Erik Gronwall - Swedish Idol 2009 Contestant and Rising Rock Star
Can a Swedish Solo Music Act Make It Worldwide?
Erik Gronwall is a contestant in the 2009 season of Swedish Idol. In America, we rarely see music stars from Sweden make it big over here. Although ABBA, Roxette and Ace of Base achieved success as groups, I can't think of a single Swedish solo act emerging in the last 25 or 30 years that is actually famous in the US. I have a hunch that could possibly change in the near future. This guy Erik knocks my socks off. I don't speak Swedish, but I can tell the judges love him from the YouTube videos I have been watching. I also don't know the voting patterns in Sweden, but I sure hope he does well. This kid is the real deal.
You can see Erik's first performances on the videos below on this hub.
Erik is a rocker, and he's not one of these pretend rockers you see popping up on all these Idol shows every year. He plays the guitar good enough, and he sings like a real rocker. I would say he is somewhat similar to Adam Lambert from Season 8 of American Idol, but I think he is like a cross between Bryan Adams and 80s frontmen in rock bands that were popular here in the US.
There are many reasons I think Erik Gronwall is a star in the making:
1. Erik has the awesome power that you would expect from a rocker. And he doesn't just wail away in a high-pitched squeal like some rockers (cough, cough, Adam Lambert, cough). His high-pitched wailing is controlled and sounds good in my opinion. Some people won't like it, but it's solid for his type of high-pitched voice.
2. Unlike many rockers, Erik can also mix in a pop flavor to his vocals and even put in some natural and soulful growling notes into his performances. There is an amazing versatility to his voice. He is similar to Bryan Adams in this respect but appears to have more controlled higher-volume notes in his arsenal. In addition, Erik can sing notes with a pure tone, and singers like Bryan Adams, while good, pretty much always sing with a rougher tone.
Gronwall will most likely brand himself with his high notes, but he can sing soft notes very well. His version of Skid Row's "18 and Life" is a good example of his rock style, but he mixed it up well in his latest performance, a solid version of "Is It True?" ( a song originally performed by Icelandic singer Yohanna for the Eurovision 2009 contest). This latest performance may have been a little sharp in spots but displayed some fantastic, powerful vocals and emotional stage presence.
3. Speaking of emotion, we are all familiar with the use of phrasing to
capture the emotion of a song. I think Erik Gronwall is already very good with
his phrasing. It is stylish and creates emotion at the same time. In other words, he actually has some musicality, unlike so many of these singing contestants that try to mimic every single thing about the original song. Gronwall's version of "Is It True?" is a totally reworked version of the original from a vocal phrasing and stylistic standpoint. I don't know if he did the arrangement, but the point is he knows himself and how to project that to an audience.
4. Finally, you know music is very subjective, but I can just sense that he is a great live performer. Erik is out there and enjoying himself, and it shows in his performances. This makes it easier to just "get into" the performance and makes his act refreshing.
I will not discuss in detail other purely subjective things like looks and marketability, but Erik looks slightly nerdy but perfectly presentable to me and comfortable on stage. So as long as his singing and music skills continue to develop, I don't see what can stop him from being a star if he can write good sings or hook up with a good writer. I will be looking forward to the rest of his performances on Swedish Idol (which I have to get on YouTube) and hope he continues to pick good songs and display the amazing potential he has shown us so far.
Special thanks go out to Erik himself for linking to this article from the official Swedish Idol blog of Erik Gronwall.