Last March, Swedish pop songwriter Tove Lo came to South by Southwest to perform her first U.S. shows. By the end of the year, she had released her debut album, Queen of the Clouds, and scored a Top Five hit with the conflicted, self-destructive “Habits.”
Tove returned this year as one of the festival’s bigger names — and with a lot on her mind. Although Tove is now a star, this wasn’t just her first gig of the year; it was her first show since undergoing surgery to remove a cyst on her vocal chords. While in town preparing for her big return, she spent a day with Rolling Stone, showing our cameras how she prepares to take the stage and blows off steam during her occasional downtime. The result is the first episode of our “Dawn to Dusk” video series. “Everything feels like it’s a little bit bigger here,” she says, still in her hotel room. “There’s more room to be who you are here as well. Like, you can be kind of an extreme personality without people telling you to hold it back.”
Watch the singer and her band (“I call them my five husbands”) travel around Austin, riding in pedicabs and exploring the very extreme “Cathedral of Junk.” The film ends at night, where she performs at Rolling Stone‘s own showcase, on a bill that also features TV on the Radio, the Zombies, Best Coast and Fetty Wap.
“The last 30 seconds before going onstage I get really nervous,” she says. “But I feel like now, after being offstage so long, I’m probably gonna be a little more nervous tonight.”