Welcome to the new episode of the Billboard Pop Shop Podcast, your one-stop-shop for all things pop on Billboard's weekly charts. In addition, you can always count on a lively discussion about the latest pop news, fun chart stats and stories, new music, and guest interviews with music stars and folks from the world of pop.
Casual pop fans and chart junkies can hear Billboard co-director of charts Keith Caulfield and Billboard deputy editor, digital, Katie Atkinson, every week on the Pop Shop Podcast, which can be streamed on Billboard.com or downloaded in iTunes. (Click here to listen to the previous Tuesday’s edition of the show on Billboard.com).
On the latest episode, we're joined by Tove Styrke! The Swedish singer/songwriter just released her third album, Sway, on Friday, and she's hitting some very big stages to promote the project. Last month, she wrapped up an opening stint on Lorde's Melodrama Tour, and starting May 29, she'll be traveling through Europe with Katy Perry on the Witness World Tour.
The Lorde tour marked the first time Styrke had ever played arenas, and she talked about the pros and cons of the bigger space — “Like if something is not working onstage, the person that needs to fix it, they need to run a distance to come there and fix it,” she notes — but mostly, she's relishing the chance to connect with (tens of thousands of) new fans.
“I was tweeting with some girls, and we decided, 'Let's meet up at the merch,' because they really wanted to hang out and say hi,” Styrke recalls of an early Melodrama Tour stop. “I love doing that, and I usually do it at my own shows — just go out and hang with them, because my fans are the best. So I went out to the merch stand, and I expected five people, and it was, like, the longest line! It’s so crazy, because that’s both people who have known about me for maybe three or four or even five years and some people who looked me up for this show] and some who just saw the concert and liked it and now they’re fans. I think it’s so cool. I think that’s how being … an opening act is supposed to work, but it almost never works. It feels like it’s a really good fit.”
For the Katy Perry tour dates, Styrke can hardly believe she'll be sharing the stage with such a massive pop star — and that she'll finally be able to perform her full Sway album. “I can’t wait to be there and, like, dance to 'Teenage Dream.' I love that song so much,” she says with a smile. “The main thing is that I’ll be able to do more songs. … By the time I do the Katy tour, the album will be out. So there won’t be any unreleased material then, and that feels pretty exciting.”
We spoke with Styrke back in March, long before Sway was released, and she talked about the album's eclectic sound, starting with the album's title track. “Some songs, like 'Sway,' for instance, they are very, very, very romantic. Like little love stories,” she says. “Some of them are almost anti-romantic in a way. They’re more cheeky and fun, like 'Say My Name,' for instance. Or like 'Changed My Mind' is that tipsiness vibe.”
When asked about a song she was most excited for her fans to hear, she singled out “On the Low” — with one caveat. “It’s very hard for me to pick a favorite out of these songs. I’ve spent ages on every song, and I love them all so much. They’re like my little children. That one — it’s like, that’s the heart of the album. That was one of the first songs we made. It’s just very pure, in a way.”
Now that the album is out and she's spending all this time with pop stars she looks up to, does she have any plans to collaborate on the road? “I was thinking about this yesterday,” she says about rubbing elbows with Lorde and Katy for weeks at a time. “I was like, 'OK, this is actually work. I should be, like, smart and actually bring it up, because we’re, like, hanging out. I’m meeting these people — these amazing people — that I actually look up to every day, and I’m so stupid if I don’t ask for something.' But we’ll see, we’ll see. Keep pushing me! I might do it.”
Also on the show, we've got chart updates from Camila Cabello, Post Malone and *NSYNC, plus news from the Met Gala (Nicki! Cardi! Madonna! Shawn! Elon Musk?), Christina Aguilera's new song and album announcement, plus Janet Jackson receiving the Icon Award at the Billboard Music Awards on May 20.
Listen above and click here to subscribe/rate the Pop Shop Podcast on iTunes.