Imagine a pixie with Cara Delevigne brows, a stunning vocal range, and a knack for techno beats. She exists, and her name is MØ. I was first introduced to the Scandinavian singer on a sunny afternoon in the passenger seat of a friend’s car. He had the aux cord, and I couldn’t help but ask, “who IS this?” when her single “Final Song” started playing. That was the moment when my obsession began. Since then, MØ has continued to rise in the world of music, collaborating with other artists as well as releasing original tracks. It seems she just keeps pushing out new work while simultaneously touring, becoming an indefatigable force of musical power. You may be thinking, “Who the hell is this woman?” But even if you don’t know it, you’ve likely heard her work before because she is a wildly collaborative artist. “Lean On” by Major Lazor and DJ Snake features her vocals, as does “Don’t Leave” by Snakehips. MØ knows how to work with other artists in a seamless and successful fashion, which shines through in the beautiful final products of their work.
I was lucky enough to see MØ at the House of Blues Boston as part of her current MEØW tour. I was amazed by how she is not only an excellent musician, but also a high-energy performer. When I saw her onstage, it was so clear that she was having the time of her life, which allowed a beautiful, carefree energy to permeate the audience as well. She is not one for over-the-top spectacle. Her show lacks the pyrotechnics, digital backgrounds, and backup dancers of concerts by other pop artists such as Taylor Swift or Beyoncé. However, there is no sense of lacking in her performances. Rather than distract the audience with other effects, she rests upon her musical ability, which seems increasingly rare in the realm of modern musicians. Her voice is somehow raspy yet pure, producing a unique and lovely sound. While she does not need to fall back on the support of other musicians, her voice is enhanced and enlivened by guitar, piano, and synthesizer, creating an incredibly catchy repertoire. Her sung words are interspersed with dance breaks of these instruments, augmenting the energy and fire of her work. In these bouts of choreography, once again, there is such a sense of fun and freedom. MØ seems to be truly loving what she is doing, and that passion is an irreplaceable ingredient in a lasting musical work.
It was only a few weeks ago that I saw MØ (she’s still touring as I write this), and yet somehow she just released a brand new single with Noah Cyrus three days ago. The collaboration is entitled “We Are…” (spoiler alert: the word following is “fucked”). At first, I was disappointed because it sounded like a basic, overly millennial pop song, featuring Noah Cyrus discussing hitting the mall with her “squad.” However, as I continued listening, it became clear that the song was actually a hilarious, clever critique of mainstream millennial culture itself. In my favorite line, the two women sing, “I’ll change the world, save all the trees and birds, but first I’ll grab a Starbucks and I’ll get to work.” We go to Wes; we’ve all met someone like this. The artists provide satire of modern follower culture despite their positions as millennials themselves. It’s an incredibly smart self-examination, set to a catchy beat sure to get stuck in your head.
And, because touring the country and releasing a new single wasn’t nearly enough, MØ appeared on Fallon this week to perform her recent song with Diplo. As I said, this woman is a MACHINE. On the Tonight Show, she dances fun and somewhat silly choreography with her co-artists and pounds on a piano, which she has conveniently repurposed as a seat. As I said, there is something so inherently fun about the way she works. There is no “bad bitch” persona or “too cool” façade, as I so often see other artists donning. Frankly, I’m bored of the aloof, “too cool for you” schtick. MØ rejects that, and allows herself to be inhabited by a sheer love of music, creation, and performance, which is refreshing to see and to hear.
So…why write about MØ? Why does she fascinate me so much? Part of it is because she is a thoroughly modern artist. She works with others and plays around with the craft, trying new things and challenging boundaries. She works incredibly hard to push her career forwards, yet never seems to run out of steam. She accelerates her work by trading digital tracks with other artists, and by being extremely active on social media. In addition, there is something so unique about her. Her very natural no-makeup look, short, choppy hair, and alternative clothing (for her Tonight Show appearance, she sported a pair of red vinyl pants, of which I am extremely jealous) set her apart from the currently venerated goddesses of the mainstream. There is something wonderfully relatable about her, yet she is also an admirable artist. She is a unique creature, and one to watch (and listen) for as her career continues to skyrocket. I absolutely cannot stop listening to her, and I will always be grateful for that sunny car ride when I was first introduced to my new musical obsession.
Mae Davies can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twiter @Maejunejuly21.