By Geoffrey Rowlands
There are people who insist bad things happen for a good reason. While such ideas are alien to the vast majority, the agonising break-up of a relationship gave Swedish singer/songwriter Tove Lo the basic material from which to create her international breakthrough hit, Stay High.
“It wasn’t the first time my heart had been broken,” reflected the 26-year-old Stockholm native. “But this was by far the most emotional pain I’d ever suffered from the ending of a relationship. The hurt poured out of me into the lyrics.”
The song features on her debut EP, Truth Serum. Each track explores the theme of heartbreak to such an extent that Tove Lo, pronounced Too-veh Lu, found herself dubbed as the saddest girl in Sweden.
Things aren’t quite that bad,” she laughed. “I think most people get really sad and depressed when a relationship ends. The difference is that they don’t have a musical outlet for their emotions. I actually like the songs on Truth Serum all having the same kind of subject matter. It creates a storyline on the EP.”
Tove’s career path was chosen when she was 15.
“I have a comfortable family background and always got good grades at school. But I also had this artistic streak which saw me sitting at home writing all these song lyrics which nobody ever got to hear.
“I could have stayed with my friends and pursued an academic career. This was what my parents would have liked. But I decided to apply to this hippie music school, the Rytmus Musikergymnasiet. I was accepted and the rest is history.
“The school was very anti-pop so you either did soul, rock or jazz. I wasn’t much good at first but I gained a lot of strength from attending the school. I learned to overcome any fear of going on stage and any fear of failure. So what if I mess up a performance. It’s not the end of the world. You just move on and try to do better next time.”
Although Tove earned acclaim writing songs for artists such as Girls Aloud and Icona Pop, she began her career as lead singer with the rock band Tremblebee.
“I got together with Christian Bjerring in 2006. We wrote so many songs and were joined by three more guys to form Tremblebee. We played together for a few years and self-released some songs.
“After Tremblebee broke up, I decided to concentrate on songwriting. I’ve always wanted to be successful but never actually wanted to be famous. That’s why writing songs seemed perfect for me. I only decided to start singing again less than two years ago.”
Love Ballad, her first single as Tove Lo, was released in October, 2012. “It didn’t sell particularly well. I’d used my real name, Tove Nilsson, when I was in Tremblebee so perhaps no-one knew who I was.”
Her next single, Out of Mind, also failed to sell in significant numbers. But her third release, Habits, was effectively the song which has now become Stay High. The track was remixed by numerous artists but it is the retitled version created by California-based duo Hippie Sabotage which has given Tove such a massive hit. “I’m obviously grateful to the guys for the work they did on my song. I hope the popularity of Stay High will encourage more people to listen to my other songs.
“All my lyrics are personal and totally honest. Perhaps too personal. My mother told me she understood the Stay High video gives an honest perspective of the song but she will never watch it again. I guess she won’t listen to it either. But for all those music fans who complain about artists whose songs are not real, they should just listen to my work.”
STRAIGHT FROM THE HEART: Tove Lo
Are you fortunate enough to be in love? Would you like a photo or video of you and your loved one to feature in a Justin Timberlake song video?
If you answer yes to these questions, Justin wants to hear from you. The video for his forthcoming single, Not a Bad Thing, will contain photos, videos and love stories from fans who submit their material.
Unfortunately, everything must be forwarded via Instagram so those who do not have an account are effectively excluded from sharing their story. Full details, plus an audio posting of Not a Bad Thing, can be found at (no www.) notabadlovestory.justintimberlake.com/
The Madden Brothers
The future of American rockers Good Charlotte could best be described as uncertain. The band released their last studio album, Cardiology, as long ago as 2010. There seems little chance of a new LP anytime soon as main men Benji and Joel Madden have just released We Are Done, their debut single as The Madden Brothers.
This is not the first occasion that Benji and Joel have undertaken side projects. But some observers have suggested the title of their single is an obvious reference to the demise of Good Charlotte.
The song is taken from The Madden Brothers’ first album, Greetings From California, which is scheduled for release in early October. The record will feature different styles of songs. Tracks produced by long-time Good Charlotte collaborator Eric Valentine are upbeat pop-rock while those produced by Joe Chiccarelli are folk, Southern rock and 1970s-era FM pop.
Greetings From California could hardly be more different from The Madden Brothers’ previous release. Their mixtape, Before — Volume One, featured a host of guest artists from America’s hip hop scene. Issued as a free download in November, 2011, it can still be heard and downloaded for free at www.getrightmusic.com/mixtape/post/the_madden_brothers_good_charlotte_before_volume_one.
The Ellen Degeneres Show and The Late Show With David Letterman are just two of the pretigious US television appearances made by critically acclaimed 24-year-old Irish singer/songwriter Andrew Hozier-Byrne.
Known simply as Hozier, the former member of choral group Anuna reached No. 2 on the Irish singles chart last year with the title-track from his debut solo EP, Take Me To The Church. A second EP, From Eden, was released earlier this year and Hozier is back again now with his latest single, Sedated.
The new single is posted at www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_JUReD3QoE. The official video for Take Me To The Church can be found at www.youtube.com/watch?v=MYSVMgRr6pw. More of his music is available to hear at www.youtube.com/watch?v=tR8b-3FqQqE&list=PLr1oTb_ISgmDrIDzJLw9qBPZ6omdKqnqk
Eliza Shaddad has an interesting family history. Born to Scottish and Sudanese parents, the London-based singer/songwriter descends from a lengthy line of artists and poets dating back to the 1800s. Her great grandfather was the landscape painter James Paterson, one of a group of realist and naturalist artists who were known as the Glasgow Boys.
Realism is equally evident in the songs which make up Eliza’s body of work. Her new single, Waters, is the latest posting at (no www.) soundcloud.com/elizashaddad. The four songs on her previously released EP, January — March, can also be found here.
Other postings include three more of Eliza’s own songs along with two tracks by Clean Bandit on which she appears as the featured vocalist.Last updated:
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