We had the pleasure of catching up with Melodifestivalen 2021’s Patrik Jean who will be taking the stage in semi-final two with his song Tears Run Dry on the 13th of February. Patrik shared what we can expect from the eagerly anticipated track, told us about writing for The Mamas, and shared some of his favourite Melfest and Eurovision entries. You can read the interview below or watch the video at the foot of the page. Thanks for chatting Patrik!
Culture Fix: You’re at Melodifestivalen! That’s so exciting. What is it about Melodifestivalen that appeals to you as an artist?
Patrik: It’s a great window to get my voice out there. It’s also a lot of fun – the whole circus of it all, the production is huge. In Sweden, it is probably the biggest thing that you can do as an artist television wise. I had to just jump on this opportunity.
CF: You had fantastic success at Melfest 2020 as one of the writers on The Mamas’ Move. Was there a lot of pressure in helping craft their debut single – especially after all of Europe had fallen in love with them during Eurovision 2019?
Patrik: Yes and no – I tried not to think too much about it. They got a lot of songs sent to them and they chose this one and believed in it. So I felt my job was kind of done once I delivered that work, but of course I was anxious about people hearing the song – they already had expectations on them from fans from before. I was nervous that they wouldn’t feel what we felt or the song didn’t represent them – that’s always so important for me as a songwriter – to embody the whole vision and message of the artists. For us we felt like we did that, but you never know what the listener is going to think – and fortunately people felt the love that we were trying to send them.
CF: Does it feel a bit strange competing alongside them this year?
Patrik: I feel like it’s just fun – like a reunion – even though we don’t get to interact as though we would usually without a pandemic. I’m not very competitive and feel like it’s dope just to be a part of this production and I’m just going to have fun and see a lot of live music. It’s not me against them or the other way round. I’m just excited. They deserve the world and I’m just happy to be on this journey again in another way.
CF: I think it is going to be so needed for many people. The fact that Melfest and Eurovision are going ahead this year will be a beacon of hope to so many as we’ve not been able to go to gigs or enjoy music in the same sense as we normally would.
Patrik: I think a lot of people were devastated that we couldn’t do the whole Eurovision last year and I feel like this is reigniting some kind of spark. Everybody needs that sense of togetherness that Eurovision is, so I’m so happy that they are doing Melfest and something for Eurovision. It’s something for us to look forward to and I feel that’s very important right now.
CF: You had a really productive 2020 releasing numerous singles and your Consequence EP. Did the lack of live performances throughout the year have any effect on your creativity?
Not necessarily, the whole creativity kind of shifted a bit. I’m used to doing 50/50 songwriting and my own artist stuff. Usually I work five days a week with new people in a new studio every day – I kind of jump around. Now it’s kind of forced to take the time to be here at home and write music on my own and focussing on my artist stuff. I’m fortunate that I had some songs ready to be released and come out with new music last year. I just focussed on what I could control and that was creating new music for me. So it was different, but I’m still lucky to be able to work.
CF: Are you quite regimented with your writing process?
Patrik: Me as a person, I’m very structured. I like 9 to 5, I like structure. But I know in this industry that you need to be flexible because a lot of people won’t work before one in the afternoon – you know, it’s a rock star lifestyle. So I’m also used to doing all-nighters, but I prefer having kind of a nine to five job. I have friends and my boyfriend, people around me who don’t do this line of work, it’s hard to plan your life if every day is like “I don’t know when I’m going to be off.” I’ve learned to get creative on demand, but I still wake-up in the middle of the night and have ideas and have my phone ready to record voice notes and stuff.
CF: For those that will be introduced to your music for the first time through Melfest, how would you describe yourself as an artist?
Patrik: I tend to say that I do emotional pop. Sometimes that has flavours of soul music or R&B. I had a lot of influences from different genres growing up. I’d say emotional pop as if I just say pop people might just think dancing around and being happy [laughs]. So I’m trying to be very personal and honest in my lyrics, but using the contrasts where sometimes it could be a really sad song but a very happy and uplifting production. I’m always taking the listener on a journey through different emotions. It’s hard to nail just one sound as I always try and develop what I do and experiment. Emotional pop is probably the best way to sum it up.
CF: Do you think Tears Run Dry will form part of a larger project? An EP or album perhaps?
Patrik: It’s still very open. I have songs ready to be released after this and it would be amazing to have an album by the end of the year. I think it depends on what will happen in the show and what my life will look like after. If by summer you’re allowed to tour and do live gigs then that might affect how many songs I release – or maybe I’ll have time to write a lot of stuff. Either way there’s going to be new music coming out as I have music ready that I’m dying to show people.
CF: When you have music that’s produced do you want to release it as soon as possible?
Patrik: It’s always scary and you feel a bit naked when you release something, but it is always thrilling to hear and see the audience when you perform it. I feel like that’s very popular in the DJ scene where they try out unreleased songs and see how the audience reacts. That would be something that I would want to try out later on if I was more established and had people coming to my show that were fans, just trying out songs and making decisions based on what the people who follow me want to hear.
CF: I’m guessing things are top secret regarding Tears Run Dry at the moment, but can you give us any indication of its sound and the inspiration behind it?
Patrik: I wanted to make a song that is representative of what I already do. It’s emotional in a sense, but it’s still a journey when it is not just sad the whole song through, you still feel that vibe that is Eurovision and Melfest. I feel like it’s important to have different elements of a song especially in this show. I’ve been inspired by doing something that is not super expected – also visually with staging and stuff. I’m trying not to follow the norm.
CF: Will you be getting the chance to do some choreography with your performance?
Patrik: There will be dancing! A little bit from me and then I get help from others. I’m not a dancer but I’ll do my best to pull some moves.
CF: Have you got an outfit picked out yet?
Patrik: I do! We just nailed it this week. There’s been a lot of sending pictures back and forth and having fittings – but we’ve found an outfit that everybody loves.
CF: Are there any underrated Melfest entries that you think deserve a bit more love?
Patrik: I know everybody loves Euphoria by Loreen – but her first entry My Heart Is Refusing Me is probably my favourite. That song was so underrated – but she was new so maybe that’s why? But that’s a song that I really really love. Also Dotter – her song Cry is just amazing. There are a lot of hidden treasures in the competition.
CF: I think Dotter’s return this year is so hyped. She was such a big fan favourite. We’ve also got icons like Jessica Andersson and Charlotte Perrelli. It’s such a good year. I can sense the collective excitement of the Eurovision fans.
Patrik: I feel like this year they have really focussed on big artists and big songs. I feel like the quality is very high this year and there are a lot of professionals. This makes it even more of an uphill for me who is unestablished, but also makes it more exciting. I think it’s going to be such a great show with great live music that people would like to hear.
CF: With a couple of weeks until your semi-final, how will you be preparing for your performance of Tears Run Dry?
Patrik: Right now I’m singing the song two hours a day – just to have it a part of my body. Now I’ve gotten choreo from last week so I’m singing whilst moving – that’s kind of new to me. I’m used to sad songs where I can stand still – now my whole body needs to express emotions. So I’m definitely just practising that every day until it’s perfect.
CF: When taking part in Melfest, which is such a big event in itself, is Eurovision always in the back of your mind?
Patrik: I think it’s always in the back of your mind. Here in Sweden, Melfest is such a big platform that the competition here is enough in itself to build a career out of. But I mean it would be amazing to take it to another level – because Eurovision is a thing in itself. That’s also a dream for sure.
CF: Thinking of Eurovision in recent years and its long history, who are some of your all time favourite Eurovision acts?
Patrik: Being Swedish I’ve got to say some ABBA stuff. That put us on the map with all music genres outside of Eurovision. They’ve paved the way for a lot of singer-songwriters in Sweden. I was in Tel Aviv in 2019 for Soldi by Mahmood. That was one of my favourite songs. The atmosphere in the green room was crazy. Everyone was dancing along and doing the clap. It was such a perfect song – no one understood what it meant except for the people speaking Italian, but people could still sing and dance along and feel that togetherness.
CF: Not to end on a negative note, but being a British site, what can we do to help us in Eurovision?
Patrik: I don’t think you are doing anything wrong to be honest. It’s not the songs or the artists. Unfortunately there are a lot of politics and other opinions behind how people vote and why they vote – but the UK always bring such a show and amazing singers. I always look forward to your performances and singers. In the UK you have this speciality of finding unique, crazy vocalists. For me as listener I mostly listen to the singer – someone’s tone of voice can express as much as lyrics can.