Agnes is back in the UK for the release of her third UK single, ‘On & On’, on May 16th. And more importantly, the release of her debut album in the UK a week later.
We’ve met up with her a couple of time already for an interview, but we wanted to have a chat with her again about everything that’s being going on for her in the six months since we last spoke. Most notably, and biggest news of all, is what’s been happening over in the US. Just last week, she returned from a 2 month promotional tour out there to launch her single ‘Release Me’ – the song which has brought her success in virtually every other country in the world! She appeared on a number of high profile tv shows, she embarked on a club tour, she recorded a Hitlist show for MTV, she had her song featured on the recent ‘Now’ compilation album, and last week ‘Release Me’ was finally sent to radio officially, for ‘adds’ to start. It was THE most added song to US radio stations on the day it went out. On top of all that, a period of being championed by Perez Hilton culminated in her performing at his own show at the huge SXSW festival last month. And as if receiving a Perez endorsement wasn’t enough, ONLY BLOODY BRITNEY SPEARS showed up to the festival, saying that she was there to see Agnes and was really excited about it (probably because her manager, who’s also looking after Agnes out there, told her to, but that’s not the point!).
As well as promotional duties, she also fitted in a few writing sessions in New York. Rumour has it that the US release of her album would include some brand new songs, so we wanted to find out more about that.
But we also wanted to ask her about how things were going back in the UK. The album was initially supposed to be released after ‘I Need You Now’, but that was cancelled after the single underperformed. That itself is a point that causes great division and a lot of feeling amongst her fans – the fact that the perfect follow up to ‘Release Me’ (‘On & On’) was changed in favour of a remix of a ballad from the album, that whilst still being a really great track, just wasn’t as strong as ‘On & On’. The release order of the singles might seem trivial, but in the case of Agnes, it’s been all too damning. After the stellar success of ‘Release Me’ in the UK, radio would have played just about anything that was served as her follow up single. And sure enough, ‘I Need You Now’ got a lot of support, particularly from BBC Radio 1. Unfortunately, that didn’t translate over to sales for the single. Meaning that six months later, and with the release of the third single, radio aren’t willing to give Agnes the same support in the wake of a single that didn’t sell well. And thus, the momentum that she had after ‘Release Me’ appears to have been wasted on a single that was a slight risk, when it could have been given to ‘On & On’ – a ready made, sure fire hit.
One might argue that a good song will become a hit no matter what, but that just isn’t true these days, particularly in the UK. Right now, most people have no idea that the song even exists. And the sad truth is that ‘On & On’ didn’t even make it as far as the playlist meeting at Radio 1 – they refused to discuss it.
It should be noted however, that a Radio 1 snub isn’t the be all and end all of a single in the UK these days. Just this week in the midweek charts, Alexandra Burke is top 10 with a song that has been available to download from her album for six months now, without any plays on Radio 1. It’s also worth mentioning that the version people are downloading in such high volumes isn’t even the brand new single edit of the song featuring Pitbull – that version isn’t even out until next week! So the song will become an even bigger hit next week. Also, Christina Aguilera’s ‘Not Myself Tonight’ has been snubbed by Radio 1 – but also finds itself in the top 10 this week. Which is even more admirable when you consider how awful it is!
‘On & On’ is released on Sunday in the UK – and it’s a brand new edit of the song especially made for the UK market.
Right, here’s the interview then! It took place last Friday (the 7th)
scandipop: Hi Agnes! You’re back in the UK for a few days are you?
Agnes: Yep, I came back here two days ago from New York and I’m here until Monday.
scandipop: And when are you getting a chance to get back to Sweden?
Agnes: Yeah I’m going back to Sweden on Monday night. I don’t know how long I’m staying there yet, but probably for a few days.
scandipop: And of course you’ve spent the last couple of months over in the US. How was that for you?
Agnes: It was good, I really had a great time over there. One of the first things I did was the SXSW festival, for the Perez Hilton party. And that was a lot of fun because he’s been supporting me a lot, and writing about me, so it was really fun to meet him and to perform at his event. And then I was touring around a lot. I went to a lot of different cities. I did a lot of gay club performances, and a lot of radio interviews. And I did some tv shows too, the Wendy Williams show which is a big show in New York….
scandipop: Yeah, we saw the youtube clip of that!
Agnes: Yeah! And then I was in Palm Springs, and actually Britney Spears came to see me there, so that was really really fun. It was amazing to know that she was coming.
scandipop: Yeah, she came and said that she was there especially to see you didn’t she?
Agnes: Yes, that was really amazing, I was really happy about that.
scandipop: Cool. And so how is ‘Release Me’ actually doing in the US? Is it being played on the radio, and is the video being played on tv?
Agnes: It’s been good. They actually only released ‘Release Me’ to all the radio stations yesterday, so it’ll only be now that we can see how things are going. But everywhere I’ve been to do performances and interviews, they’ve been really supportive, so I really hope it’s going well.
scandipop: Ok. And then beyond that, we’ve heard that when you release your album in the US there’s going to be some new songs on there. Is that correct?
Agnes: Yeah that’s true! Right now I’m starting to work on the new songs, and they’re going to be……well, we haven’t decided yet how many new songs there’s going to be on there, but I know that there definitely will be some new songs on there. And I’m really excited about that because some of the songs on ‘Dance Love Pop’ are two years old for me! So I’m really excited about going to the studio to record some new songs.
scandipop: And will these new songs still be in the dance music and pop music mould?
Agnes: Yeah definitely! And you know, so much has happened to me these last two years, that there’s a lot I can, and want to write about.
scandipop: Of course. And will you be working with Anders Hansson again?
Agnes: Yes. Actually we’ve already started working together in the studio, but we’re gonna be doing even more soon. But definitely, we’re gonna keep on working together!
scandipop And when do you think that’ll be released in the US?
Agnes: We haven’t actually decided that yet because everything depends on ‘Release Me’ really. And also, we’ve only just started work on the new songs, so we haven’t set a date yet.
scandipop: Ok. Well as you’ve already said, it’s been almost two years since ‘Dance Love Pop’ was first released, in Sweden anyway. So when can your native Sweden expect a brand new album from you?
Agnes: I don’t know, I haven’t decided yet. But the new songs that will be on the US album, they will of course be released in Sweden in some way too. But it’s too early to say how and when I’m going to be releasing something new in Sweden.
scandipop: Will Sweden be getting a new single soon? Either another one from ‘Dance Love Pop’ or perhaps a brand new one? Because it’s been a while now since you’ve released a single in Sweden.
Agnes: Yes, we’ve been talking about it. About releasing one more single from the album. We haven’t decided yet, but I think we’re going to release one more song. I think it’ll be ‘Sometimes I Forget’.
scandipop: Oh ok. You’ve already released that in France haven’t you?
Agnes: Exactly. And also I think it’s nice to have maybe one song released that isn’t up-tempo, that is more a ballad.
scandipop: Wonderful! Ok, onto the UK now. ‘On & On’ is released on May 16th, and the album follows a week later, is that right?
Agnes: Yes, the album is out on the 24th.
scandipop: But the album was supposed to be released in the UK six months ago, after ‘I Need You Now’. What happened there, how come it was delayed?
Agnes: Well with releasing an album, everything depends on the single. So it often happens that you set a date for an album and then you change it. There can always be a lot of different kinds of reasons.
scandipop: Yeah I suppose ‘I Need You Now’ didn’t really have as big an impact as it should have had, so perhaps it’s best to wait to release the album after a single which may have a bigger impact.
Agnes: Yeah, exactly. Definitely.
scandipop: Your fans and a lot of people that know your music have said that perhaps ‘On & On’ should have been the follow up single to ‘Release Me’ in the UK, because it’s up there with ‘Release Me’ in terms of quality of the song. Would you agree with that?
Agnes: Erm…….yeah, I can agree with that. I can do that. Because, in one way ‘On & On’ was the first single in Sweden. And a lot of people knew the song already. For example when I did performances and shows, like G-A-Y at Heaven, I did that song too. But you know, you never know how things will turn out. And we gave it a shot with ‘I Need You Now’, and I think….it went ok.
scandipop: Ok. So what’s next for Agnes in the UK after ‘On & On’, and indeed the rest of the world. Do you think you might be doing a tour anytime soon?
Agnes: I’m going to come back to the UK at the end of May and do some club performances. And then in Summer I’m going to be touring around Europe, and also recording some new songs for the US release. And I’ll also be spending some time in the US, keeping up the promotion and doing more performances.
scandipop: Keeping the momentum going over there.
Agnes: Exactly. But I’ll be back in the UK at the end of May. And I’ll put the dates of what I’m doing, up on my website.
scandipop: Ok. And finally, I guess I just wanna ask if you’ve booked some time off to relax at home in Sweden?! Or is it work work work all the time?!
Agnes: Ha ha ha! It’s been a lot of work yes, but when I go back to Sweden on Monday I’m just gonna take a few days off to relax and hang out with my family, so that’ll be nice.
scandipop: Finally! You deserve it love! And best of luck with the single and album in the UK.
Agnes: Thank you, you always ask the best questions, thank you! Have a wonderful day.