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'It's amazing to represent Sweden': Sanna Nielsen

Oliver Gee · 9 May 2014, 20:26

Published: 09 May 2014 20:26 GMT+02:00

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Swedes have won the Eurovision Song Contest five times, most notably with Abba 40 years ago, most recently with Loreen in 2012. This year, 29-year-old Sanna Nielsen is a favourite to win on Saturday night in Copenhagen.
 
But who is she?
 
Well, many Swedes knew who she was from her seven entries in Melodifestivalen, the music competition where Sweden picks a Eurovision entry.
 
And she did quite well on her first six tries, finishing as high as 2nd in 2008, 3rd in 2001, and 4th in 2011. Who are we kidding, she finished in the top eight every time. And she's very humble about her Mello success.
 
"Melodifestivalen has meant so much for me through the years. I've not seen it as a competition, rather as a good platform to present new music," she tells The Local on Friday evening.
 
"But to win and get to showcase Undo for a bigger audience in Europe is really exciting. It's a huge honour. It's amazing to be chosen to represent your country like this."
 
Public opinion on Nielsen is divided. We asked ten Stockholmers on Friday what they thought of her and got very mixed responses. One said she was boring, one said they thought she'd win. Our own music expert Paul Connolly said her song was the kind Celine Dion would reject for being "too wet".
 
Funnily enough, Nielsen's official site lists Dion as a major inspiration.
 
"Sanna’s main source of inspiration has always been Celine Dion so when her songwriter David Kreuger presented the track “Undo” for her, she couldn’t resist the offer," it says.
 
Indeed, Celine Dion herself won Eurovision back in 1988 singing for Switzerland with the song "Ne partez pas sans moi". 
 
Nielsen's song this year, Undo, has come under fire for its grammar, with some claiming the lyric "Undo my sad" makes no sense. One of our commmentors suggested that Sad was an acronym for 'separation anxiety disorder'.
 
"I don't know whether it's true or not," the commentor added, "but I hope it is."

Well, who better to ask than Sanna? We posed the question to the Swede, also asking whether it could be an acronym for a more common Swedish problem, "seasonal affective disorder"
 
"That's actually the first I've heard that, how interesting," she responds. "But just as I've said before, with this and other lyrics, it's completely up to the listener to interpret them however they want. And this interpretation is surely as good as any other."
 
Lyrics aside, Nielsen is the bookmakers' favourite to win on Saturday, but faces stiff competition from Austrian crossdresser Conchita Wurst. Regardless of what happens, the Swede already has plans for when she arrives back in Stockholm.
 
"I'll ask my partner Jocke to cook his awesome spaghetti bolognese, kick off my high heels, and just have a cozy night in," she says.
 
And what about her fans, who number at least 60,000 (according to her official Facebook page), and who extend as far as Australia?
 
"I'm both flattered and surprised that people in other countries know me at all," she says, adding that she realizes Eurovision plays a large part in contributing to her fame.
 
"If I can hold onto this and get people to keep listening after the competition's over then that would be fantastically fun and a big win too." 
 

Oliver Gee (oliver.gee@thelocal.se)

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