Take music and singing seriously – How to be Swedish

In Sweden it’s not good to bee to good at something, except singing. If you can sing you can proudly present it to others.

Things you need to know when you talk to Swedes about music

  • You don’t have to be good at singing. But let’s put it like this, it wouldn’t harm your social standing if you would be.
  • It is okej to listen to cheesy pop songs as long as they are written by Swedes.
  • It is okej to be a rock musician with all those dark leather cloths, wild hair, make-up and aggressive stage attitude as long as you are extremely humble and can talk about puppies and flower curtains during interviews.
  • If a person says “Nämen gud, jag är så dålig på att sjunga“, “Oh, I sing so badly”, and the person really doesn’t sing that well, don’t say “Yeah, I understand why you’re not in a choir!” (I did exactly that. The girl’s reaction wasn’t too pleasant, I have to admit. I have no idea what she is doing nowadays. But suspect she hasn’t become a pop star.)

Melodic Swedish language

Why are Swedes so good when it comes to music and singing? Well, I believe their melodic language helps them to find the right tone and be generally more melody-conscious. Maybe singing is important for them because their language is already very melodic. That said, this way of arguing might be a way  to explain why Germans are good at hardcore techno.

Foreigners tend to perceive the way Swedes talk as very pleasant. On first impression they sound happy and in a good mood. But once you have decoded the Swedish language melody, you’ll quickly find out that the previously so dearly happy sounding neighbor isn’t in such a good mood after all, every time you greet each other in the stairway.

Swedish singing passion and profession

Swedes usually don’t open their mouth a lot, certainly not in conversations. To finally make use of their hidden verbal capabilities, many Swedes decide to join group-meetings where they are directed to synchronously say words in a melodic way. Those groups are called ‘kör‘, chiors.

600.000 Swedes (6% of Sweden’s population) sing in choirs

Since the interest in music is widely spread in Sweden, many of them are internationally very successful as musicians, song writers and singers.

Sweden is not only the home country of popular musicians or bands like ABBA, Roxette, Ace of Base or Avicii. Popular songs from stars like Lady Gaga, Backstreet Boys and Celine Dion, have been written and produced by Swedes.

Sweden is the world leading exporter of music in relation to GDP

For example RedOne (Nadir Khayat) wrote theses songs for Lady Gaga: „Just Dance“, „Poker Face“, „LoveGame“, „Bad Romance“ and „Alejandro“.

Max Martin (Karl Martin Sandberg) and Denniz Pop (Dag Krister Volle) created songs for Britney Spears, Celine Dion, Pitbull, Backstreet Boys, A-ha, NSYNC, Usher, Ace of Base, Pink, Katy Perry and even Bon Jovi.

Sweden is the third largest producer of pop music – after the US and UK

Also, Sweden won the Eurovision Song contest six times 1974, 1984, 1991, 1999, 2012 und 2015.

 

Sing along

Swedes not only sing alone in the shower or on stage. They also love to sing together with their friends and family during family gatherings and events like midsummer, the crayfish-partyin autumn and Christmas. You will particularly notice the quality of Swedish singing talent when you are on a birthday and everyone soulfully joins the Swedish happy birthday song.

Popular music shows on Swedish television

To understand Swedish singing passion and talent, dear New-Swede, you’ll have to watch these shows, at least once.

  • Allsång på Skansen, a sing along TV-show broadcasted from the main stage at open air museum/zoo Skansen in Stockholm. Only a few times during summer. If you find Allsång på skansen in the TV  programm, you can be sure it’s summer.
  • Melodifestivalen – pre-selection process of the Swedish representative for the Eurovision Song Contest
  • Idol – well, the same Idol as in your country. Except, this Idol brings singers to the front who actually remain in the public eye longer than just a few months.
  • Körslaget – choirs compete against each other with interpretations of contemporary popular music
  • Så ska det låta – a blend of old and young music celebrities unite behind a piano to and compete against another group guessing and finally singing songs that put you in a good mood.

 

 

So, dear soon to be Swede, switch on the TV or watch your favorite Swedish musicians on YouTube and start singing along. If you don’t sing well, never mind. You’re not the only one. I know at least one more Swede who can’t sing contrary to their believe.

 

All ‘How to be Swedish‘ posts, here

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