Image Credit: SVT / Melodifestivalen / Janne Danielsson
It’s that time of national final season again – Melodifestivalen is back!
Sweden’s annual competition to choose their Eurovision entrant returns this Saturday (February 4th 2023), with a mix of new artists and returnees all hoping for the chance to represent the Scandinavian nation in Liverpool this May.
Phoenix are grateful to have been given accreditation for this years contest by SVT, and we look forward to bringing you all the exclusives from Melodifestivalen this year!
Here’s all you need to know about the 7 artists competing in Heat 1!
Tone Sekelius – ‘Rhythm Of My Show’
Tone Sekelius made history in Melodifestivalen 2022 as the contests first ever openly transgender contestant, making it all the way to 5th place in the final with her empowering anthem ‘My Way’.
She was born in Växjö, and outside of music, Tone is a YouTuber with 307,000 subscribers to date, and also the host of TV show Paradise Sverige. Melodifestivalen isn’t the only thing keeping Tone busy in 2023 – she’ll also be taking part in Let’s Dance 2023 on TV4. Ahead of her performance of this years entry ‘Rhythm Of My Show’, she told TT:
It’s nervous in a different way because you have something to live up to. People have expectations of me and I want to do better. But I see it more as something that motivates me to do as well as I can.Tone Sekelius, TT
‘Rhythm Of My Show’ is a song that will be sure to get viewers at home up and dancing – which sounds like the perfect start to Melfest 2023! Tone says:
“Rhythm of My Show” is a pop song with a lot of attitude. […] It’s going to be a Tone that people might not be quite used to seeing. The track […] will be a confidence boost to everyone who listens. Most of all, I’m looking forward to being on stage and sharing a song that I absolutely love.Tone Sekelius, Mellopedia
You can hear part of Tone’s song here.
LouLou LaMotte – ‘Inga Sorger’
LouLou LaMotte is the first former Melodifestivalen winner & Eurovision artist we’ll see in this years contest. As part of The Mamas, she won Melfest 2020 with ‘Move’, and appeared with the group at Eurovision 2019 as a backing vocalist for John Lundvik’s ‘Too Late For Love’. She’s also appeared in Melfest in 2013 as a backing vocalist for Behrang Miri’s ‘Jalla Dansa Swalla’, and again with The Mamas in 2021 with ‘In The Middle’.
LouLou became known to Swedish audiences in 2008 when she appeared on Idol, and has been making music since she was 18. She feared that her Scanian dialect (she’s from Malmö, which is in the province of Scania in Skåne county), wouldn’t work due to attitudes towards the dialect in music, but has since gone on to take pride in her roots, which also trace back to South America.
‘Inga Sorger’ is written by LouLou & Jonas Thander – who was behind Lithuania’s 2016 Eurovision entry ‘I’ve Been Waiting For This Night’, Austria’s 2021 entry ‘Amen’ & the UK’s 2019 entry ‘Bigger Than Us’. LouLou said of her song:
My song is about pepping up or strengthening yourself or others around you. I’ll sing it in Swedish, or Scanian. I hope that others will be strengthened by it as well.LouLou LaMotte, Mellopedia
You can hear part of Loulou’s song here.
Rejhan – ‘Haunted’
Newcomer Rejhan is just 16 years old, and from Uddevalla – with roots in both Albania & Bosnia. He rose to fame in 2021 on the TV show Talang 2021, where he reached the finals. He’s been busy working on his debut album, and has been posting videos on TikTok of song covers. Rejhan lists Labrinth and Bruno Mars amongst his musical inspirations.
He’s set to sing a soulful ballad this year called ‘Haunted’, written by two of the writers behind Lovad’s 2021 entry ‘Allting är precis likadant’ (Albin Johnsén & Mattias Andréasson, who both competed together in 2016 with ‘Rik’). Rejhan describes his song as:
A ballad. A very emotional song about a relationship that ended.Rejhan, Mellopedia
You can hear part of Rejhan’s song here.
Elov & Beny – ‘Raggen går’
Duo Elov & Beny are made up Mattias Elovsson (Elov) and Oscar Kilenius (Beny), who made their breakthrough back in 2008 with the song ‘Singel och sökande’. They’re still doing well in Scandinavia, with their summer anthem ‘Bubbel på balkongen’ charting in both Sweden and Norway in 2022. They’re big fans of the party-style music, which is exactly what we can expect from them in Melodifestivalen this year.
‘Raggen går’ is an upbeat song which requires a high energy performance from Elov & Beny – which they’re prepared to give. They had this to say about their entry:
The song is a declaration of love for the countryside and a bit of a taunt to the big city, wrapped in a love story (Elov)
We probably won’t do any ballet dancing on stage, but we will go full speed with the pedal to the metal (Beny)Elov & Beny, Mellopedia
You can hear Elov & Beny’s song here.
Victor Crone – ‘Diamonds’
The second former Eurovision artist of this heat is Victor Crone. He’ll be known to Eurovision fans as Estonia’s 2019 entrant with the song ‘Storm’, which came 20th in the final. In terms of Melodifestivalen, he took part as a newcomer in 2015 in a duet with Behrang Miri called ‘Det rår inte för’, which was written by that years winner Måns Zelmerlöw and lost out to Samir & Viktor’s ‘Groupie’ in Andra Chansen. He returned a year after his Eurovision participation in 2020 with ‘Troubled Waters’, which saw him go directly to the final and place 9th overall, and in 2022 he wrote ‘Innocent Love’ for Robin Bengtsson, which came 11th in the final.
He’s from Österåker, a municipality of Stockholm County in the east-central area of Sweden, and started his musical career by heading to Los Angeles as a teen to work with producers and songwriters at Capitol Studios, where he released music under the name Vic Heart with little success. After returning to Sweden, he found his big break 4 years on when he met Stig Rästa, entering and winning 2019’s Eesti Laul against two other eventual Estonian participants in the super final – Uku Suviste (Eurovision 2020 and 2021), and Stefan (Eurovision 2022).
‘Diamonds’ is in Victor’s usual musical style – a radio friendly country-pop track. He said this about the song:
“Diamonds” is a fast-paced uptempo song that is about invincible love, being able to be apart, but that love is always still there somewhere.Victor Crone, Mellopedia
You can listen to part of Victor’s song here.
Eva Rydberg & Ewa Roos – ‘Länge leve livet’
It’s bound to be a warm welcome back for Eva & Ewa who captured the hearts of not only Swedes, but international fans in 2021 with their song ‘Rena Rama Ding Dong’. The song went all the way to the Andra Chansen, and was performed again in multiple languages during an interval at Melodifestivalen 2022. Eva Rydberg first took part in the contest back in 1977 with ‘Charlie Chaplin’, whilst Ewa Roos marks her second Melfest after 2021. With a huge outpouring of love for the pair seeing ‘Rena Rama Ding Dong’ go viral and trend on YouTube, could they do the same – or better – this year?
‘Länge leve livet’ is yet another fun song from Eva & Ewa. It’ll be sure to pick up votes from the older generation, which could help the pair advance once again in the contest.
It’s a real uptempo song, you can jam to it if you want. We were a little hesitant about whether we should stand once more, but then we got to hear the song, and now we finally get to feel what it feels like to win! (Ewa)
Very swingy. It’s going to be a show number. (Eva)
You can hear part of Eva & Ewa’s song here.
Jon Henrik Fjällgren, Arc North & Adam Woods – ‘Where You Are (Sávežan)’
This is one fans will be excited for – Jon Henrik Fjällgren is back. He’s come incredibly close at taking the trophy in his previous attempts – on his 2015 debut, he lost out to Måns Zelmerlöw with the song ‘Jag är fri’, in 2017 he came 3rd in a duet with Aninia with the song ‘En värld full av strider’, and in 2019 ‘Norrsken’ came 4th. Born in Cali, Colombia, he was adopted by a Swedish Sami family and joined the Siida community (a local Sami community) in Mittådalen, which is located in Härjedalen in the North West of Sweden. He entered and won Talang 2014 singing traditional Sami songs in the Joik style. He’s been a huge favourite with viewers across Europe and beyond, and this year teams up with two other artists to bring us something a little different to what we’re used to from his entries.
Arc North (Oscar Christiansson) is a music producer who grew up in Stockholm, and says on his website that his music is created ‘to show people that the north can be as exotic as the beaches and palm trees we paint in our minds when hearing that word’. He’s got over 700 million streams combined on his music, and has been promoted by big names in the electronic industry such as Alan Walker, Tiësto and Steve Aoki.
Adam Allskog – known as Adam Woods – grew up in Vaxholm & Täby, outside of Stockholm. He’s a talented classical pianist, and has released covers of himself singing popular songs on Spotify. Adam now joins both Arc North and Jon Henrik to provide vocals for their 2023 Melfest entry.
‘Where You Are (Sávežan)’ is a song in English that features EDM production and joik vocals from Jon Henrik. It’s the first time a song by Jon Henrik will feature lyrics in English, and sounds like a great closer to the first heat on Melodifestivalen 2023. Jon Henrik said of the song:
This song is about when you miss something very much and cannot reach it physically, but you can reach it mentally, in the heart. It is also about being able to get close to something that you love very much at any time in your life.Jon Henrik Fjällgren, Mellopedia
You can hear their song here.
There we go – our first 7 artists for Melodifestivalen 2023! With 5 more weeks to go, it’s all to play for – but could any of this week’s artists be taking home the Songbird trophy and the ticket to Liverpool? Let us know your favourites in the comments!
Melodifestivalen Heat 1 will take place on SVT live at 7pm GMT // 8pm CET on Saturday February 4th 2023.