Four years after winning the second series of Swedish Pop Idol, three albums into her career, and two months after a successful participation in Melodifestivalen, Agnes has finally graced the UK shores with her presence, and bestowed stellar song ‘Release Me’, upon our radios, televisions, and nightclubs!!! Both Agnes and ‘Release Me’ really are Scandinavian pop music at its finest. And next week, we’re hoping that the rest of the UK agrees – as ‘Release Me’ is out to buy from Monday!
We first met Agnes at the after party of Melodifestivalen’s Heat 4, in Malmo, Sweden. The heat from which she progressed straight to the final. Still dressed in her gold catsuit, she was very excited about the recent news that she’d just been signed to UK label, 3Beat Blue. This week we met her again, in London, where she’s here to promote ‘Release Me’ ahead of its release next week, the highlight of which will be a performance at the legendary G-A-Y club on Saturday night (where she’s sharing the bill with fellow scandipoppers Star Pilots!). After good support from BBC Radio 1, hopes are high that ‘Release Me’ will become the UK hit it deserves to.
And here’s our interview with one of the sweetest and prettiest girls we’ve ever met!!!
scandipop: Hello Agnes! It’s four years now since you’ve been a pop star. If you had to pick a highlight, and you DO have to pick a highlight!…….what would it be?
Agnes: Well actually right now! I’m living my dream. I’ve always wanted to go outside Sweden and show my music, so now is a really great time. But also when I did Allsang Pa Skansen, it’s a huge programme in Sweden – I did that and it was wonderful, it was so beautiful and the people were so happy.
scandipop: Was that last year when you performed ‘On And On’ there?
Agnes: Oh no, you’re thinking of Sommarkrysset. Allsang Pa Skansen is bigger. It was about two years ago, maybe.
scandipop: Ok, so you’d say that your current success is the main highlight so far. Your third and current album ‘Dance! Love! Pop!’ has been your most successful period, internationally at least. Do you now wish that you had gone down the dance music route sooner in your career?
Agnes: Erm….no, because with this third album, it was the first time that I’d felt that I wanted to do this kind of music. Before, I wanted to do that kind of music.
scandipop: And what made you decide to go down the dance music route this time?
Agnes: Well, I really wanted to do something different. To have an album that was an up-tempo, going out and having fun kind of album! So that’s why. And also, I did it with Anders Hansson, and he does a lot of that kind of music. So yeah, it was really fun to work with him, to have that mix of my voice and his music. It was a good mix I think.
scandipop: And I bet that your friends and family love the fact that they can go to a club now and dance to your music!
Agnes: (laughs) Yeah a lot of my friends call me on a Sunday and are like, ”last night we were out dancing to your songs”!
scandipop: And so what style do you think your next album will have? Do you think you’ll carry on with dance music?
Agnes: Yeah I think so, but I’m not sure exactly. I haven’t really started thinking about the next album because now I’m working with this album.
scandipop: Cool. So how does it feel to finally be releasing your music all around Europe? Because for your first two albums, they were only released in Sweden.
Agnes: It’s great! As I said before, it’s my dream to go all over Europe and to come here. So this is great!
scandipop: Have you spent the last 6 months just travelling around and living out of a suitcase?!
Agnes: (laughs). No, I did a club tour in Sweden, so I’ve been doing that there mostly. But I’ve gone out to Europe sometimes so there’s been a bit of travelling yeah.
scandipop: And you’ve enjoyed all of it?
Agnes: Yeah it’s been great!
scandipop: Ok. And what do you think of the UK so far?
Agnes: It’s beautiful. When we came to the UK, we arrived in Manchester, and we had two hours driving in the car – and it was really really beautiful, I was like ”oh my God”!
scandipop: So this is your first time over here?
Agnes: Yeah, it is. I’m looking forward to doing some shopping!
scandipop: Well ‘Release Me’ has been number one in the UK club charts, it’s had lots of airplay on television and radio. How does it feel to know that you’ve got the nation dancing around to your music?!
Agnes: You know, it’s just great! Not yesterday but the day before, I did an interview with a DJ. And he said that when he’s out and playing clubs, that if he doesn’t play ‘Release Me’, somebody will always come up and say ”play Release Me”! And it’s sooooo great to hear that! It’s really good!
scandipop: Is there a story behind yourself and Anders coming up with ‘Release Me’?
Agnes: Ummm. Well when we started to make the album, I had it in my mind that I only wanted ten songs on there. So we had nine songs that we really really liked, and one more to come up with – but we didn’t really have much time. And then me and Anders started to write ‘Release Me’, and it’s so great because I really like the song, and it somehow came to us so fast when we did it……(laughs), sorry, it’s so hard to explain in English!!!!
scandipop: And now it’s ended up being the big hit from the album! It’s a magical song really, those opening strings, and then the piano in the middle eight!
Agnes: Yeah….(laughs)….I really really love it!
scandipop: And how about ‘Love Love Love’?
Agnes: Well I didn’t write that with Anders. But the first time I heard it, I loved it. It just makes you really really happy. Actually the first time I heard the demo, it sounded like a very different song. The person who sang it, sang it very differently. So I think if you heard the demo, you wouldn’t recognise it – we changed it a lot. And it was a great song to put in the competition.
scandipop: Yeah I was gonna ask – why did you choose ‘Love Love Love’ for Melodifestivalen over any of the other songs on your album?
Agnes: Well the competition is different somehow; you have to have a song that is only three minutes, and you have to have a song that isn’t too difficult….it’s hard to explain in English!!! But, I just thought that the song would be good for the competition.
scandipop: Ok. And so how did you find your first Melodifestivalen experience?
Agnes: Wow, it was really fun. It’s very very big in Sweden. It was fun to do it but it was scary and it’s quite crazy, because the jounalists and press go crazy. They really like to write about so many crazy things. But it was so much fun to do it and to sing in front of that many people.
scandipop: Have you always been a fan of Melodifestivalen, did you grow up watching it?
Agnes: Erm…..no, actually. You always see it and hear about it, but I’ve never been…a slave to it!
scandipop: Unlike me!
Agnes: (laughs lots!)
scandipop: And did you have a favourite song from this year’s Melodifestivalen, apart from your own?
Agnes: Ummm…….I liked………you know actually I didn’t see that much, because when I was in the competition, I didn’t want to see any of the other songs. Because it increases the pressure, and journalists ask so many questions about the other people in the contest, so I just didn’t want to know anything. So….(laughs), actually I didn’t see that much. But I thought that Malena Ernman was great.
scandipop: My favourite was Lili & Susie!
Agnes: (laughs) Oh, ok!
scandipop: I heard that you tried to enter Melodifestivalen before, in 2006, but the song was disqualified. What happened there?
Agnes: You know, that was also a very crazy thing with the journalists – turning a small thing into a big thing. This is gonna be hard to say in English (laughs)……but I wrote the song with two guys and they asked me if they could send it to Melodifestivalen. And I said of course, but I don’t want to sing it – I just want to be the songwriter and give it to another artist. But then Christer Bjorkman really wanted me to sing that song, and I think he was a little bit angry when I said that I didn’t want to. And he said that if I sing it, then the song can be in the competition, but if I don’t sing it then it’ll be disqualified and we’re going to write about it in the news.
scandipop: Oh no!
Agnes: So I was like, ok, I don’t care (laughs). It was crazy.
scandipop: So what’s happened to that song since?!
scandipop: Are we ever going to hear it?
Agnes: I don’t know. It’s not my song – I wrote it but it was never going to be for me.
scandipop: Do you think it’ll ever see the light of day?
Agnes: Maybe, I don’t know!
scandipop: In a way, were you glad not to win Melodifestivalen, because that meant that you didn’t have to go to Eurovision with all that pressure, and you could just concentrate on promoting your music?
Agnes: Yes, it was a lot like that. I have so much going on around Europe and outside of Europe. And when you win Melodifestivalen you have a lot of work to do for Eurovision, and maybe that’s not actually what I wanted to do.
scandipop: I guess taking part in Melodifestivalen was a really good way to launch a new single and re-launch your album. And it worked!
scandipop: And so do you think you’ll enter Melodifestivalen again?
Agnes: Right now, I don’t feel like I will. But you never know!
scandipop: Never say never!
Agnes: (laughs) Exactly!
scandipop: So for your next album, will you be working again with Anders Hansson?
Agnes: Yeah I think so. We really like to work with each other, and we’ve been talking about it, so – I think so!
scandipop: Ok. And when do you start work on the 4th album?
Agnes: Maybe August. But I really wanna keep working this album first.
scandipop: So are there gonna be many more singles from ‘Dance! Love! Pop!’?
Agnes: ‘On And On’ is going to be the next single here in the UK.
scandipop: And how about Sweden?
Agnes: We haven’t decided that yet.
scandipop: Have you got any songs that you’d particularly like to be singles?
Agnes: Yeah I have. Maybe ‘Love Me Senseless’, do you know that song?
scandipop: Yeah of course! My choice would be ‘How Do You Know’.
Agnes: Really? Yeah, that’s a great song.
scandipop: So what are your plans over the next couple of months then, tour wise?
Agnes: Well, I’ve got a tour coming up in Sweden. And also…
scandipop: Is that like, a full concert tour?
Agnes: Yep! And also I’ll be doing lots of promo around Europe.
scandipop: When do you think ‘On And On’ will be released in the UK?
Agnes: I don’t know really. I heard the label say that they’d like it to be a summer song. But I guess it depends on how ‘Release Me’ does.
scandipop: And will it get a special UK remix?
Agnes: I think so yeah.
scandipop: ‘Release Me’ didn’t need a remix because it was so perfect!
scandipop: And finally, at the next scandipop club night in London, we’ll play ‘Release Me’, ‘On And On’, and ‘Love Love Love’, like we always do. But we’ll also play three album tracks from ‘Dance! Love! Pop!’. Which three would you like us to play?
Agnes: Oh……..and it’s a club? Where people dance yeah?
scandipop: Yep, so you can’t choose ‘Big Blue Wall’, even though I really love that song!
Agnes: (laughs)……erm…..’How Do You Know’………’Love Me Senseless’…….and…….what do you think?
scandipop: A lot of people like ‘Don’t Pull Your Love Out’.
Agnes: Ok, cool!
scandipop: Well thank you very much Agnes!
Agnes: Thank you! It was very nice to meet you again.
And here is the single itself, ‘Release Me’!