Måns Zelmerlöw will represent Sweden in the Eurovision Song Contest. Once again, the country is one of the favourites to win the whole show. Zelmerlöw’s song ‘Heroes’ is the number one of the bookmakers ever since he won the Swedish national final Melodifestivalen. I spoke to Måns about what it feels like to be the one to beat, why he chose to come back to Melodifestivalen after two earlier attempts and what is upcoming album will sound like.
This year you participated for the third time in Melodifestivalen. What triggered you to come back?
I have always been quite open about the fact that it was a dream for me to once win Melodifestivalen and represent Sweden at Eurovision. I have never given up on that dream but after the fourth place in 2009 with ‘Hope and Glory’ I decided that I would only come back if I found the right song and if it was the right time. I felt like that this year.
Were you convinced this was your moment when you first heard ‘Heroes’?
Kind of. I immediately knew ‘Heroes’ was a great song, but initially it wasn’t the type of song I was looking for. I had my mind set on a sound that was closer to rock and less on dance and electronic music. After I listened to it a couple of times I realized I missed the entertainer part inside me. I knew ‘Heroes’ would be a great step for me so I said yes.
And then you won Melodifestivalen by a landslide. Did you ever imagine that could happen?
No, I had no idea. I knew it was a strong song, but I never even had the dream of winning with those numbers. I have to say I had a really good feeling about it after the semi final, because I heard people were impressed by the song. Still, I believed that Jon Henrik Fjällgren would win until the moment that it was set in stone that I was the number 1.
Now you are the hot favourite to win the whole contest. How do you feel about that? Does it bring pressure?
I try not to think about it too much, but I have to say it feels much better to be a favourite in Europe than in Sweden. In Melodifestivalen it feels more like a contest, because everyone is very competitive, compared to the atmosphere in Eurovision I have experienced so far. I see the chance to represent Sweden as a great bonus and I am going to have so much fun. I want to experience this to the fullest and that is why love to go to all the promo events. And of course I will do my very best to take the victory back to Sweden again.
There were some legal problems with the visuals on the background you used on stage in Melodifestivalen. How will you change this for Vienna?
Luckily we don’t have to change it too much. My little friend has been eating a lot so he gained a few pounds. He bought a new hat and since it is spring time, he doesn’t need his umbrella anymore so he got a balloon instead.
As you just said, ‘Heroes’ sounds different from the music you have been making recently. What is your musical direction at the moment?
Well, I have had quite a few directions in my career, but I can honestly say that I have always followed my heart every step of the way. I am releasing an album just before Eurovision and the sound is similar to ‘Heroes’ and quite different to the pop/rock of my previous record. I would say the new one still has an organic feel about it, thanks to the country influences that you hear in the verses of ‘Heroes’ as well. This album is more directed at radio and potential hits.
Out of the other songs competing, who do you fear most and has the best changes of stopping you from winning?
To be honest, I fear most of them! Azerbaijan is really good and Elnur is a great singer. So is Guy Sebastian from Australia. Russia has a strong song as well and from what I have heard, she is a great live performer. I almost forgot Estonia, that is a beautiful song as well.
If you could cover any song from the history of Eurovision, which one would you choose?
I would probably choose ‘Jan Jan’ by Inga and Anush from Armenia.
Wow, I didn’t see that one coming…
Haha, I know, but it is one of my favourite Eurovision songs of all time. It is one of the few I still listen to on my iPod. And also from 2009, I love ‘Rändajad’ by Urban Symphony from Estonia.
I would love to hear your version of those songs one day. Thanks so much and good luck in Vienna!