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On The Verge: Tove Lo

The 26-year-old Stockholm native is jumping up the charts with her woozy breakup anthem ”Habits” — and prepping to tour with Katy Perry

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How has it felt to see ”Habits” succeed?
Crazy. My arms are turning blue from all the pinching. When it debuted at No. 66, I was like, ”Holy s—, I’m in the Hot 100!” And now, I mean… I didn’t [imagine] this when I released the song without a label in Sweden in March of 2013.

And now you’ll be opening for Katy Perry in Australia.
It didn’t sink in until I saw her the other night in L.A. Wow. It’s such a show. I was there with the band, and all my boys sang along to every song. One of our drummers was like, ”Wait, we’re going on tour with all of this in two months!” and I started feeling the butterflies for real.

Will you get a flying rig so you can compete with her stage setup?
Somehow I think that would not be my smartest move — but I might get a bra that shoots fireworks! Let’s hope it won’t burn off my face.

You have some kind of wild lyrics. What’s a nice pop star like you doing singing about sex clubs and drugs?
I grew up very safe in a nice neighborhood, and I learned how you should and shouldn’t behave around other people. But I need a space where everything I’m feeling doesn’t have to be censored, so I write songs. And yeah, a lot of it seems to come with a side of darkness — but that’s just part of being a creative person. We dig up the darkness everyone else is trying to hide.

There’s a pretty great history of music in Sweden, and a whole new generation of indie artists now.
Yes! Erik Hassle, Elliphant, Icona Pop, NONONO, Kate Boy — plus Robyn and the Knife… The original recipe, with new seasoning. [Laughs]

So is there a Swedish pop mafia? Do you all hang out?
We do, mostly because Stockholm is such a small city and a lot of us went to school together. We bump into each other all over the world.