Simon Forsberg makes his grand debut in Melodifestivalen next month with ‘Tid Att Andas’, a song composed by the great Fredrik Kempe. We’ve spoken to a few sources who’ve heard the song, and to Fredrik himself, and all have said that it’s a pretty magical track. A beautiful, epic ballad. And despite him being relatively unknown, betting companies in Sweden have offered very favourable odds of him and his entry doing very well in the contest. So he definitely seems like one to watch.

We met up with Simon last month for a brief talk about the song, and to chat about his most recent claim to fame – being awarded Mr Gay Sweden 2010.

And you can have a hark below (and above, evidently!!!)

scandipop: Hello there Simon! So, you’re new to Melodifestivalen, and correct me if I’m wrong, but are you quite new to music as well, or have you been doing it for a while? I hadn’t heard of any music from you before your Melodifestivalen participation was announced.

Simon: Well my musical background goes back as far as I can remember. My Father was a musician, and I studied music seven or eight years ago too. And since then, I’ve competed in a television show called Fame Factory, that was in 2003….

scandipop: Ah ok, yes I’ve heard of Fame Factory, so many other great Swedish artists have come from there.

Simon: Yes, yes! And after that I’ve done everything from choir soloist to musicals. But on a daily basis I work as a personal trainer, so that’s my job and my main income. But from now on, ha ha, maybe it will be this – music!

scandipop: Hopefully! So tell us about your song, ‘Tid Att Andas’.

Simon: It’s a song written by Fredrik Kempe, you probably know him!

scandipop: Yes indeed, I know many of his songs!

Simon: And it’s a ballad, in Swedish. I think that you can find both calm and strength in the lyrics and in the melody. And the competition is quite big of course, so there’s a big role for me to fill as a singer.

scandipop: One recent Fredrik Kempe ballad that springs to mind is ‘Moving On’ by Sarah Dawn Finer. Would you compare it to that, has it got a big old key change like that one has?

Simon: Yes, and ha ha – maybe more than one! But I think that ‘Moving On’ was more of a soul song, and this song, this one is a more typical Nordic sound.

scandipop: Could you compare it to anything?

Simon: It’s hard to compare it to anything by other male artists, but maybe you could compare it to another Swedish artist like Helen Sjöholm. Or maybe Josh Groban too, but more Swedish. Definitely a more Nordic sound. It’s more folklore than pop.

scandipop: It sounds really interesting actually, I look forward to it! And you were in the headlines recently because you were awarded Mr Gay Sweden 2010, weren’t you?

Simon: Yes indeed!

scandipop: So how has that been for you, and what has it meant for you, and what does it entail exactly?

Simon: Well there are no obligations actually. For me it was very important for a few reasons. I’m an athlete and I think it’s very important for young gay people to believe that they can excel in sports too, as sometimes, they perhaps feel like they can’t. So it was important for me to compete in Mr Gay Sweden as it sends the message that gay men can be athletes too, and that if a young gay man aspires to be successful in sports, then he should do it – regardless of what is or isn’t expected of him.

scandipop: A man with a message, I like it! Well it was nice to meet you Simon, and I look forward to hearing ‘Tid Att Andas’.

Simon: Thank you so much.

You can see and read (in Swedish) more about Simon at SVT’s Melodifestivalen website here.

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