Go behind-the-scenes with MØ, the singer out front of dance music’s latest hit “Lean On” with Major Lazer and DJ Snake, as she spends a week in and around her native Denmark, playing festivals and squeezing in a little R&R.
How Do You Pronounce Danish Singer MØ’s Name? Hint: Your Guess Is Probably Wrong
After spending a week hiking mountains in Norway, MØ (born Karen Marie Ørsted) returns to her parents’ house in Odense, Denmark, to record in her childhood bedroom-turned-studio and rest up before some upcoming shows. Says MØ: “I was just relaxing my legs — they were hurting!”
Next stop: Copenhagen, her home base (though she’s currently between apartments). MØ, 26, spends the last day of her two-week vacation having a risotto picnic in the park with her boyfriend and catching vampire flick A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night. MØ’s review? Thumbs up. “Very arty, black and white,” she says.
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Chill time’s over. MØ happily reunites with her band for Switzerland’s Gurten Festival. “They’re like my family,” she says. But after two weeks offstage, she admits to some stage fright. “Even though you’ve done it a thousand times,” she says, “it’s a new situation every time you walk onstage.”
MØ and her band head to Belgium’s Dour Festival, reviewing mixes of an upcoming single along the way. Onstage, she wears an all-white ensemble, but regrets it after a few treks into the crowd: “My clothes were brown from the dirt.”
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MØ heads to the south coast of Spain for the Benicassim Festival (the “European Coachella,” she calls it). A sound card used in her onstage setup is broken, and fixing it means asking fellow performer A-Trak to cut down his setup time (the band couldn’t go on until 3 a.m.). “I really owe him one!” MØ says.
Two hours of sleep later, MØ heads back to Copenhagen. She treats herself to a hotel room for the night, watching Star Trek reruns and stuffing herself with Indian food.
MØ learns that “Lean On ” has just hit the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100. She thought she was being pranked at first. “I didn’t believe it when my manager told me,” MØ says, explaining she thought the song was “too indie” to take off. “I told him, ‘You can’t say this if it’s not true.’ “
Listen to music from MØ, as well as other artists featured in this issue, in the Spotify playlist below:
This story originally appeared in the Aug. 8 issue of Billboard.