Måns Zelmerlöw (Melodifestivalen 2015) Interview

Måns Zelmerlöw On Melodifestivalen, International Fans, And The Story Behind "Heroes"

By far, the most talked-about and anticipated act of Melodifestivalen 2015 has been Måns Zelmerlöw, who has competed two prior times; in 2007 with "Cara Mia" and 2009 with "Hope and Glory." No stranger to competition, Zelmerlöw got his musical start in Sweden in 2005 on Swedish Idol (the Swedish branch of the 'Idol' franchise). After appearing as one of the hosts of Melodifestivalen 2010, he spent the next few years hosting Sweden's long-standing sing-along show, "Allsång på Skansen," and most recently released the album "Barcelona Sessions."

Now, he has returned to Melodifestivalen with "Heroes," a song co-written by the same songwriters that gave us last year's triple-platinum smash hit, Ace Wilder's "Busy Doin' Nothin'," and the song has now skyrocketed to the top of the charts. We already gave praise to "Heroes" off the preliminary 30-second rehearsal clip but now that the song has been performed in full, it's entirely evident why this is the favourite amongst many. "Heroes" combines equal parts strong vocals, a sweeping hook on top of a song that's borderline cinematic in its scope, strong visuals that include a charming animated character and a light show, solid camera work, and Zelmerlöw's phenomenal stage presence.

Having now secured a place in the Melodifestivalen finals, Måns Zelmerlöw was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to give us this interview.


Museled: Hello Måns, thank you for taking time to speak with us here at Museled.com ~ We're thrilled to have you!

Måns Zelmerlöw: Nice talking to you too! :)

Museled: Congratulations on making it to the finals! Relative to your previous times competing, how has this year felt different for you thus far?

Måns Zelmerlöw: The response has been huge! I've never felt that before. People are loving the performance and the song, and for the first time ever, they're also people my own age!

Museled: It's been six years since you last competed in Melodifestivalen, during which you were the host of Swedish sing-along-show "Allsång på Skansen"; how did this job influence your artistic and performing development?

Måns Zelmerlöw: Of course I gained knowledge and stage experience but most of all, it was an important stepping stone. I needed to host some TV to realise that singing and performing is what I love the most.

Museled: How did you come to decide that this was the year you'd come back to Melodifestivalen?

Måns Zelmerlöw: I felt I needed a big comeback in music after four years hosting TV, and in Sweden, Melodifestivalen is huge and probably the one place where you can actually make waves in the music industry. I just needed the right song. When I heard "Heroes," I realised that was it!

Museled: Even when you weren't competing, you still often found ways to be a part of the contest, such as being a host or songwriter. What is it that you love about Melodifestivalen that has made you stick around?

Måns Zelmerlöw: I like the competition-part; always having dreamt of becoming a tennis pro, this is as close as I get! Haha!

Museled: Tell us about your experience of hearing "Heroes" for the first time, with its Spaghetti Western guitar and that sweeping hook.

Måns Zelmerlöw: I had actually decided on another song and went to my AnR to play it. He said, "Great, but listen to this one." He played me "Heroes" and I loved it straight away. The hooky guitars in the verse and the epic chorus. Also the message is beautiful, that we all can be heroes and that we have to be role models to our kids.

Museled: Many are saying "Heroes" has the strongest visual component the show has ever had. How did this animation and lighting set-up come to be part of the number, and can you talk us through the narrative being told with it all?

Måns Zelmerlöw: The creators behind the number are Fredrik Rydman and David Nordström. I came to them asking for a new effect, something that hadn't been seen on a Melodifestivalen-stage before. Fredrik showed [me] some clips of projection mapping and I loved it! After telling the guys some stories of my life, Fredrik liked one in particular. Back when I was 11-12 years old, I was bullied and lost all of my friends for a year and a half. But during a summer break, I started playing tennis with a new guy and we became friends. The next semester, he started in my class and he made my old friends come back to me. The number is about that, how I invite the lone stick man to sit next to me in the beginning, and how that makes him stronger and brings back his friends. They all come marching in at the end.

Museled: You've had quite the musical evolution from your first few albums and then most recently with "Barcelona Sessions"; is "Heroes" emblematic of the type of music we can expect to hear from you next?

Måns Zelmerlöw: Well not really, I would say that the next album will sound like a hybrid of the "Barcelona Sessions" and the "Heroes" sound.

Museled: A lot of musicians in Sweden seem to skip making music videos for the singles they release; will "Heroes" have a music video? Do you have an album ready to release?

Måns Zelmerlöw: We've already released a lyric video but we're hoping to be able to record a real video soon. [It's] probably a bit dependent on if I'm competing in Vienna or not. The album is half-ready, [and] looking to be released in October.

Museled: In regards to your relationship with the international fans, how has it been for you to receive such diverse support throughout your career? Any memorable stories?

Måns Zelmerlöw: I have the most amazing international fans! One of them actually took a flight from Mexico just to come to ONE "Allsång på Skansen" show! It's crazy, really. I mean, my music hasn't been released in that many countries over the years but even so, it feels like my most hardcore fans are foreign.

Museled: There's already rumblings that not only could you win Melodifestivalen, but that you could win Eurovision itself. How does that make you feel and what would those victories mean to you?

Måns Zelmerlöw: Winning Melodifestivalen has always been a dream of mine and representing Sweden in Eurovision would mean the world to me. I do think that "Heroes" would be a great song for Eurovision! But I try not to focus on winning too much; if there's one thing I know about Melodifestivalen, it's that you NEVER know what the outcome is gonna be.

Museled: Thank you very much, Måns, and we look forward to your performance at the finals!

Måns Zelmerlöw: Thank you!


Find Måns Zelmerlöw on Facebook here and follow him on Twitter (@manszelmerlow) and Instagram (manszelmerlow).

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