Hej everyone and välkommen to the latest in our Possible Artists series! Today, I’m going to venture to what is arguably the most enthusiastic and successful nation ever to compete in the Eurovision Song Contest… that’s right, today’s focus is on SVERIGE! I myself am one of the many fans of Swedish music – both in and outside of the contest – so it has been a tough decision on selecting just two to recommend in this article. However, if either of the forthcoming artists were to even consider a shot at ESC, I would probably die of happiness. The enthusiasm levels on my part with this article are up there with the Bulgarian one. Seriously.
With Sweden, you can guarantee a few things about their Eurovision challenge every year. First of all, they will pick through Melodifestivalen. Fact. And within Melodifestivalen, there are a number of different types of artist and song you can expect to show up every year too. There will always be:
- four or five high-profile previous MF contestants making a highly publicised return with – often – a very calculated and SVT-endorsed bid for the title [think Danny Saucedo, Ulrik Munther etc]
- the schlager diva slightly past her sell-by date staging one last attempt at the title before she bows out into middle-aged obscurity [I’m looking at you Pernilla Wahlgren]
- various Swedish talent show alumni [this would include the amazing Robin Stjernberg, aswell as people like Darin and Amanda Fondell]
- a few token joke entries, often extinguished in the early rounds, but occasionally appearing to present a real threat in the final [ahem, Sean Banan]
Alongside all these, we can also expect a couple of gems in the form of young exciting new talent, backed by the professionalism and genius that is Swedish songwriting to make an appearance on the MF stage, and in doing so, promote themselves to the watching fans on the continent.
I’ll get on to one such young talent in a sec, but first and foremost, I’d like to introduce you to the unbelievably awesome music of my first suggestion for Sweden: The Sound Of Arrows.
Words simply fall short in their efforts to describe just how much I love this song, this band, this amazing genre of music that they have created. The duo consists of Stefan Storm and Oskar Gullstrand, who both originate from Gävle in the east of Sweden. Self-defined as “widescreen pop”, their dreamy and anthemic brand of synth-pop draws influence from the film music of composers such as Vangelis. However, the whole concept – spine-tingling production, the sublime songwriting and Stefan’s flawless vocals – it is just perfect. Much love.
The above song “Wonders” is a single from their first – and to date only – album “Voyage” released in late 2011. Since I first discovered it, I’ve fallen increasingly in love with it. It doesn’t get old, it never fails to stop me in my tracks. It is such a masterpiece, it needs to be admired by a wider audience!!
Now, unfortunately, as highlighted above, any prospective Swedish entrant would have to first traverse the field of Melodifestivalen, so it would be a challenge and a half for these guys to see off competition from the more typical genres exhibited there. But… imagine if they did? Imagine if The Sound Of Arrows won Melodifestivalen, and represented Sweden next May? I mean, nothing even remotely like this has ever been heard on the Eurovision stage before, and whilst it would certainly be a risk, Sweden is just the type of country who would want to take such a risk, pushing the boundaries of the contest to showcase genuine talent and a bloody good genre of music which is too often overlooked.
Of course, with such a diverse use of synths, The Sound Of Arrows have also come up with tracks which stay closer to the pop mould such as this one:
“Disappear” is slightly more up-tempo, slightly more pop-orientated, and whilst it maintains their fabulous trademark sound, it simultaneously comes across as something which would blend in really well in the international charts. Exactly the kind of thing Sweden would aim to send to Eurovision then? I think so.
There is also the potential hiccup that accompanies any type of ambient electronic music when discussed in a live context… does it maintain its impact live? Are the vocals still up to scratch? Answer. Yes, they most certainly are, as this beautiful “mellow version” of “Nova” more than demonstrates. I get goosebumps hearing their original stuff, and the effect is even more profound when listening to arrangements such as this.
Added to how brilliant their music is… well… the fact remains that Stefan is absolutely beautiful too. Can we all just take a moment to appreciate that fact please?
Now, I am one of their biggest fans, and whilst I would absolutely love to see them on the ESC stage, I don’t think they would really be interested in doing it (correct me if I’m wrong guys?) So I guess that’s a dream I will have to keep to myself for now. Eurovision would spread their amazing music to 120 million people, and they would hopefully get the recognition they deserve… but maybe this little article will earn them one or two new fans, at the very least 🙂
So: if not The Sound Of Arrows, then I would turn to the aforementioned young talent of Miriam Bryant to represent Sweden in Copenhagen. She is mostly known around the region for the fabulous “Push Play” which she released at the beginning of this year. There’s a link for you to listen to that song incase you haven’t heard it already, but for the purposes of this article, I want to bring to your attention a lesser known track from her recently-released debut album “Raised In Rain”… ladies and gentlemen, the sassy and powerful “Easy Street”:
There are legions of young female vocalists who get labelled with the “oooh she sounds like Adele” tag… but close your eyes, push play (pun intended… sorry, I had to) and just listen to that voice. If you didn’t know better, it could be Adele. Except Adele, but ten times better. All the smoky soul and class, but with a much better command of her range, and frankly a much more accessible genre. Miriam Bryant’s album is full of this kind of thing, just flat out great pop songs. I especially adore “Alone Isn’t Lonely” aswell, but I highlighted “Easy Street” for its suitability to the contest. It’s a little tornado right from the word go, the refrain is repetitive and instantly catchy, and once it’s over it is still in your head for hours. Were she to take to the Copenhagen stage, she would make an impact regardless of her draw, because she has the stunning voice and the accomplished songwriting to her credit.
I also just love the way she puts her lyrics together. I mean, come on. The line “I wish you all the worst, I hope that all your dreams will burst” Wow. That’s venom, gurl! This is a personality that fans can take to their hearts, if you catch my drift,
Anyway. I must stop. I haven’t even scratched the surface of the Swedish music scene, and if you have the time, I would highly recommend checking out the following songs, as I believe they would all work brilliantly at ESC aswell!
- Emerentia – “Wasting Water”
- The Royal Concept – “On Our Way”
- Amanda Fondell – “Let The Rain Fall”
- Taped Rai – “Shadow Of The Sun”
- iida – “Life Will Kill You”
- Dinah Nah – “Like You”
So! What do you think of my suggestions? And who would you like to see represent Sweden?
Trevor Callaghan from the United Kingdom: Of the 2, it would have to be Miriam Bryant. I really couldn’t see Sound of Arrows coming in the top 10 let alone winning
Michael Romano from Australia: I can’t say either of those two really appeal to me, I would like to see EKO representing Sweden next year
Janne Bruzelius from Sweden: I don’t think artist so much , send a good song and singer , Miriam are so boring , she have only sing this Push play for 8-10 month now .
Luis Delak from the United States: I love “Into The Clouds” by The Sound Of Arrows
These suggestions, on the face of it, seem to have been met with disapproval among the fans surveyed. I would interpret this, however, as a mere representation of the sheer amount of worthy Swedish musicians known to the international community, and a demonstration of how diverse the fan opinion really can be. I for one am holding out hope for both of these artists to be involved in ESC in the future!
What do you think? Feel free to leave a comment below!