You might also want to look back on our previous year-end list with Maxida Märak, Death Team, Smith & Thell, Ana Diaz, Cherrie and Léon. All of these favorites of ours went on to give us more great music during 2017.
But let’s move on to the fresh new artists we loved a little extra during 2017 and can’t wait to see and hear more from in 2018.
Janice has made an impression with her amazing voice and soulful tunes, both of which are primed for an international breakthrough if stars are aligned her way in 2018, when she’s coming out with her debut album Fallin’ Up. She has a background in Tensta Gospel Choir, like so many other Swedish artists including the likes of Sabina Ddumba, Lykke Li and Mapei. And if you know me, you know I can’t refrain from mentioning that just like an inproportionately large number of other Swedish music artists, Janice has a Finnish mother. Janice released her debut single Don’t Need To in 2016 and has continued to release more strong singles during 2017, including the amazing I Got You and Queen. She has been seen on Allsång på Skansen this summer, played the Popaganda festival, and even done gigs in Vietnam of all places. She has been nominated as best new act in the Swedish Grammies (winner to be announced in February). And if you want to hear that amazing pipe live, you can catch her at Södra Teatern on 23rd February.
One of the biggest breakthrough artists of 2017 is Rhys. Her song Last Dance was the year’s most played Swedish song (second most played overall after Julia Michaels‘ Issues) on the influential public radio channel P3. The 20-year-old singer is half-Swedish, half-American and lived in the US until she was 10. Her debut single Swallow Your Pride already made a splash in late 2016, and after the success of Last Dance, she has followed up with the more up-beat fan favorite Too Good to Be True. Rhys has been working together with the well-respected producer and hitmaker Jörgen Elofsson. She is nominated in the ‘Artist of the Future’ category at the P3 Guld awards to be held in January.
Vaz is a an artist and producer duo consisting of Swedish-Cape Verdean sisters Jenny and Cecilia Vaz. They have been around for quite a while and debuted as a group in 2012, but 2017 saw the release of their widely-acclaimed two-part debut album Necessary Pt. 1 and Necessary Pt. 2. They have done everything themselves on the album, writing, producing, singing and playing, which is pretty impressive in itself — and it’s earned them a very respectable Swedish Grammis nomination in the ‘Producer of the Year’ category (and another one in the Alternative Pop category). Their live presence is very infectious with the West African-influenced beats joining the finely crafted pop sensitivities of their music, so be sure to catch them live if you get the chance.
Pauline Skött goes under the artist name Skott, and debuted with the single Porcelain in 2016 – which got early praise from Lorde and actually made it to the soundtrack of the FIFA 17 game. The follow-up Wolf got Katy Perry tweeting. Since then Skott has gone on to release five more singles and we are hoping the debut album will be out sometime in early 2018. She has been playing gigs around USA and Europe, including a support stint for MØ on her UK tour. At home in Sweden she was seen at festivals including Popaganda in Stockholm. Skott is also one of the nominees for ‘Artist of the Future’ at the P3 Guld awards in January. Pauline hails from Dalarna and has grown up with folk music traditions, that have influenced her own way of writing songs, even though her sound is electronic and modern.
The Magnettes released their debut single in 2012 (and Sanna and Rebecka have actually been making music together already much longer), but 2017 saw the release of the trio’s excellent debut album Ugly Youth. Their own brand of music consists of catchy electronic pop tunes paired with sometimes very dark lyrics. Their biggest hit of the year was Young & Wild, which made it to the Top 10 of most played Swedish songs on the influential P3 radio channel. The Magnettes have been playing plenty of shows abroad in 2017, including the world’s largest music festival Summerfest in the US. In Stockholm they have been seen among other things at the helm of the Shockholm Halloween parade this year. The group hail from Pajala in the very north of Sweden and several of their songs include references to their roots there. Slipping in some words in meänkieli/Finnish (official minority languages in Sweden) earn them plenty of props in my book…
All photos © Nina Uddin