Swedish singer/songwriter Tove Lo was born Ebba Tove Elsa Nilsson on October 29, 1987 in a suburb of Stockholm. Beginning to write poetry and short stories at a young age, she went on to study at the famous Rytmus Musikergymnasiet -- a music-oriented high school comparable to the U.K.'s BRIT School -- where she met and befriended the future members of Icona Pop. After singing in the band Tremblebee, made up of students from the school, and a spell playing one-man-and-his-dog nightclub gigs as frontwoman of a math rock band, she decided to focus on her own songs, spending six months in her shed studio working on a demo. Upon the occasion of a party celebrating Icona Pop's first record deal, she used the opportunity to foist her demo on a staff member at their label, leading to a publishing deal with Warner Chappell and a trip to L.A. to work with fellow Swede and pop songwriting/production supremo Max Martin.
Lo gradually developed her own idiosyncratic style of epic, electronically tinged songwriting with raw, brutally honest lyrics, influenced as much by '80s pop as by contemporary EDM. In 2012 she self-released her debut single, "Love Ballad," a catchy, beat-driven pop track that showcased her powerful voice. It was followed in 2013 by "Habits," a dark breakup anthem that generated such Internet buzz that it led to a deal with Universal. "Habits" and its follow-up, "Out of Mind," which was much in the same vein, appeared on her debut EP for the label, Truth Serum, in 2014. Later that year, her debut album Queen of the Clouds arrived, featuring "Habits" as well as other rawly confessional songs about love and heartache.
John D. Buchanan