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Friday, 19 April 2013 22:00

Sweden: Reviewing the track 'You'

Three of the voting countries in the first semi-final of this years' Eurovision Song Contest have already qualified to the final of the esteemed event owing to their reputable status in terms of financial contribution. Sweden will be hosting for the fifth time and our set of music industry professionals are analysing the track that will represent them entitled You co-written by Joy Deb, Linnea Deb, Joakim Harestad Haukaas and Robin Stjernberg, the latter of which will also be providing the vocals. SVT have an intriguing job on their hands in terms of this years' production because they have always stated that their aim is to be different and with a smaller Eurovision Song Contest planned, the challenges they face are endless.

22-year-old Robin Stjernberg has quickly written Swedish television history twice.The first time in 2011 when he came in second in the Idol final with 48% of the votes, the smallest margin in the programme's history. The second time in March 2013 when he was the first artist ever who went through the "Second Chance" to win the Swedish final in Melodifestivalen. Yes, Robin Stjernberg is undoubtedly something extraordinary. Robin Stjernberg took home the historic win in the 2013 Melodifestivalen with You, a song that he himself have been involved in writing. Never before has an artist from the "Second Chance" round taken home the victory in the competition. But Robin managed the impossible on paper and went straight through the screen and into the TV sofas with his charisma, authenticity and ability to move people.

"It's true feelings, I do not go in and just put on a show. The text is about my family and my friends, how it all started, how we rigged a scene in the basement and how my dad and my aunt looked at when I was singing." Robin was a performer already in kindergarten and loved to entertain his friends dressed up in different outfits. While growing up in Hässleholm he listened to music like AC / DC, Stevie Wonder and the Backstreet Boys and participated in countless talent competitions. But despite that it's just music for Robin today, it wasn't always clear that it would be so. As a teenager, he was a promising wrestler but was forced to choose a path. It became music. In ninth grade, he was handpicked to become a member of the boyband What's Up? (which even Eric Saade was in).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KCmmyUqGoBI

He also studied music at Furuboda Folkhögskola, a coveted training with many applicants and few open spots. During his audition for Idol he completely blew the jury away and showed through the programme vocal abilities that stood in a class by itself. "I want to be a performer who affects people. One that is true to Robin, nothing artificial." When his debut album My Version was released in 2012, it went straight into number one on the album charts. Robin Stjernberg exudes something genuine. With his charisma and his voice, that sends shivers down your back, he has taken Sweden by storm. Now it's Europe's turn. One of the most prestigious national selections in Europe is definitely the Melodifestivalen because it tends to offer diversity and professionally produced tracks. Since the current format was introduced in the beginning of the noughties, the public have immersed into the system with millions tuning in to select their representative for the Eurovision Song Contest.

This year, people were somewhat disappointed with the quality and went as far too say that Sweden did not want to win for a second year running. Nevertheless, I believe that the quality of the final was actually quite strong especially compared to other nations. Sweden is surely one of the most successful countries at the Eurovision Song Contest having managed to finish in the top spot on five occasions, the last time prior to last year was back in 1999 with Take Me To Your Heaven by Charlotte Perelli. They have been in the final of the international event on every occasion, except in 2010 when their entry This Is My Life performed by Anna Bergendahl had finished in eleventh place failing to garner approval of the public despite receive support of the jury. With five victories to their name as already mentioned, they are tied in second place with Luxembourg as the most victorious country.

Professional Critics Voice their Opinion

Rating: 80%

Magnus Kaxe: Great chorus with an interesting twist in the melody. Robin sings well on the higher notes in the chorus but gets lost on the lower notes in the verses. The verse is too low for Robins vocal range. Despite this "You" will probably do well in the final and reach Top 10. But repeating Sweden's success in ESC from last year - not in a million years.

Lina Eriksson: Amazing song performed by talented Robin. It's modern and sticks in your head like bubblegum after just one listening.

Matt Mercieca (Muxu): He has a good voice, with a really cool tone. it goes a lil weak in his falsetto though. It does not even begin to compare to the incredible song that is Euphoria, but I like it, and the more I hear it the more I like it. another thing i noticed at the beginning of the song I wasn't that impressed but as the song continues it seems to get better and better. This should do well in my opinion.

Source: eurovision.tv

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jBUJ0u7ZVaE

Published in Editorials

SVT, the broadcaster responsible for hosting this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest are doing everything in their power in order to ensure that they will be remembered, as has been the case in the past where innovation has been key. Abba, winners of the 1974 international showcase were touted for a re-union earlier on in the season but plans were quickly shot down by the male members of the group, Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson who have reached a compromise to co-write a track which will serve as the anthem for the spectacle. Apart from the actual composition, world renowned dance artist, Aviici has taken care of the production and therefore, it will surely be a stunning piece of music.

The song which has been aptly entitled We Write The Story will be officially performed for the first time on the night of the final set for the 18th May where twenty-six (26) countries will be competing against each other to win this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest. Benny and Bjorn spoke to the official website of the Eurovision Song Contest about the track stating 'Martin Österdahl and Show Producer Christer Björkman presented us beautifully with SVT’s vision for the contest. This led us on to the assignment to collaborate with Avicii on a piece on mutual understanding and fellowship. It’s a lot of fun and very inspiring.'  Martin Österdahl spoke of his delight that the trio accepted and promised that it would surely be a great track for the people to enjoy during a night where tension will be running high. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news about the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest as soon as it becomes available.

Source: Eurovision.tv

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sj_9CiNkkn4

SVT, the broadcaster responsible for the organisation of this years' Eurovision Song Contest in conjuction with the European Broadcasting Union was hosting the Heads of Delegation from all of the thirty-nine (39) competing countries. The stage for this years' edition of the international spectacle was officially unveiled this morning, during the second day of the meeting where the specifics involved were carefully explained by Viktor Brattström and Frida Arvidsson who were the brains behind the actual design. The initial elements prove to show a fusion on previous designs, one whcih were received well by the public at large.

Following last years' competition, the Executive Producer of the European Broadcasting Union, Jon Ola Sand went on record stating they they would like to give the Eurovision Song Contest more of an intimate feel as of this year. Hence why the decision of the Malmö Arena was well respected because the audience figures will not be as huge as they have been in recent years when the competition took place in Azerbaijan and Russia and the venue looked too spacious. Oslo is surely being used as the main concept behind this years' spectacle and the designers of the stage stated 'The stage elements have taken the form of everything from the style of butterfly wings and images of moths photographed with a slow shutter speed. We are working with no moving parts, but a solid traditional set design in general is the base of the stage.' Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news.

Source: Eurovision.tv

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FUogvxyv0Aw

Wednesday, 20 February 2013 10:55

Exclusive: Army of Lovers speak to escflashmalta

Melodifestivalen is somewhat keeping an intriguingly low profile thus far considering that Sweden is hosting this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest but nevertheless, SVT is making sure that showcase is successful and as a matter of fact, viewing rates have been stunning thus far. The fourth and final semi-final will be taking place this Saturday evening and based on just the names of the artists, it will surely be a firecracker with two potential winners competing. As a matter of fact, the first are a group who barely need any introduction within a European front following their success during the nineties where they defined a distinctively different form of pop. Army of Lovers will take to the stage in Malmö Arena, the venue of the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest to perform the song Rockin' The Ride written by Per QX, Andreas Öhrn and Henrik Wikström.

Several individuals were somewhat disappointed when the nineties came to an end because as a decade, they had introduced a brand new genre of music, Eurodance which technically speaking was a merge between pop and dance. The noughties sought to change the meaning and indeed, the electronic sound became more predominant and groups such as Army of Lovers were somewhat coming to an end altogether yet seeing you back to compete in the 2013 edition of Melodifestivalen is stunning. What reignited the comeback and was is the plan that will follow?

We had a great track in the studio - written and produced by Gravitonas -  which suited Army Of Lovers perfectly. Universal Music wanted to release the track as a brand new Army Of Lovers single and then Swedish Television heard about it and the rest is history.

Turning back the years, and going back to 1991, it was the highlight of your careers or rather the first noting that your single Crucified managed to reach the top ten in at least seven countries including Austria, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States leading to more success with the follow-up single entitled Obsession which managed to peak at number #2 in Sweden along with at least four top ten positions in Finland, Germany, The Netherlands and Switzerland. When coming up with the idea of Army of Lovers, did you believe that success in such a manner was possible and how was it to garner credibility and fame?

We never thought about whether we would be successful or not. We just wanted to do our own thing, our way.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EdooYar_A6g

In the 2013 edition of the Melodifestivalen, you are set to be competing with the track entitled Rockin’ the Ride has been penned by the male members of the group alongside Per QX, Andreas Öhrn and Henrik Wikström. This is a team which has worked with Alcazar, Carola, Shirley Clamp and Robyn amongst others and thus needs no real is necessary. The focus here is the track and many people are asking what is to be expected from the song and will it has that charm that the group has been known to present over the years, considering the fact that there has been quite a long period of hiatus?

You will find out on February 23. "Rockin' The Ride" has been described as a merger between Gangnam Style and Swedish House Mafia which we guess sums it up pretty well. 

One of the Alexander Bard projects which many people will remember apart from this will surely be the group known as Bodies Without Organs (BWO) which had a lot of exposure at the Melodifestivalen competition having taken part a total of four times, the first time in 2005 with the track Gone, second time round with the song Temple of Love in 2006, then came Lay Your Love on Me in 2008 and last but not least You’re Not Alone in 2009. From non-qualification into the final to runner-up finishes, it was a rollercoaster ride but what did you take from each experience and what do you plan to bring as you compete this time round?

Alexander was a member of BWO but Jean-Pierre and La Camilla are participating in Melodfestivalen for the first time. Not that it makes much of a difference, we all three have lots of TV experience before and different TV shows are actually quite a lot alike. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m2Mp0FJsetI

If one does indeed take up the amount of studio albums that you have released into the music market, there would be four along with another one being a different type of release directed for the United States, therefore amounting to five. These were indeed followed by two compilation albums of hits which you released throughout the years and then also a remix album this comeback is seemingly getting your strong fan base excited as Army of Lovers are back with a band and also a brand new album. Would you care to tell us some details about the album and when it should be released to the market?

The album is called "Big Battle Of Egos" and is set for release in March. It will feature four brand new tracks, "Rockin' The Ride" plus three more brand new tracks and potential follow-up singles. The rest of the album is a compilation of Army Of Lovers classic hits, released for a new generation.

This year, the Eurovision Song Contest will be taking place in Sweden and according to the bookmakers, Army of Lovers are one of the acts that is being considered as a strong contender to represent the nation on home soil yet the first task is set forth for the 23rd February in the fourth semi-final which SVT will be hosting in Malmö, the city which will indeed be the host of the international showcase. How do you view such a scenario and do you believe that a victory is possible?

Of course Army Of Lovers would be happy to compete for Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest and Sweden would do well to finally send a proper LGBT act this year, like Dana International from Israel and Verka Serduchka from Ukraine before. But it is up to the Swedish TV audience to decide. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9CVrbps2a1o

The Melodifestivalen competition has played a major role in the Swedish charts in the past couple of years considering that it receives major promotion throughout the weeks that it takes place and ultimately ranks as more viewed that the actual Eurovision Song Contest when figures are released at the end of the year. Why do you think that the Swedish competition for the international showcase has gained such prestige and if you had the opportunity to change to suggest something to improve it in future editions, what would it be?

The problem is that the Melodifestivalen has much higher artistic standards than Eurovision. Too many countries send bad entries with crappy and unimaginative songs to Eurovision which always surprised us. Eurovision is after all an amazing opportunity for promotion of new music, so why not send the best a country can offer? 

Would you like to say anything to your fans and our readers at escflashmalta.com?
 
We love our fans, we want to be intimate with each of you, and we will always REPRESENT YOU and nobody else when we perform.
 
Source: Lionheart Music Group 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YI7V63vo_xA
Published in Interviews
Thursday, 22 November 2012 15:20

Poland: TVP Confirms Malmö Absence

The Eurovision Song Contest has been quite a daunting challenge for a couple of countries since the introduction of the semi-final system especially when one takes into account that success had been viable beforehand. As a matter of the fact, Poland a debutante in 1994 managed to do well only on their first try with Edyta Górniak obtaining a first runner-up finish with the song To Nie Ja. After that, the broadcaster had to wait quite some time for another top ten result, with Ich Troje managing a seventh place with Keine Grenzen-Żadnych Granic. Since the introduction of this current format, Poland has qualified from the semi-final once, that being in 2008 with Isis Gee and her song For Life but unfortunately have suffered in the three years following that noting that their last representative; Magdalena Tul finished in last place with her song Jestem. TVP have decided to withdraw once more from the Swedish edition taking place next year.

First in 2012, it was due to a number of issues principally the lack of funding due to the Olympics and the Euro competition but they have just made their minds up about non-participation in 2013 as well. The Chief Executive Officer at Polsat Television; Marcin Perzyna states that the Eurovision Song Contest has been focusing more on the show in recent years rather than the music and that there is the 'phenomenon' f voting for your neighbouring countries. Nevertheless, he also added that the competition is the best route in order to promote Polish artists but they haven't had any success in quite some time. Therefore, a withdrawal from Malmö has now also been confirmed with no real reason given to the European Broadcasting Union except that there was a lack of agreement on the issue. This is the second year in a row where they do not intend to compete and considering that they took part for sixteen years in a row, they will most likely return in the near future. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news as soon as it becomes available.

Source: Wirtualne Media

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ya7mZMK-5M

Earlier this week, the European Broadcasting Union released the full results of the Eurovision Song Contest, broken down in Jury and Tele-Voting for each semi-final as well as the final and Euphoria as performed by Loreen for the Scandinavian nation of Sweden was the winner of each respective vote taken during the same week. SVT, the broadcaster responsible for organizing the next edition of the event is actually very much looking forward to putting up a great show and yesterday, there was a formal announcement of the team that will be taking care of the preparations now that the decisions will be put into action over the next couple of weeks and months. 

In fact, those appointed to their respectful positions are Christel Tholse Willers as the Head of Relations, Johan Bernhagen as the Head of Production, Martin Österdahl will be the Executive Producer whilst Christer Björkman will be the show producer. The Executive Producer went on record stating 'These are three people who all represent solid professional knowledge, high level of personal integrity and good judgment'. It has to be mentioned that Willers will be mostly taking care of the communications aspect meaning branding and new methods of media whilst Björkman will look after the content and the format of the shows. As this stage of the preparations, the provisional dates for the Eurovision Song Contest are the 14th, 16th, and the 18th May 2013 and it is also to be mentioned that twenty-one countries signed up to take part thus far whilst Malta despite no formal announced by the Public Broadcasting Services is also set to continue their participation in order to support the local artist abroad with an international acclaimed event for exposure.

Earlier this week, it was also revealed that the host city of the 1985 Eurovision Song Contest, Gothenburg will not be hosting the event and therefore, that leaves only Malmo and Stockholm in the running although the latter city seems to be more in a preferential position at this point in time. We will be following this story more as it develops as the interest keeps on growing. Sweden will be hosting the 2013 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time since their 1999 victory thanks to Charlotte Perelli with the track Take Me To Your Heaven. They did a stupendous job the following year and many people are looking forward to returning to the competition there.

Source: Eurovision.tv

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pfo-8z86x80

Each and every year the Eurovision Song Contest is riddled with a number of countries who are touted by betting odds and polls as favourites to finish on top and in the past couple of years, they have been proven correct on more than one occasion and therefore, it is quite important to have a look at what they are saying this time round. The country which leads all of the possible tallies is Sweden who this year will be performing in the eleventh slot within the second semi-final to be held on Thursday night. Their representative is the upcoming artist known as Loreen with the song Euphoria which has been written by Thomas G:son & Peter Boström.

Loreen (28) was raised on the countryside outside Stockholm, in a family of Moroccan-Berber origin. She has a very focused attitude to her music. She gets frustrated when she's tagged as an R&B artist: ”It's almost bizarre. I never listen to R&B or soul music!” She continues: ”The music I get inspiration from is music that gets you into kind of a trance. Both musically and vocal wise. Artists like Björk, some of Enya's music, and especially Lisa Gerrard”. It's fitting that Loreen learned to play the piano by imitating the very minimalistic Michael Nyman score to the 90's film The Piano. Loreen continues: ”I want to make music that really connects to my soul. I think that's when my music affects the most.” She describes herself: ”Somewhat a loner, a seeker that steers away from the information overload of today. I have no TV set. I have a laptop but I only use it for e-mails and music programs".

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqA_gRMYgA0

She then interrupts herself laughing: ”I'm really “impossible” in this age of living your life in the digital space. The people I work with really hates that I'm not even on Facebook!” Her general aim? ”To unite people in the thought that there is much more to life than the materialistic aspects. I know that it may sound hippieish and overblown. But is that really a reason to give up on this ambition? I'm certain the answer to that is no!” Euphoria, written and produced by Peter Boström and Thomas G:son, is Loreen’s third single release and has already spent three weeks topping the Swedish charts quickly surpassing Platinum status. Neighbouring Norway and Finland were quick to discover this uplifting future anthem and are currently also reporting no.1 positions. Loreen's highly anticipated debut album is scheduled for a September release. The composers have a double job in this year's Eurovision Song Contest as Thomas G:son co-wrote the Spanish entry and Peter Boström the Norwegian one.

The Critics Voice Their Opinion

Brooke Borg

  • I believe that the vocals in this track are amazing although if being picky, I would think she needs to work on her diction. Her falsetto is beautiful and she has very good control on every note she holds and reaches for in her song. The song is a perfect combination of the pop genre with a dance beat and production. It is a very powerful song and i can easily hear it being played in clubs. I like the comibination of the wind, the light and the shadows that these create. Loreen made use of the wind and shadows by letting her hair down and wearing a garment to flow with the song and her dance moves. I think it works as a whole package. I would like to give this entry a good nine (9) points,

Tobias Larsson

  • One of Sweden's best choruses for many years matched with a bold and daring live presentation makes this a strong candidate for victory. I wonder if this one has as wide appeal as most people in Sweden seem to think, but Loreen is nothing short of fantastic. Here come a total of nine (9) points for this entry.

Marion Welter

  • Honestly speaking, I am a little bit confused following the video of this performance because the choreography is very euphoric but nevertheless, I believe that the song is very good and should do well on the night considering that it is a leading favourite. I would like to award her seven (7) points.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4nJcmLMb5to

Entry Background

Performer: Loreen

Composer: Thomas G:son & Peter Boström

Author: Thomas G:son & Peter Boström

Song: Euphoria

Language: Swede

Broadcaster: SVT

History of the Nation

Sweden is surely one of the most successful nations in the Eurovision Song Contest having always been part of the final showcase except on one notable occasion, the fiftieth participation when Anna Bergendahl and her song This Is My Life finishing in eleventh place within the semi-final. Last year they surprised everyone by virtue of finishing in third place but then again, this is a nation which won the contest four times in total including a victory with the world renowned Abba whose song Waterloo remains one of the most popular to this day. This time roudn they will be hoping to continue their success last year and go a step or two further.

Source: Eurovision.tv for the Biographical Information and all respective media 

Published in Editorials

Sweden has always been noted to be a country with a strong music industry and their participation in the Eurovision Song Contest has always been almost always been treated with success missing the final only on one occasion, being back in 2010 when Anna Bergendahl and her entry This Is My Life failed by virtue of finishing in eleventh place. In preparation to the actual competition, they call upon leading names in the music and entertainment industry with the aim of listening and commenting on the entries that would have been put forward by all of the countries including their very own. The results of the first semi-final were released last week with Cyprus leading the board and that meant that the second semi-final entries were not far away. In fact, Malta is competing in the very first part of the evening and hence the verdict was passed.

Unfortunately the panel which is led by singers Lena Philipsson and Mans Zelmerow as well as commentators Gina Dirawi, Thomas Lundin and Lisette believe that Malta does not have the right entry to make it to the finals having received just nine (9) points out of a possible total of twenty-five (25) meaning that it did not even garner half of the required points and languished just slightly above the bottom of the board. The Swedish previews have been noted to have quite the impact of the public. The focus of the evening was definitely Sweden and their entry Euphoria who received the maximum amount of points but nevertheless, the songs which were given a second place were Serbia and Ukraine who will be represented by Zeljko Joksimovic and Gaitana with the songs Nije Ljubav Stvar and Be My Guest. Keep a close eye on escflashmalta.com in the coming days for more news about the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest.

Source: SVT

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4nJcmLMb5to

Sweden has always been one of the notable contenders in the Eurovision Song Contest putting forward tracks with the best possible production and staging and this year is no different actually for the four time winner of the competition with Loreen and her entry Euphoria competing in the second semi-final being the act to beat in order to achieve victory according to betting odds and polls all over the continent. In the meantime though, the broadcaster responsible for taking part in the esteemed music competition is known for promoting music and therefore a couple of years ago they launched a preview show in which all of the videos of the acts competing would be shown and then analyzed by a set of experts, all from the music field and somewhat well known to the audience.

For this years' edition, SVT has enlisted the help of Lena Philipsson, Mans Zelmerow, Gina Dirawi, Lisette Pagler and Thomas Lundin with the host of the show being none other than former Eurovision Song Contest representative and current Head of Delegation; Christer Bjorkman who also happens to be a member of the Reference Group which takes care of the Eurovision Song Contest. Each panelist passes his critique on the track and also awards a mark out of five (5) with the possibility of giving a zero (0) also available. Following the first two shows, the first semi-final has been carefully analysed and the results have now been revealed.

  1. Cyprus (20 points)
  2. Russia (19 points)
  3. Finland (18 points)
  4. Denmark (17 points)
  5. Romania (17 points)
  6. Iceland (14 points)
  7. Switzerland (14 points)
  8. Israel (12 points)
  9. Montenegro (12 points)
  10. Greece (12 points)
  11. Hungary (11 points)
  12. Ireland (10 points)
  13. Albania (8 points)
  14. Moldova (7 points)
  15. Austria (7 points)
  16. Latvia (6 points)
  17. Belgium (3 points)
  18. San Marino (1 point)

The list in itself is quite interesting so to speak especially when noting that there were some interesting choices such as those of Montenegro and Switzerland which are currently being overlooked by the fans of the Eurovision Song Contest for a number of different reasons. As of next week, the task will be to commence with the second semi-final and the first part of the draw also includes Malta who are this year being represented by Kurt Calleja and the track This Is The Night. We would like to wish the artist luck especially due to the fact that Sweden will be competing in the same semi-final alongside Malta.

Source: SVT

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pedf_OQmcmI

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