If you’re addicted to Swedish pop and your summer seems pretty empty with Melodifestivalen so far away, then we suggest you introduce yourself to Svensktoppen nästa – a contest organized by Sweden’s most popular radio station P4 for the seventh year. The qualifying songs for the final have just been announced, and trust us: you should listen to them. They’re as Melodifestivalen-like as it gets. And we haven’t even told you the best thing: The winner of this contest is going to participate in Melodifestivalen 2015!
In March Radio P4 started inviting both new and more experienced musicians to submit their original songs for “Svensktoppen nästa” (Free translation: “The Swedish hit parade – next generation”). Each one of the 25 provinces in Sweden had a local preselection with its own live show during the year. Eventually 8 out of the 25 winning songs were chosen by a jury to participate in the final, which will be broadcast live from Liseberg amusement park in Gothenburg. The winner, which will be chosen by the public and a jury (the public has more power), will be played regularly on the radio and also get a chance to enter the station’s weekly chart.
But it was only in 2012 that the winner of Svensktoppen nästa was first offered the real treat: a secured place in Melodifestivalen! The first artist with this honour was Therese Fredenwall, who participated in Melodifestivalen 2013 with “Breaking the silence”. Last year it was Eko with “Red”. On 31 August we’ll know who’s gonna be the lucky one this year.
“Svensktoppen nästa” finalists
We could hide this year’s finalists in your Melodifestivalen 2000-2014 playlist and you wouldn’t even notice. These songs are classic #melfest. And like Eurovision and Melodifestivalen songs often do, they will all remind you of some other songs you already know. For example, Morgan Färm’s song “Honung” (Honey) basically shares the chorus of “In and out of love”‘ by Martin Rolinski from Melodifestivalen 2014. And the beautiful song “Ways of growing old” performed by “Last trees” is in the style of Swedish band “First aid kit”.
We really think you should all pay attention to song number 8, “When the blackbirds sing” by Rebecca Fredriksson. It’s a beautifully simple ballad that could easily win a Melodifestivalen semi-final. If the target audience is the same as in Melodifestivalen, it should have success here as well. We wonder if she’s planning to perform it standing all alone on a stage full of lights, just like Ellen Benediktson did with “Songbird” at Melodifestivalen 2014.
I think we should all take a leaf out of Sweden’s book. In Sweden, they don’t need an excuse like Eurovision in order to organize fun musical contests. They do it all year round, because they truly love it. They have a passion for creating new music, and that’s probably why their Eurovision preselection is so popular—both in Sweden and in so many other unexpected places. So I suggest you all have some fun and watch the final of Svensktoppen nästa on 31 August while you wait for the real thing to start. If the first Melodifestivalen artist is about to be chosen, then the start of #melfest season must be closer than we think!