“It’s so weird,” she says, looking at herself. “Like, you see everything.
“I think I become a bit self-conscious,” she continues with a light laugh.
The TV is turned off.
It’s one of the few times the Swedish-born singer has seen herself onscreen. She doesn’t own a TV, and while her music has been featured in TV shows like “Glee” and movies like “Twilight,” she hasn’t seen much of it.
But that’s just how Li is.
“You just let the music go out into the world and find its home,” she said. “When I’m working ... I really take caution and I try to protect myself and my music. But once I’m done, once my album is done, you know, I’m done, kind of.”
The twentysomething released her debut in 2008, and while there wasn’t much commercial success, there was critical acclaim. The same goes for her sophomore disc, Wounded Rhymes, released in March. And not only are critics fans of Li’s work, so are rappers: Drake and Odd Future have sampled her songs.
The pop-rock singer is touring in the United States and abroad this summer.
AP: How’s the tour going this time around?
Li: It’s great to be back with material that I feel so much more confident about, and it’s really a pleasure to share an experience with an audience, especially since making this album was such a, like, hardship.
AP: Why was it hard?
Li: I think always when you’re trying to put all of your thoughts and your soul into something, it puts a lot of pressure on you and you have this vision that you’ve been fantasizing about for a long time, so it’s always hard to bring a vision to life. It’s like giving birth — it takes a lot.
AP: Is it easy or therapeutic to sing about your personal life?
Li: I’m not sure that it’s that therapeutic, but you know, it is kind of easy for me to sing about it because I feel like that’s a sacred space that I have the key to. So for me it’s kind of easy to go into that room.
AP: The video for “I Follow Rivers” is very dramatic. What was it like shooting in the snow?
Li: We went there in the winter and nobody was there. ...There were no toilets, so every time you had to pee you had to just take off, like, 10 pairs of long johns. It was really, really cold. Really painful. And we ran in the forest for like two hours and I had high heels and I kept on, like, falling, you know, and hitting the ground.
AP: So you’ve lived in Sweden, New Zealand, Portugal, India, Nepal and Morocco.
Li: My mom was a photographer and my dad was a musician, and just I think (they are) wild at heart and true Bohemians. So they couldn’t really, and they still can’t, they couldn’t really find the spot where it felt sweet, so they took their three kids and tried out a few different places. You know I can’t remember that much, but it was a very nomadic experience.
AP: Which place did you enjoy the most?
Li: We lived in Portugal for five years and we kept that house and they still live there. ... For me that’s my childhood. It’s on a small hilltop and it’s really a place where I go back to and feel I have some kind of roots.