Fuse is celebrating Women's History Month by looking at a variety of rising forces who are creating Future Women's History before our eyes. Today we are honoring Tove Lo, who doesn't let female pop star stereotypes affect how she chooses to explore her sexuality in music.
"I think it's both my best and my worst [trait] that I'm very impulsive," the Swedish singer tells us with a laugh in the interview above. That unpredictable streak is the most exciting thing to look forward to in her songs, as she rattles off whatever is on her mind (no matter how explicit or dark it is). Tove Lo first shared the inner workings of her thoughts in 2014 with the release of her debut album Queen of the Clouds.
The record explored steamy, no holds barred lust ("Talking Body"), exposed the singer's flaws and drunken vulnerability ("Moments") and destructive relationships she just can't seem to shake like in "Habits (Stay High)." Unlike some female pop singers, Tove Lo always takes it there. She leads listeners through a tangled, bruised web of emotions that can be alarmingly honest at times. But it is damn relatable for almost every woman who is sometimes scared to come face to face with those feelings.
The 29-year-old's followup to her debut album, last October's Lady Wood, further pushed her feminist views. The title alone is a rule-breaker, as the singer said it was inspired by sexism in the industry and patriarchal ideologies. "When you want someone to be brave, you say 'grow some balls.' She’s a chick with balls," Tove Lo explains to Vogue. "It’s almost like saying, 'Don’t be a pussy.' Sweden is very equal between the genders compared to other places."
"I just remember defending myself in a lot of situations where I was wondering, 'Why am I defending myself? I shouldn’t have to make a case about this.' To me, music and sex are very connected. I’m a very sexual person—not meaning I have sex all the time, but it’s like, I express myself with my body onstage and off. It’s a very beautiful, powerful thing. It’s kind of like saying a chick with balls, but since we don’t have balls, it’s lady wood. Things that kind of terrify me and turn me on at the same time."
Lady Wood is even more intense than its predecessor, with the singer digging deeper into her personal life stories as told through brilliant songwriting. Through infectious vocals and catchy-as-fuck hooks, Tove Lo normalizes female sexuality while simultaneously slamming expectations on what it means to be beautiful. The album's accompanying short film, Fairy Dust, takes things a step further thanks to a certain scene that had everyone talking.
The Tim Erem-directed video is a reflection of Tove Lo's lifestyle, which is filled with drugs, partying, sex, heartbreak and the painful mental burden that comes with it all. Fairy Dust comes down from its high in the final minutes, where she begins to masturbate in It was deemed to raunchy for YouTube and was pulled from the website (it was later re-added), proving the singer's point that women who own their sexual freedom continue to be unfairly shunned.
But despite all of the musical backlash she receives, Tove Lo knows just what buttons to press to get the male ego angry—whether it be exposing her breasts onstage or reveling in an alcohol-filled joyride. And guess what? She will never stop pushing those buttons. This is why the singer has a spot in the future of women's history.
We're celebrating Future Women's History all month long! Tune in to Fuse and come back to Fuse.tv every day for profiles, videos and more. Find Fuse in your area with our Channel Finder. Next, watch Tove Lo describe her "dark techno" new album with Fuse at 2016 Billboard Music Awards: