Axel Schylström: «It’s all about the three minutes on stage» (Swedish semifinalist – Interview)

A few days ahead of the 4th and last semifinal of this year’s Melodifestivalen, taking place in Skellefteå, ESC+Plus has talked to Axel Schylström, who will be competing on stage on Saturday. The song he will perform is called «När Ingen Ser» (When Nobody Is Looking), written by Behshad Ashnai, David Strääf and Axel himself. Two days prior to the last semifinal of this year’s Melodifestivalen, this is how Axel sees himself and his ahead of the competition.

ESC+Plus: Hello! First of all, we want to congratulate you for being part of this year’s Swedish national song contest Melodifestivalen. You are officially in the run to represent your country in Kiev.

What can you tell us about your music career? What are the highlights? How would you present yourself to the audience?

Axel Schylström: Well it’s been a short one this far. I was on Swedish Idol in 2015 where i ended up in fourth place. Before that i just sat at home with my guitar dreaming about bigger things. So when 2016 began i was an Idol-graduate. I’ve spent 2016 learning about the business of music and writing songs etc. So i’ve released one self-written single in 2016 and this is my second one coming out after Melodifestivalen.

ESC+Plus: When it comes to music, what’s the task you dedicate the most of your time?

A.S.: I pay a lot of attention to lyrics. I want my songs to “speak”. So when it comes to lyrics i write most of the stuff all by myself, i want it my way and i am very picky.

ESC+Plus: What made you decide to take part at this popular song contest? Have you ever seen yourself performing on that stage?

A.S.: When graduating from Idol people see you as kind of a cover artist. I had been singing other peoples songs on TV for many weeks. Now i want to present myself as an independent artista singing my own things. Also i love to compete, so even if I dont expect winning, the competition thrills me in some weird way.

ESC+Plus: What were your reaction when you first received the news? Who was the first person that congratulated you? We also want to know the process of coming up with the song, how it was created.

A.S.: My contact from the record label called me and i was amazingly happy for about 5 minutes, then i started thinking about how to go to the finals. I’m the kind of guy who never settles and i always want more, its both something good and kind of a curse too.

We wrote the song in the late summer of 2016. I was at a party for songwriters and i met a guy that seemed very nice. So we hooked up with a third guy i just met and a few days later we went to the studio. And this just happened. We all had a great feeling about it from the start, so we knew it was going to be something to release in some way.

ESC+Plus: All the contestants were announced in November and until two days prior to each of the semi-finals, the songs are not being released to the public. What do you think about this? How do you follow this in order to push your entry higher and get the best out of it to showcase to the fans?

A.S.: I love the tention, 3 months of tention. I’m eager to hear my contestants songs. I dont know really. I think that its mostly about the 3 minutes you get on stage. You can always use your social medias etc to build up something towards the competition. But i really think its all about the 3 minutes on stage. Thats where i’ll deliver.

ESC+Plus: Can you describe us a bit of how your staging will look like and how have you been preparing mentally and vocally for it? Have you been following any tips?

A.S.: The song is dancy and uptempo, so i’ll have some dancers with me on stage. Also i will be dancing myself. Well as you mentioned earlier this has been oficial since November, so i have had several hours to practise on the vocals. So i just do it a loooot, thats my tactic.

ESC+Plus: Which are your biggest strengths?

A.S.: I would say i work very hard, i am very goal-oriented and when i set my mind up to something i never give up.

ESC+Plus: Which of the competing artists are meant to be a challenge for you? Which ones do you like the most?

A.S.: I dont know, i haven’t heard their songs yet. Looking at the names on paper before the competition obviously Loreen has the most experience and she will probably do very good. But i try to focus mostly on myself to not get blinded by all the great artists i will compete against.

ESC+Plus: If you win, how do you see yourself in the Eurovision Song Contest representing Sweden? What would it mean to you?

A.S.: That question actually makes me smile and laugh. I really haven’t thought about winning the whole thing. I am so focused on the semi-final. But if i do win, that would be the most amazing thing i have ever experienced. I really cant describe how insanely happy that would make me.

ESC+Plus: Sweden has won the contest a total of 6 times and already trying to get the 7th, do you think you could get it? Which are the entries both in Melodifestivalen and Eurovision which made the biggest impact on you throughout their history?

A.S.: As i said i mostly focus on my semi-final, anything else is getting ahead of myself. Well, one particular entry in Melodifestivalen opened my eyes to the competition back in 2002, it was a swedish song which i performed on my school when i was 9 years old. In Eurovision i dont know that much about history. But i can say that Måns did an amazing job for us in 2015.

ESC+Plus: If you could choose a former participant to sing along with, who would it be?

A.S.: A band called ”Brandsta City Släckers” they were my idols back in 2002.

ESC+Plus: We want to wish you the best of luck and a lot of success in your upcoming projects. Can you send a message for our readers and Eurovision fans? Thank you for your time!

A.S.: You won’t understand a Word i’m singing beacause i do it in Swedish, but i think you’ll like the song anyway!

Thank you for your time and wish you the very best of luck on Saturday, we will all dance to «När Ingen Ser»!