Lykke Li

Lykke Li

Li in 2010
Background information
Birth name Li Lykke Timotej Zachrisson
Born (1986-03-18) 18 March 1986
Ystad, Skåne, Sweden
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • model
Years active 2007–present
Associated acts LIV

Li Lykke Timotej Zachrisson (born 18 March 1986), known as Lykke Li (Swedish pronunciation: [ˈlʏ.ˈkɛ ˈliː]), is a Swedish singer, songwriter and model. Her music often blends elements of indie pop, dream pop and electronic; instruments in her songs include violins, synthesisers, tambourines, trumpets, saxophones, cellos, and African drums.[6] Li possesses the vocal range of a soprano.[7] Li's debut album, Youth Novels, was released in 2008. Her second album, Wounded Rhymes, was released in 2011, followed by her third album, I Never Learn, in 2014. In 2016, Lykke Li formed the band LIV.

Early life

Li Lykke Timotej Zachrisson was born in Ystad, Skåne; her mother Kärsti Stiege is a photographer and her father Johan Zachrisson (stage name Zilverzurfarn) is a member of the Swedish punk-reggae band Dag Vag.[8] 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.[8][9] She moved to the neighborhood of Bushwick in Brooklyn, New York City, for three months when she was 19.[10][11][12] She returned when she was 21 to record her album.[13]


2008–10: 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".[14] 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.[15] 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

Li performed live with a pared-down drum kit, a necklace made out of percussive instruments, a guitar, a bass and a microphone. Youth Novels was placed on many of the year's Best Of lists[16][17][18] and saw Li sell out tours, including sets at festivals Glastonbury, Coachella and Lollapalooza. She appeared on Late Night with Conan O'Brien.[19]

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,[20] as well as the sixth episode of the first season of Teen Wolf, titled "Heart Monitor" and originally aired 4 July 2011.[21] 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.[22] 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.[23][24] 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.[25]

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".[26]

2014–present: I Never Learn

On 27 February 2014, Li released the video for the title track of her third studio album, I Never Learn.[27] Following the release, Li released the video for the single "Love Me Like I'm Not Made of Stone" on 4 March 2014.[28] On 10 April 2014, she released a video for the lead single, "No Rest for the Wicked".[29] 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, Rolling Stone and Pitchfork, among others. In United States, I Never Learn debuted at number 29on 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".[30] German electronic DJ Robin Schulz remixed "No Rest for the Wicked" and the edit was featured in Schulz's debut album Prayer.

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".

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", directed by Philippe Tempelman.

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.[32] In January 2012 she signed with the VIVA Model Management agency.[33]

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.[34] Li is rumoured to be involved in an upcoming Terrence Malick film.[35]

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.[36]



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."[37] Other influences include the Velvet Underground, Leonard Cohen, and Beach House.[38][39]

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."[40]

On 30 October 2015, Li posted a photo on Instagram announcing her pregnancy.[41] On 12 February 2016, she announced the birth of her son Dion on Facebook.[42] Li is currently dating producer Jeff Bhasker,[43] who is the father of her son.


Main article: Lykke Li discography

Awards and nominations

Year Nominee/work Award Result
2009 Lykke Li 2009 Meteor Music Award for Best International Female Nominated
Studio8's Female Voice of February 2009 Won
2012 Swedish Grammy Awards – Best Artist Won
Wounded Rhymes Swedish Grammy Awards – Best Album Won
"I Follow Rivers" European Festivals Awards – Festival Anthem of the Year Won

In 2009 Li won an EBBA Award. Every year the European Border Breakers Awards (EBBA) recognize the success of ten emerging artists or groups who reached audiences outside their own countries with their first internationally released album in the past year.


  1. Spanos, Brittany (6 April 2015). "Watch Lykke Li Crash in 'Never Gonna Love Again' Video". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 6 June 2016.
  2. Fitzmaurice, Larry (18 November 2008). "Lykke Li Unveils U.S. Tour". Spin. Retrieved 6 June 2016.
  3. "Night Life: Lykke Li". New Yorker. 4 October 2014. Retrieved 23 July 2016.
  4. Reed, Ryan (28 February 2011). "Lykke Li: Wounded Rhymes". Paste. Retrieved 6 June 2016.
  5. "The 25 Best Albums of 2011". Slant Magazine. 24 December 2011. Retrieved 23 July 2016.
  6. Youth Novels (CD liner notes). Lykke Li. LL Recordings. 2008. 520279.
  7. Empire, Kitty (17 April 2011). "Lykke Li – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 July 2012.
  8. 1 2 Cripps, Charlotte (2008-06-23). "Lykke Li: The Swedish pop sensation shows wisdom beyond her years". The Independent (London). Retrieved 2008-06-28.
  9. Parkin, Chris (2008-01-28). "Lykke Li: interview". Time Out (London). Retrieved 2008-06-28.
  10. Gale, Ezra (2009-05-27). "Lykke Li on Nearly Getting Mugged in Bushwick". The Village Voice. Retrieved 2009-06-01.
  11. Paphides, Pete (2008-05-16). "Swede unsoured: Lykke Li Zachrison on pursuit of the breakthrough". The Times (London). Retrieved 2008-06-28.
  12. Toms, Katie (2008-06-01). "Meet the Swede sensation". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2008-06-28.
  13. Michelle (9 September 2008). "Killahbeez exclusive: an interview with Lykke Li". Killahbeez. Retrieved 3 September 2010.
  14. "Artist To Watch: Lykke Li". Stereogum. 2007-10-26. Retrieved 2014-05-07.
  15. Interview by Charlotte Cripps (2008-06-23). "Lykke Li: The Swedish pop sensation shows wisdom beyond her years – Features – Music". The Independent. Retrieved 2012-09-16.
  16. "NME's Top 50 Albums of 2008". Stereogum. 2008-12-11. Retrieved 30 November 2014.
  17. "Staff Lists: The 50 Best Albums of 2008". Pitchfork. 2008-12-19. Retrieved 30 November 2014.
  18. "The Best Albums of 2008". PopMatters. 2008-12-18. Retrieved 30 November 2014.
  19. Lykke LiInfoTijdlijnInfo (2008-05-30). "Lykke Li – Info". Facebook. Retrieved 2014-05-07.
  20. "Vampire Diaries Music site". Archived from the original on 27 April 2011. Retrieved 10 May 2011.
  21. "Teen Wolf Music Site". Retrieved 11 July 2011.
  22. Almassi, Hannah (11 January 2012). "Lykke Li Is Signed By Viva Model Management – Music Girls Are Taking Over Fashiondom!". Grazia. Retrieved 27 January 2012.
  23. "Rust and Bone (2012) Soundtracks". IMDb. Retrieved 3 May 2014.
  24. Wolff, Spencer. "Buried in the Sand: The Secret Politics of Blue Is the Warmest Color". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 3 May 2014.
  25. "Lykke Li – Silver Springs [Best Fit Premiere". The Line Of Best Fit. Retrieved 2012-09-16.
  26. Minkser, Evan (3 June 2013). "David Lynch Announces New Album, The Big Dream, Shares Track Featuring Lykke Li". Pitchfork. Retrieved 3 June 2013.
  27. "Watch the video of Lykke Li's, "I Never Learn"". Retrieved 2014-02-27.
  28. "Lykke Li – Love Me Like I'm Not Made Of Stone". Retrieved 2014-03-04.
  29. "Watch the video of Lykke Li's new single, "No Rest For The Wicked"". Retrieved 2014-04-10.
  30. "iTunes – Music – No Rest For the Wicked (Remixes) – EP by Lykke Li". Retrieved 2014-05-30.
  31. Beauchemin, Molly. "Woodkid and Lykke Li Team for "Never Let You Down" From Insurgent". Retrieved 9 March 2015.
  32. "Levi's Curve ID recruits Pixie Geldof, Miss Nine and Lykke Li | Catwalk Queen". 2010-09-03. Retrieved 2012-09-16.
  33. "Lykke Li signs with Viva Model Management". NME. 12 January 2012. Retrieved 27 January 2012.
  34. "Watch: Lykke Li Stars in Swedish Crime Thriller Tommy". Pitchfork. 10 January 2014. Retrieved 5 March 2014.
  35. Minsker, Evan. "Terrence Malick's Mysterious Music-Centered Movie Set in Austin: What We Know". Pitchfork. Retrieved 3 May 2014.
  36. Lykke Li & the Lady Web – Gucci Spring 2015. YouTube. 3 March 2015.
  37. "Lykke Minded – Lykke Li Interview". 14 February 2011. Retrieved 22 November 2013.
  38. "Lykke Li's new songs influenced by Neil Young's 'Harvest Moon' – AUX.TV". AUX.TV.
  39. "Amelia's Magazine – An interview with Swedish musician Lykke Li".
  40. Carroll, Jim. "Lykke Li: 'I had the blues and that was a good thing'". The Irish Times. Retrieved 30 June 2014. One of the reasons Li cites for her heightened state of creativity of late is a growing interest in mindfulness and transcendental meditation
  42. "Dôen + Doe: welcome to motherhood Lykke Li". DÔEN | Retrieved 2016-03-15.
  43. "Lykke Li on Instagram: "HAPPY VALENTINES DAY MY LOVE AND BABY DADDY !! @jeffbhasker @byruvan"". Instagram. Retrieved 2016-03-15.
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