The FO&O, Jasmine Kara, and Anton Hagman on Their First Melodifestivalen Rehearsals (Interview)

Another week, another new batch of artists and their competitive entries in Melodifestivalen! The first rehearsals in the arena have wrapped up and we had the opportunity to speak with a few of the artists at the first official press conference of the week.

Newcomer Anton Hagman is set to make a big transition from his YouTube audience to the big televised stage, with his song "Kiss You Goodbye". "I have been doing music since I was twelve years old. I posted my first YouTube cover, I sang 'With You' by Chris Brown, and now I'm here. We were recording ["Kiss You Goodbye"], it wasn't meant for Melodifestivalen at all, but then I felt like it could fit into this competition. It was the perfect timing to send it into the auditions so we did and it went well! [The staging] feels like me. If I would've gone up there and danced [with] big explosions and stuff like that, that's not me." Hagman adds that he's hoping to get the "best experience of [his] life" by participating and to have lots of fun.

Jasmine Kara debuted her fiery red stage outfit at her first press rehearsal which matches the overall theme of her staging, which boasts a predominantly red aesthetic and makes a strong use of wind machines. "It's fun but I gotta watch out because [they] give me tears." Kara says she plans to work on a lot in the coming rehearsals between now and Saturday, and shares that the strong use of red in her performance connects back to the song's message of love. The performance also has an incredible camera effect during the song's middle-8, which spins the entire background behind Jasmine. Fans wrote in to ask about Jasmine releasing two EPs at the same time. "I sometimes maybe drop too much. But I also feel like it's very important to just, even if you don't feel like 'This is the best I've ever done', sometimes it's good to share it because it's a process and you want to have your fans in the whole process with you."

Boy-band FO&O have been highly sought after by Melodifestivalen executives for some times now due to their strong turnout rate of viral marketing content and avid fan-following now only in Sweden but numerous other countries spanning the globe. Still, Melodifestivalen's large viewership was a strong incentive for the group to finally decide to participate. "There's millions of viewers on this show so we just want to take the opportunity to spread our new music [to] the people that don't know us yet, and this is a good show for it," says Omar Rudberg. FO&O were previously known as "The Fooo Conspiracy" and consisted of four members. But after member Olly Molander left, the group announced a name-change that was only made public recently. "It all happened so fast," says Felix Sandman. "Olly left the band and then we continued working and then we just realised we have to change the name because we don't want to have the third 'O' cause we're only F-O-O now. So we decided to change [it] and we added an '&' cause of [the] Foo Fighters. They don't like that, there's a lot of fan bases trying to sue so 'FO&O' was the name we [came] up with."

FO&O have also established a strong use of choreography since their group was first conceived. Oscar Enestad shares how this dance component will still be present in their Melodifestivalen performance. "It will be an intense choreography but it won't be [so] much because we [have] to sing as well. So we have combined the singing and the dancing really [well], we think. It's like fifty-fifty. But it's gonna be a really nice and explosive performance. No flips, though." The group also promises new music is set to be released following their run in the contest. "We have an album," adds Enestad. "Maybe in the middle of this year," says Rudberg. "It's almost done and we've written fifty percent of the songs," continues Enestad. The group also promises to release a music video for their Melodifestivalen entry, "Gotta Thing About You", that's already been shot. The release date will be determined based on their results in Saturday's semi-final.

Watch our press conference interviews with the FO&O, Jasmine Kara, and Anton Hagman here:


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