With a new album out, Eric Saade is back on the promotional trail. But this time he’s not just peddling a new record, he’s also thrusting a whole new sound upon us, and asking us to take on board its message. With more involvement as a songwriter than ever before, ‘Forgive Me’ is his side of a well documented story. And the title itself is a bold statement which requires a level of understanding.
Rightly or wrongly, both Eric’s music and the man himself have had their fair share of criticism thrown towards them in the past. And up until now it’s all been easy enough to shrug off (something which has saddled him with even more criticism). With ‘Forgive Me’ though, there’s a lot more on the line. This is the album he wanted to make, these are his true feelings, and this – is him. It’s something that a lot of artists go through of course, but it’s not something that every pop act gets the opportunity to do. When they do though, it always makes for some fascinating listening. ‘Forgive Me’ being no exception.
We had a chat with Eric Saade a couple of weeks back. Our first interview with him in almost two years. To talk about the new album obviously, but also to find out a little bit more about him – as he’s revealing less and less about himself as his career progresses.
We went in expecting the Popular Manboy we’d always encountered before. But we got conversing with a whole new gentleman. Well, the same Eric Saade of course. But someone who’s a lot more grown-up, and a damn sight more grounded.
Here, in Eric’s own words, is what he wants to say with ‘Forgive Me’;
Scandipop: It’s been a while…..
Eric: Yeah! Too long!
Scandipop: What a fantastic album you’ve come back with though. And the fact that I like it – someone who quite frankly would rather you were still making songs like ‘Made Of Pop’, ‘Fingerprints’, and ‘Love Is Calling’ , which you’re most certainly not – means that you’ve genuinely come out with something good.
Eric: Ha ha! Thank you, that’s so great to hear. I really wanted to make it different.
Scandipop: Why the title? ‘Forgive Me’ is quite a statement to make. Is there anything in particular that you’re asking forgiveness for?
Eric: You know I’ve been through a lot the last two years of my life. And that’s when I wrote this album. I’ve been working on it for almost two years, writing songs for this album. So I tried a lot of things, I tried hip hop, I tried r&b, I did a lot of things before getting to the final sound, choosing to go this way. I wrote from the heart, I’ve been through a lot. So when I was writing, I was writing about my old relationship of course. And I just wanted to be honest, and I wanted to release the most honest album I ever have. All the other albums I’ve ever released, they’re all teen pop albums, and they never make a statement like that. So that’s what I wanted to do, I wanted it to be honest. So that’s why when you listen to songs like ‘Till It Break’, ‘Forgive Me’, and ‘Stay’ – those songs are about my old relationship. And then you have songs like ‘Cover Girl’, and they’re all about when I was single. I’d just come out of my relationship, and I didn’t know what to do, I was partying all the time. I was just out looking for chicks – every day, ha ha! But that was not a good lifestyle. But that’s what I was like when I was newly single. So that’s why I wrote those songs. I wanted to make a story out of it. And basically this is it.
Scandipop: Your last album was stylistically very different to ‘Forgive Me’. So how would you prepare your fans, if they’re expecting a similar kind of record to that, before they sit down and listen to this new album?
Eric: I don’t know what I could say. I want the music to speak for itself. This is a natural way for me to go. It’s been two years since my last album. And that’s been a long time, so people will expect me to develop new things. And this is a new thing. It’s pop, it’s still radio pop, but it’s more rhythm. There’s maybe one song which is four on the floor. But the rest of it is all rhythm, it’s not four on the floor at all. Compared to my last album, which was a lot of four on the floor dance tracks. And that’s what I wanted to stop doing, because I’d been doing that for three years. I wanted to find something new. This album is more mature and it’s more funky and it’s more organic too.
Scandipop: So when you started to make this album, did you allow yourself to creatively run free and make the album you wanted to make 100%, or did you still have in the back of your mind that a lot of your fanbase is quite young, and you needed to please them as well?
Eric: Of course that’s still in my mind. But actually a lot of my fans today, they are a bit older. From four years ago. Those who were 16 years old when I got my breakthrough, they’re 20 today. So it was also really important to me to grow with them, and not let them grow away from me. I wanted to follow them – like we’re growing at the same tempo. And now, you know when they give me gifts, I get red wine because I love red wine! And that’s a good sign, when you know – ok they’ve been growing up fast, ha ha!
Scandipop: I notice you’ve co-written all but one song on the album. What is your main contribution to the songwriting process – is it lyrics or is it melody, or is it both?
Eric: Usually we do everything from scratch. When I’m in the studio with Jason, we always do everything from scratch. Just sitting with the piano and jamming, and when we find something we like, we record it. So I don’t know really, I do everything. Lyrics, melodies, everything.
Scandipop: So you’re involved in the production now as well?
Eric: Well no the production is Jason Gill, but I tell him to do things and he does it, ha ha! I can be really hard to work with. But he’s fantastic, he will do things that I want without me even having to ask him. He knows me that well now. He knows what I want and that’s what’s so good about working with him.
Scandipop: As you mentioned, it’s been four years since you got your big breakthrough. So now, four years later – how are you enjoying the life of a popstar, Eric?!
Eric: I’m enjoying it! I am more focused on music nowadays. When I was 18 and 19, I was into all this popstar-ish shit, ha ha! But nowadays I’m much more focused on the music. Because I figured out that it’s the music that is important to me. And that’s what I enjoy the most. Those four years made me realise that music is the most important part for me. Not that popstar bullshit. That can be exhausting. Being in the papers and saying things in the papers. I don’t like that anymore. I just wanna do my music.
Scandipop: I’ve noticed that, especially this year. You’re pretty much constantly out and about touring and performing, and not just in Sweden anymore either. Every time we hear a peep from you on Twitter, it’s about a new gig that has been announced, or it’s thanking the audience for a gig you’ve just had.
Eric: Yeah, I’ve really focused on the music. The art that I can create and that I wanna keep creating.
Scandipop: All that touring does look like quite a lonely lifestyle. How do you deal with that? Especially now that you’re single? Or are you even still single?
Eric: Ha ha ha! I’m a mysterious guy now you know.
Scandipop: You really are these days! I’ve been interviewing you for four years now and I’ve always kept it about the music because there was no need to ask about anything else – it was all out there! But nowadays, not so much…..
Eric: Ha ha! The reason for that is that if I talk about my private life, the papers will just write about that, and they won’t write about the music – because my private life is more exclusive. And that’s why me, as a singer, I don’t talk about my private life anymore.
Scandipop: God it’s like speaking to a different person!
Eric: Ha ha ha! I’ve been growing up!
Scandipop: You really have. Right, there are a lot of other male pop artists doing well in Sweden right now. And a lot of them, especially the newer ones, will be compared to you. So what is it that differentiates you from the rest of them? And what is it that you do, to differentiate yourself from all of them.
Eric: On my latest album I’m really honest. It’s really mature and it’s very organic too. I think a lot of people that perhaps didn’t listen to me before, they’re gonna listen to me now. And I don’t mean the regular Melodifestivalen audience, I mean other people. And I think that’s what makes me different now if you compare me to artists like Anton Ewald or Robin Stjernberg. I’ve gone further than they have, because they’re really still very new. It was a while ago since my breakthrough. But they’re all really good, and we are all doing different things. I like that there’s more pop singers in Sweden nowadays.
Scandipop: Your new album is called ‘Forgive Me’. So I wanna ask you three quick questions around the subject of forgiveness.
Scandipop: Ok, so from the last four years of your career, out of all of the songs in your back catalogue, which song would you say to your fans: ‘Forgive Me’ for this song?
Eric: Oooh that’s a hard question, because I always stand for what I do. Ok, I’mma choose one. Ok, I think that ‘I’ll Be Alright’ from my first album – that’s a shitty song, ha ha! It sounds like something I really wanted to do – but I just didn’t quite succeed with it.
Scandipop: Ok. And from the last four years, out of all those quotes you’ve given and statements you’ve made, what one soundbite would you say: ‘Forgive Me’ for saying this?
Eric: I need to say that I’m actually very honest when I speak. So I don’t regret anything I’ve ever said. I can stand for everything I’ve said.
Scandipop: And how about your actions – from your last four years as a popstar, is there anything you would say: ‘Forgive Me’ for doing this?
Eric: Forgive me for not being everywhere that I should be. I get a lot of messages from people asking me to come to England and come to Germany and come to all these places, but it’s hard. As a singer it’s hard. I’m really gonna try to get into the German market with this album, but you never know. I can’t predict what’s gonna happen. If it all goes good then I’m gonna be there and I’m gonna perform there. But yeah – please forgive me for not being everywhere.
Scandipop: Finally Eric, I want you to sign off this interview with two messages. One for your fans, and one for your haters!
Eric: Ha ha, that’s a funny question!
For my fans, I just wanna say that I’ve put a lot of energy into this album, over these two years. And I’ve done everything just to payback what you do for me. I wanna give something back when I get so much love from you. So that’s why I put so much energy into it, and that’s why it’s so honest. I really didn’t even know if I was going to do an album this honest. It’s hard to put so much of your feelings into a song. It’s scary. So I really hope you like it.
And for the haters – just listen to my music.
‘Forgive Me’ is out now all across Scandinavia. If you live anywhere else in the world though, you can pick it up on CD from our online store here.
And here’s our review of the album.