Tag Archives: Sweden

The fragile voice inside an old and restless soul


A song about the struggle to achieve your goals and keeping the faith along the way, even when others don’t believe in you. Lykke Li’s fragile, child-like voice that suddenly comes out through a megaphone in her live performances says it all. Sensitive but at the same time determined and strong. Mixing and combining styles and sounds into something truly genuine and honest. Without a doubt one of the best Swedish indie artists of today.

Lykke Li was born in Ystad in the south of Sweden, but was not very old when the family relocated to Stockholm. Her mother, Kärsti Stiege, is a writer and photographer who also had a short career as a singer in Tant Strul in the early eighties. Her father, Johan Zachrisson, is a musician also known as “Zilverzurfarn“, and formerly a member of the Swedish band Dag Vag.

In 1992, when Lykke Li was 6 years old, they moved to Portugal and lived for 5 years on a mountaintop. Back in Sweden again, the family still travelled a lot and spent the winter months in India or Nepal. Since the age of 5, Lykke Li had attended dancing classes, but when she was 14 she decided that she wanted to become a singer and musician instead, arguing that dancing was not creative enough and didn’t fit with the lifestyle she wanted.

At the age of 19, Lykke Li moved to Brooklyn, New York, to focus on her music. She has told in interviews that she wanted to become the next Madonna, starting out with nothing but a big dream and working her way up,  and that she chose New York because Madonna did the same in her early years. She played in the parks, attended open mics and took English lessons. When her visa ran out after 3 months, she moved back to Stockholm and began recording her first full lenght album, “Youth Novels”, from which “I’m Good, I’m Gone” is taken. At the time of release, in 2008, Lykke Li was already gaining popularity around the net due to her Myspace page, on which she offered some of her songs as free downloads. The album was generally well-received by the critics. It should also be mentioned that before releasing “Youth Novels”, an EP with 3 songs was put out in Sweden on her own label, LL Recordings.

In an interview with The Independent in 2008, Lykke Li described herself as “an old and restless soul”, and when asked to explain the fascination that people have with her she replied: “I talk about things people don’t expect me to talk about. I wish I didn’t think so much. I wish I was happy and dumb. When you look at me I look like a 12 year-old girl with this baby voice who hasn’t been through a thing in her life, but it isn’t true.”

“Youth Novels” are true stories from Lykke Li’s life, like pages from a diary, with the main subject being the difficult break-up with a boyfriend who didn’t love her. The intro to “I’m Good, I’m Gone” is clearly a reference to the Lee Dorsey classic Working in the Coal Mine.

The video for “I’m Good, I’m Gone”, made by the young Swedish director Mattias Montero, was recorded in Stockholm in an absurd comedy style, quite similar to that of Roy Andersson, one of Lykke Li’s own personal favorites.

Other filmed performances of “I’m Good, I’m Gone” include this amazing acoustic version (and yes, the blonde girl is Robyn). The song was remixed by Fred Falke. Rolling Stone listed the song at number 24 on the “100 best songs of 2008“.

“I’m Good, I’m Gone” was also featured in the 2009 horror movie, Sorority Row.

Lykke Li has worked with Röyksopp, providing the vocals for Miss it so muchand Were you ever wanted?, and is also featured on Kleerup’s Until we bleed“.