"It’s about my first summer crush on a girl" - Tove Lo on new single

Ebba Tove Elsa Nilsson, better known as Tove Lo, has made a name for herself with her raunchy lyrics and provocative visuals that often explore the topics of sex and drugs. The Swedish singer-songwriter isn’t one to shy away from speaking her mind and her hits like “Habits“, “Talking Body“, and “Cool Girl” are a testament to her unapologetic candidness.

Lo‘s upcoming album Sunshine Kitty is filled with songs that embrace the vulnerability of young love and teenage crushes. Slated for a September 20 release, the tracklist includes collaborations with Alma, Kylie Minogue, Jax Jones, and Doja Cat. With a new album on the way, Lo goes OnRecord about her latest single “Bad As The Boys“, censorship in music, her love for acting, and more.

Your single “Glad He’s Gone” is a breakup-anthem with a twist; it shines light on the importance of friendships when romantic relationships go south. What inspired you to write this song?

All the times I’ve given and been given this pep talk haha! I thought back to me and my girlfriends growing up. There was so much unconditional love and support, and also interference in each other’s lives when one of us got hurt by some idiot. I think that’s really beautiful!

We all have friends we would travel to the end of the world for, and you did just that, quite literally, in the video of  “Glad He’s Gone.” How did the idea of this hilarious video come about?

I’m so proud of this video! I only had one “demand” for it and that was that I wanted the lyrics, the story, to be highlighted and told in a unique and cool way. The directors Vania & Muggia sent me this idea and I lost my mind. It was just perfect. My team and I flew to Kyiv and shot for four days. Basically, we shot a full movie in four days. They’re geniuses! 

Bad as the Boys,” the next track from your upcoming studio album Sunshine Kitty, is on the same lines as “Glad He’s Gone” or something different? What’s the story behind this one?

It’s a bit more romantic and nostalgic. It’s about my first summer crush on a girl when I was a teenager. There’s something so beautiful about that kind of infatuation. The summer makes everything feel hopeful and intense. I’m super excited to have Alma sing on it! She’s one of my favorites! 

On that note, can you tell us a little more about Sunshine Kitty; what it’s about and what do you want your fans to take away from it?

It’s an album about naive love, friendship, vulnerability, new places, and future fears. I took longer writing this album, had some time to reflect on all the crazy things that have happened in the last five years since my music took off. I read all the diaries I’ve had since I was nine years old, all that plays a part! 

You describe your sound as ‘Dirty Pop’ and your songs have often been deemed too raunchy for the radio and prime time TV. Did you ever receive pushback from the industry for your NSFW lyrics?

Yeah, I have and I understand why. But I still have to create what I want and need to create you know!

Censorship laws work differently all around the world; while in your home country of Sweden they’re more liberal but on the other hand, countries like India follow a strict policy. Have you ever tweaked any of your songs for this reason or has it ever acted as a hurdle in your creative process? 

I never think about it when I write in the studio but when the song is done and I’m happy with it I’m sometimes okay with doing “clean versions.” So, it’s easier for the label to do their work. Sometimes, I find really good solutions and then I’m cool with it. But it can’t be part of my mindset during the original writing cause that messes with my mojo.

You’ve written songs for some of the biggest names in the industry. How different is the songwriting process when you’re writing songs for others compared to when you’re writing something for yourself?

I just try to tune into their voices and their feelings, find out what they wanna say!

What was the defining moment in your life when you realized, you’ve made it big?

I think when I started playing big festivals for the first time around the world and it would be huge crowds I wasn’t expecting. I was like “they know my music all the way over here?!”

After making the transition to an internationally renowned pop star, do you sometimes miss the anonymity that came with being just a songwriter, or do you enjoy the attention?

It fully depends on my mood. I love the attention on stage and I love talking to my fans. I sometimes miss the spontaneous life you can have as a songwriter but I still get a lot of that. I fly under the radar pretty easily, I dress like a lost hippie!

You’ve opened for Maroon 5Coldplay, and Katy Perry over the years and toured North America, Canada, and Europe with them. How does performing as a supporting act compare to headlining your own concert tour?

It’s very fun and inspiring, you get to see so much and it makes you dream big. The energy though when you play your own show is just amazing!

ABBASwedish House MafiaAviciiMax MartinZara Larsson, – these are just a few of the many musical juggernauts Sweden has produced over the years. What do you think helped Sweden quickly become one of the world’s biggest exporters of music?

I don’t know! Small country, amazing inspiration close by?? 

Your creative prowess does not end at singing and songwriting, you’ve also co-written, co-produced, and starred in three short films that tackle the topics of sexuality, friendship, and everything in between. How was the film-making experience?

I LOVE acting. It was very very intense and challenging but I loved making these things. I just love creating worlds and have realized how much I love enhancing my music through visuals. 

And finally, our last question, can music help one express himself/herself in a better manner? What do you think of raising awareness about socially sensitive topics through your music? 

I just like to be honest about things that sometimes is hard for people to talk about. We rarely share our feelings or problems. To be honest, it’s always a relief about your feelings, let them out. 

Take a trip down memory lane and reminisce your summer love with Tove Lo‘s latest single “Bad as the Boys” only on JioSaavn