Archive for the 'Peter Jöback' Category


The mystery of Isa finally solved

You may recall my recent series of posts where I rediscovered favourite albums of mine that I had not listened to in a couple of years. One of them was “Storybook” by Peter Jöback. Listening to the album again, reminded me of the mystery of Isa Norberg.

Back in 2004, Isa sang a duet with Peter called “Summer Wine”, a cover of the old Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood hit. It’s one of my favourite songs on the album, partly due to the stunning vocals of Isa Norberg according to the album credits. Later in 2004, I saw Peter in concert and Isa joined him on stage for “Summer Wine”. I fell in love with Isa, her voice and stage presence totally transfixed me.

Well, I thought, someone that talented had to have more of a career than singing one duet but I couldn’t find anything with an Isa Norberg. I kept trying for a while but eventually gave up, thinking the mystery would never be solved.

Listening to the album again recently, reignited my love for Isa so once again, I went hunting and this time I turned up trumps. My internet research skills must be a lot better these days. As I discovered, the difficulty I had in the past was partly due to the fact that Isa had been known by different names and her music had covered different styles from schlager to pop to folk to jazz.

So here, for anyone interested is a potted history of the career of Isa Norberg aka Jessica Pilnäs.

Isa was born Jessica G. Pilnäs and it was under that name that she appeared in Melodifestivalen 1995 (Swedish heats for the Eurovision Song Contest) at the tender age of 16. Her song “Jag ger dig allt” (I give you everything) came third and was a hit for the young singer but, rather than commit to a career straight away, Jessica decided to finish school.

Five years later in 2000, Jessica signed with Sony Records. The record company dubbed her Isa, thinking that were too many Jessicas on the market. As Isa, she released an album called “Pretender” and two singles – the title track and “Everything I Do”. Isa toured with the likes of Robyn and sold well in Japan of all places. This album was very much contemporary pop/R&B.

Here is Isa performing an acoustic version of “Pretender” during a promotional tour of Japan.

Pop wasn’t really Jessica’s thing and she didn’t like being told what to do by the record company so there was no follow up. Jessica got married and started a family. She also studied medicine. Although she was spending her time bringing up her children and studying, Jessica still kept her hand in, guesting on records by Peter Jöback, Bengan Janson, Vacuum and Nils Landgren.

Thanks to Elin, here is Jessica as Isa Norberg (Norberg being her married name) performing “Summer Wine” with Peter Jöback.

And this is “Love Earth Cry” by Vacuum featuring the stunning vocals of Jessica Pilnäs.

Nils Landgren released a Christmas album in 2008 and Jessica provided the vocals for “A Child Is Born” performed here on a Swedish TV show.

Stepping back a moment to 2005, as Jessica Norberg, Jessica joined the group Mormors Visor as lead vocalist and released a Swedish language album “Sådan är kärleken” (Such is love), a mixture of folk and jazz. A really quite beautiful album. Click on the image below to go to the group’s MySpace page and listen to some of their songs.

Now lets flash forward to 2011. Jessica has finished studying and is now a qualified doctor. She feels ready to get back into music and has recently released a brand new album called “Bitter and Sweet”. Jessica’s first love is jazz and this album highlights her jazz voice. A mixture of original songs and covers done in her own inimitable style. Here is her jazz version of the Eurythmics hit “There Must Be An Angel” which is truly brilliant, as is the rest of the album.

The best thing is that almost everything that Jessica has done is still readily available. All three albums (as Isa, Mormors Visor and Jessica Pilnäs) are up on international iTunes as are the Peter Jöback, Vacuum and Nils Landgren collaborations. I was able to order Jessica’s latest from Bengans and my friend, the Best Judge, was able to pick up a copy of the Isa album for me on a recent trip to Sweden.

Jessica’s official site:

As far as I can ascertain, that is a run down of the career of Isa Norberg / Jessica Pilnäs. Please let me know if I have missed anything.


Day Six – Peter Jöback – Storybook

Well I had to include an album from Peter Jöback and I have been itching to listen to this album again for a while now. Unlike most of my other Peter-loving friends, I tend to prefer his pop material but I do like to indulge in his more theatrical stuff from time to time.

The idea behind the “Storybook” album was big songs with a story. Songs from stage and screen. And Peter chose well – well known songs mixed up with lesser known gems. This really is a great album.

My one beef (and I’m being mean-spirited here) is there is an instrumental track. As beautiful as it invariably is, “Theme from Schindler’s List” has no vocal. I realise that the album is also a spotlight for Gothenburg’s Symphony Orchestra and this is their track. Actually I should stop being selfish and give credit to the Orchestra for the amazing musical backing they give Peter throughout the album. They really add a touch of class to the proceedings and allow Peter’s strong voice to shine even more.

I have quite a few favourite tracks, including “Always On My Mind”, “I Who Have Nothing”, “I Don’t Care Much” and “Summer Wine”. Peter’s version of “She” has become the definitive one for me and is a favourite among Peter’s fans.

Lets see what I can find on You Tube to give you a taste of this album.

“Always On My Mind” has been recorded by so many including the Pet Shop Boys. Peter’s version is the more traditional one and his voice does lift this up into the stratosphere.

Here is an incredible performance of “She” at an athletics gala.

I really wanted to share “Summer Wine” with you. I found it but someone has put a slideshow of Michael Landon from “Bonanza” to it. Still, you can hear Peter’s voice in duet with Isa Norberg. Isa is really quite wonderful too. I have tried to find out more about her with no success.

“I Who Have Nothing” is one of those great songs and Peter’s version is easily the definitive one for me (sorry Shirley). Actually, a duet between Peter and Shirley Bassey on this song would be nothing short of amazing.


A football song

I must say that I have no interest in all this World Cup football (aka soccer here in Australia) malarkey going on at the moment. I really can’t understand why Australians got up so early to go stand in a freezing cold park at 4:30am in the morning to watch Germany whip us good on a big screen. But then again, others probably don’t understand why I do what I do half the time.

Anyway, I thought I should contribute something and seeing as I love music, here is a football song from the 1992 European Football Championships. The official song no less, featuring a very young Peter Jöback and another Swedish singer, Towe Jaarnek. A typical football anthem, I suppose, and quite catchy. I wish someone would put up the E-Type dance remixes.


This has got to win…

Peter Jöback has released a video clip for his Melodifestivalen song “Hollow”. It is an acoustic version featuring Peter’s stunning voice and a piano. In some ways, I think it works better than the original. Lets hope they release this version too, even if just as a digital download.


Melodifestivalen 2010 – lead up to the final

Well, in last week’s second chance final, two women got through – the wonderful Pernilla Wahlgren and the not-so-wonderful Jessica Andersson. No offence to Jessica but her song is sooo boring. Ican’t believe it got through over Alcazar or Neo. I suspect that part of the problem was the silly way that the duels were set up (a pointless exercise). I think many of the people who liked Alcazar also liked Neo and vice versa. The result was a split vote that let Jessica and Kalle Moreaus through, both boring songs. Jessica then beat Kalle. Sigh.

Anyway, that’s how the game works and it is all a game after all. Not much point bitchin’ about it!

We’re gearing up for the final which is this weekend. Here are the ten finalists with my comments for what they’re worth. They are in the order that they will be performing.

Darin – You’re Out Of My Life

Quite disappointing actually. Darin was favourite to win the contest but I’m sure that’s changed now that everyone has heard the song. Darin ha the potential to be an international star but I don’t think this will be the song to do it. He has released much better ones than this in his career.

Pernilla Wahlgren – Jag Vill Om Du Vågar

Pure schlager and I love it. Plus it’s in Swedish too which in my view is a definite plus. She’s gorgeous and the song is a lot of fun. I wonder if she’ll do an English version should she win.

Andreas Johnson – We Can Work It Out

I don’t mind this song at all and it’s quite good. I just don’t think it’s memorable enough to win. I always enjoy listening to it but five minutes later, I can’t remember how it goes.

Timoteij – Kom

Another Swedish song (there are only two in the final) but boring. A bit too folksy for an international contest.

Peter Jöback – Hollow

My favourite, of course. A big ballad sung with a big voice. This will get people’s attention for sure. Plus it helps that Peter is known outside of Sweden.

Ola – Unstoppable

I wasn’t too impressed at first but it has really grown on me. Its main hook is the catchy piano riff which reminds me of “The Persuaders” TV theme for some reason.

Jessica Andersson – I Did It For Love

As already mentioned, boring. There’s no real heart or soul in this song.

Salem Al Fakir – Keep On Walking.

I love this infectious slice of indy pop. It’s a bit different to the norm which makes it stand out. I’m sure it will do well.

Anna Bergendahl – This Is My Life

A ballad but one with some heart and soul (unlike Jessica). Not my favourtie but I don’t mind it at all. I have a feeling this will do well on Saturday and could even be the winner. I hope not.

Eric Saade – Manboy

He’s cute with a killer smile and the song is a lot of fun. Definitely the best performance with the shower scene at the end. I’m sure this will do well and being the last song won’t hurt.

In order, my favourites are:

  1. Peter Jöback – Hollow
  2. Salem Al Fakir – Keep On Walking
  3. Pernilla Wahlgren – Jag Vill Om Du Vågar
  4. Eric Saade – Manboy
  5. Ola – Unstoppable

Melodifestivalen 2010 – Semi-Final 4

Despite a slow start to Melodifestivalen, things have picked up considerably. The fourth semi-final was by far the best so far, with some great songs.

Even putting my bias aside, Peter Jöback was always going to get through to the final. “Hollow” is a big song with a big hook sung with a big voice.

Good to get some dance pop schlager with Pernilla Wahlgren. Love this one.

Some more fun dance pop with Neo and “Human Frontier”. I became a Neo fan last year and this song does not disappoint. Love the outfit too plus the cane.

I was disappointed that Sibel was totally knocked out of the competition. Her energetic performance of “Stop” combined with her chunky purple dress should have got her through to at least Andra Chansen, the second chance final but alas no.

Peter got through to the final, and Pernilla and Neo will get another go in Andra Chansen. That now makes three artists (Pernilla, Neo and Alcazar) in Andra Chansen that I want to get through and of course, only two will get through. The way it is structured, Neo and Alcazar can’t both get through but I would be happy for either of them to join Pernilla going through to the final. We should know by this time tomorrow who is making the final line up for the grand final on 13 March 2010.


Melodifestivalen 2010 – Semi-Final 3

I must say that Melodifestivalen has been a bit lack lustre so far. An impressive line up of artists but the songs haven’t quite been up to scratch. The quality has picked up for the third semi-final but none of my favourites made it through to the final, although one did get through to the second chance final so there is hope yet.

“Headlines” by Alcazar is my favourite out of the first three semi-finals. Not as punchy as their entry last year but very catchy nonetheless and I love the effect of the cars driving seemingly under the stage.

“Doctor, Doctor” by Elin Lanto is a great dance pop song which has nothing to do with the Thompson Twins classic with the same name. She looked great on the night and the effect with her hair towards the end was visually stunning. I can’t believe it came so low.

A change of pace with Eric Linder and “Hur kan jag tro på kärlek?”, one of the few Swedish language songs in the contest. A more traditional Swedish pop ballad but beautifully sung. It only just missed out on the second chance final. It was great to see Kenneth Gärdestad get recognition. He wrote the lyrics for the song and of course is best known for all those classic songs that he wrote with his brother Ted back in the 70s.

None of the other songs rang my bells so to speak. Darin made it through to the final and I do acknowledge that the song does sound like it could be an international hit single and I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up representing Sweden at Eurovision in Oslo. He also has the talent to break it internationally. The song just didn’t grab me on the night.

Only one more semi-final to go. Another impressive line up which includes Peter Jöback, Neo and Pernilla Wahlgren (responsible for one of my all time favourite Melodifestivalen songs “Piccadilly Circus” in 1985). There was a bit of a drama earlier in the week which could have seen Peter’s and another contestant’s songs being disqualified but thankfully that has been sorted out. I have heard the one minute clips from each of the songs but will wait until I have seen all the complete performances before I pass any judgement.