Thank you for the Music, Sweden
Most people identify Sweden's music with 70s sensation ABBA, yet what lies unknown is that Swedish musics speaks through many international artists's chart successes nowadays.
Swedish talents have topped the charts all around the world regardless of music genre. For instance, you will find Avicii (dance), Robyn (pop), Ann Sofie von Otter (opera), In Flames (metal), E.S.T. or Esbjörn Svensson Trop (jazz) and The Hives (rock).
These days we hear Swedish House Mafia's single “Don't You Worry Child” playing on the radio more often than not, we watch its music video playing over and over on TV, and unfortunately we put up with our colleagues' irritating voices and their painful attempt at fame while singing the catchy tune and trying their luck.
But... is there a reason why Swedish House Mafia was the first electronic dance act to sell out (or even play) the iconic Madison Square Garden in New York City in December 2011? Is there a reason for Swedish music to be so successful also outside of the Scandinavian country?
According to Elisabet Widlund, CEO at the association Musiksverige (“Music Sweden”), the Swedish industry success is a result of the education system to some extent. “It starts in early years when you to to school and have access to instruments and music classes.” For those who develop an interest as they grow older, there is “access to rehearsal rooms, coaching and also a very professional music industry.”
However, the main reason for international success of Swedish acts is due to to their own talent and hard work. “Swedish society encourages individualism and creativity and independence,” Widlund says. “We have a lot of potential musicians that are creative and have their own way of expressing themselves.”
Sweden has also been successful from behind the scenes. Songwriters and producers like Max Martin, RedOne (Nadir Khayat) and Andreas Carlsson have written hits for the music icons like Britney Spears, Madonna and Céline Dion. Namely, RedOne won a Grammy Award in 2010 for Best Dance Recording for the production of Lady Gaga's megahit “Poker Face.”
Swedish songwriter Negin Djagari -the one responsible for mega hits in Japan and North America- said that the success of Swedish songwriters “has a lot to do with our heritage from folk music. That is what has given us all these strong melodies.”