We caught up with Swedish singer-songwriter Tove Styrke, ahead of her UK supporting tour with Years & Years. The 22-year-old played a five song warm up set at Rock City, including an interesting version of Britney Spears’ Hit Me Baby One More Time.
Q: You started off in music at the sweet age of 16 on Swedish Pop Idol and came third in the competition, that must have been a lot of pressure for you…
A: It was a strange way to get into music, it’s more of a popularity contest really, so afterwards you have a lot to prove in your music.
Q: Do you have any pre-show rituals and do you get nervous?
A: I get quite nervous before shows, which I think is a good thing because it gives you nerve to perform – I don’t have any specific rituals, I know some people who pray, but not me.
Q: Your album is called Kiddo and has a lot of different music, how would you best describe it?
A: It’s a little bit of everything, it’s very personal to me; I use writing a lot to deal with different emotions, and cope with my feelings. There are a lot of different themes, but with each song I’ve tried not to limit myself sound-wise, but have mainly used electronic textures to bind the songs together. I guess you could call it different.
I’m very fond of this album, but my favourite song is Borderline it represents the album the best.
Q: Where do you find inspiration to write music?
A: I often get ideas and phrases when i’m stuck somewhere, like in a car or plane, and then I keep them and try to work them into something.
Q: You’ve been described as a martyr of feminist pop…
A: *She laughs* I don’t know about that! But I get it a lot, I suppose it’s because people aren’t used to pop artists writing about political issues, like equality, and to me it seems a very natural thing to write about, as those problems relate to everybody.
Q: What’s it been like touring with Years & Years?
A: It’s been really fun, and they’re really nice – I watched their show and it was so beautiful. I’m really happy they brought me along with them.
Q: You shot your video for Borderline in Svalbard, how was that?
A: That was complete madness. There was no security at all, we shot it in Svalbard where there are more polar bears than people, and that’s a fact! We had to have with us two guards with firearms for protection – but we didn’t have any encounters with any polar bears. It was the most extraordinary place I ever been to.
Q: What are your fans like?
A: I like how they are a lot of different people, I noticed on my headline tour in the US how mixed they were; different ages and genders – cute young gay guys, big groups of girls and like, Dads all gathered round, older couples too. There’s a lot of girls my age, so we can kinda relate to each other.
Tove Styrke’s headline tour starts in February with dates in major UK cities.