There's a bit of Stevie Nicks in the coquettish persona and gypsylike appearance of 24-year-old Swedish import Lykke Li. She arrived in 2008 with a debut album, Youth Novels, whose songs, like "Little Bit," combined sultry, provocative vocals ("For you I keep my legs apart") and electro-tinged pop hooks.
A sensation in Europe and a sleeper hit here in the States, the album made Li an in-demand collaborator. She's since covered Kings of Leon's "Knocked Up," recorded with Kanye West and Santigold, contributed a song to the New Moon soundtrack, and had "Little Bit" reinterpreted by Drake. Her new album, Wounded Rhymes, out in March, reveals a harder edge and a newfound interest in shamanism and voodoo: Check out the dark, witchy imagery in the video for the raucous first single, "Get Some."
Now her lyrical come-ons ("I'm your prostitute") sound almost confrontational—a response to a bad breakup, and also to her growing fame. After her first album, Li says, she was unhappy about being lumped in with "the girls" because of her voice and appearance. "This time, I'm not having that," she explains. "I feel like I'm shedding skins."