We’ve written quite a lot about Eric Saade on here so far this year. Not only has he been one of the most prolific Scandinavian artists, of any genre, in 2010, but he’s also fitted so much into those six months. The video for his debut single ‘Sleepless’ was launched in January. In February and March he dominated Melodifestivalen, and all of its coverage, with second single ‘Manboy’. The six weeks after that were spent co-writing and recording his debut album ‘Masquerade’, which was then released to huge fanfare and warm reception in May. And then the touring started – not only on his own headline ‘Masquerade’ tour, but also on the huge Swedish summer festival circuit. And both tours will take him up to the end of the summer and into September. In between all of that, he’s guested on tv shows promoting his music, gone on shopping mall tours to meet fans wanting signed copies of his CD’s, and he’s also found the time to film the (quite epic) video for his latest single ‘Break Of Dawn’.
So yes – there’s been plenty to write about! And we like writing about Eric because he’s a great popstar. Not only because he’s still totally grounded despite being a young 19 year old having to take on board all he has this year, but also because you believe that he really does love the music he’s making. You don’t get the feeling that Eric longs for the misjudged artistic credibility that other pure pop singers feel that they should aspire to. Instead, you can tell that he loves performing his songs – even a track as ridiculously absurd as ‘Manboy’! And that in itself is an artistic credibility that we think should be recognised and admired. And of course it always makes you enjoy the music more, if you know that the singer’s heart is in it. Eric’s definitely is.
What’s now most exciting of all with Eric though is the potential for what happens next. In Sweden, he’s made it. He’s a huge star. But now that initial buzz in Sweden has spread internationally too. He’s been written about on so many music blogs, discussed in lots of online music forums, and even WE actually sometimes receive emails and tweets from girls in Japan, Germany, and other parts of the world, asking us questions about him! Hugely influential American blog D:Listed has written about him too. In fact, we can’t remember the last time there has been such international excitement and buzz about a Swedish pop artist that actually hasn’t even released their music outside of Sweden yet!
So as you can imagine, we wanted to talk to him about a lot of this! What’s happened? What’s next? How on earth is he still sane?! And how is his relationship with longterm girlfriend and fellow Swedish popstar, Molly Sanden? So we met up with him backstage before his appearance at Allsång På Skansen this week. We’d met him a few times before earlier in the year around Melodifestivalen time, and he’d always been extremely polite, very friendly, and thankful of the support he was getting. And so we wondered if he might have changed since then, in light of his new found stardom. But he hadn’t of course. He’s still the pleasantly grounded little gent he’s always been. Genuinely amazed and delighted at what’s happened to him over the last few months.
And here’s what he had to say to us;
Eric: I’m fine. A little bit tired, as I’ve been on tour. But it’s fun. A dream coming true!
scandipop: You’ve had such a crazy six months now, since Melodifestivalen. Can you even begin to describe how crazy it’s been for you?
Eric: I don’t think I could describe it, no! But like I said, it’s a dream. It’s another world for me, because there’s been a lot of changing in the last six months. But it’s funny, I’m always glad and I’m always excited about everything too, about being on stage. And I’ve had such a great response from the fans also. And that’s why I love it. That’s why I continue. They scream a lot….
scandipop: They certainly do scream a lot don’t they?!
Eric: They do, ha ha!
scandipop: You’ve been so busy though, so have you actually been able to sit back, think about it, and enjoy it? Or has it been too non-stop for you to be able to do that?
Eric: I’m enjoying it every day.
Eric: When I’m on stage, I’m always very calm. I’m excited before I go to the stage, but when I’m on stage I’m very calm and down to earth, and I’m just feeling the audience.
scandipop: You’ve spent a lot of time on stage haven’t you? Through touring. But you’ve also spent a lot of time in the studio, co-writing and recording your debut album. Which of the two do you prefer – the music making process, or the performance of the music?
Eric: Being on stage.
scandipop: Yeah, I thought you might say that, you do seem to enjoy it out there!
Eric: I’m an entertainer in my heart and in my blood, so that’s what I do. But I also love to write songs of course. And I love to perform songs that I’ve written. It’s more from the heart, and it’s more me. It’s Eric!
scandipop: You’ve crammed so much into the last six months. You’ve done the touring, the album, the singles, Melodifestivalen, and now the summer festivals too. So what are you gonna do for the next six months?! Is there anything left for you to do in the next six months?
Eric: Of course, ha ha! We have actually planned all the way into 2011. So I know what we’ll be doing. But I can’t tell you, ha ha! It’s a secret.
scandipop: Is it exciting?
Eric: It’s very exciting! There’s a lot of plans. And I wanna come to England, and perform at scandipop! So let’s see how it goes with that, ha ha.
scandipop: Yes, I want you to come over to England too! So, out of everything you’ve done so far this year, could you pick a highlight? A favourite?
Eric: I think everything has been so fun, so exciting. But Sandviken….at Melodifestivalen, when I got through to the finals. That was the highlight.
scandipop: Aww, that’s good! And of course you won that heat too.
Eric: I just couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe it.
scandipop: I guess that moment is special also, because it was the start of when things began to get big, wasn’t it?
Eric: It was. When I woke up the next day after, I was like, ”shit, what’s happening to me!”. And that feeling is indescribable.
scandipop: We saw that feeling on Molly’s face too, when she was in the crowd during the winner’s performance of your song that night!
Eric: Ha ha ha ha!
scandipop: That was so sweet.
Eric: Ha ha, yes.
scandipop: I imagine that there’ll be another single from the album after ‘Break Of Dawn’. But are you aware of the overwhelming love and support for one song in particular from that album? ‘It’s Gonna Rain’ seems to be the huge fan favourite.
Eric: I’ve been aware of that, yes. What I’ve been aware of is that ‘It’s Gonna Rain’, ‘Masquerade’, and ‘Break Of Dawn’, those are the three songs that everyone is talking about. And I like that because those are my favourite songs too! So ‘Masquerade’ will be the next single after ‘Break Of Dawn’. And then I think we’ll release ‘It’s Gonna Rain’ around Christmas and winter time.
scandipop: It’ll be a good song to soundtrack the party season, won’t it?
Eric: Yes, and I can’t release a song called ‘It’s Gonna Rain’ in the summer, ha ha!
scandipop: Ah, you’ve thought these things through, haven’t you?!
Eric: Ha ha. But do you like the video for ‘Break Of Dawn’?
scandipop: I do, yes. I love the video. It’s a proper storyline, it’s a really good pop video, quite epic!
scandipop: And so if ‘Masquerade’ will be the next single, does that mean that the video will be the next chapter after the……
Eric: the ‘to be continued’ from the ‘Break Of Dawn’ video? Yes!
scandipop: And do you know what’s going to happen in the video?
Eric: Yes, it’s already recorded. And I wrote the story actually!
scandipop: And obviously you’re not going to tell me what it is, are you?
Eric: Aaaaaaaaaammmmmmmmm…….not gonna tell you, no! Ha ha
scandipop: Speaking of fan support though. Are you aware of what kind of fan support you have? Do you read about yourself online, or do you try not to?
Eric: Sometimes, but not so much. Because I know that there’s going to be bad feedback and good feedback…..
scandipop: I’ve only ever read good feedback about you!
Eric: Yeah but I don’t read because I don’t wanna know. I just wanna do my thing. Good feedback of course is always cool and funny to read. But if it’s bad feedback, I think that it’s better for me to hear it from my manager.
scandipop: Ah ok. Because he’ll present it to you constructively.
Eric: Exactly. There are so many jealous people out there. And you don’t wanna read that because it affects you.
scandipop: Ok. Well some of the things you mightn’t be aware of online is the fact that the ‘Manboy’ performance from Melodifestivalen has clocked up well over 2 million views on youtube. And after your brief appearance at Eurovision, you’ve had lots of large facebook groups set up in your honour. And you do seem to have a very big international following. I can’t remember the last time I saw an artist who has only released their music in Sweden, have such a huge fanbase outside of Sweden.
Eric: It’s funny because when I was giving the votes in Eurovision, I didn’t realise what would happen. The next day I was like, ”one minute on tv, and that’s how it goes?!!!”. That was crazy. And I don’t know why. But I hope people like my music and what I do. And my dream is to release my first single in Europe in Autumn
scandipop: That was my next question actually. What are your plans internationally?
Eric: Well that’s what I wanna do. But I can’t answer if I will yet, because we don’t know yet. But there are offers, there are lots of offers.
scandipop: Which countries?
Eric: I don’t wanna say yet! But I’d like to start with the other Scandinavian countries, Norway and Denmark. My video for ‘Break Of Dawn’ will go to the Disney channel, right now actually, in Norway and Denmark, as well as Sweden. So those two countries will be the first after Sweden, for me. That’ll be ‘Break Of Dawn’.
scandipop: And do you think ‘Break Of Dawn’ would be the first single in mainland Europe too?
Eric: I don’t even know if my album will be my first international album, ha ha! Because I don’t think this album is…….this album is made for Scandinavia. It’s Scandipop! And I don’t think that Europe would take that. I don’t know if it would succeed. And so I’ve got some songs in my pocket that are even better, that I think Europe will love. So I think I’ll wait.
scandipop: Will you be going in to record those soon?
Eric: Yes, in September after the tour. The 11th of September is the last tour date, in Grona Lund.
scandipop: Busy, busy, busy. You never have time to rest. But you probably like it that way, don’t you?
Eric: I like it that way, yes!
scandipop: Ok, going back to Sweden now. In Sweden everyone knows you. Either as Eric Saade or as Manboy! Your performance at Melodifestivalen is now legendary, and we all saw the birth and beginnings of a huge star on stage that night. But what was it like for you behind the stage for those six weeks of Melodifestivalen? Not knowing what we were seeing on stage.
Eric: I was very stressed, because it is hard work. But it was really really fun too. I was enjoying every day, every minute, and every second. Because to be on a stage that’s so big, and with so many people around you, a lot of happy audience, the votes from the Swedish people – all that just made it a great six weeks. As I said before, I can’t describe it! I will always remember the first Melodifestivalen. I don’t know if I will do it again or not. I don’t think so. But if I do it again, the first one will always be the one that’s in my heart.
scandipop: Was it even crazier than you imagined? Because obviously you’ve watched it on tv before, and you were there for Molly last year….
Eric: It was more crazy than I imagined. It all happened in one night! I was like ”shit, I’m in the final”! And I couldn’t believe it. I was walking the streets the next day and people were like, ”hey, you did good last night”. And I was like ”shit, what’s happening?!”. It was cool and a lot was changing. And that’s what I remember the most.
scandipop: So you won your heat, you came second in the final, and the song is the biggest selling single of the year so far in Sweden. Obviously you could never have expected that. But what were your expectations going into the contest, realistically?
Eric: I was realistically hoping for third or fourth place, to get into the andra chansen round. So that I could sing my song again at least. That would be a dream. But then when I got into the final I was like, ”shit, this can’t be happening”. I was like, ”shit, Måns is kidding with me when he said my name”! But it was for real.
scandipop: Well if we’re going to talk about Melodifestivalen, we have to talk about the shower! Whose idea was that?
Eric: That was my idea! I wanted to do something that had never been done before in Melodifestivalen. And stuff like fire, flames, and lights and all that has been done every year. And I didn’t want to be a new kid doing all that again, just dancing and singing. I wanted to do something else. So the water was a way for me to stand out. To be the one, to make people remember me. So that was my idea.
scandipop: Which is a great idea of course, but what did your manager say, and what did Christer Bjorkman say when you suggested it?!
Eric: Everyone was like, ”no no no, there is electric chords, and LED floors”. But I said, ”they can do it in the US. Why can’t we do it in Sweden?”. So they tried it, and they did it, and we made it!
scandipop: And you made history too, it’s a thoroughly memorable performance.
Eric: Exactly! And if I ever do the contest again some day, I will do something even better. Next time it will be more crazy, ha ha!
scandipop: Cool. And one final question is moving away from your music and your professional life, and into you personal life, if you don’t mind! How are things with you and Molly? How is the relationship, now that you have all these screaming girls everywhere you go? She must find it quite difficult.
Eric: It’s going great. I don’t think she does, she’s used to it. She’s professional. And when I’m on my job, I’m on my job. When I’m at home, I’m private. And we know that. That’s why we ain’t got no problems with that. It’s great!
scandipop: And of course she turned 18 at the weekend, did you do anything special for her?
Eric: We did, yeah. We were out in Stockholm celebrating because she could finally get into the club! And then we went to the tennis festival, where I was singing, and we had a party that night too. It was fun.
scandipop: Cool, well thank you very much Eric!
Eric: Thank you!
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