The announcement of performers taking part in Melodifestivalen 2009 has so far generated a lot of excitement amongst fans. Some people are most excited about long overdue debutantes, others are hoping that their favourite, already established acts, don’t fall flat at the first hurdle, given the strength of the competition this year, and then there are those who are overjoyed that their much missed favourites are making a return to the competition, or just to music in general. We however, are putting all of our hope towards and weight behind an artist that’s so far epitomised the term ‘underrated’ – Jenny Marielle Petersson – aka Velvet!
Even before she was confirmed to be taking part in Melodifestivalen, one of our most anticipated releases of 2009 was Velvet’s second album. Since her first album ‘Finally’ flopped in Sweden in 2006, she’s released quality single after quality single, each waiting to be housed on the amazing album they sound like they were made for. First out of the blocks was ‘Fix Me’. Its catchy, uplifting, melodious vocal sat perfectly over its soaring, hard, trance backing track – made for both clubs and radio. And despite being almost two years old, the song still has life in it – it’s played sporadically on UK music channels and has been picked up by permanently on the pulse US label, Robbins Entertainment. The follow up single ‘Chemistry’ used the same effect and achieved the same result. Both ‘Fix Me’ and Chemistry’ were hits in Sweden, and released in various other countries in middle Europe to varying levels of success. Earlier this year, she entered Melodifestivalen with the fan favourite ‘Déjà vu’. The songs was entered into the very tough Heat One and had to settle for 5th place, thus knocking her out of the competition. She was beaten by popular and established names; Christer Sjogren, Amy Diamond, E-Type and The Poodles, and Suzzie Tapper.
Being knocked out proved to be a blessing though. Because it was in Heat One, ‘Déjà vu’ was essentially the first Melodifestivalen 2008 track released to radio (songs can only be released to radio once they’ve left the competition, or once the competition has finished). And as it was such a strong track, radio were all over it. It managed to reach number 2 in the singles chart, and stayed in the top 10 for well over a month, becoming the biggest non-final entry this year. She followed it up with what is easily one of the best sings released in 2008 – ‘Take My Body Close’. This release moved her up a level, seeing her move into a commercial house sound, that suited her perfectly. The backing track resembled the eighties pastiche style of Sunblock or Star Pilots, and goes down an absolute storm at the scandipop club nights – sounding right at home on club speakers! It’s also been a hit in Sweden, reaching number 8, and has been in the charts in Poland for a couple of months now too. The Positiva label in the UK have expressed an interest in licensing the song over here, but discussions have stalled for now unfortunately.
So with those four strong songs, plus a fifth buzz track ‘My Rhythm’, anticipation of Velvet’s second album has been almighty, to say the least! Her first album, ‘Finally’ wasn’t a hit in Sweden, but it did produce three minor hit singles; ‘Rock Down To Electric Avenue’ (yes, it’s a cover of the Eddie Grant song!), ‘Don’t Stop Moving’ (produced by the genius behind September – Jonas Von Der Burg), and ‘Mi Amore’ (her first foray into Melodifestivalen – she entered this into the 2006 competition). Her profile has raised considerably since then though, so all bodes well for the second album when it’s finally released. Especially since she’s now going to be taking part in Melodifestivalen with ‘The Queen’ – composed by Tony Nilsson and Henrik Janson.
Nilsson and Janson last worked together on one of the other great singles of 2008 – ‘Discotheque’ by Elin Lanto. But Henrik Janson’s discography gets even more impressive. He’s worked on massive hit albums by the following; Roxette, Ace of Base, Backstreet Boys, Westlife, Blue, Will Young, Gareth Gates, Paul Potts, Il Divo, and Rachel Stevens! Tony Nilsson has worked on the best singles from Ola. The authors describe ‘The Queen’ as a retro sounding song that people will either love or hate. Velvet herself gives it a more positive description – a Velvet-type song with attitude, an uptempo pop song that won’t disappoint people who liked ‘Déjà vu’. And that really is exactly what we want to hear from her!
Let’s hope that 2009 is Velvet’s year.