Performing at Brighton Patterns on Tuesday night, Tove Styrke appears on a stage of roses. Like mood lighting, they change colour from red to blue to green.
She’s wearing a wide brimmed cowboy hat with her own name projected out to the audience, echoing the circular titled logo which features on many of her album and single covers.
Brighton is the third stop on Tove’s Sway tour, and she’s now travelling to other parts of the UK before heading out across the rest of Europe.
“I’m so excited for the tour - being able to bring the album, and especially my collabs, to the stage,” Tove tells me as we speak over the phone, a couple of weeks ago, right before her UK tour kicks off. “I want everyone to have a good time. Playing in London was definitely one of my favourite places to perform - the vibe there is so great.”
I ask Tove, who is bubbly and excited to share her work with UK audiences, what we can expect from one of her concerts. “Expect a lot of energy and love,” she says. “I know it sounds cheesy but it’s true! It’s beautiful that I can share the music with the fans - that we can enjoy the music together.”
Her set in Patterns demonstrates the scope of her music, which combines fun dance tracks with more introspective, stripped-down pop - while sometimes managing both things at the same time, such as in Say My Name, with its perfect hook and light sense of groove.
The tour is showcasing Sway, her latest album, which was met with a very positive reception when it was released in May. “It’s so cool that people like it a lot!” Tove exclaims when I ask her how she feels about the reaction critics had to Sway. “This whole year has been one incredible moment that I could never imagine. It’s crazy, but I’m so happy! So much love has gone into this album, and I’m so happy that people like it.”
Tove does strange and inventive things with her voice, from the elongated breaths of Sway to the techno manipulation of Changed My Mind or Mistakes. Finding nuances and possibilities in her voice rather than adding more instruments might be why so many commentators point out the ‘minimalist’ aspect of her work.
“My music is my real life, that I get to share with the fans,” Tove says. “Artists are just people - I so often find that I have no clue what’s going on, so I write about it. In music, you don’t have to have the answers - just put it down, naked and real.”
Tove was supported at Brighton Patterns by Emily Burns, a singer-songwriter who plays sweet-sounding pop tunes, accompanied by her guitar.
Find out more about Tove Styrke’s Sway tour here: http://www.tovestyrkemusic.com.