Interviewed by Sofie Kinnefors
For an astonishing 20 years, Swedish pop sensation Sanna Nielsen, 32, has toured Sweden, participating in musicals and dozens of TV shows. Recently, Swedish Press interviewed Sanna about her amazing career that runs the gamut from early talent shows to being the popular host for “Allsång på Skansen.” And, if she wasn’t busy enough she currently has a new hit single “Inte ok.”
Sanna Nielsen at “Allsång på Skansen”. Photo: Alex Ljungdahl
Sanna Nielsen started participating in talent shows when she was seven years old. As a result of a hidden camera during one of her talent shows Sanna was invited to Swedish composer Bert Månson studio when she was only ten.
“The band recorded me without my knowledge - they sent the tape to Bert Månson and he gave me, what would become my breakthrough hit, “Till en fågel”.
During the same time-period Sanna had received a request inviting her to participate in a TV program called "Café Norrköping". Sanna performed her new song and six months later, in 1996, "Till en fågel" became number one on ”Svensktoppen” making Sanna the youngest Swedish female singer ever to land the number one spot.
The rest is history.
Sanna has since participated in several Christmas shows. For example, she has done holiday shows together with Swedish singers Shirley Clamp and Sonja Aldén. They have also released an album together called “Our Christmas.”
Last Christmas Eve Sanna was the Christmas host (Julvärd) on SVT.
Sanna is also no stranger to Melodifestivalen, where she has participated a total of seven times. In 2011 she made it to the finals with her contribution “Im in love” It was however with her song “Undo” that she made it all the way to Eurovision Song Contest in Copenhagen in 2014. She finished in third place.
“I love everything about Melodifestivalen! It’s a fantastic show for everyone and it’s also a great platform, where we as entertainers can develop any kind of show we would like. Melodifestivalen unite people through joy and love.”
In 2015, Sanna took the opportunity to host Melodifestivalen along with Swedish comedian Robin Paulsson. An experience she very much enjoyed.
“It was so much fun hosting the show with Robin and not having to compete. I also enjoyed challenging myself in different situations and trying to find new sides of myself to give to the audience.”
In the fall of 2014, Sanna made her debut in a musical, portraying “Lara” in “Dr. Zjivago” at Malmö Operan. And last year, she took the stage once again in the humorous revue “Oscarsrevyn” at Oscarsteatern in Stockholm. That musical is coming to Gothenburg in the fall of 2017.
“Both musicals were challenging. I did not have a lot of experience with theatre and portraying a different character was totally new to me. It has been tough, but incredibly rewarding. I have learned a lot from my colleagues.”
Sanna grew up in Edenryd, Skåne. After graduating high school, she moved to Malmö to study music at Heleneholmsgymnasiet.
Her biggest inspiration in music is, and has always been, Celine Dion.
“I remember standing in front of the mirror at home singing to Celine Dion, while trying to hit the same notes she did. She became my vocal teacher.”
Growing up in a small village wasn’t always easy and many times Sanna was teased for her success and love for singing.
Her new single “Inte ok" is based on her experience as a young student.
“I felt like it was time for me to write about my high school years – a time which I didn’t particularly enjoy. I grew up in a small town and was told not to think that I was special. I was so happy once I made it as a singer, but felt something was missing in my life because of all the criticism from fellow students at school.
Because of that turmoil, my self-esteem hit bottom and I wasn’t able to give myself credit for anything I had accomplished. I wrote “Inte ok” for myself, but also for the many young people that speak of similar situations in their everyday lives. These violations take place at school and on social media. I’m hoping that my song will help young people feel that they are perfect the way they are and that everyone is unique in their own special way.”
This summer Sanna is hosting popular sing-a-long show “Allsång på Skansen” for the second consecutive year – something she is very much looking forward to. Allsång på Skansen is recorded live and anything can happen. “Allsång på Skansen is important to everyone,” she says. “Uniting through music and laughter is very rewarding.”
Last summer Sanna performed a couple of songs during the Allsång series and if the Swedish songstress could pick one person to sing a duet with she knows exactly who it would be.
“Imagine having Celine Dion visit Skansen! That would be something else!”
Guest artist 2017
June 27: Robin Bengtsson, Sabina Ddumba, Shima Niavarani, Tomas Ledin
July 4: Miriam Bryant, Per Gessle, Tina Ahlin & Orsa Spelmän, Stor & Jireel
July 11: Linnea Henriksson, Mando Diao, Emmi Christensson
July 18: Miss Li, The Boppers, Panetoz, Wiktoria
July 25: Darin, Svante Thuresson & Nisse Landgren, Tove Styrke, Anna Sköld (Wizex), Sandra Estberg (Martinez), Henrik Sethsson (Casanovas), Andreas Olsson (Sannex) och Maria Persson (Blender)
August 1: FO&O, Icona Pop, Lisa Nilsson
The Stage is yours! One extra hour with Lisa Nilsson.
August 8: Jack Vreeswijk, Janice Plura, The Sounds, Lisa Ekdahl & Adam Pålsson
August 15: Danny Saucedo, Malena Ernman & Helen Sjöholm, Jill Johnson, Anki Albertsson, Linda Olsson, Mercedesz Csampai, Pablo Cepeda, Sussie Eriksson mfl
Changes in the programme may occur