Shirley, Shirley, Shirley! Some of you will know and love her, some of you will know and hate her. Many will be familiar with her notoriety. To those who’ve never heard of her, she’s the Grand Dame of schlager. She started her career with Melodifestivalen in 2003 with the forgettable ‘Mr Memory’. But she made her name at Melodifestivalen in 2004 and 2005 with two of the strongest and most loved schlager anthems of this generation, ‘Min Karlek’ and ‘Att Alska Dig’. They finished 2nd and 4th respectively in their finals – and she’s been a treasure to a lot of scandipop fans ever since. Her willingness to embrace high campery and her refusal to subdue THAT voice has endeared her to many and riled others. Those of you looking for the prime example of why Shirley evokes the emotions in people that she does, need look no further than her cover of ‘Do They Know Its Christmas’. Words can’t describe it, so we won’t be so arrogant as to try. However, we will say that it’s the only Christmas song we play all year round. Make of that what you will.
After two albums of brilliant schlager pop and questionable (but loveable all the same) attempts at r&b, and a third album consisting of Swedish covers of English pop songs, Shirley did the unthinkable. She released an album of down tempo guitar music. It just wasn’t Shirley, it was rubbish! Many abandoned her and the rest clung to the hope that it was just a mere phase, a mid life crisis if you will.
Well she’s back in Melodifestivalen this year for the first time since 2005. And even though it’s been described as a mid-tempo ballad, Shirley is keen to address the obvious bad will that was directed towards her last musical efforts. She says; ”despite it being a ballad, it is mid-tempo, and more like my previous two Melodifestivalen entries than my last album”. Well thank heavens for that. We’ll take you back. On top of this, all our reservations are put to rest by the sheer caliber of who’s written the entry, ‘Med hjärtat fyllt av ljus’; Ingela ‘Pling’ Forsman, Bobby Ljungren, and Henrik Wilstrom. They call it a demanding (sounds interesting) and melodic (even more interesting) mid-tempo number about finding the value of life. Shirley takes part in the first heat on February 7th.