What Every Woman Can Learn From Tove Lo

Photo: Mark Iantosca.
Before Tove Lo took the stage for the Palladia Epic Awesome Showcase at this year's SXSW, she sat down during sound check to chat with us. As VH1's You Oughta Know artist, the Swedish pop star has taken her career from behind the scenes — writing songs for other artists — to behind the mic, forging her own singing career.

But, Tove Lo's so much more than an Indie success story. She's got the attitude that women need in the music biz today. When she talks about collaborations, she name-drops other female artists she respects. When people ask her about the men who run her career, she keeps them in check, because she's a girl boss.

We caught up with Tove Lo to talk about her transition into the spotlight, what it's like being a woman in the music industry, and what's in store for her in the future.
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You've written a lot of songs for other artists, but now you've got your own thing going. Who would you love to collaborate with in the future?
"There are many, but I think my top one right now is probably Sia. I’d love to work with Charli XCX. We’ve been close, but we’ve never actually made it happen. She’s a supercool girl, really talented. Marina and the Diamonds, too. A lot of girls! I’d also love a track with Hozier."

How did you get involved with Katy Perry's Prism Tour?
"The question about the tour came from Katy to me. She asked if I wanted to join and I was like 'Fuck yeah!' She was super busy, there was so much going on with her at that time, we didn’t really hang out. I met her a couple times and she was super sweet, so nice, but I could tell she had tons to do. Superstar level. Her life is crazy. But, she's still levelheaded, performed flawlessly every night. I was so impressed. I was like, 'How can she do this every night for two hours?' I can’t imagine."

What are the challenges of being a female recording artist? 
"I’ve never really seen my challenges as being because I’m female. I’ve never really had any thoughts like, 'People treat me differently because I’m girl.' I don’t know if it’s because I’m from Sweden and it’s very very equal there compared to a lot of places and I think maybe I’ve noticed coming to new countries, not even necessarily the States but other places, people are like, 'Who’s the man behind you? Who writes your music?' And I’m just like, 'No, it’s my words. I write the songs.' I mean, obviously I need people to work with, both girls and guys, but it has nothing to do with that. There’s no man behind me. But then I see it, too. My whole team is five dudes that I’m on tour with — I call them my five husbands. We’re super close and we have a lot of fun. There’s a lot of male dominance [in the world]. It’s not a problem for me [personally], but I can understand how it gets a little tricky. It’s just different when you’re a girl. Sometimes people use that as making you less respectable or something, and that can be really frustrating. But I really have no problem. I can speak up for myself and be like, 'Hey, you’re being an asshole, shut up!'"

You’re 27. A lot of women express feeling that they have to hit a certain goal by the time they’re 30. Do you feel any of that pressure?
"I’m realizing that 30’s coming closer, but I actually haven’t thought about it before any certain age. I never expected this to happen for me now. When I was 23 I thought being a songwriter was going to be my career, and I kind of let go of the artist thing. Then a year and a half ago I decided to give the artist thing one last try as my mini career on the side and keep the writing as my focus. But then it just turned around. So, now I feel like I want to have a world tour done, I want to have all these things that happen to me. But I’m really just enjoying life. I’ve come further than I ever could’ve dreamed of. I’m just going to keep working hard and having fun and see what happens." 


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