We spoke to Ellen and Simon ahead of Semi Final 4 of Melodifestivalen this weekend.
Hi guys. Congratulations on making it to Melodifestivalen again! Simon, you’ve been in the band ‘Outtrigger’ and Ellen you’ve previously sung on your own. What made you want to form a duo?
Simon: We haven’t formed a duo really. Ellen and I started working about a year ago. I mainly work as a songwriter to other artists and when I met her we decided to write a few tunes together and liked what came out from the collaboration.
Ellen is also a great songwriter and was working with a few others and from that, we made a duet. When she asked me to join in on her piece I was really glad to get back into working on my artistry and here we are!
Ellen, the songs you’ve released in the past have been quite ballad-like, whereas Simon’s songs have been very rocky. What genre can we expect to hear from you guys at next year’s Melodifestivalen?
Ellen: I would describe the song as a modern pop ballad, with a touch of Fleetwood Mac. It’s a powerful song with a message I think everyone can relate to. I’m so hyped for this song, it’s a very solid piece that really grabs you. The story is about a lack of communication and the difficulties with honesty between people and in relationships which is something I think we all struggle with from time to time.
What first got you both into music?
Simon: I started quite young. I’d been hanging out in the wrong crowds for some time, music was given as an opportunity and a way out from those areas. I started in a choir school in 4th grade and began singing 4 days a week. A year later I picked up the guitar and later formed Outtrigger when I was 13.
(You can see below Simon’s performance as part of the band Outtriger at the 2014 Melodifestivalen)
Ellen: I started singing at a very early age and I was always drawn to music. All through my childhood I was singing, making music and dreaming of becoming a big star, haha. When I got older I started taking singing lessons and playing piano. I also played the guitar and in high school, I got accepted to a music school where I then later also got discovered by Christer Björkman and got to do Melodifestivalen 2014.
(We’ve put Ellen’s entries in the 2014 and then the 2015 Melodifestivalen below)
Your song was written by a number of songwriters including Paul Rey, Laurell Barker, Anderz Wrethov and Sebastian von Koenigsegg. Did you get to meet any of the songwriters and did they give you any advice?
Simon: We’ve been writing with those guys for a few years, for ourselves and others so It’s not a new game for anyone. As I said, we both have been doing this for quite a few years and they’re all part of the songwriting community here in southern Sweden.
Wrethov is great at playing guitar over his head. I guess that’s a good party trick that I’ll never learn to master!
Ellen: I’ve been writing with Anderz for years, he’s awesome! The rest of the team I met during a writing camp and together we created this amazing song in just a few hours.
How were you guys chosen for this years’ Melodifestivalen?
Simon: We had written a song beforehand that I only produced and wrote with Ellen, but Ellen also wanted to see’s the opportunities with the other song and asked me if I could join in on the demo. That was then selected for Melodifestivalen.
What’s your favourite Melodifestivalen song and why?
Simon: My favorite Melodifestivalen song at this time’s probably ‘Statements’ with Loreen. A beautiful song and an incredible artist that just keeps on pushing the game of being unique. Also I love the arrangement and scenery they put into it.
Ellen: When I was a kid I loved Shirley Clamp. She had this song ‘Min Kärlek’ and I used to sing it aaaall the time. More recently tho, I really like Felix Sandman’s song ‘Every Single Day’. That one is beautiful and heartbreaking.
What’s your favourite Eurovision song and why?
Simon: My favourite Eurovision song is again probably Loreen with “Euphoria”. That was just such a unique song with her voice. I heard it on the worst TV speakers ever, but that didn’t matter cause the feeling was so incredible.
Ellen: I think my favourite song is ‘Rise Like A Phoenix’ with Conchita Wurst. I think it has an important message and she has an amazing voice.
Thanks for talking to us guys and good luck on Saturday!
You can catch Ellen and Simon at Semi Final 4 of the Melodifestivalen this Saturday (22nd February)