Axel Schylström on Melodifestivalen Debut, Song-Writing in Swedish, and Changing the Conversation (Interview)

Axel Schylström was first introduced to the public on Swedish Idol 2015, where he placed fourth. Despite wanting to compete in Melodifestivalen right away, the deadline for Melodifestivalen 2016 didn't work out with his stint on Idol so he had to wait till Melodifestivalen 2017. His song "När ingen ser" is one that he wrote on himself, and also features production from Beshad Ashnai who is best known to viewers for doing the foundation track of Ace Wilder's "Don't Worry". This all bodes well for those hoping for more of the up-tempo, dance-oriented songs in the contest. We spoke to Axel at Warner Music Sweden as he was still preparing for the week of his semi-final, about his song, performance, and more.

"It's very up-tempo. It's kind of a party song, I think it's very dancey. The lyrics are about always being yourself and daring to do all this crazy shit you're doing when nobody is watching. Like when you're home alone in your apartment and you put on a good song, you dance, it's about daring to be weird."

Axel is also known for having been in an accident that left him with burn-scars, an experience which he has used to help others by going around Sweden doing motivational speaking appearances. But he admits that the Swedish media often fixates on this one facet of himself as opposed to asking more of the questions they should be asking about his blossoming music career. "I have absolutely no problems speaking about it. Sometimes I like talking about it. But sometimes it gets in the way of my musical thing because journalists always tend to talk about this because it's the first thing they see when they look at me."

Axel describes his music as "Swedish Pop" not only for his being Swedish but due to the active role he takes in composing the music he aims to release, the lyrics of which have all been in Swedish thus far. "I like to write my lyrics in Swedish because it's my main language. I always want my music to say something in the lyrics. When I'm writing music, it's the Swedish lyrics that come to me. I find it hard writing in English because I can't tell as much with the lyrics. That's why I'm doing the pop in Swedish, because I think the lyrics are very important and I can't do them [well] in English."

The staging for the song is set to be lively and energetic to match the song's tone. Axel was involved in the creative process of developing the song's presentation to the best of his ability. "I did have a lot to say about that but I'm not very good at stage numbers. I don't know anything about lights, dancers, I don't know anything about that. So I just presented my thoughts about it and then a choreographer just took that and he made a perfect number, in my opinion, regarding what I said to him. He kept all the things I had in mind and he made it in his way, very professional. His name is Thomas Benstem. I am dancing in it. Not all the time but I have my steps, I have my moments."

Watch our full interview with Axel Schylström here:


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