The Eurovision juggernaut Melodifestivalen is set to kick off in just over a month, and before things get too hectic we were able to grab Melfest contestant Axel Schylström for a quick interview.

Axel first gained notoriety in 2015 when he competed on Idol Sverige back in 2015, where he’d end up finishing in fourth place overall. He then became even more well-known after he Melfest debut in 2017 with the song “När ingen ser”. Since then he has become a father, continues to write music, and also serves as a motivational speaker in Sweden.

It’s a wonderful day here at ESCUnited because we’re joined by the Swedish Songbird himself Axel Schylström! Thanks for interviewing with us today Axel and happy new year – how have you been?

Well, besides starting of the year being ill I’m great. Had amazing holidays resting for what’s coming 2023.

Axel taking a nap with his new daughter.

I completely feel that, the winter months destroy one’s sinuses honestly. A lot of our readers might not know this but you also became a new father recently, congratulations! What has it been like to balance being a father and a musician at the same time? 

I was a bit worried before she arrived to be honest. Being able to work with what I do for all these years has required so much passion 24h a day, and I was worried I wasn’t going to be able to pull of that passion and also being a responsible dad. But I was all wrong.

Having a child beats everything I’ve ever done, and if something – my career has just gone better since being a dad. My daughter just gives me energy and confidence every day. 

What is one thing our readers would be surprised to learn about you?

I don’t really know how much they know about me. But I guess some might be surprised to know that I didn’t always aspire to be a singer. I was all about sports until I was about 20, and I actually started my musical journey as a drummer. 

Oh wow – and now here you are participating in Melodifestivalen for the second time. But you have also participated as a songwriter for Moncho in 2018 and Theoz in 2021. What made you decide to return as an artist this year?

I think I felt something tingling being back in the Mello-bubble as a songwriter last year. I got the idea there to try and be on stage 2023 – and here I am. 

What would you say is the biggest lesson you learned from competing in Melodifestivalen for the first time in 2017?

Oh so much. I was just a kid back then. Didn’t really know where I was going, or what kind of music I wanted to do for that matter. And I didn’t know much about the industry I was in either. So I guess I’ve learned a whole lot.

But my biggest lesson is probably that my music has to have meaning. I feel like: if my songs don’t have something important to say lyrically – there’s no point of doing them. 

I agree with you completely on that. Now here’s a fun question for you – if you had the opportunity to collaborate with any artist of your choosing on a new single, who would you pick and why?

Anyone? That’s to hard. Can’t really decide.

Axel with his partner and song co-writter Malin Halvardsson.

 Your song “Gorgeous” was written by an all-star team it seems like. You have Jonas Thander who’s done Ariana Grande’s “Greedy”, Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off”, and Michael Rice’s ESC song “Bigger Than Us”, The Mama’s “Move” cowritter Herman Gardarfve, and your partner Malin Halvardsson. How did this songwriting team come together and what was the songwriting process like? 

Yes, amazingly talented people to be honest! The answer is simply that we’re all close friends, and I put us together because I feel like it’s easier to express myself writing among friends. Last couple of years I’ve mostly written alone. And if not alone, with close friends.

Your last Melfest song was entirely in Swedish, but this year’s title seems to imply that part or all of the song could be in English instead. Why the change? 

Well I’ve been singing in Swedish since I started back in 2015, and I feel like trying something new. Also, there’s a broader audience singing in English – and I’m doing mello mostly to reach as much of an audience as I can.

For those who want to connect with you before or after Melodifestivalen and check out more of your music, where can they find you?

I’m on social media and Spotify. Most active in Instagram.

In closing, do you have a final message you’d like to share with the readers of ESCUnited?

I really hope you like my song and that it gives whomever might need it some insight and inspiration.

Axel is set to compete during the 4th heat of Melodifestivalen on February 25th at 20:00 CET. The top two songs out of seven will go directly to the final, with the 3rd and 4th ranked songs advancing to the semi-final round for a second chance. The winner of Melodifestivalen will win the right to represent Sweden at the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest in Liverpool.

Are #YOU team Axel? Let us know on social media @ESCUnited, on our discord, or on our forum page!

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