how love can be unromantic as well sometimes, well “Changed My Mind” is more on that side. My idea for it was that I wanted it to be like, when you follow a person, sort of the stalking process. You have a history with this person but then you realize that this person is not good for you. When you first listen to it, it’s very clear but as the song progresses it gets crazier and at the end it goes nuts.

OTW:  Is “Changed My Mind” a taste of what’s coming up and will your new album “Sway” include the same kind of songs and inspirations?

Tove Styrke: It’s definitely representative. If you listen to all the singles you will definitely see a pattern. What I wanted to do on this album is to keep the production as minimalist as possible but still special and interesting. In “Say My Name,” for example, we have those ukulele riffs. I really spent a lot of time on the production and the songs, the lyrics especially. It is really important to me that there’s no need for anything unnecessary, and that the song sort of stands on its own.

OTW: Where do you get all of those inspirations from, for both the song itself and the production?

Tove Styrke: People mainly. In the past I got inspiration from so many different things, from movies to music or sometimes I used to make fake soundtracks for movies that didn’t exist, but now with this album it’s been more about people and how people connect or don’t connect with each other. Also, there’s a lot about how you get to know yourself through other people. Sometimes people are like mirrors, and you like hanging out with people when you like the image you get of yourself.

OTW: Your new material is really different from what you previously released, especially the way you’re vocalizing. How do you feel about this new direction that you’re taking?

Tove Styrke: I made a cover of “Liability” by Lorde and what I think is so great about that song is that when I heard it, it almost felt strange that I didn’t make it because it feels so much like me. I could really relate to it, and it feels like it was my life, my thoughts and my feelings. The cool thing is that a lot of people feel the same way about that song. In her monologue, that feeling of loneliness is really relatable. So what I try to do is to find a way to write this sort of inner dialogue that you have with yourself.

OTW: Who are your dream collaborations and will you include some features in your upcoming record?

Tove Styrke: It’s not sure yet, I am still figuring this out but I am also releasing more music this year so maybe after the album there will be more collaborations. There are so many people that I adore but on the other hand you never know who you are going to work with until you meet them and try. At the moment I listen a lot to Kehlani, she is so great. Also, I am still on a Post Malone phase, I am obsessed with his voice, it’s crazy!

OTW: Coming from Sweden, what do you think is the main difference between the American crowd and the European one?

Tove Styrke: It’s very different. I think Sweden is the toughest crowd because I don’t think it’s embodied in our culture to go out and listen to live music; it’s more about going to clubs. People don’t really pay attention that much, not the same way than they do here. America is a nice place to tour because people like to go out and discover new music. I felt like I found new fans and made new friends on this tour it’s amazing but I still love touring in Europe of course.

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