Lykke Li

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photographs / SHANNA FISHER


hair + makeup / SARA APPLEBY @Sarah Laird Agency

assistant hair+ makeup / NICOLE BRIDGEFORD

shot at dakota studio nyc

Jacket; Sally LaPointe

First off, congratulations on all the wonderful success of Wounded Rhymes! Generally, along with success comes more major expectations. How do you avoid the pressures of the great expectations that go along with great success?
It all goes back to not believing in any hype but only listening to my inner voice and what I want to say and do as an artist. I don’t believe in letting other people into your creation process, for me it’s such an intimate thing and I guard my inspiration and will to create with my life, without it I am nothing so to answer your question. The only pressure I take in is from myself, which is more than enough.
Where are you personally in terms of your evolution as an artist?
I’m such a restless person, I always feel like I’m fantasizing of being anyone and anywhere far away from myself so everything I do is probably a reaction to what I just did before. The journey has just begun and I don’t know where it is going to end.
When you aren’t doing music, what else to you love to do?
I love breakfast in bed while watching a good film, walk and talk about life, cook Moroccan stews for my friends, go to flee markets, bike aimlessly, daydream.
You’ve lived in a lot of diverse places: New York, California, Stockholm, Morocco, Portugal, New Zealand-is it easier for you to breathe & create music in a new town that isn’t deeply connected to your past and what is familiar?
It is a misconception that I’ve lived everywhere. It’s more like I’m a shark, I move around so I haven’t really “lived” anywhere accept from Portugal, Sweden and a little in the US. I more a traveller then a house owner so to speak.
What qualities do you hope listeners may take from listening to your music?
Honesty and vulnerability.

It’s important not to get too comfortable as an artist-there has to be something at stake that keeps one honest.
What for you is at stake when you write or perform a song?
There is always something at stake, I feel like I’m failing every day, but at the same time winning. Rainer Maria Rilke said that the point of life is to fail at greater and greater things.

Are there any people or things you find yourself thinking about often, if not daily?

There a lot of little ghosts in my head that I like to keep private, they are my muses and are not meant to be abused.
What have you been listening to? Reading? Watching? What is inspiring you lately?
Rainer Maria Rilke.
What’s on the Lykke To-Do List?
Films, babies, homes, casseroles.
I’ve read you don’t like the “business” side of the music industry, yet when a band becomes successful they get to the level where they have to really deal with being part of that record industry machine, some manage to still do things their own way, as it seems you have. How do you feel about the potential extremes of success?
I don’t like the word success because I’m not exactly sure what it means? Success just like everything else in life is fleeting. The only thing I hope is that I still have some inner flame left when all is said and done.
I know you are a private person and I respect that, I think fans should get to know an artist through their songs, so I won’t ask you to describe them on a personal level. That said, can you tell me about the journey of the songs on Wounded Rhythms, what they symbolize and the overall themes of album?
Well it’s about getting lost and then found, and then lost again. A little crash and burn theme I would suppose.
What was it like working with Tarik Saleh on “Sadness is a Blessing”? It’s a very beautiful short film. You’ve voiced an interest in making more films, do you have any plans to do acting?
It was a battle but so wonderfully worth it. It was all about finding a new emotional aspect to something I’ve penned and lived. I would love to do it over and over again.
What was the first music video you remember loving?
The first video I ever saw was Michael Jackson’s “Black and White”. It left me really confused but was a life changing moment. It had everything a seven year old could ever dream for and from that day on all I wanted was to live that video.
A lot of your videos incorporate movement and dance, do you get these choreographed, do you have a dancing background?
Oh god no, I don’t work well at all with choreography. I think what I’m striving for with my body is to achieve some kind of freedom sense, to follow my bodies impulse and forget about the shame and malice. With that said, I do feel a little ashamed of how I dance, I’d love to be better at it.
You once said that now you have achieved most of your dreams, you didn’t feel how you thought you would.What do you dream of for the future?
I’m not sure I ever said it just like that cause I’ve never felt that, my dreams are fluid and they change, I think life is a long pearl necklace of dreams, as soon as you come close to them they change cause dreams are dreams just because they are dreams, something that exists in your mind.
I had the lucky chance of seeing you play an intimate show in LA at Bardot in 2009, you put on one great show! Do you feel some intimacy is lost when you play larger venues as opposed to smaller venues?
You lose some but you win another type of feeling. It is really challenging to play big shows cause you really have to work hard but it is very developing for an artist. You can’t always play it safe in your corner.
“I Follow Rivers” was covered by Tina Cohen-Chang (played by Jenna Ushkowitz) on the American hit-show Glee episode ‘A Night Of Neglect’, have you seen it/heard about it? If you have, what are your thoughts about it?
I haven’t seen it so the only thought I have about it is that it’s quite interesting for my songs to be swimming in those waters, it’s cool that the song can transcend to different audiences.

 A lot of journalists seem to be focusing on the “heartbreak” aspect to the record, attributing it to the pain of a breakup, but lots of things can be heartbreaking in life and it seems your album subliminally conveys many layers of this-how aware are you of how your music is received by the press as opposed to the fans?

–Whatever they say it is it is probably not, society works in the way that we have to label and explain things that can’t really be explained. But it is true that it is about heartbreak, not necessarily  a relationship. Heartbreak comes in many forms, a  very vivid one is when you break your own heart.
You have done several great collaborations in all genres of music, from Rokksop & Kleerup to Kanye West and Drake. Other than Leonard Cohen, who do you hope to collaborate with in the future?
I haven’t done collaborations in quite a while but there is a lot of filmmakers I would dream to collaborate with but I am little too shy to spell it out.
Since it’s the Crush Issue of Ladygunn, What/Who are your crushes?
Linda Mannz in Days of Heaven.
What’s in the works for you next?
I’ll be touring til my heart stops.
Any last words?
The whole world is only three drinks away.

Pantsuit; Mandy Coon. Lykke’s own blazer, Lykke’s own rings.

Jacket; The Sway. Silk shorts; Vintage. Silk Shirt; Lina Osterman. Lykke’s own rings.


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