Anton Hagman on Melodifestivalen, Loreen Duel, and Upcoming EP (Interview)

Photo: Lizel Strömberg (ZEL Photography)

Anton Hagman has been picking up a sizable amount of traction since he debuted on the Melodifestivalen stage with his song "Kiss You Goodbye" which has quickly risen in Spotify streaming figures. The song is bright, energetic, and above all else, sweet - thus appealing to the masses with the utmost ease. Now he faces an entirely unexpected challenge with his Andra Chansen duel which will have him competing against none other than Loreen. It's an odd match to be sure, but Hagman is more at ease now that he has arrived in Linköping for the week of rehearsals and the live show itself.

"It feels good. I was a bit nervous until I met her. She's like the best person I've ever met. Of course I'm nervous but that's because I'm gonna be on one of the biggest stages in Sweden and perform in front of millions of people but it's a great honour to share the stage with Loreen."

Hagman is now facing a new level of fame following the first semi-final in which he competed. The attention is an adjustment but he's taking it all in stride. "It's been great. I've hit one million streams on Spotify, that's pretty cool. I'm starting to get recognised in the subway. I like it."

Before Hagman was on YouTube, he taught himself to play the guitar using videos on the Internet. He also performed in a duo called "JA" with another singer, Jonas, in which the pair sung a more folksy style of pop similar to Simon & Garfunkel. They even had the opportunity to perform in Singapore before parting ways. Hagman's move from YouTube to television has been beyond expectation, as he was taken aback by the large scale of how many people work on the production side of putting on the show. But regardless of the outcome of his run in the contest, he is preparing an EP for release.

Though his performance is relatively stagnant, as he only stands in one place playing the guitar, Hagman displays a refreshing level of self-awareness about all the ways he can develop as an artist and performer. "I do like to 'hide' behind the guitar. But I'm working on my performance without the guitar. I don't want to dance though. I look up to Freddy Mercury. He didn't dance, he was just doing his thing on stage."

He is also very aware of how much the international fans are rooting for him to lose to Loreen, though he didn't know beforehand how large the international audience of the show was. "I did not know there were so many people outside of Sweden that liked [Melodifestivalen]. Of course they really, really like Loreen so maybe they aren't one hundred percent positive about me. But what can I do? I understand why they look up to her and see her as a queen. She's done the best song in Eurovision ever, according to me. I don't take offense like that. Maybe they'll like my EP better, when I'm not against Loreen."

Watch our full interview with Anton Hagman here:


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