She’s the Swedish songstress that came close to giving Estonia a victory on home soil at Eurovision 2002. But despite three appearances in Sweden’s own Melodifestivalen over the following years, Anna Sahlene is doubtful about her chances of returning to the famed selection show.
Speaking on the Schlagervännerna: Eurovision Legends podcast, Anna says “the door has been closed for me”.
Anna Sahlene on her Melodifestivalen future
The “Runaway” hitmaker competed in Melfest in 2003, 2006 and 2009. On her first two attempts, she placed fifth in her semi. Her last effort — “Killing Me Tenderly” — proved to be her least successful in the competition, finishing seventh in its semi. However, it remains her highest-charting single to date, reaching number ten.
For some time afterwards, her Mello exile was self-imposed.
“The first years after ’09 I didn’t, because I felt a little bit ashamed that I hadn’t passed through to the finals. I felt like I had three chances, I didn’t make it. So, my self-esteem was a bit low”.
However, Sahlene soon picked herself back up again and submitted songs to the Swedish selection on multiple occasions over the last decade. But she never got the call asking her to compete again.
And now, the singer has come to the conclusion that her Melodifestivalen days are behind her.
“To be honest, the door has been closed for me in Sweden. I think it’s two reasons.
One reason is that the songs that I performed didn’t do as well as expected. In combination with that, we had some different opinions about my performance, to keep it a bit diplomatic”.
For instance, Sahlene had always believed that “Killing Me Tenderly” worked best as a solo number. However, the powers that be wanted a duet and Maria Haukaas Storeng was drafted in.
Estonia didn’t offer much hope for Anna either. But things are changing there.
“And also, in Estonia, the door has been closed for non-Estonian singers for many years. But now that door is open. And boy, would I love to go back to Estonia and meet my Estonian audience”.
Of course, Sweden’s Victor Crone sang for the Baltic nation in 2019.
Despite the obstacles, Anna is adamant that she wants to get back on to the Eurovision stage as the lead artist at some point.
“So, I just want to tell you all that I would love to return to the Eurovision stage but my hands have been a little bit tied”.
Anna Sahlene rejected Melodifestivalen songs
Many of Anna’s failed Melfest submissions remain under lock and key.
However, she does reveal the story behind one of the unreleased numbers.
“There are a couple of songs that have been written together with Eurovision winners. And one song was kind of a feministic anthem that we did right after “me too”. I did that together with one fantastic female producer, one extremely known Swedish writer (when I say writer, I actually mean a writer of books, she’s a woman too), together with Linnea Deb who won with Måns Zelmerlöw’s “Heroes”, and myself.
So, it was actually the first time that it was an all-female team in Sweden that sent something in, with four prominent female writers. But unfortunately, it didn’t.
What do you think of Anna’s past efforts? Do you want to see her return? Let us know in the comments.