FRESH from touring the UK with British electronica Years and Years, Tove Styrke returns to Manchester early next year with fans of the trio already excited for her return. Quays News entertainment reporter Nathan Salt sat down to talk new album, social media and the secret to Swedish pop music…
Waiting patiently in a worn-down attic room inside Manchester’s Albert Hall was Tove Styrke – a name that too many remains unknown. She accepts her current place in the industry but much like my climb to the dressing room, her climb up the career ladder has been great at the tender age of just 23.
As we sat down on the room’s stand-out piece of furniture – a somewhat lavish, pristine chaise lounge – there was so much the Swedish electropop artist had to discuss after a whirlwind year. But, having admitted she is ‘extremely tired’ before the interview commences, could she fall victim to a musical burnout?
“I try to not be ‘go, go, go’ all the time,” she said. “Right now I’m focusing on just playing music rather than looking ahead to my next album.
“It’s tricky because everything is so fast on the road with lots of people expecting you to just come up with a whole new album on tour!”
Her latest album ‘Kiddo’ was released in June of this year and it delivered one of Styrke’s key pre-album aims: it had to be authentic, honest and confessional. All of which she feels she successfully captured on the record.
“It’s one thing to write nice lyrics that rhyme but it’s really, really scary to open up about something you are thinking about inside your head and I really wanted to do that.
“I found that writing is a really good way to deal with any feelings I have.
“Of course everyone can relate to a love song but I find when I listen to music I sometimes thing wow this person has really thought about this and you can’t just make that emotion up.”
Back in 2009, Styrke got her foot on the ladder through Swedish Idol, where she finished third, and now she is conquering the charts with original tracks such as ‘Borderline’ and ‘Ego’, but how has she found supporting the ever-so popular trio of Years and Years?
“It feels fantastic,” she proclaimed with a beaming grin.
“It really feels like me going with Years and Years is a really good match. It’s been so much fun and the fans are all so lovely. Some of these people have followed the whole tour so you can get to know them.”
It is a question that Tove Styrke will always get asked at each and every interview she does: what is the secret to Swedish pop’s success?
“I think it’s two things: for one it is traditional. If you listen to old Swedish folk music it’s melancholic with a hint of darkness, and if you make pop music now there is some degree of that darkness in it.
“If you listen to Robyn’s ‘Dancing On Your Own’ is a perfect example. Secondly, we’ve had fast internet for a really long time so the technology side of it has become simpler so that producers are starting even in schools now.”
I ❤ Tove Styrke music, she's like the modern Britney Spears but a unique one
— KING LAUREN (@rosesxmatz) October 28, 2015
One of the benefits of the music industry currently is its unrivalled variety and that can only be good for emerging artists. But is Tove bound by a particular melodic structure or does she still want to continue experimenting as her fame increases?
She told Quays News: “I find myself in a nice place right now because I feel very free and my intention is to keep on experimenting and having fun with it.
“I still have a weak spot for pop music currently and I always will I think. I’m not going to start making obscure techno records – I don’t think – but you never know.”
With many people impressed by her as the main support act across the Years and Years tour, she has certainly broadened her fan-base.
“I’m hoping they come back [to see my headline tour].”
As the interview draws to a close and an obligatory selfie is taken it is clear that Tove Styrke has something about her on and off the stage. And having seen her entertain the Albert Hall crowd last month, I’m almost certain many will be back in February…
By Nathan Salt
Tove Styrke begins her headline tour next year at Manchester’s Sound Control on February 1.