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Melodifestivalen bildThere has been two Swedish national selections of Eurovision Song Contest so far. About 86 % of the songwriters are men. It means that Sweden is not as equal as people think when it comes to music.

Some of the songs that have been picked up for the selections are written by the same men year after year. Every song that a songwriter gets into the contest generates a lot of money. Why is it so important that mostly men earn that money? There are lots of talented female songwriters in Sweden. What I hope for next year’s selections is that we get a female Eurovision Song Contest General who’s goal is to pick up songs of great female songwriters to the selections.

I have a quite good song memory. It is sad that many phrases in some songs are heard before. It happens when the same persons write songs to the contest year after year.

Artists vary but the sex of the songwriters don’t. It is very peculiar that the lack of female songwriters is not more noticed by media and listeners. Everyone is so used to it, after years and years with the same male Eurovision Song Contest General in Sweden.

Most of the contestants are also men, although there are lots of great female artists and bands in Sweden. In the second national  selection tonight 80 % of the artists were men!



Melodifestivalen Final GenrepI have just seen the first of the Swedish national selections, Melodifestivalen, of Eurovision song contest 2010. I am really suprised. There were not one female composer, not one single female lyricist. Many of the songs were very like each other, many of them had phrases that I have heard before in other songs.  Where are catchy and interesting refrains and great verses? I am glad there was one talented songwriter that sang his own song,  Salem Al Fakir.

I wrote last year that many composers whose songs are picked for the contest, take the easy way out writing very simple refrains, with much repeating. The main question is anyway, how is the jury that is picking these songs? Thousends of song writers send their songs. I know many talented song writers that are never allowed to compete, their songs are never picked.  I know publishers that have stopped sending in songs because they are never picked. Year after year mostly the same composers’ songs are picked, no wonder that many of them sound like each other.

These national selections are very popular and sees by millions of people. I really long for a year when we will hear the best songs that people have sent to the contest, no matter who the song writers are, instead of songs that are written by famous song writers, well known by the jury.

Next year I would like to hear only songs by new song writers that have not been competing before. To the jury: Take your time and listen to all songs that are sent to you! That is your job!

Final Eurovision 2008You must have a story to tell  to win Eurovision Song Contest, I am more and more sure about this. Alexander Rybak from Norway won with 387 points with his song Fairytale, better result than ever. His comment to his victory was:  I am not the best singer in the competition. I won because I have a story to tell.  I think people like my story.

The Swedish song La voix with Malena Ernman became 21st. Malena is a great artist and had the best voice of all artists in the finale of Eurovision Song Contest but what was the story in the song?  I heard the verses but not the lyrics of the chorus because of the high notes that made it impossible even for a opera singer, used to sing that high, to sing the lyrics so it was possible hear the words.

The sound mix of La voix in the Semi Finale made it hard to hear Malenas song. It was not easy to get the impression of a voice that in fact was bigger that all other competitor’s voices.

When I saw the video of La voix , sent to all 42 countries,  it was not the original video from her victory of the Swedish National Selection. Someone had softened the contours. There was too much light in it. In the performance  of La voix during the Semi Finale there was even more light on the stage. The whole stage became white. Malena disappeared several times because of this strong light.

Maybe the meaning of the light was to show that Malena sings like an angel and that the stage because of it became a heavenly place.? When I saw it I got serious doubts about the chances of the song in the Finale.  Maybe the lights didn’t destroy for us who know how charming  and communicative Malena is, but for others in Europe for whom the contact must happen during those 3 minutes, I am sure that the strong white light did weaken Malena’s chances.

What was the idea of making the artist dissappear? Was it to  make a better contact between the artist and the audience? I don’t think so. On the contrary, it really made the artist something distant and unreachable. 

The only way for an artist to touch hearts is to communicate with the audience as much as possible. Why was Malena not allowed to do this? Of course she can do it as an opera singer. To blaim the light technician for all this disturbing white light  is not right, he just fullfulled the intention chosen in the softened La voix video.

Here is  some issues to think about for the jury that picks the songs for next year’s competition. Is there a story to tell? Do listeners hear the words loud and clear enough? How can you help the artist to communicate in the best way with people in 42 countries and avoid making obstacles for the communication, how cool it even might look for the audience in the big ESC Contest hall. Most people watch the competition on TV anyway and  they want to see and hear the artist, to be able to connect and become willing to vote for that particular song.

Alexander Rybak chose another way. It was a pleasure to see his performance and his video without any disturbing lights, to see right into his eyes, to see him smile and hear him sing his heart out loud and clear. Also Yohanna from Iceland did communicate with listeners in a magic way.  She had also a story to tell. Her video was very communicative, too. Nothing did disturb the communication between her and her audience.

I suggest that every song that is going to picked to compete in next Swedish National selection is a song that touches hearts. Check up the lyrics carefully and see if there is a story to tell.

I also appeal to Christer Björkman and the others in the Swedish crew to make the video and plans for the performance in a way that makes the artist go right through the TV screen by communicating with the audience without disturbing lights and other obstacles. Let the artist make eye contact as much us possible.

One of my favourites was the Finnish song Lose control by Waldo’s people. It became last in the Finale. I saw the Finnish Finale and there was really lots of energy and heat on the stage then they performed.

I must say I was very suprised in a negative way when I saw the Loose control video! It is a good thing to stand up for homeless people but why make such an depressive video, with the artist freezing to death outside in the night, with eyes that ni the end of the video couldn’t see anything anymore. It is difficult to change the caracter of a song in a Semi Finale in 3 minutes when it has been sent to all 42 countries with such a depressive video.  

So, I give the same advice to Finland. Let the artists communicate with listeners in a positive way both on the video and on stage during the live performance.

My congratulations to Norway and Iceland that became number 1 and number 2 in the Finales of ESC 2009! We have a lot to learn from you.

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Final Eurovision 2008Thank you all for all feedback about my previous blog post about picking songs to Swedish National Election of ESC Melodifestivalen. Most of you agreed and many of you had guessed long ago that the rules are not followed.

I think that the most important thing is  that SVT tells everybody what the real rules are, as I wrote in my previous blog post. It is not a human right that anybody can send their song to the competition.  SVT can choose to do the selection in whatever way they want to. But it is much better to tell us how things are and not pretend that the songs are picked according to the rules. It is obvious that some of the composers and artists are picked before they even sent in their demos. In Finland it is the same but there the record companies choose artists and suitable songs for them.

We that are not satisfied with how things work should disagree loud and clear. Maybe there will be an opinion that forces SVT to begin to follow the rules. It is also important to limit how many times the same composers and artists are allowed to compeat, as a wise blog comment to my previous blog post suggested.

Soon is time to pick songs for ESC 2010 and it is really time for a change. Why is it so difficult to let in new composers and artists? SVT and Christer Björkman, let the new ones suprise you! There could be a new Carola knocking on the door. Open the door for new talents, both artists and songwriters, and you will see that the competition will get a fresh start and the winner of Melodifestivalen will be able to suprise Europe again!

Final Eurovision 2008If you live in Sweden maybe you saw the Culture News Kulturnyheterna on Swedish Television SVT last week. They let us know that the information from SVT about that anyone can send a song to the Swedish National Election of ESC  is just a fake. 

You have not just to be a wellknown composer, the artist that sings your song on the demo must be famous, too.  Fredrik Kempe told on Culture News that when he and Henrik Wikström sent their song Cara Mia to the contest for the first time it was sung by an unknown artist. The song was not selected by the jury. When they sent in Cara Mia sang by Måns Zelmerlöw the song was chosen by the jury to the Swedish National  selection of ESC Melodifestivalen.

According to the Culture News  the thing that happened Marie Lindberg, an unknown artist singing her song right into listeners hearts  and becoming famous over night, is never going to happen on Melodifestivalen any more on. It is really sad!

They also told that famous artists now queue to participate in the contest because it gives them so much attention. Unknown artists have really no chance to be picked by the jury these days.  It’s really a pity that those magic moments  when a new unknown artist touch our heart and gives us something new won’t happen any more. It is very much repetition this year, we have heard the artists  before and the composers write melodies that are very much alike the songs by them that we heard before.

According the rules all the songs that people sent in are going to be judged, first by Swedish Music Publishers, then by a judge group from Swedish Television (SVT).  I know the rules because I have sent songs to the competition two years in a row now. The composer and the lyricist must send in an application form with their names to  SVT together with the AudioCD. The application form  has to be sent in a separate sealed envelope and is NOT going to be opened before the songs already have been selected by the jury. Otherwize the song will be disqualified.

I accuse the judge from SVT of breaking this rule all the time!  The composers that participate are the same all the time, it is a small group of composers and it is obvious that Christer Björkman have ordered songs from them. In the competition for 10 days ago, Sarah Dawn Finer and Malena Ernman were duelling against each other but both songs were by Fredrik Kempe that is a fulltime composer. 

So, it is obvius. The composer must be wellknown and the artist must be wellknown, too, otherwize you can just save your many for the postage of your song.

I really think that there are lack of great melodies on the competition this year, it is becoming more and more obvious each and every year.  The same composers  cannot vary themselves in style and melodys so much.  Christer Björkman defended himself on Culture News by saying that  amateur composers cannot compete with the professional composers. He is so right, they cannot, because they are not allowed!

SVT must tell us now what the real rules are. They are not the rules I got from SVT.  At least the rules are not followed.  SVT has to tell everybody that the rules are just a fake, and let’s see what Swedish people think about that! I think that most of us want have more variety,  more new composers and new artists, songs that touch our hearts instead of hit-machines that are so alike each other.

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