Over the coming weeks, ClashMusic.com will be talking 2008 with some of our artists of the year, discussing their ups and downs, their heroes and villains, and their plans for 2009.
We begin with breakthrough Swedish songstress Lykke Li
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Fragile in falsetto, one of 2008’s most understated heroines was a cute and chirpy girl from Sweden called Li Lykke Timotej Zachrisson. Having wowed crowds at SXSW, lips were pursed over her debut album, released here in the summer. Disappointment didn’t loiter, with her profile rising steadily over the year, aided by stripped-back production courtesy of Björn Yttling of Peter Björn and John fame. She gave us a rundown of her 2008…
Can you describe, or sum up your year for us? We saw you at SXSW, which seems ages ago.
Yes, it’s like ten decades in one year. And all I can say, I can’t even remember where I was yesterday.
How do you feel like your music has developed over the year? Or has it been more of a personal journey?
I think both. I did the album so long ago, and I couldn’t really sing at the time. It was just like the first thing I ever did in the studio. I think of myself as a performer, I’m like a different person with a different voice, but I guess people only hear the album, so they don’t really know how I’ve grown. But I’ve really, really grown.
Was it surprising to have so much success?
Um, I don’t know if I have so much success. But yeah, the shows are sold out and that’s amazing. Me and my band really sweat it, you know, so I think I deserve to have sold-out shows because I fucking break my ankle every night.
Yes. There’s quite a lot of boring performers out there.
How do you feel about your songs, written in relative obscurity, being exposed to a lot of people?
It’s weird, but I don’t really think about it. I’m very much… I don’t think about any of those things. I’m too occupied with my art, so I don’t think like that.
What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned this year?
About what I’ve read, or about myself?
Both, or either.
That everything is relative.
How did you stumble across that?
You have this whole vision of what you want to do when you become an artist, and you do videos and you do tours. You have this splendid vision in your head about what you want to do, but reality is never really is what you think it is. You just have to work… it’s not as splendid or as creative as my visions are, but it’s something.
If you could change one thing about 2008, what would it be?
Uh, that earthquake.
If you could have anything in 2009, what would it be and why?
Uh, health. I’ve been really sick.
Is that just the pressures of touring and being unsettled?
Yeah, not having a break for over a year. I’d like a good immune system.
Sounds like you need a holiday. What were your favorite bands of 2008?
Cool, anybody else?
Just Bon Iver? Nice. Monogamous in your love.
Only room for one at a time.
Who were your heroes of 2008? Music, politics, social?
I have a friend, but I don’t know…
That’s your hero?
Because he just gave me so much good advice and information.
Okay, cool. When did you meet him?
I haven’t met him.
How have you been speaking to him?!
I know, exactly.
How did you find him?
He contacted me.
So he’s a mysterious spirit of advice?
Yeah, he’s not a spirit. I mean, he calls.
He’s a dude. What’s the advice been?
To always… you know like, if you would die right now, you have to stand for everything you’ve done. So you have to stand by everything when it’s time to go. So, that means like not sell out, and to stay true, and you have to protect what you have, you know? You have to be responsible of yourself. Sometimes you can get used and stuff, but it’s your responsibility to take care of your gift.
Good advice. If your music could make a listener do anything in 2009, what would it be?
To start a love parade.
Cool. Who are your villains of 2008?
Like an enemy?
Yes, a baddie.
Ooh, I don’t know. Argh, this is too hard. I don’t pay attention to haters.
Good, very nice of you.
Or I do, but I say I don’t.
Have you started thinking about a new album, or just praying for rest?
Of course you have to think about it, but uh, I need to write about life. I don’t write about nonsense. So I have to live life a bit. I’m thinking, but before thinking comes living.
What are your plans for next year?
I mean, I’m going to be touring. I mean, I’m touring all spring probably, and then playing the summer festivals. I’ll have probably two months free, but otherwise I’ll be touring.
Do you have a motto for next year?
Live hard, die young.
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Lykke Li’s ‘Youth Novels’ album is out now. See her live as follows (TICKETS)…
24 Dublin Button Factory
25 Glasgow Arches
27 Manchester Academy 3
28 London Koko