“It’s really cold!”
Anniela is shivering. We’re standing in the tiny doorway at the artists’ entrance to Kolingsborg club talking about her first appearance in Melodifestivalen. Her dancers are chatting loudly behind us, and we’ve got five minutes before she’s needed on stage. It’s a great atmosphere, and the singer is obviously loving the experience. But it is a bit nippy…
Who cares, though, when you’re about to release your second album (Electric) in a couple of days’ time?
From Skåne in southern Sweden, Anniela entered the Super Troupers talent show on TV4 in 2004, performing alongside the likes of Anna Bergendahl and Jonathan Fagerlund. Like Anna, Anniela didn’t get through to the finals, but it didn’t matter. Five years later, she released her first album, Extravaganza, and her first singles, Strip-Teaser and My Confession. And there was definitely a touch of the Christina Aguileras about her…
The Elektrisk-era Anniela I’m talking to now seems a world away from the debut artist of a couple of years ago, and certainly knows where she’s going. She may be a Melodifestivalen newcomer, but she’s not green. Well, apart from that outfit…
“I’ve been having fun doing the contest,” smiles Anniela. “It’s been so different from anything I’ve done before. I’m just thankful I was able to do it, and I got to work with amazing people. I’m very proud.”
And so she should be – coming sixth in the first attempt at the contest is not to be sniffed at, especially when established acts have done a lot worse in the past.
“Yes, it was a good result,” agrees Anniela. “Of course, I was hoping to do better, but I’m really happy.”
The singer was also one of the few artists to perform in Swedish. Was that a conscious decision, especially as the English language version (Electric, as if you couldn’t guess by now) is doing well?
“There was no specific reason,” says Anniela. “[The songwriters] were looking for an artist when I heard Elektrisk for the first time. I almost always sing in English, so I was like, ‘We have to translate it.’ But the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to sing it in Swedish. I’m Swedish, of course, so perhaps it made sense because of that!”
Anniela was obviously having a great time in the schlager bubble – does she have a particular highlight of the experience?
“Well, I enjoyed it all…” she says, hesitantly. “But to be honest, I don’t remember much about the performance – it was a bit like a blackout! It really is a funny thing – the choreography and so on, I can’t remember any of it at all! It’s a lot to take in with everything going on around you.”
One thing Anniela does remember, though, is her outfit. How could anyone forget that?
“It looks like broccoli!” she laughs, before I get the chance to say it myself. “I love it. I designed the look with Hanna Rubin, and we decided to do a very different silhouette from the usual style. I didn’t want to wear a dress or skirt, so I told her that anything else would be great. She came up with the idea of having some kind of colour in it, while I wanted glittery pants and big shoes. We chose green, because it’s a strong shade and I like it. From the start, the outfit looked very different, and we were working on it for some time.”
Style is, of course, vital – but what about the music? How does Anniela define the sound of her album?
“It’s very much like Elektrisk – club-electro-pop, I call it,” she replies. “In fact, it’s very pop. That’s my sound. I’m influenced by Prince – he’s my idol. I also love Jessie J. If you saw my playlist on Spotify, you’d think it was totally schizo! There are songs you wouldn’t think should be on there – it’s all crazy and a bit odd!”
The sound may be crazy, but Anniela certainly isn’t. She knows exactly what she’s doing.
Anniela’s album, Electric, is available across Europe now.