We have all seen the reports that Sweden’s Eurovision selection process – Melodifestivalen – is set for some changes to help boost local ratings for the show.
The closing date for submissions of songs for Melodifestivalen 2015 has passed and it is announced that 2,177 entries have been received by SVT (Swedish National Broadcaster). This may sound like a lot for any country however it is the lowest that has been received by SVT since 2002.
So who should the broadcaster entice to take part in the show that could help boost ratings?
Well Melodifestivalen is always known for introducing new acts, returning former participants and also having Swedish international acts make an appearance. So here are a few picks that we think could inject more local interest into Melodifestivalen 2015.
We have cherry picked 3 Swedish acts that would be new to Melodifestivalen and to the majority of Europe and they offer a variety of sounds from Dance to Folk to Old School Soul.
Mapei – ‘Believe’
A Swedish American singer has had some success in Scandinavia. She releases a new song ‘Believe’ that is a mix of Old School American Soul with a rock and hip-hop edge. A serious element of funk and not a note of Schlager in sight. Have a listen to this.
Rainmode – ‘7D’
Rainmode are a Swedish electronic duo that are a breath of 80’s fresh air. Think of bands like Dollar, Visage and The Pet Shop Boys. The guys are on their third single ‘7D’ that we are rather taken by. This would certainly move the perception of Melodifestivalen along with the mainstream.
First Aid Kit – ”Master Pretender’
These are a Swedish sister folk duo. However like this year’s The Common Linnets – they are not your typical folk/country act. They bring a cool vibe to their distinct music. Great vocals and not a drum machine to be heard this would be good for SVT to introduce into the mix.
I am going to start off by saying what acts I think should take a year’s hiatus from the contest. I think that Ace Wilder’s ‘Busy Doin Nothin’ could have been a contender in Copenhagen if the Swedish public had sent her to Eurovision. However saying that I think she would find it hard to return so quickly to the contest after such a popular song last year.
I would fear that she would find it difficult to live up to the quality of her song this year – the same fate that Yohio and Anton Ewald experienced when they returned. It was just too soon to try and come back after ipod favourites ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ and ‘Begging’.
So what of the Acts that I think are ready to see a return to Melodifestivalen?
Danny Saucedo has entered Melodifestivalen as part of a group, as a solo artist and as a presenter. Twice as soloist he was pipped to the post by Eric Saade and Loreen in 2011 and 2012 respectively. Robbed I say on both occasions. Saying that he has done the right thing. He has been keeping a low profile and has a new album coming out shortly. We had a taster of his new more mature sound and this could be his time to cross over from Swedish to Eurovision act.
Linus Svenning finished 5th in Melodifestivalen this year with the emotive ‘Bröder’ and went on to reach #3 in the Swedish charts. What is also worth mentioning is that he scored well from singing in Swedish. I think the Swedes are certainly looking for a song that celebrates their language. Remember that this is the country that protested against the generic sounding English songs flooding the contest back in the 1970’s.
Linus can sing but he is certainly not your typical Swedish Eurovision singer in appearance. I think with another great song he could see local people tuning into SVT for Melodifestivalen.
Outrigger were the Hannibal Lecter inspired metal band that shook up Semi-Final 3 this year with their song ‘Echo’. Maybe it is the lack of sunlight in Scandinavia during the Winter months that sees them love this style of music. Some may think it sounds like Kiss and Poison from yesteryear but they were certainly visually stimulating and not a dance step to be seen either. They may not be to everyone’s taste but that is what Melodifestivalen needs. It needs variety and credible variety at that. I happily flew the Outrigger flag this year and would do so again if they had another song and performance to ‘Echo’ 2014.
Credit has to go to Christer Bkorkman and SVT for encouraging establish acts to enter Melodifestivalen or to return to the music scene just for the Swedish Eurovision selection. Alcazar reformed just for the contest this year as did 90’s pop royalty Army of Lovers. Dr Alban and others have come to Melodifestivalen and ensure that nostalgia is tapped into. So who would be a pleasant inclusion in 2015?
Robyn has had both critical and commercial success through out her career. She is the darling of producers and DJ’s. She was a hit in Sweden in 1995 and then came to international success in 1996 with hits like ‘Do you Know’ and ‘Show me Love’. She is a Grammy and Brit nominee. 2007 saw her score a massive hit with Kleerup and the song ‘With every heartbeat’. She is back with a new song ‘Tell You’ that is set to be a hit in Sweden on its release. This would bring a massive star into the fold in Melodifestivalen.
Veronica Maggio is a Swedish singer of Italian origin. She is hugely popular in Sweden and again primarily sings in Swedish. She won the Swedish Grammy for Best Newcomer in 2007 and made good on that award by having 4 hit albums in Scandinavia – of which her last 2 were #1 in Sweden.
There is nothing manufactured in her music or sound. Her sound is distinctive and would certainly draw back that 16-24 demographic that Melodifestivalen has seemed to lose contact with. Her new song ‘Låtsas som det regnar’ is a perfect example her work and would certainly win Swedish and International audiences over.
Ace of Base
The year was 1992 and a Swedish quartet hit the charts. With dance classics like ‘All That She Wants’, ‘The Sign’, ‘Happy Nation’ and ‘Life is a Flower’ everyone will have heard a song from Ace of Base. Their last album was in 2010 and one could say that they are due for a revival. Not even to think that they could win the Swedish Vote at Melodifestivalen but the media attention that would surround a return of the band would certainly work in SVT’s favour. The band has over the years gone through line-up changes but there is no denying that Ace of Base on the Melodifestivalen card would be a stroke of PR genius and a very happy blast from the past.
One forgets sometimes that they sold over 40 million albums and 15 million singles and are the third most successful Swedish music act behind Abba and Roxette. Ace of Base and Melodifestivalen would be a partnership I would happily tune in for.
So will SVT turn the tide around and increase local interest in Melodifestivalen? Not long to wait until we know. The above acts certainly show the variety and depth of talent in Sweden that could see viewership rise again. I would like to see a Swedish language song myself at Eurovision 2015 and I think that would please the Swedes.
Author/Editor in Chief Garrett Mulhall
Source : Eurovision Ireland