Say My Name: An Interview with Tove Styrke

Author: Cameron Payne

I was sitting in my shoebox-sized dorm room setting up the photo booth camera on my MacBook to record, waiting for my phone to ring when it hit me that I was actually about to do a phone interview with Tove Styrke. The pop sensation got her start on a Swedish version of American Idol and quickly after, her self-titled album went Platinum in Sweden. At just 25, she’s touring with Lorde on her Melodrama tour and “Say My Name” is featured on Rolling Stone’s 50 Best Songs of 2017 list. Needless to say, firecracker Tove Styrke is a force to be reckoned with.

The second Styrke got on the phone, I felt like I was talking to an old friend; she was bubbly and excited and ready to answer any questions I had for her. So here it is, all of my burning questions for Swedish musical phenomenon, Tove Styrke!

*All photos from Tove Styrke’s Instagram

Cameron Payne: When did you first start making music and what inspired you to start?

Tove Styrke: I started singing when I was a teenager. I would listen to Whitney Houston, songs like “I Will Always Love You” and dream about singing the way she did. I still can’t, of course, but people are hearing me, that’s always been my dream.

CP: On March 9th, you’re playing at the biggest music venue in Seattle. Do you have any advice for upcoming musicians whose goal it is to make it in this industry?

TS: My advice is going to sound cliché but it’s so, so true. Be as true to yourself as you can be because there is no one who can do you like you can. The music industry has its ups and downs and the closer you stay to your core the farther you’re going to go. This never seemed realistic to me and the thing I’ve stuck with the most is that this is what I love to do and as long as I love to do it I will.

CP: What’s your biggest accomplishment in your career so far?

TS: Wow – I think this. I think this is it. I’m sitting here right now on my 6th, maybe 7th phone interview of the day and I spent the whole day being driven around New York City by a DRIVER doing press. I still can’t believe it. It’s all so crazy and so surreal that this is my life. I was literally chilling out in Vogue today talking about music and movies with their staff. I’m constantly pinching myself. It’s a dream come true.

CP: “Say My Name” was on Rolling Stone’s 50 Best Songs of 2017 list! What’s the story behind it?

TS: I know! I know! Can you believe that? I was reading that list looking at all these amazing songs by artists I love and then my name was on there, and I knew it was when I started but it shocked me anyway. Sorry, it’s so exciting, yes, I absolutely love that song. It was one of the first ones I put out and I’m so excited by the feedback it’s getting. I’m actually selling “Say My Name” merch sweaters on tour (this is in reference to the line, “Wear it out like a sweater that you love”) so people can actually wear it out like a sweater that they love!

CP: With the #MeToo movement heavily dominating media, I’m curious about your experience being a woman in the music industry? How do you feel about the movement?

TS: I think there is so much to be said for being a woman in such a male dominated industry that I really don’t know where to start. I’ll start by saying how amazing it is how much light is being shed on these very, very serious issues not just in music but in film and media in general. The truth is, this is happening, everywhere to everyone. Every woman has a story like the ones being shared and I think the best thing to come out of this is women can know they’re not alone and they aren’t isolated. There are people who share their experiences and although progress feels slow, this is a very important start. Women can lean on the stories told by other women, figuratively and literally. It feels like change.

CP: Where does the name Tove Styrke come from?

TS: It’s actually my real name! Tove is Swedish and Styrke is a name that my grandparents actually made up themselves, because they’re extra like that. I love it though.

CP: Since you’re opening for Lorde, it’s only fair to ask, what’s your favorite song of hers?

TS: Definitely “Liability”. That song is absolutely insane to me. The whole song is so specific but the first time I listened to it all I could think is “this is exactly how I feel” and so many other people feel the exact same way and that’s why it’s so popular. It affected me so deeply and I actually did a cover of it (Cameron’s note: it’s amazing by the way, check it out above!). That’s one of the most amazing things about music is you can feel so isolated in your thoughts and then someone is able to put exactly how you’re feeling into words. I absolutely love that song.








Tove Styrke will be opening for Lorde at Key Arena in Seattle on March 9th!


CAMERON PAYNE | How do I become her best friend? | KXSU Head Arts Reporter


*Some statements have been modified for clarity and length!


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