Music | Interview – MØ

If you haven’t heard of MØ (aka Karen Marie Ørsted) yet, then you can thank us for bringing her to your attention.

The Danish singer songwriter has been making waves in the blogosphere with her eclectic musical output and on the back of just a few tracks has found herself hailed as a rising star. And for good reason. We meet ahead of the  release of her debut EP Bikini Daze (which dropped on October 20) and after an enthralling live performance supporting Alunageorge at The Cockpit.

Hailing from a background which she asserts was far from musical – “my parents are not musicians… I mean, they’re so bad at music” – and growing up in the Danish countryside, Ørsted talks excitably about the first music she ever got her hands on in a personal sense. “The first album I got for myself was the Spice Girls and at the time I was totally into that. It was the biggest thing that ever happened to me at that time because it appealed to me. It was really like ‘woah!’. Before that I was listening to my parents’ stuff, like The Doors and Billie Holiday and stuff like that. That wasn’t for me, you know, the Spice Girls were for ME.”

Ørsted’s musical output is a far cry from the manufactured pop of the 90s, despite citing her discovery of the Spice Girls as the birth place of her passion for music. Unsuprisingly there isn’t really a pigeonhole to sign and deliver MØ into; to say electro pop is somewhat to do her an injustice. She cites her sound as “electronic indie-pop with vibes from hip hop and soul” and with such an eclectic mix of genres you’d expect Ørsted to stream off a long list of influences. Making her talent perhaps even more exciting is the fact that she doesn’t: “I’ve never been a person that has been listening a lot to music because I’ve always been writing music. I’ve always been like I don’t wanna listen to too much contemporary music because it influences too much with the music in my head”.

Lyrically, MØ is focussed on feelings of youth and her recently released EP Bikini Daze deals with just this: “it’s about being young and restless and bored, when you want all of this stuff but you don’t know how to do it and you’re just like ‘aggghh’, you know, struggling to figure out how your life is going to be and how you’re gonna make it, like waiting in the dark for something that doesn’t happen unless you do it yourself”. It’s a mindset to which most can relate, but it’s certainly not like much else you’ve heard before. For this reason, heads have turned in the direction of this Danish artist who has long “dreamt of being a popstar”; for the awaiting music press, a MØ release has become what a McDonald’s coke is to a hangover – an inexpressibly satisfying fix, but she takes this in her stride: “Well yeah, I mean, of course I do [feel pressure] but it’s not like it’s taking over. Of course it’s there but it’s more that you don’t want to disappoint the people supporting you. You really wanna give them more that they like”.

Perhaps the most refreshing thing about MØ is her sense of authenticity; an artist who is largely uninfluenced by contemporary music, she automatically owns the kind of originality that so many strive for. On the topic of image, the sentiment is the same: “For me, it’s very important that you’re true in what you do. I don’t wanna try to be someone I’m not, I don’t wanna change or take on an image or a style or a fashion direction – everybody can do that, everybody can dress up pretty and nice and be like ‘ugh i’m like this, I’m representing this’ and I just really want to be as honest as possible and I know it may sound a little cheesy but I don’t see why it should be interesting for people to see another copy of something that is already going on”.

The youthful exuberance of MØ is present as much in person as it is in her music; chatty, excitable and expressive, it’s almost impossible not to like her. Here is someone who eats, breathes and lives music, but at the same time doesn’t take herself too seriously. It’s about time we can genuinely thank the Spice Girls for something, isn’t it?

Tania Burnham

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