by Elizabeth Parker
What is most striking about MØ, a 25-year-old up and coming artist who has a hard to define brand of alternative pop, is her down-to-earth nature. For someone who’s quickly on the rise to fame, she’s unbelievably normal. I had the chance to talk to the budding musician and performer about her album, youth and how we’re all made of stardust.
Her debut album, No Mythologies To Follow, is a punchy, beat-heavy meditation on youthful uncertainty, a project MØ, or Karen Marie Ørsted, describes as a dream come true. “I’m very, very happy with the album, because you know, I believed in the album”, she says. When I complemented her on the album’s success, which has earned consistently positive praise since its release in March, she gushed a surprised thanks with a genuine sense of warmth.
Perhaps her normalcy has something to do with the fact that she writes all of her own music at her parents’ house in Denmark. Not surprisingly, she places a particular importance on teenage years as a time of both frustration and wonder. In her adorable, unmistakable Danish accent, she asked for clarification on a question about her teenage years, “Oh, my teen years? The teen years have made a huge difference to me, you know, in a good way. I think I learned a lot,” she said, admitting that for her they weren’t always carefree, a fact that has ultimately given her creative fuel.
It’s really almost as if MØ is a high school classmate, spilling out her deepest thoughts over the phone, it feels like a private conversation. It’s also apparent that she’s not afraid to be upfront about her thoughts and beliefs. In fact, she’s developed a reputation for having an outspoken, rebellious attitude, in her musical style and her image, her hit, “Waste of Time”, being the perfect example. She admitted that as part of the punk activist movement in Denmark as a teen, she developed a sense of rebellion and attitude that has carried over to her current, sometimes defiant, girl-power sound.
With those days behind her for now, it becomes obvious that in spite of her public image, MØ is actually quite reflective and sentimental. She oozes a youthful charm, and in a way, a kind of innocence. “Well, I mean like, as much as I have this rebellious, aggressive, energetic kind of side to my persona, I’m also, you know, emotional, I’m very aware of my vulnerable side.”
“I guess I’ve always kind of been a melancholic person,” she continued, “And you know, all the vocals I recorded on my own in kind of a silent place, so that’s a good way for me to kind of get in touch with the feelings that you have writing the lyrics.”
Growing up in Denmark, she gained inspiration from nature and its vastness. “Yeah, well I mean, I get very inspired, or how could you say, moody and stuff like that. Like you know sometimes when you just feel like your surroundings are beautiful? I know it sounds cheesy, but you know, like [on] a walk in the mountains, or if you’re on your own by the countryside, you get this feeling of greatness sometimes, like the world is big and you’re [made] out of matter…but you’re still a part of this big, big thing. This big puzzle.”
Her candor, as well as her approach to songwriting, is refreshing. “New music is coming up”, she disclosed. MØ and her producer, Ronni Vindahl, are already in the process of working on new songs while on tour. Until then, MØ continues to wonder, and to contemplate the stuff beyond the shining success of her album, and her rock star persona. When I ask her how surroundings, such as the city, inspire her music, her voice returns to a thoughtful tone as she said: “It’s more like a ‘what is all this?’ you know? And you can look at it and find it very, very beautiful and kind of weird.”