To kick off 2017, we’ve listed some Swedish artists who made a lasting impression on us at YLC in 2016 – and from whom we expect more great things in the coming year.
Looking back on our previous year-end list, some of our favorites really blew up big-time in 2016. This is especially true for Zara Larsson, who had an amazing year breaking through on the international scene and will go on to do more with an album coming out in the first quarter of 2017. Miriam Bryant also had an amazing year with her songs dominating charts, airplay and streaming. Look out for a brand-new single from her already on the 13th of January!
But let’s concentrate on fresh new artists we loved during 2016 and can’t wait to see and hear more from in 2017.
The übercoolest Maxida Märak was actually already on our last year’s list, but in 2016 she finally released her debut EP “1” and made her presence known in many other ways being the multi-talent that she is. Beside writing and producing her own music, she is an avid human rights activist, campaigning especially for the rights of her native Sami people. She also appeared in SVT’s epic crime series Midnight Sun, not just with an acting role but also singing the theme and consulting on the Sami activists portrayed. She is definitely a force to be reckoned with and continues to impress with basically everything she does. Well heck, she even went and won that TV show where celebrities learn horseback riding and compete in show jumping at the Sweden International Horse Show.
Death Team has dominated our playlists about as much as Maxida in 2016 and what’s not to obsess about with their fun and crazy electro-pop. The duo consists of Mayka (Maja Edelbring), who’s been deejaying before, and Johen Rafael Tilli, who was formerly in Lissi Dancefloor Disaster. Their catchy and upbeat tunes are guaranteed earworms and their live presence is infectious. In September they released their debut EP “Death Team Loves You” (and we love you back!). They also got themselves a nomination for Group of the Year at the influential P3 Guld Awards – the winners of which are to be presented on January 21st.
SMITH & THELL
This amazing folk-pop duo consists of Maria Jane Smith and Victor Thell. They’ve been on our radar for quite some time, especially after they got signed to Def Jam and won the Rookie Artist of the Year in Denniz Pop Awards of 2015. In 2016 they were among other things seen at Bråvalla, Allsång på Skansen, Lotta på Liseberg and Rix FM Festival. They also released their “Statue” EP and an amazing video for their single “Row”. Their debut album “Soulprints” is to be expected early in 2017. They have also made their mark as songwriters for other Swedish artists, penning such gems as Molly Sandén‘s Freak and Oscar Zia‘s Melodifestivalen entry Human.
When Léon got tired of waiting for her break in the music industry, she put her music out on Soundcloud and the rest is history. Her song Tired of Talking caught the attention of none other than Katy Perry, and one tweet from her put Léon on track towards a breakthrough. The track now has over 40 million plays on Spotify. She’s released her debut EP “Treasure” showcasing her soulful voice and finely-crafted tunes, and is currently preparing her debut album. Léon played her first hometown show in April 2016 and was also seen at Allsång på Skansen and on the Late Late Show with James Corden.
Ana Diaz was one of last year’s big breakthrough artists with her personal lyrics and very up-to-date pop production of her perfectly crafted pop tunes. She has a Finnish mother (always a plus point in my book) and a Spanish father. Before embarking on her career as a solo artist, she was a productive songwriter, including songs for international stars such as One Direction, Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez, David Guetta and Wyclef Jean. In 2016 she released her debut EP “Lyssna del 1” and followed it up with “Lyssna del 2”, both filled to the brim with excellent song material. Ana is nominated for two Swedish Grammies, New Artist of the Year and Composer of the Year.
Cherrie is slated to win Newcomer of the Year awards for her impressive and soulful debut album “Sherihan”. The personal and oftentimes painful lyrics feel like they are coming straight from the heart, when delivered in her smooth voice and backed up with a modern R’n’B production. The album took the critics and the audience by storm. Cherrie has Somalian roots and spent her early childhood in Norway and Finland, before coming to Sweden with her mother at 10 years of age. Her songs are strongly rooted in the Stockholm suburbs like Rinkeby. She has two Grammis nominations, Album of the Year and Hip Hop / Soul Artist of the Year.
All photos: Nina Uddin