We had a fantastic time catching up with Swedish singer-songwriter Andreas Wijk who makes his Melodifestivalen debut as a songwriter on Klara Hammarström’s song Beat of Broken Hearts this weekend. Andreas co-wrote the track with David Kreuger, Fredrik Kempe and Niklas Carson Mattson, and reveals the personal message at the core of it, as well as the creative process behind it.
Andreas, who has recently signed to Universal Music, spoke about his major label debut somebody to love and gave us the exclusive on his upcoming single Square One which is dropping March 12th. The singer also shared his reflections on previously working as an independent artist, his thoughts on the Melfest semi-finals so far, and why you should always choose Eurovision over prom!
Read the interview below the jump or watch above.
Culture Fix: Congratulations on having one of your tracks at Melodifestivalen. How does it feel?
I’m very thankful to be in the competition. I’ve done music since I was kid but for the last few years I’ve only been writing for me as an artist so it feels really good to write music for someone else. She’s going to do it amazing and I can’t wait to see it on Saturday.
Culture Fix: Obviously Klara is performing but you must feel some nerves too?
The only thing that is a little bit hard this year is that you can’t really be involved as much as you would be due to COVID. We’re not allowed to be there. I can’t really do much about the performance and everything around it. As a songwriter you write the song and then leave the process to everyone else. SVT are the ones really doing the whole show. I saw the clothes last week for the first time and I wasn’t involved in that. I just did the song and then everything else up to all the different teams.
Culture Fix: You can relax – you’ve done the hard part for you now!
I know! That’s why it would be so amazing to be part of this tour – I could just relax and have a good time and enjoy it. Now instead there is no tour, there is no party – it’s only the competition. Now the momentum of the competition is so much bigger this year as there is nothing around it, there is no party, it’s only a competition.
Culture Fix: Was the track the result of a songwriting camp?
Actually not. The story behind the song… When I wrote it together with the other guys, I thought I was going to sing it. So it’s actually my story in this song. I was born with a heart disease, my blood was going in the wrong direction and I’ve had two heart surgeries in my life. I’ve been writing a lot of music about my heart. People can relate to the heart in so many different ways. Beat of Broken Hearts is something that I can relate to on a personal level because my heart is actually broken because I’ve been through two heart surgeries. For everyone else it’s so relatable. For Klara she really made her interpretation of the song and the lyrics and I love that. It started to be a song that I thought I was going to do, but a few days after I wrote it, I thought this is not my song. I thought “If we want to have this for Mello then let’s find another artist who wants to do it”. Klara was really excited. After that we changed it a lot in the production. If you compare it to what it was like when I did it, it was very simple and clean, now it’s more of a pop song.
Culture Fix: Will your version ever be released?
No, I don’t think so. Maybe I could show that on socials to show what it sounded like? Maybe I should do that when the song is out to show the process of making the song? It was very minimalistic when I did it – basically me and the piano and I’m just singing my heart out. Her song starts with the beat instead, it’s very different.
Culture Fix: You mentioned writing this song for yourself initially, when writing for another artist does your songwriting approach change?
I think the difference is that you have to really listen to the artist that you write for. This process, we had the song, the song was done, so when Klara was approached we just had to change it to make it hers in the production. The song was already there. When I write for myself I think I’m even more focussed on making it perfect for me. When I do it for someone else I can step out of the bubble and think “Maybe I wouldn’t do it exactly this way, but if this is what you want to do let’s do it.” I’m more relaxed when I do it with other people; I want to listen to what they have to say.
Culture Fix: Is it slightly less pressure with a collaborative writing experience because you’ve got lots of ideas to work with? When writing yourself you might just have your ideas and everything is on you?
You really have to step out of your comfort zone and practise to collaborate if there are more people in the room. Me and Fredrik were by the piano writing the melodies, the other guys were working by the computers. Everyone finds their way to do the song. I would say the whole concept of the song wouldn’t exist if I hadn’t planted that image in everyone’s mind. That’s the beauty of it all – it really became something personal that everyone can relate to.
Culture Fix: It’s hard talking about the songs as everyone is quite secretive until the big performance – but I’m sure it will be a big moment!
I haven’t even seen it! We haven’t been there. I just talked to Fredrik on the phone and he says hopefully we’ll get some behind the scenes material. I talked to Klara last week and she is going to have a backdrop, but she hadn’t even seen what that looked like. So everyone is waiting to get the different pieces together – it’s more fragile that you think!
Culture Fix: Did you watch the first two Melodifestivalen heats? Were there any particular standouts for you?
I think it’s very obvious that this is the year that the audience want the big names. It looks like it is going to be a final filled with everyone that has already been in the final. I think the third semi-final is super hard to see the outcome of. I haven’t heard any other songs, but it’s going to be super interesting. I’ve enjoyed the show – last week was a fun show. The hosts were amazing – Oscar and Anis did an amazing job.
Culture Fix: Is there anyone that you are particularly looking forward to seeing in Semi-Final 3 or 4?
It’s going to be dope to see what Tusse is doing on Saturday. We’re on the same music label. I’ve heard the rumours that it’s going to be a dope song!
Culture Fix: Congratulations on signing with Universal Music Sweden last year. What would you describe the main differences are as someone signed to a major label and releasing independently?
I’m so thankful that I have been able to be in both worlds. It’s such a big difference when it comes to the team. I’ve basically been alone in my independent releasing – even if I have my people that I write music with. I love the way of creating something together. I’ve been so used to doing exactly what I want to do for the last few years. We shot a cover for my new song and my A&R were like “I don’t think that is the one” and I was like “You don’t think so?” so we re-did it. It was the day before we sent into the release section. I love that people come with their ideas but I’m still able to do exactly what I want to do. I love the team thing.
Before I was signed to Universal Music, I did everything myself. I shot my covers, I produced my music videos, I wrote my music, I styled myself, I was setting up the team for the tour. So I’m kind of happy that I have a team now.
Culture Fix: I really loved your first single with Universal ‘somebody to love’. Were you pleased with the response to the track?
I was super happy. It’s such an amazing feeling. I’m so relaxed in my way of releasing music. I have so much going on my life and it feels so good to take a step back and release the things that I’m proud of and enjoy the ride. That’s what I feel for my next song as well. I’m releasing my next single on March 12th – so it’s in the Mello times. That’s going to be a very personal song. I’m looking forward to that.
Culture Fix: Can you give us any indication of the title, the themes or the sound?
It’s called Square One. It’s actually my most transparent song I’ve ever released. It’s about being with someone and then suddenly you’re back at square one, everything you thought you had built up is gone. It’s me pouring my heart out in a way that I’ve never done before. We keep focussed on the heart thing – my heartbeat is in the song as well. I put it in every song I do now, that will be my signature!
I’ve been writing music from my heart for the last few years so this has been my idea that I’ve had for a long time. I’ve been doing a lot of heart songs with a lot of Mello writers. I did one song with Linnea and Joy Deb that’s called… I don’t know if I can talk about unreleased songs! I don’t have to say the title but we did a song that was about three years ago, that was one of the first times I recorded my heartbeat. I have a titanium heart so it’s possible to record it. I’ve done it for a few years, so I’m going to continue that journey.
Culture Fix: How would you describe Square One?
This is me and the piano singing my heart out. I think it’s the most clean song I’ve ever done. It’s just my vocals basically.
Culture Fix: Your debut album ‘Season 1 (Episode 01 to 14)’ holds up so well. Do you revisit the album much yourself?
It’s always a weird thing doing that! I don’t walk around listening to my music [laughs]. That album is me telling a story. Most people don’t even release albums anymore, so for me to do that as independent artist was such an important thing for me to do. That makes me so happy even if I still feel like I’m a new artist, I have a catalogue. Whenever you can go out on tour again, I will have about twenty-five songs to sing so I have a lot of material… and I have a lot unreleased material for you guys to hear.
Culture Fix: Is the larger goal and EP or an album?
I really have a prospective of releasing some kind of concept this year. That’s the part where I’m leaning back a little bit. I know what my vision is but I listen to all the people around me and I’m like “Hey what do you guys think?” I have my stories, I have my music, it’s just about the structure. That’s why some people think it’s a bad thing about signing with a label, but I honestly feel in this part of my life it’s a beautiful thing as I’m able to see a bigger perspective and I like that.
Culture Fix: You recently worked with Swedish musical royalty Carola as part of the Speak Up Session at Hillsong Church. Is it quite a daunting experience performing with someone so established?
I love people. That’s the beauty of being in the business because you meet so many people. That’s the sad part at not being physically at Mello. I would love to hang out with all these beautiful people. I love being in rooms with people I’ve never met or people I have just talked to briefly. I really enjoy this conversation with you. I just love people!
Culture Fix: You took the stage this week for a new gig in Stockholm. How was it getting back on stage after the lack of live performances in 2020?
It was beautiful. To be on stage is something I miss so much! I don’t think there is anyone in this business who had a brilliant year when it comes to that. The only thing you can do is these digital gigs.
Culture Fix: Do you think we will be seeing you on the Melodifestivalen stage in the coming years?
Could you see me there?
Culture Fix: Of course!
I would say in one way I feel like I would really enjoy the journey of being there. I love to just go all in. If I write a song that I feel is completely in contact with what I want to do, it would be the right thing to do. For example Beat of Broken Hearts, it wasn’t the song. When people are like “What! It’s in the competition and you’re not going to sing it?” It wasn’t the song for me. It has to feel like it is me 100%. I really think that that is a song that will perfectly be part of Klara’s portfolio. The importance for me is to just write music and if I feel like that is the right place for it, then that is the right place. I don’t think I would sit down and write a specific song for that purpose.
Culture Fix: Just to finish, I hoped you would share a few of your favourite Eurovision tracks, Swedish or international?
I’m the basic and want to say Euphoria. I have such a funny story about that night. It’s not even funny, it’s sad. In my family my dad is a big Eurovision fan as well – it’s a vibe in our family, of course we watch it. I had my prom on the night she won. I was actually close to cancelling my prom – I didn’t want to go. She was going to win Eurovision, I don’t want to miss this moment. All of my friends said you can’t miss the prom “It’s the thing! This is what we have been waiting for!” and I was like “Yeah, we’ve been waiting for Sweden to win Eurovision as well!” But they convinced me, so I went to the prom and told my closest friends that they were not allowed to watch Eurovision that night. We recorded it and the plan was to have a Eurovision vibe the day after at my place, watch it together and not have a clue who won. It wasn’t that easy when we won! At about 1 in the morning someone screamed “WE WON!” and my first response wasn’t even happy because I didn’t want to know! I was like “No! Don’t tell me I don’t want to know this!” That’s actually sentimental for me because I wanted to live that moment but never had the chance to.