Swedish pop star Tove Styrke has started her day on a high note. Jumping in a taxi from the airport to her set at our very own Ace to Beat bash, the driver told her that she was to be treated like a VIP. “I like that!” she says with a childish smirk. For a moment, it’s as if she’s unaware of the bunch of hit singles and the two best-selling albums (one certified platinum) she’s released in her home country. If anyone deserves VIP treatment, it’s this girl.
On our shores, Tove’s talent felt like a fresh new discovery to many when her song ‘Say My Name‘ grabbed the attention of every pop blogger across the country. A viral streaming hit, the confident, tongue-in- cheek tune marks the beginning of a glorious new era for the popstar, one that sees her escaping Sweden and going global. Splayed across the couches of the hotel lobby, we cover the Scandi-pop revolution, her boring sock drawer and why the world owes Britney Spears everything.
Why do you think Sweden produces such fabulous female popstars?
That’s a good question, but I don’t know how to answer it because I’ve never not been a female popstar in Sweden! The music scene is a very inspiring place to work and write because there are so many talented producers and writers around, especially in Stockholm. We don’t have to leave to meet people.
It’s a trope for a lot of people to label Swedish pop stars ‘the next Robyn’ or ‘the new Lykke Li’. Does that bother you?
I don’t really mind because all of those people are great artists! I can never bring the same thing to the table that somebody else can – I can only bring me. The only thing that bothers me is when people try and pit female artists against each other like it’s a competition. Everybody can be successful. Can’t we just be successful together?
In ‘Say My Name’, you ask somebody to wear your name out “like a sweater that you love”. What one item of clothing can’t you bear to let go of?
I don’t get too emotionally attached to clothes. I do have socks from when I was a baby that I can still wear – I’ve made them into sneaker socks. My sock drawer is so not glamorous because they’re so boring to buy.
You always find those ones right at the back of the drawer.
I know. I need to throw those out! For the most part I like to keep things moving, but I’ve still got socks that I’ve had since I was 10!
You’ve covered ‘Baby One More Time‘, what does the world owe Britney Spears?
The world owes Britney everything. But you can’t ask me, I’m such a Britney fan! I have too many feelings for her – I feel connected to her in a special level! We’re on the same label in the US so one of my goals is to meet her. One day, I’ll reach out and get a hold of her [but] I don’t know what I’d do if we actually met. I would die!
What’s the scariest thing about making pop?
Opening yourself up. The best songs are often found when you dig deep and make yourself vulnerable. That’s such a scary process, and it’s why it’s always taking me so long to make music! I need to find a place where I can go through that. I don’t get anything out of it if I just make a song [for the sake of it]. It needs to be interesting and meaningful to me.
So we’ve had ‘Call My Name‘ and now ‘Say My Name’. Is this a trilogy, and if so, what’s the third one called?
What’s my problem?! Maybe… ‘Scream My Name’? No! That’s just a coincidence, really. The name worked so we kept it!
Your last album Kiddo was partially inspired by Kill Bill. Are you being influenced by movies with your new music?
I identified with [Beatrix Kiddo, the lead character in Kill Bill’s] sense of vengeance. Now I feel like I’m drawing inspiration from my own life now; the everyday stuff. I find it so interesting: imagining different scenarios and what would have happened if [some things] had been different.
So what was the last film you watched?
It was Fast [and the Furious] Five – one of the better ones! I watched it at the hotel last night.