ARTIST SPOTLIGHT

From room to headphones

Artist breaks mold with fiery home-recorded music

ARTIST PENETRATES the music scene, collaborates with the greats.

You might have seen her crowd-surfing at a music festival in the heat of last summer. You might have seen her belting a lyric during a late night talk show performance, with her signature, tight braid twisting to the beat. Karen Marie Ørsted, known as MØ, has been on the rise in the music scene for several years now. With a debut album under her belt and a string of electrifying singles released this year alone, MØ is overdue for a supermassive explosion to stardom.

The Danish singer-songwriter with a fiery personality has dreamed of performing since the age of seven. After an inspired stint in a punk duo, hundreds of performances, and years of hard work, she broke out into the music scene as a solo artist in 2012. The road to her debut album included on EP, Bikini Daze. The four-song set was a perfect sampling of MØ’s remarkable vocal and songwriting talents, from the electric “Dark Night” to the slow-burning “Never Wanna Know.” The breakout moment of Daze was “XXX 88,” a rebellious, trumpet-blaring collaboration with mega-producer Diplo—it was the spark that lit the flame of MØ’s career.

No Mythologies to Follow was released on March 7, 2014. The album was recorded in a corner of her childhood bedroom, complete with a setup of draped blankets used for acoustics. MØ is emotional in the recordings as well as in her performances onstage, likely because she wrote every song on the album. Aesthetically speaking, the album is vivid tones of blue and electric white color—MØ has songs that brood over the beat and others that shine with light. It’s inventive alt-pop with smart hooks and personal lyrics from an artist that stays true to herself and has fun doing it.

An instant standout is the track “Pilgrim.” MØ herself believes that of all the songs on NMTF, “Pilgrim” best encapsulates its overall feel. It begins with pounding bass-claps and a looping voice track, then opens into blaring trumpets. With lyrics like, “oh, what a world I was born into,” MØ struggles to understand why the world denounces creativity and uniqueness.

The song “Waste of Time” is a highlight, in part for its rambunctious lyrics and also its artistic, visually disconcerting music video. She belts lyrics while wielding a chainsaw, then sings about snow not melting when it hits her cold, heartless ex—pretty golden material.

One of the upbeat cuts, “Don’t Wanna Dance,” celebrates vibrant love amid bell tings and tambourines. The song, awarded Best Danish Hit its release year, sees MØ declaring her love for another by not dancing with anyone else.

The album earned an incredible amount of overseas accolades, and an impressive track record of bringing home the hardware—she managed to take home 17 awards out of 22 nominations. The remarkable debut effort brought forth several big-name collaborations ranging from Major Lazer and Avicii to Justin Bieber and Charli XCX. She’s been touring nonstop since NMTF’s debut, her electric stage presence a fan-favorite at festivals and talk shows alike.

Recent months have seen a slight style change from alt-pop to dance-pop. Pulsing jams such as “Final Song,” have been invading dance clubs, and her newest single, “Drum,” was released October 7th. The feel-good anthem constructs a massive chorus, reveling in the idea of dancing to the beat of your own drum. With the steady release of such exuberant singles, rumors, and expectations of a sophomore release are heavy.

The x-factor that brought her to this point is her brazen individuality. It’s visible in every stage performance where she passionately fist-pumps and crowd dives. Although MØ has been on a steady rise to ultimate stardom, she’s truly blown up in the past 24 months. MØ—which, by the way, is pronounced “moo”—is erupting. She’s graduated from recording in her childhood bedroom to collaborating with some of the most impactful music names in the world and releasing her own successful solo efforts. From clever songwriting to inspiring performances, MØ is a force to be reckoned with.