Lykke Li

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Lykke Li
Lykke Li in October 2010
Lykke Li in October 2010
Background information
Birth nameLi Lykke Timotej Zachrisson
Born (1986-03-18) 18 March 1986 (age 35)
Ystad, Skåne County, Sweden
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • model
Years active2007–present
Associated actsLIV

Li Lykke Timotej Zachrisson (born 18 March 1986), known as Lykke Li (Swedish pronunciation: [ˈlʏ̂kːɛ ˈliː]), is a Swedish singer, songwriter and model. Her music often blends elements of indie pop, dream pop and electronic. Her debut studio album, Youth Novels, was released in 2008, and has been followed by Wounded Rhymes (2011), I Never Learn (2014), and So Sad So Sexy (2018).

Early life[]

Li Lykke Timotej Zachrisson was born in Ystad, Skåne; her mother,  [sv], was a photographer, and her father,  [sv] (stage name Zilverzurfarn), is a member of the Swedish punk-reggae band Dag Vag. Her younger brother, Zacharias Zachrisson (a.k.a. Vacation Forever), is also a musician.[7] The family moved to Stockholm when Zachrisson was a toddler and when she was six moved to a mountaintop in Portugal where they lived for five years. The family also spent time in Lisbon and Morocco, and winters in Nepal and India.[7][8] She moved to Brooklyn, New York City, for three months when she was 19.[9][10][11] She returned when she was 21 to record her album.[12]


2007–10: Career beginnings and Youth Novels[]

Li released her first EP, Little Bit, in 2007. Stereogum named her an artist to watch in October 2007 and described her music as a mix of soul, electro and "powdered-sugar pop".[13] Li's debut album, Youth Novels, was released on LL Recordings in the Nordic region on 30 January 2008 and received a wider European release in June 2008. The album was produced by Björn Yttling of Peter Bjorn and John and Lasse Mårtén and was reportedly inspired by a previous relationship of three years.[14] It was released in the United States on 19 August 2008. The album was released in the United Kingdom in June 2008, promoted by a performance of "Little Bit" on Later... with Jools Holland on 25 May 2008.

Studio self-portrait (2009)

Li performed live with a pared-down drum kit, a necklace made out of percussive instruments, a guitar, a bass and a microphone.[citation needed] Youth Novels was placed on many of the year's Best Of lists[15][16][17] and saw Li sell out tours, including sets at festivals Glastonbury, Coachella and Lollapalooza. She appeared on Late Night with Conan O'Brien.[18]

She appeared on Swedish musician Kleerup's self-titled album, contributing vocals to the track "Until We Bleed". She also worked with Norwegian electronic duo Röyksopp on their 2009 album Junior, contributing vocals to "Miss It So Much" and "Were You Ever Wanted". Li appeared on Last Call with Carson Daly on 18 February 2009. She covered "Knocked Up", originally recorded by Kings of Leon who had approached Lykke to cover a song of her choice, and "Gifted" in which she performs with Kanye West. Li performed at the 2009 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on 19 April and the 2009 Lollapalooza festival on 8 August as part of the promotional tour for Youth Novels.

A remixed version of her song "I'm Good, I'm Gone" was featured in the 2009 horror film Sorority Row. The song "Possibility" was written for the 2009 film The Twilight Saga: New Moon. Li had been asked to write a song to the film soundtrack but was reluctant to commit to the project. It was after she had seen an early screening of the film that she decided she wanted to contribute to the soundtrack. The soundtrack was released on 16 October 2009.

2011–13: Wounded Rhymes[]

The song "Get Some" was featured in the 15th episode of the first season of Hawaii Five-0 titled "Kai e'e" which aired 23 January 2011. The song was also used in ABC Family's drama Pretty Little Liars in the 18th episode of the second season which was titled "A Kiss Before Lying" which aired 30 January 2012. The song was also used in the 19th episode of the second season of The CW's The Vampire Diaries, titled "Klaus" and originally aired 21 April 2011,[19] and in the show Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23 as well as the sixth episode of the first season of Teen Wolf, titled "Heart Monitor" and originally aired 4 July 2011.[20] The song was also used in the film Premium Rush as one of its soundtracks. The song "Unrequited Love" was used in episode 19 ("The Wheels of Justice"), season four of The Good Wife.

Li performing at Paradiso in Amsterdam, December 2008

Li's song "Melodies and Desires" was featured in the 2010 Australian film Griff the Invisible and an edited version of "Get Some" was featured in the Catwoman trailer for the video game, Batman: Arkham City. She collaborated with singer Kleerup on the song "Until We Bleed", which was featured on an episode of UK TV series Misfits and an episode of the television series Ringer.

Her second album Wounded Rhymes was released in 2011. The album was featured on several lists of 2011's best albums, including Q, Mojo, The Observer, The New York Times, The Huffington Post and Rolling Stone.[21] The 19 April 2011 episode of Glee (titled "A Night of Neglect") featured student Tina singing a version of Li's "I Follow Rivers". On 30 April 2011, she performed on Later... with Jools Holland in the UK, playing "Get Some", "Sadness Is a Blessing" and "I Follow Rivers". Li played at the 2011 Latitude Festival, held between 14 and 18 July 2011 at Henham Park in Suffolk, England. She appeared with her band on US late night talk show The Tonight Show with Jay Leno in August 2011 and on the Late Show with David Letterman in November 2011.

Belgian DJ/producer The Magician's remix of "I Follow Rivers" is featured in Jacques Audiard's 2012 film Rust and Bone and the 2013 Palme d'Or-winning Blue Is the Warmest Colour.[22][23] Li contributed to the 2012 compilation "Volym 1" with the track "Come Near" released by the Swedish artist collective and record label INGRID where she is a founding member. She also contributed a cover of "Silver Springs" to a 2012 Fleetwood Mac tribute album, which included renditions from Best Coast, Marianne Faithfull, and MGMT.[24]

In 2013, she was featured as a guest musician on David Lynch's second studio album, The Big Dream, performing vocals on the lead single, "I'm Waiting Here".[25]

2014–2017: I Never Learn, acting debut and Liv[]

On 27 February 2014, Li released the video for the title track of her third studio album, I Never Learn.[26] Following the release, Li released the video for the single "Love Me Like I'm Not Made of Stone" on 4 March 2014.[27] On 10 April 2014, she released a video for the lead single, "No Rest for the Wicked".[28] On 15 July 2014, she also released a video for the single "Gunshot".

Li officially released I Never Learn on 2 May 2014. Once again her album was featured on several lists of 2014's best albums, including Billboard, Complex, and Pitchfork, among others. In United States, I Never Learn debuted at number 29 on the Billboard 200, making it Li's highest-peaking album on the chart. Prior to the release, Li released a remix of "No Rest for the Wicked", featuring ASAP Rocky, on 21 April 2014. On 30 May 2014, Li released a remix EP of "No Rest for the Wicked".[29] German electronic DJ Robin Schulz remixed "No Rest for the Wicked" and the edit was featured in Schulz's debut album Prayer.[citation needed]

Li made her acting debut in the 2014 Swedish crime film Tommy, directed by Tarik Saleh, and recorded a song for the film, "Du är den ende". She wrote "No One Ever Loved" for the soundtrack to The Fault in Our Stars, which was released on 19 May 2014. Li was also featured as a guest musician on U2's album Songs of Innocence, performing vocals on the last track "The Troubles".[30]

On 14 November 2014, Li gained considerable attention from Internet music publications regarding her cover of Drake's "Hold On, We're Going Home", performed the night prior at London's Eventim Apollo. On 5 January 2015, Li posted a picture on her Instagram account, in which she announced her temporary retirement.

In 2015, Li was featured on Emile Haynie's debut album We Fall on the track "Come Find Me", which also features Romy Madley Croft from The xx. She also teamed up with Woodkid to create a song for the Divergent Series: Insurgent – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack.[31] The song, "Never Let You Down", was released as a single on 9 March 2015.

On 6 April 2015, she released a video for "Never Gonna Love Again",[32] directed by Philippe Tempelman.[33] In September 2016, supergroup Liv, featuring Lykke Li, released their first single "Wings of Love".[34] The music video was directed by Lykke Li.[35]

2018–2019: So Sad So Sexy[]

Li released her fourth studio album So Sad So Sexy on 8 June 2018 through RCA.[36] Along with the announcement, Li released the first two singles, "Deep End" and "Hard Rain".[36]

In April 2019, she sang lead vocals and appeared in the video for Mark Ronson's "Late Night Feelings," the title track from the album of the same name.

In July 2019, Li released the EP Still Sad Still Sexy, featuring 4 remixes from So Sad So Sexy and two new songs.[37]

2020–present: Upcoming fifth studio album[]

In a 2019 interview speaking about her fifth studio album, Li told NME ”I think, maybe to everyone’s disappointment, I’m going to really scale it down and back and slow it down,”(...)“It’ll be more like soul music. It’ll still be sad, and still be sexy.”[38]

Li made her return to music releasing 'BRON', a song sung entirely in Swedish, in October 2020.[39]

Other ventures[]

In September 2010, Li was announced as the official face of the Levi's Curve ID Collection, alongside Pixie Geldof and Miss Nine.[40] In January 2012 she signed with the VIVA Model Management agency.[41]

Li made her acting debut in the 2014 Swedish crime film Tommy directed by Tarik Saleh. The film was released in cinemas in Scandinavia in March 2014.[42] Li also stars in Terrence Malick's film Song to Song released in 2017. She plays BV's (Ryan Gosling) girlfriend.

The song "Gunshot" was used in the television commercial for the Peugeot 108, which stars Li. She also stars in a short film for Gucci's Spring/Summer 2015 collection, which features the song "Just Like a Dream" and debuted on 2 March 2015.[43]


Li has cited Neil Young, the Shangri-Las, This Mortal Coil, the Beatles, and The Rolling Stones as influences, stating, "They aren't pop anymore by today's standards, but they were."[44] Other influences include the Velvet Underground, Leonard Cohen, and Beach House.[45][46]

Li possesses the vocal range of a soprano.[47]

Personal life[]

Of her practice of transcendental meditation, Li said in 2014: "It's really interesting from a creative point of view. Before, I could only write a few sentences and I'd have to take a break for a few days before I could go back to it. All of a sudden, I could write and finish a song in one go – verse, verse, verse, chorus, the lot. And that would happen with song after song. Finally, I unlocked the gate."[48]

On 30 October 2015, Li posted a photo on Instagram announcing her pregnancy.[49] On 12 February 2016, she announced the birth of her son Dion, whose father is musician Jeff Bhasker, on Facebook.[50][51] Her mother died three weeks after Dion was born; she says that her album so sad so sexy was born out of this difficult time in her life.[52]


Awards and nominations[]


Year Nominee / work Award Result
2009 Herself Best Newcomer Nominated
2012 Best Pop Nominated
Best Composer Nominated
Best International Success Nominated
Best Artist Won
Wounded Rhymes Best Album Won
2015 Herself Best Pop Nominated
2019 Best Alternative Pop Nominated
Best Composer Nominated
So Sad So Sexy Best Album Nominated

Other Awards

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2008 "I'm Good, I'm Gone" Antville Music Video Awards for Best Performance Video, Best Choreography, Best Art Direction Nominated
Lykke Li mtvU Woodie Awards for The Breaking Woodie Nominated
2009 Youth Novels European Border Breakers Awards for Best Album Won
Lykke Li 2009 Meteor Music Award for Best International Female Nominated
NME Awards for Hottest Female Nominated
Studio8's Female Voice of February 2009 Won
2011 "Sadness Is a Blessing" Antville Music Video Awards for Best Narrative Won
Antville Music Video Awards for Best Cinematography Nominated
Lykke Li Rober Awards Music Poll for Best Female Artist Nominated
Wounded Rhymes Google Earth Moon gig BT Digital Music Award for Best Artist Promotion Nominated
Wounded Rhymes Nordic Music Prize for Album of the Year Nominated
2012 "I Follow Rivers" European Festivals Awards – Festival Anthem of the Year Won
ECHO Awards – Hit of the Year Nominated
2014 World Music Awards – World's Best Song Nominated
Herself World Music Awards – World's Best Female Artist, World's Best Live Act, World's Best Entertainer of the Year Nominated
Rober Awards Music Poll for Best Female Artist, Best Pop Artist Nominated
"Du är den ende" Rober Awards Music Poll for Best Cover Version Nominated
I Never Learn Nordic Music Prize for Album of the Year Nominated
P3 Guld for Årets pop Nominated
2018 "Hard Rain" Camerimage for Best Music Video Nominated
2019 So Sad So Sexy Sweden GAFFA Awards – Årets Album Nominated
"Deep End" Sweden GAFFA Awards – Årets Lat Nominated
Herself Sweden GAFFA Awards – Årets Soloartist Nominated
GAFFA-Prisen Awards – Best International Artist Nominated
So Sad So Sexy GAFFA-Prisen Awards – Best International Album Nominated
"Late Night Feelings" (feat. Mark Ronson) UK Music Video Awards – Best Styling in a Video[53] Nominated


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  53. ^ "UK Music Video Awards 2019: all the nominations! | Promonews". Promonewstv.

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