Scandinavia keeps on producing effortlessly cool and hugely influential female pop stars. The last decade alone has seen a never-ending conveyor belt of chart topping female Scandinavian acts, often leaving their male counterparts in the background while they shape the Scandipop landscape with their incredible music.
With Scandimania in full force, we thought we would give you a run-down of five Scandinavian female artists from the last decade who you need to be listening to – and see live!
Described by the Swedish press as music that you can both laugh and cry to at the same time, Icona Pop is a popular Swedish electropop duo. With electro house, punk and indie pop music influences, its two members Caroline Hjelt and Aino Jawo have been tearing up the Scandi music scene since 2009.
Receiving critical acclaim from the likes of Rolling Stone and Pitchfork with their debut album “This Is…Icona Pop”, the pair has performed as support acts on sold-out tours with Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus and One Direction. Their single “I Love It” was one of the biggest hits by a Swedish artist, charting at number one in the UK singles chart in 2013 and going on to sell over 4.3 million certified downloads.
Sigrid Solbakk Raabe, known professionally as Sigrid, is a Norwegian singer and songwriter, who got her national breakthrough in Norway in 2013 with her debut single “Sun”. But it wasn’t until a few years later that she really came into the spotlight across the globe, thanks in part to the success of her debut EP “Don’t Kill My Vibe”, which led to her winning the BBC Music Sound of 2018.
Sigrid’s obvious talents won her fans in high places – Lorde and Elton John were two early ones – as well as fans in the offices of major record labels. During a trip to the offices of Island (who she later signed a deal with), it is rumoured she played a short set that left everyone in awe. She has continued to grow in popularity, with her studio album, Sucker Punch, reaching number one on Norwegian charts and number four on the UK charts in 2019.
Born Karen Marie Ørsted, MØ comes from Odense in Denmark, spending her youth playing at parties with an all-girl pink band called MOR. Described as a much-touted solo electro-R&B singer with a somber soulful touch, she famously draws inspiration from Grimes and Santigold, with NME comparing her work as a cross between Siouxsie Sioux and Janet Jackson.
MØ gained an international fan base after early collaborations with Avicii and Diplo. She signed a recording contract with Sony Music Entertainment in 2012, releasing her debut EP “Bikini Daze” in 2013 and her debut solo album “No Mythologies to Follow” in 2014. In 2016, she featured on the song “Cold Water” with Major Lazer and Justin Bieber, which went on to debut at number two in the US and number one in the UK – MØ’s first number one single.
Ebba Tove Elsa Nilsson, who performs under the name Tove Lo, started her career in 2006 with the rock band Tremblebee, before moving into the world of pop music. Critics praise her for her songwriting ability, with Lo drawing inspiration for her lyrics from all aspects of her life. Her song “Habits (Stay High)”, which topped the pop charts, is a prime example of this.
Habits is a graphic depiction of her hedonistic attempts to get over her ex. While many of us may turn to bad habits after a breakup, from drinking more to turning to distractions like video gaming or online casino games, Tove turns to banned substances and sex clubs. What people seem to love about Lo is that she is singing about her life, including the bad and the ugly, which gives her music a refreshingly raw edge that people can relate to.
Zara Larsson jump-started her musical career after winning the Swedish version of Britain’s Got Talent, Talang, at the age of 10. She signed with a record label in 2012, with her first EP topping the Swedish charts.
??It wasn’t until 2012 that she got signed to a record. Songs from her first EP topped the Swedish charts, and she has continued to grow in popularity from there. The first single of her album “Lush Life” reached the top 10 on several charts across Europe, and her next single “Never Forget You” was certified 4x Platinum in Sweden. Larsson is still making music, releasing her third album, “Poster Girl” in 2021.