He’s just won Melodifestivalen, spent the last two days at number 1 on Spotify in Sweden (after two weeks creeping up and down the Top 10), and he’s about to head into the most manic two months of his career as he prepares to represent his country in front of hundreds of millions of viewers at the Eurovision Song Contest.
So a lot of people are going to become a lot more familiar with Robin Bengtsson from here on in. And with his tune and a half ‘I Can’t Go On’. And rightfully so.
But for anyone who’s not been paying attention to Robin throughout his last NINE YEARS under various shades of the Swedish pop spotlight, we’ve gathered together some highlights of his. From these very pages, and beyond.
Ten things you may or may not know about Robin Bengtsson.
01: IDOL 2008
Perhaps spurred on by the success of Darin, Agnes, Ola, and Danny, an 18 year old Robin auditioned for the fifth series of Swedish Idol, eventually making the live shows and finishing in third place overall – behind winner Kevin Borg, and runner-up Alice Svensson. His performances included the likes of ‘Torn’ (by Natalie Imbruglia) for 90s week, ‘Does Your Mother Know’ for ABBA week, and Roger Pontare’s ‘När Vindarna Viskar Mitt Namn’ for Schlager week.
02: IDOL TOP 50
We’ve always thought of him as one of Idol’s better graduates though – and ranked him at number 13 on our countdown last year of Swedish Idol’s Top 50 artists. And far and away the best artist to come out of Idol 2008.
03: CROSS THE UNIVERSE
In 2012, Robin released ‘Cross The Universe’, which was not only co-written by the now infamous songwriting aficionados Joy and Linnea Deb, but also a one Robin Stjernberg – who has now co-penned Robin Bengtsson’s Melodifestivalen winner ‘I Can’t Go On’. At the time, we called the song “A megarrific, mid-tempo, pop/rock ballad. It’s uplifting to the highest and with a fantastic melody for its chorus, making it catchier than sin and giving it something of an anthemic sheen”. We stand by every word.
04: B ROBIN
One year after ‘Cross The Universe’, and Robin Bengtsson re-launched under the new artist moniker B Robin. And he did it with a bang – in the form of the sublime ‘I Don’t Like To Wait’. Back then we noted; “The song is a highly topical amalgamation of the current sounds of John Newman and Justin Timberlake. Although it doesn’t feel as cynical as those comparisons suggest – the resulting sound is fresh enough and unique enough to attribute it to Robin himself, rather than any bandwagon jumping being at play”. And we genuinely believe it could be a hit for him still today too. The video also features Robin wear his hair in a man-bun – long before it became fashionable, and even longer before it became grossly unfashionable.
05: ‘UNDER MY SKIN’ EP
The success of ‘I Don’t Like To Wait’ resulted in two more singles – ‘Fired’ and ‘Sleep On It’ – before B Robin released his debut EP ‘Under My Skin’. And you can check out all of them (and our very words about them) at those dem links.
06: WRITING FOR ANTON EWALD
Skip forward to 2015 and he’s writing tunes for Anton Ewald. ‘Du & Jag’ remains a jam.
07: MELODIFESTIVALEN 2016
One year later and B Robin is no more – but Robin Bengtsson is back! Competing in Melodifestivalen, he qualified directly to the final from the first heat with ‘Constellation Prize’. The song, which has gone on to clock up over 13 million streams on Spotify, was thought to be the main contender to Frans for the win. But in the end, he finished in fifth place.
08: WHAT A RANKER
Those eyes just can’t be ignored, and in 2016 he ranked his highest result (so far) in our annual countdown of the year’s hottest guys in Scandinavian pop music – coming in at number 11. This was up from number 19 in 2015, number 13 in 2014, number 17 in 2013, and number 30 (the cheek!!!) back in 2012. Anyone would think we were making these things up as we go along year by year. We also nominated him for Best Male Artist at the Scandipop Awards last year, were you guys polled him 4th, with 8.2% of the vote.
09: STEVIE WONDER
Robin followed his Melodifestivalen success with a summer single that has more in common with his new Mello hit than his previous one. The funked up and souled out ‘Stevie Wonder’. He mentions the funk part of that description quite a lot in the song itself, which we noted (and loved) at the time.
10: HAVE YOURSELF A MERRY LITTLE CHRISTMAS
You might not want to think about it right now, and that’s fine. But in the distant future when the time rolls around again, you should check out Robin’s festive double a-side – on which he covers a Christmas classic, and puts his own spin on a more modern Pentatonix approach. A Robin Begtsson for ALL seasons.
And here’s the obligatory Spotify playlist. Excluding the Christmas tunes, cos no one wants to stumble across those in mid June.