Spearheaded by the likes of Robyn, Lykke Li and Annie, the Scandinavian electro-pop scene has so far been almost entirely occupied by the Swedes. But following in the footsteps of Oh Land, Odense-born Karen Marie Ørsted, aka MØ, is the latest starlet to suggest the tide is now turning in Denmark’s favour.
Indeed, with her highly intelligent and eclectic mix of avant-garde pop, melodic folk-soul and electro R&B, the 24-year-old is already being touted as the new Grimes. Her profile should inevitably rocket later this year following her contribution to superstar DJ Avicii’s forthcoming debut album, #TRUE.
After swapping her Spice Girls records for a more alt-oriented collection of Sonic Youth, J Dilla and Yeah Yeah Yeahs, MØ first began writing songs on her parents’ battered old piano as a teen. Following stints in various “weird bands,” she began to take her music career more seriously when she hooked up with Josefine Struckmann to form the Peaches-esque electro-punk do Mor.
She decided to go it alone last year when she was introduced to Ronni Vindahl, one third of in-demand Danish production trio No Wav. Named after the English translation for her Norse moniker, their first collaboration, “Maiden”, was immediately met with a rapturous response by the blogosphere, its cascading Afrobeat guitars, crisp electro beats and haunting vocals drawing comparisons with everyone from Lana Del Rey to Vampire Weekend.
Subsequent releases, recorded during the same period that MØ began studying at the Arts Academy in Copenhagen, have been equally impressive. Self-described as a middle finger to the world, “Pilgrim” has already reached the Top 10 in her homeland, resulting in a support slot on Purity Ring’s North American tour and appearances at the likes of the Hultsfred and Longitude festivals.
“Waste Of Time,” a swirling fusion of hip-hop grunts, Sia-esque melodies and slightly menacing electronica, and “Glass,” a glistening synth-led ode to the loss of youth, have both since whetted the appetite further for MØ’s as-yet-untitled debut album, due out later this year.