Benjamin Ingrosso, Lisa Ajax, and Roger Pontare Among Acts to Compete in Melodifestivalen 2017 Semi-final 2

Semi-final 2 of Melodifestivalen 2017 is underway with a fresh batch of seven competing acts ready to battle it out for a qualifying result. We caught up with some of these artists at the first press conference of the week to check in with how their rehearsals were going and again after the first public dress rehearsal to gauge their feelings going into Saturday.

Roger Pontare is an established veteran of Melodifestivalen/Eurovision, having competed at Eurovision twice (1994, 2000), and competed again in Melodifestivalen in 2006. He returns with another traditional song, "Himmel och hav". "It's exciting because it's eleven years ago. Big things have happened since 2006. There are a lot of stars I've never met. The gathering is fantastic and I just know a few of them. Then the Eurovision has [become] a lot larger than 2006 so it's exciting to see every step we take before the evening. Everything is new. The song is a kind of hymn, film music I would call it, with a lot of influences from the Arabic, from the Eastern in this song, throat song and lutes from Arabia so it's a [multi-cultural] song I would call it. The stage is a lot of fires. You walk through a fire forest from the audience, up on the stage, and then you meet the LED shootings with heaven and sea and everything. I walk with the torch so you get the right earth-feeling from the beginning. Then you try to sing and tell the audience the text to this music. It's about heaven and sea, himmel och hav. The text is a remembrance and a celebration to the sea and heaven. I hope that the public and the Swedish people are gonna like this song. I don't know, it's always a [mystery], you never know."

Semi-final 2 also brings some new faces to the contest, including reggae artist Etzia. "My song is Caribbean pop reggae song, and it's a love song, an uplifting love song. Right now, I want to create from me, so everything has to come from here, from my emotions, from what I've been through the past and I'm putting it out. I'm finally putting more of that out now so that's what I'm creating from Etzia, from the heart." Etzia has a decent amount of content already out, with many of her songs having music videos to accompany them (something that isn't necessarily a given in the Swedish music industry). "I work with a lot of people in Sweden and especially from Gothenburg where I come from, where I live. We're a tight little family, reggae family, dansa family down in Gothenburg and we just make everything happen." Her entry "Up" was one that she co-wrote on specifically for Melodifestivalen and her staging was choreographed by Thomas Benstem.

Allyawan is another newcomer to Melodifestivalen and he is bringing a mellow, mid-tempo hip-hop song. "We made this song a year earlier than when we got entered into the competition. This was actually a piece of the album that I'm working on right now that has a lot of melody and has a lot of, also rap. It's pretty blended with everything. It's pretty mainstream also but I'm trying to just play with expectations a little bit. I wrote this song in a time where there wasn't a lot of love in my life, especially not with a girl like that. I kind of dictated my own future in it cause I made a song with so much emphasis and so much love in this track, and today I have that kind of love. It took like a year from that so this song for me is just proof of, if you say something, it's gonna happen. I try to talk about love a lot cause I want love in my life. I dictate my future."

Lisa Ajax is one of several back-to-back returning acts from Melodifestivalen 2017. After a respectable run with "My Heart Wants Me Dead" she has brought another song written by "The Family" called "I Don't Give A" which was also co-written by the Swedish pop artist Ola Svensson. Her staging is more high-tech this time around, with a large LED screen behind her playing a montage of herself peacocking. "I'm on screen, laughing, and I want the audience to know what kind of feeling they're supposed to feel when they see my little show. Lisa's entry has also gained headlines for containing F-bombs, something atypical for Melodifestivalen songs though Swedish censorship doesn't block cursing from playing on television and radio. "The word is an expression in this song, it's like, 'I don't care what you say'. It's more powerful than 'I don't care what you say' when you say 'I don't give a fuck what you say'. That's more powerful and that's what we want in this song so it's really important. But we will fix it if we're going to Eurovision with the song." Lisa has taken her previous experience in stride as opposed to letting it weight pressure onto her second run. "I actually thought I was going to feel more pressure but I'm not and that's really nice to not feel.

To no one's surprise, Benjamin Ingrosso received a warm response from the audience at the first dress rehearsal. "I don't want to change anything, I just want to do it better. Small mistakes, but maybe not mistakes that you guys noticed, hopefully." He is delighted to learn that after our previous one-on-one interview that there was a response from people encouraging the prospect of him doing a full studio album. "That's amazing that I actually have people that would listen to my album, that's amazing!"

Watch our first press conference interviews for semi-final 2 here:


Copyright © 2013 Something to Muse About and Blogger Templates - Anime OST.