You are currently viewing 🇸🇪 Sneak Peek: Melodifestivalen 2024 Heat 2
Credit: SVT // Melodifestivalen // Janne Danielsson

Last week saw the first heat of Swedish national final Melodifestivalen return to our screens. While we saw Smash Into Pieces and Lisa Ajax qualify for the grand final on Saturday 9th March, Adam Woods and Elisa Lindström will have another chance at qualification in the run-off vote after Heat 5.

Phoenix would also like to take this opportunity to thank SVT for once again granting us accreditation to this years Melodifestivalen – we can’t wait to bring you all the exclusive content as and when we get it!

This week we’re off to the Scandinavium in Gothenburg where six more artists will compete in Heat 2, hoping to follow in reigning champion Loreen‘s footsteps. Compared to last week’s heat, where five of the artists were returnees to the contest, four of this week’s artists are competing in Melfest for the first time. Statistically, it is rarer for debutantes to go directly to the final but we could see some real changes this week. Let’s learn more about all of the artists hoping to qualify!

Maria Sur – When I’m Gone

Maria Sur is a Ukrainian singer living and working in Sweden, having fled the war in 2022. At 19-years-old, she is the youngest entrant in this year’s Melodifestivalen. When she settled in Sweden, Maria came into contact with Swedish singer Sarah Dawn Finer (who eurofans may also recognise as the actress behind comedy character Lynda Woodruff), leading her to perform at a charity gala for Ukraine in the Avicii Arena in Stockholm and eventually signing with Warner Music Sweden. Melfest fans will recognise Maria from last year’s competition, where she placed ninth in the final with her song ‘Never Give Up’ which was written by well-known songwriters Anderz Wrethov and Laurell Barker.

This year, Maria is back with her song ‘When I’m Gone’ which again is composed by Anderz Wrethov along with well-known Swedish songwriter Jimmy ‘Joker’ Thornfeldt, Julie ‘Kill J’ Aagaard as well as Maria herself. The song has more of a dark, futuristic sound than ‘Never Give Up’ and is sure to kick off the show with a bang. Speaking of the song, Maria said the following:

“When I’m Gone” is a statement about the inherent strength found in humans. It has an energy of freedom, strong attitude and love. Respecting and valuing yourself is fundamental to being able to do the same to your fellow human beings. In the small private perspective, it is sometimes right to make the difficult choice to break up if you have lost yourself in the relationship.

Maria Sur on ‘When I’m Gone’, Mellopedia

You can hear part of Maria Sur’s song here and see an image from her first rehearsal below!

Image Credit: SVT // Melodifestivalen Stina Stjernkvist

Engmans Kapell – Norrland

Engmans Kapell are a music group from Hälsingland, consisting of Pär Engman (vocals, guitar, bousoki, mandolin), Dedde Malmqvist (bass), Jocke Blomgren (guitar), Görgen Antonsson (violin), Pelle Larsson (keyboard) and Peppe Lindholm (drums). They have been making music together for nearly thirty years and have amassed a large regional fanbase, often drawing hundreds of visitors to villages with not many inhabitants just so they can hear their music. They are best known for their lively, upbeat folk music which you can see in their 2021 live performance of their song ‘Snygg och kärleksfull’ (‘Stylish and Loving’).

Making their Melfest debut, Engmans Kapell are using their song ‘Norrland’ to celebrate and bring awareness to the northermost parts of Sweden. Despite making up more than half the surface of Sweden, Norrland only houses a tenth of its entire population! Speaking about their song and performance, vocalist Pär Engman said they want to bring:

Joy and energy! The song really shows who we are and where we come from, and I don’t think anyone can or wants to sit still when they hear it.

Pär Engman of Engmans Kapell on ‘Norrland’, Mellopedia

You can hear part of their song here and see an image from their first rehearsal below!

Image Credit: SVT // Melodifestivalen Stina Stjernkvist

Dear Sara – The Silence After You

Another artist making their Melfest debut is Sara Nutti, who performs under the name Dear Sara. She is a Swedish-Sámi artist who was born in Karesuando but now resides in Stockholm. In 2012, she participated in the only Swedish version of The X Factor, making it to the judges’ houses. Following this, she spent time in Los Angeles, finessing her sound and working with experienced music producers. This then led her to release her 2021 debut single ‘Something You Should Know’ followed by her debut EP ‘I’m Not That Sad: )’. In 2022, she released her single ‘Stockholm är kallt’ (‘Stockholm is Cold’), which was written alongside Jasmine Kara, who Melfest fans may know for her 2017 entry ‘Gravity’. You can listen to ‘Stockholm är kallt’ below:

Dear Sara’s Melfest entry is ‘The Silence After You’ a mid-tempo pop number about overcoming adversity. In the words of Sara herself:

For me, this song is about getting up after a difficult period and daring to raise your voice, being proud and true to yourself.

Dear Sara on ‘The Silence After You’, Mellopedia

You can hear a part of Dear Sara’s song here and see an image from her first rehearsal below!

Image Credit: SVT // Melodifestivalen Stina Stjernkvist

C-Joe – Ahumma

C-Joe is the stage name of Charles Koroma, who was born in Sierra Leone and grew up in Gävle. He is best known for his work in the Afrobeats music genre, initially gaining recognition for his work in the Gävle Afrobeats music collective G-Force who formed in 2005. In 2017, C-Joe went solo, releasing a number of singles in both Swedish and English. His most recent single, ‘Money’, was released in May 2023 in collaboration with the Sierra Leone-based trio LXG. You can listen to this song below:

C-Joe will be hoping to make a good first impression at Melfest with his entry ‘Ahumma’. The title derives from the word ‘ahumm’, which is a meditation sound in Sierra Leone that is supposed to bring calm and piece of mind. Interestingly, the song also features elements of pidgin English: a pidgin language arises arises when two or more groups of people who do not speak the same language simplify their means of communication, drawing from the vocabulary and grammar of their own languages. An example of this in the song, which includes lyrics written by C-Joe himself, is “Anything u read or see on TV / U nor 4 go dae swallow, nor dae swallow.”

You can hear a part of ‘Ahumma’ here and see an image from C-Joe’s first rehearsal below!

Image Credit: SVT // Melodifestivalen Stina Stjernkvist

LIAMOO – Dragon

Our second Melfest returnee of the night is 26-year-old Liam Cacatian Thomassen, known as LIAMOO. He first caught the attention of Swedish audiences in 2016 when he took part in the twelfth season of the Swedish Idol series, eventually winning the contest. Subsequently, he released his debut single ‘Playing With Fire’, which peaked at number 6 on the Swedish singles chart. He has participated in Melfest on three separate occasions: in 2018 with the song ‘Last Breath’ which finished 6th; in 2019 alongside Hanna Ferm with the duet ‘Hold You’, finishing 3rd, and finally in 2022 with the song ‘Bluffin’ which placed 4th.

LIAMOO’s 2024 entry is titled ‘Dragon’ which builds to a powerful crescendo and really allows the singer to showcase his powerful vocals. LIAMOO boasts an impressive track record at Melfest, with each of his entries going directly to the final in their heats. Will it be the same again for him this week?

You can hear a part of ‘Dragon’ here and see an image from LIAMOO’s first rehearsal below!

Image Credit: SVT // Melodifestivalen Stina Stjernkvist

Fröken Snusk – Unga & fria

Last to perform and the most intriguing artist of the night is Fröken Snusk, whose stage name translates as Miss Filthy. Her identity beyond her stage name is unknown to the public and she performs in either a pink or purple balaclava, heightening the mystery. She usually performs in the Swedish music genre known as epadunk, which is often electronic and features lyrics centred around sex, alcohol and driving EPA tractors (a car modified to have a low maximum speed which can be driven from the age of 15 in Sweden, often associated with more rural areas). She has collaborated extensively with the Swedish singer-songwriter, DJ and producer Rasmus Gozzi, including on the single ‘Rid mig som en dalahäst’ (‘Ride Me Like a Valley Horse’) which peaked at number 1 in the Swedish singles chart in 2022.

Fröken Snusk has expressed the desire to be a voice for women in the emerging EPA culture and it is therefore no surprise that her entry is the only Melfest song this year to be composed entirely by female songwriters, having been produced by the artist herself alongside Sara Ryan. Her entry ‘Unga & fria‘ (‘Young & Free’) is tamer lyrically than some of her other songs but still features the characteristic elements of epadunk that her Swedish fans will know and love. Could this Melfest newcomer make a lasting impression?

You can hear a part of Fröken Snusk’s song here and see an image from her first rehearsal below!

Image Credit: SVT // Melodifestivalen Stina Stjernkvist

Melodifestivalen Heat 2 takes place on February 10th 2024 at 20:00 CET // 19:00 GMT Live on SVT – click here to watch live.

Who’s your Melfest Heat 2 favourite? Leave a comment below to let us know!

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