Take two for Tove Styrke
Time Magazine calls her “a pop star you need to know” and she is expected to be the next music sensation to come out of Sweden. On 8 June her sophomore album Kiddo comes out. Meet Tove Styrke.
Tove Styrke was 16 when her life turned upside down after being handpicked by the jury of Swedish Idol. She dropped out of high school and ended up in third place in the talent show, becoming a household name in Sweden. After the show ended she was signed with a record label, made a successful debut album, was voted best new artist by Swedish Radio and called “an artist to keep your eye on” by both the New York Post and celebrity blogger Perez Hilton.
She was in the fast lane to break through internationally, but instead she broke down personally. During her 2012 summer tour, she dropped everything and moved back to her hometown Umeå in northern Sweden.
“At that point I had been going since I was 16. I needed time to explore my relationship to music and myself. I needed to see music as something personal and private – without any pressure of making something that needed to sell. I was away for one year.”
DID YOU WANT TO QUIT?
“I wasn’t sure that I would return. Then the urge to make music came back. I went to a lot of shows in Umeå and became very inspired by others who made music. There is a very supportive scene up there.”
WERE YOU SCARED THAT PEOPLE WOULD FORGET YOU?
“I never thought about it like that. But now, in many ways, it feels like I’m making my real debut. I feel that I do more or less what I want.”
In some ways, this sophomore album is Tove’s debut – at least for an international audience. She is picking up where she left off three years ago, because one of the goals with Kiddo is to become established in the rest of the world. Her sights are set for America, where she recently ended a coast to coast tour and plans to return for another one this autumn.
“I would love to find a bigger audience outside of Sweden”, she says but emphasises that she takes nothing for granted. Despite her humble approach, the months leading up to the June release of her anticipated second album have been successful – especially in the press with the esteemed Time Magazine naming her “a pop star you need to know this spring”.
As with every pop star of the 2000s, Tove Styrke is partly a style
inspiration for her fans.
I needed to see music as something personal and private – without any pressure of making something that needed to sell.Tove Styrke
DO YOU CARE ABOUT FASHION?
“I know I care more than I think I do. I like creating a character and enhance features through clothing. It’s boring, as an artist, to be transformed into a coat rack for hip stuff.”
As opposed to many other female Swedish pop stars (there are a lot of them now), Tove Styrke rarely wears head-to-toe black and is more often seen in bright colours and blue jeans. When asked to describe her style she uses three words: Strange, comfortable and simple. Her favourite jeans are her dad’s old pair – which perhaps is up to date with current trends – and another pair that are patched all over. She combines these with big, colourful t-shirts and is sometimes seen with her hair in braids.
“I enjoy wearing colourful clothes, and I don’t take myself seriously enough to wear all black.”
This November it’s been five years since her debut album was released. This summer it’s been three years since she cancelled her summer tour and international launch. When looking back at her award-winning debut, she describes it as “sometimes a lot of fun”. But that process is incomparable to the one of Kiddo.
“The first thing I told everyone when making this album was: ‘We’re going to have fun. Not just do things because we have to, but to create music that means something to us.”
WHAT’S THE NEXT STEP FOR TOVE STYRKE?
“The next step is to release this album and hope that it’s well received. After that I’m excited to tour and meet the audience I have. To see what kind of people they really are”, she says with a laugh.
Kiddo is released 8 June.
LIVES IN: Stockholm
DOES: Releases her second album Kiddo on 8 June and tours the USA during the spring, Europe during the summer, and USA again in the autumn.
FAVOURITE CITY: Umeå in northern Sweden – “I love it and don’t love it. I think it’s a common relationship with your hometown”.
WEARS: “I am comfortable. My everyday outfit is a pair of old Nike Air, some kind of extremely worn-in jeans, a pretty big t-shirt of some sort – often in some off colour combination. I feel my everyday outfit is so simple that it needs a lot of colour.”