The Melodifestivalen 2017 line-up was unveiled last week, which we covered in a live-blog. We then revealed that we were finding it difficult to process our shock, delight and excitement on Twitter. Now, we can rationally take a look at each semifinal, act by act, to introduce the 28 artists that will be joining us on the six week tour of Melodifestivalen 2017.
It would only be right to start with Semifinal 1… each semifinal below is presented in alphabetical order, as the running order for the four semifinals will take place at a future date.
We’ve chosen to feature songs from artists making their début at Melodifestivalen to give you a good idea of what to expect in February!
Semifinal 1: Göteborg
Adrijana – “Amare”
“Amare” is written by Martin Tjärnberg and Adrijana Krasniqi herself. The 19 year old is from Rottne with Macedonian roots and is regarded as one of Sweden’s most promising hip-hop prospects. “Amare” means ‘love’ in Latin, and she says the song is not an ordinary love song, it’s a bit more cheeky! When the song was finished, they thought it could be a hit and therefore submitted it for Melodifestivalen. Loreen has inspired her and she was starstruck meeting her at the artist reveal. Adrijana wants viewers to see her as positive and joyful and whilst she originally entered to show her artistry, now she’s here, she’s here to compete.
Boris René – “Her Kiss”
After last year’s début success, taking “Put Your Love on Me” through to the Final via Andra chansen, footballer Boris René is back with “Her Kiss”, written by Tim Larsson and Tobias Lundgren – the same writing team as last year. Boris says the song will be similar and the same vibe – uptempo and happy. We can expect to see some more choreography from Boris in 2017 and he hopes to use his experience of understanding how the show works in his performance.
Nano – “Hold On”
Nano is a relatively new artist to the Swedish music scene, and whilst he may be unknown to some viewers, he has had a couple of big songs, starting with his breakthrough hit “Lion”.
Nano didn’t début in music until he was 28, having come through adversity in his life and a troubled childhood to pursue his dream of being a musician. “Hold On” is written by Nano himself alongside a team of songwriters; Gino Yonan, Ayak, Carl Rydén, Christoffer Belaieff, Rikard de Bruin, David Francis Jackson.
Charlotte Perrelli – “Mitt liv”
The former Eurovision winner, and twice Melodifestivalen champion, Charlotte Perrelli is back after a barnstorming interval act during last year’s Melodifestivalen tour. She has already said that she’s not here to win. She’s here with a song in Swedish, co-written by the man behind Sara Varga’s “Spring för livet” in 2011 – Lars Hägglund, and to demonstrate a change in style ahead of her next album release. Therefore, Ms. Perrelli is relaxed about the whole thing and says the song is soft, simplistic and contains some vulnerability. This is not the song to win the competition, or to go to the Eurovision Song Contest, she says so herself.
Dinah Nah – “One More Night”
What a breakthrough Dinah Nah made in 2015. An up and coming electro pop artist who quite literally stormed Melodifestivalen 2015 with “Make Me (La La La)”, she’s bringing some big pop names with her this year. dr. alban is back, having co-written Make Me, alongside Thomas G:son and Jimmy Jansson, with Dinah Nah herself having contributed to the creation of the track. She said that Melodifestivalen 2015 was the most fun she’s had in her career and that she believes that anyone can win the competition. “One More Night” differs to “Make Me” because there’s no break in the song this time, but it’s clearly her sound and with a heavy beat.
De Vet Du – “Road Trip”
It’s hard to know where to start with this act! De Vet Du are one of Sweden’s most booked and sought-after live performers. They have a substantial following in terms of YouTube views/subscribers and Spotify streams and it would not be unfair to say that they are a comedy act that entertains through the medium of music. Their song, “Road Trip”, is about their life on tour for the past four years and it will be performed mostly in Swedish. They say it’s an honour to be in the competition with their self-written song and that they’re looking forward to having a lot of fun. Watch out for DJ Hunk, he never wears a shirt…
Ace Wilder – “Wild Child”
Never finishing outside the Top 3 at Melodifestivalen, runner-up to Sanna Nielsen in her breakthrough year 2014 and finishing third in 2016, Ace Wilder is back and means business. She’s teamed up this time with the team of writers that wrote Loreen’s Eurovision winner “Euphoria”, Thomas G:son and Peter Boström. Ace hopes she can live the cliché: third time lucky. She says she’s become addicted to this Melodifestivalen circus and that this year’s performance will be much more stripped down compared to “Don’t Worry” in 2016.
Semifinal 2: Malmö
Mariette – “A Million Years”
After a top 3 finish in her first participation in 2015, Mariette is back at Melodifestivalen as a co-writer as well as the performer. “A Million Years” is written by Thomas G:son, Peter Boström, Johanna Jansson, Jenny Hansson and Mariette Hansson and differs to “Don’t Stop Believing” as it has a higher tempo and is a bit more pop-themed. Mariette is already yearning to perform the song upon the Melodifestivalen stage and is ready to return to the Melodifestivalen family atmosphere that is created, even if it’s a competition!
Benjamin Ingrosso – “Good Lovin’”
Benjamin won Lilla Melodifestivalen in 2006 with “Hej Sofia”, which he wrote himself, and is the son of Pernilla Wahlgren – so is it much surprise that he’s about to début at Melodifestivalen, even if he never really thought it was something he should do! He wrote “Good Lovin’” himself alongside Louis Schoorl and Matt Pardon and says Christer Björkman loved his song. He says it is the press that has named him Benjamin Ingrosso Wahlgren, but he was born Benjamin Ingrosso, which is why he doesn’t carry his mother’s name – despite the family connections to the contest.
Dismissed – “Hearts Align”
What would you immediate expect from an act with a song written by Ola Salo and Peter Kvint? If you’re picturing a glam rock band like The Ark, Melodifestivalen 2007 winners, then you’d be right. In fact, the song was submitted to the contest without an act and it was Christer Björkman who suggested the writers and band team up for “Hearts Align”. The band are passionate about LGBT issues and each member of the band has a different musical influence, from David Bowie and Iggy Pop to Rage Against the Machine and Karnivoo. The song is an arena-rock song, a little like Muse, with both hard and soft parts to the dynamic track. Fellow semifinal 2 contender Roger Pontare is one of their inspirational Melodifestivalen artists, alongside The Ark.
Roger Pontare – “Himmel och hav”
It has been eleven years since Roger Pontare last competed, with two wins to his name in the contest. “Himmel och hav” is an ethnic hymn with thought-provoking lyrics about the Sky and Sea (that’s the translation of the title), written by Thomas G:son and Alexzandra Wickman, that features a symphonic musical arrangement that could fit into a movie soundtrack.
Lisa Ajax – “I Don’t Give A”
You don’t give a what, Lisa? With a song written by songwriting royalty, Ola Svensson, Linnea Deb, Joy Deb and Anton Hård af Segerstad wrote “I Don’t Give A”, Lisa Ajax is back after last year’s seventh placed finish with “My Heart Wants Me Dead”. The song is about love and Lisa is here for the fun, not necessarily for the win and she looks forward to hearing what people think about the song.
Etzia – “Up”
Etzia was born in New York to a Panamanian mother and a father with Trinidadian roots. She began as a backing singer in Göteborg and worked hard to get to be the artist standing centre-stage and is primarily a dancehall and reggae style artist. She says the song will contain a reggae feel in a pop context and, as its title suggests, will be joyous and uplifting. “Up” is written by Johnny Sanchez, Hanif Sabzevari, Simon Gribbe and Erica Haylett. This is a new audience for Etzia and she thinks it’s a great chance to show Sweden what she does. She wants to represent women in urban music on the Melodifestivalen stage.
Allyawan – “Vart haru varit”
Allyawan has worked in music for the last decade and made his breakthrough in TV4 show Lyckliga gatan. Masse Salazar helped Allyawan (Samuel Nazari) in the writing of “Vart haru varit” and says it’s a hiphop song in its purest form, despite having started in a gospel background himself within the church. Allyawan’s goal is to help bring hiphop to the forefront of Melodifestivalen and whilst he initially entered to show his artistry to a mainstream audience, he is definitely in the contest for a win.
Semifinal 3: Växjö
Owe Thörnqvist – “Boogeyman Blues”
Owe has been an artist for decades now, having released his first record in 1955, and is the oldest artist to ever stand upon the Melodifestivalen stage, he would be 88 the day after the final in March. A man who tends to stick within traditional music genres of pop, rock and, typical to Sweden, schlager. Don’t expect much out of the ordinary with “Boogeyman Blues”, which Owe wrote himself.
Bella & Fillipa – “Crucified”
Bella & Fillipa became famous thanks to the Internet, mostly posting covers on YouTube and gaining a following. They started making music after becoming stepsisters and have had a hand in co-writing their entry “Crucified”, though they met for the first time in the playground aged 4. In fact, Bella is the first contestant to participate in Melodifestivalen who was born in the 00s. Their début single “Missing Rose” is a typical country song and we can probably expect that from “Crucified”, which is written by Peter Hägerås, Mats Frisell, Jakob Stadell and the girls themselves. Having built up a small following, the girls were able to meet with some foreign music artists along the way, one of which they performed a cover with when they met, which you can see below.
The Fooo Conspiracy – “Gotta Thing”
One of Sweden’s biggest young acts, The Fooo Conspiracy, will make their début at Melodifestivalen 2017. Despite having lost a member of the group on the day they announced their participation in the competition, the group are ready to make their mark on the Mello stage. You can expect a huge production from the boys, their performances always contain strong choreography. They say their song is about having a ‘thing’ for a person and they promise they’ve been working hard on perfecting their live vocals to carry their song as well as delivering a good stage performance. Oh and the song was written by none other than Mutt Lange (Robert John Lange, if you want to be official) and Tony Nilsson. Mutt Lange produced “You & I” by Lady Gaga, just saying. Oh, and they’ve won plenty of awards that were voted for by the public, including beating Zara Larsson at the recent MTV European Music Awards in the category for Best Swedish Act.
Jasmine Kara – “Gravity”
Jasmine says she will be working hard ahead of Melodifestivalen, including moving back to Sweden, temporarily, from her home in Los Angeles. She wrote the song with Anderz Wrethov, and says it’s about love and positive thinking. Jasmine has had her own record label but has signed to Warner for her participation at Melodifestivalen 2017.
Robin Bengtsson – “I Can’t Go On”
After a fantastic début in 2016, Robin Bengtsson is back to improve upon his 5th place finish achieved with “Constellation Prize” earlier this year. With a team of winning songwriters on board for “I Can’t Go On”, David Kreuger, Hamed ”K-One” Pirouzpanah and Robin Stjernberg, Robin says he will bring a little more joy than last year with a more upbeat song. This time, his performance will contain more dancing and something that’s never been seen before at Melodifestivalen. Robin also revealed that he ran into Alice, the person who beat him to second place in Idol 2008, earlier in the year and from the context of their surprise meeting, in which they were both recording at the same studios, expected to see her at the press conference for Melodifestivalen 2017!
Anton Hagman – “Kiss You Goodbye”
Anton is another young artist who has grown their music career himself via YouTube, both as part of a duo and as a solo artist. A seriously good singer and competent performer has been paired with a song written by lead-singer of A Friend in London, the Danish entry at the Eurovision Song Contest 2011. It’s hard to know what to expect from a début single, which is what “Kiss You Goodbye” will be for Anton. The song is written by Christian Fast, Tim Schou and Henrik Nordenback.
Krista Siegfrids – “Snurra min jord”
For the second year running, Krista Siegfrids will both present UMK in Finland and participate in Melodifestivalen in Sweden. After a fifth place semifinal finish with “Faller” in 2016, “Snurra min jord” will have more of a club vibe than either “Faller” or “Marry Me”. Krista is completely prepared for a win with a translation of the lyrics into English ready to go already, confirming that she would sing in English like Lena Philipsson did in 2005 after winning with a Swedish language song. “Snurra min jord” is written by Krista Siegfrids herself alongside Gustaf Svenungsson, Magnus Wallin and Gabriel Alares.
Semifinal 4: Skellefteå
Wiktoria – “As I Lay Me Down”
After becoming the breakout star of Melodifestivalen 2016 with “Save Me”, Wiktoria is back and says she’s more nervous this time than she was before as she feels there is some pressure on her in 2017. After two follow up releases to “Save Me”, “As I Lay Me Down” will be Wiktoria’s fourth single (and second grammatically incorrect titled track!) and she says they’ve only just begun to plan their stage performance for February. “As I Lay Me Down” is written by Justin Forrest, Jonas Wallin, Lauren Dyson, two of the writers being the same as the team that wrote “Save Me”.
Les Gordons – “Bound to Fall”
Les Gordons have been performing a lot together ahead of their début at Melodifestivalen, having earned their place in the contest thanks to the Svensktoppen nästa competition. They earned their place here mostly due to their artistry but also thanks to their songwriting, so they were wanting to bring that into Melodifestivalen too. With the help of Jimmy Jansson, “Bound to Fall” was written in about three hours.
Sara Varga & Juha Mulari – “Du får inte ändra på mig”
Sara Varga was one of the beneficiaries of a stacked Andra chansen at Melodifestivalen 2011. We still haven’t forgiven her for eliminating the greatest Melodifestivalen song never to grace the Final, My Heart is Refusing Me by Loreen. Yes, this woman eliminated that beauty. Nevertheless, she’s back with Juha Mulari. Sara says “Du får inte ändra på mig” is not as dark as “Spring för livet” and Juha says that his Finnish roots have influenced his music. This will be a typical Sara Varga song, written with Lars Hägglund.
Jon Henrik Fjällgren feat. Aninia – “En värld full av strider”
In 2015, Jon Henrik Fjällgren jojk’ed his way into second place, beaten only by eventual Eurovision champion Måns Zelmerlöw. He says that “En värld full av strider” (Vearelde gusnie jeenh vigkieh) is both Sami and Swedish inspired and features some lyrics in Sami. This is Aninia’s first appearance in the competition. Jon Henrik says that this song is more powerful and more emotional than “Jag är fri”. The song is written by Jon Henrik Fjällgren, Sara Biglert, Christian Schneider and Andreas Hedlund.
Axel Schylström – “När ingen ser”
After finishing fourth in Idol 2015, Axel makes his Melodifestivalen début with “När ingen ser”, written by Behshad Ashnai, Axel Schylström himself and David Strääf. Axel says that his song is in Swedish because he thinks his voice best suits the language, no matter the genre. “När ingen ser” is an uptempo song and Axel says he’s a sucker for Veronica Maggio’s lyrics as well as Gavin DeGraw’s voice.
Alice – “Running with Lions”
The runner-up at Idol 2008, Alice Svensson is back, making her début on the Melodifestivalen stage in 2017 with “Running with Lions”, a song she co-wrote alongside Anderz Wrethov, Andreas ”Stone” Johansson and Denniz Jamm. She describes the song as modern pop but also something that is organic and real. She says it has always been a dream to participate but feels there’s probably a great interest in her entering and was working towards having the right song to perform at the contest.
Loreen – “Statements”
There was nothing more surprising than this. The winner of the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 returning to Melodifestivalen with a song she has co-written alongside twice Melfest winners Anton Hård af Segerstad, Joy Deb and Linnea Deb (who co-wrote “Heroes” with Måns Zelmerlöw and “You” with Robin Stjernberg). You would think for Loreen to return, the song would have to be unbelievable, which is why she is currently the bookies favourite with bet365 and Unibet. The song is about the situation the world is in today and about giving people power and inspiration, which is something she believes we need. She says she’s happy but nervous and that she hasn’t even thought about Eurovision 2017… yet.
Melodifestivalen 2017 begins on February 4 and continues every Saturday with Andra chansen taking place in Linköping on March 4 and the Final in Stockholm on March 11.