Scouting Report: MO

Just nine months after Danish indie pop singer MO posted her first MP3, "Maiden," she had a major-label contract from the U.K. arm of RCA Records. But success didn't come overnight. Pre-"Maiden," 23-year-old Karen Marie Orsted lived many musical lives. "I bought the first Spice Girls record when I was 7 and was determined to become a pop star," she says. "But when I became a teenager, I got into grunge and toured in an electro-punk band." Her next phase was hip-hop, and MO's first album would have been a rap record if it hadn't been for her manager, Bjorn Nielsen, who heard an early, sung version of "Maiden." "We had finished something like 25 rap songs before 'Maiden,' but after we heard it, it was clear to all of us that she needed to go in a completely different direction," Nielsen says. MO's sound today is undeniably pop, but some hip-hop influences remain. MO will play as many as 40 festivals in Europe this summer, with an international tour planned for the fall. A debut album, currently being recorded in Copenhagen with Vindahl, is tentatively scheduled for release late this year or early next. RCA U.K. will handle the release in Europe, while a to-be-determined Sony label will put out the album simultaneously in the United States and other territories. "When I was a teen, I wanted music that reflected all the conflicting new feelings I had," MO says. "My album is about being young and naive and searching for something but not knowing what it is."


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