Beauty And The Beat: What We Like About Lykke
Before the Twilight song, the duet with Kanye, and the Levi;s gig, there was just Lykke Li, the smoky-eyed blonde with a permanent topknot and a catchy single called “Little Bit.” Li was always destined to make it onto our iPods with her vulnerable but brazen voice and knack for stuck-in-your-head melodies. Her equally inspiring look didn’t hurt her appeal. We caught up with the Swedish pop sensation on the eve of a coast-to-coast tour to find out just what it takes to wear heels on set and why she never leaves home without her trusty bottle of dry shampoo. Spoiler: It may have something to do with her long, newly dark chestnut locks.
There is such a visual element to your music, from your videos to your live shows. How important are aesthetics to you?
It’s not so much about aesthetics, but about following your vision and also letting the impulse guide you. I can’t help it, but I am a very visual person; whenever I have a second to daydream I see little movies, pictures, textures, and layers in my head. So when I’m creating, it’s just about following that impulse, although I have to say reality never lives up to my imagination! My music and art are all about escaping reality in some sort, about turning the nothingness and pain in one’s life into something beautiful and worthwhile. That is also why I prefer wearing black.
It’s impressive that you wore heeled boots in the “I Follow Rivers” music video—it must have been hell to run around in the snow while wearing them.
It was hell and heaven at the same time—the bare feet part especially—but I can’t remember a time where I felt more alive! The boots are vintage, I’ve worn them every day since.
Was it strange to see legions of girls adopt your topknot bun when your debut album, Youth Novels, came out in 2008?
I try my best to forget about that bun accident; I basically wore it a handful times out of necessity and one of them was caught on film. So I don’t think I have a lot to do with girls wearing the good old bun—there are only a few things you can do with a hair and a head.
What made you decide to go long and dark?
Well, I’m never aiming for a look, I follow my mood and I change every day. Right now I’m on a tour bus and trying to channel the Kurt Cobain, unwashed vibe.
What beauty essentials do you always make sure you have on tour?
I’m really not so high-maintenance, but I’ve got this extravagant face-mist spray from Dermalogica that I love, some pure argan oil for multiple purposes, a nice perfume, mascara, and last but not least, dry shampoo!
Any music-minded beauty icons to speak of?
I love the originals: Michael Jackson, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Patti Smith, Iggy Pop, Prince, Little Richard, the list goes on. With that said, you gotta stick to your own thing—not everyone looks good in gold!
Photo: Courtesy of Atlantic Records