Goode Times Everywhere
Music, Music Industry

Simon Andersson: A Journey Of Resilience, Creativity, And Musical Influence

Most kids when I was growing up played in voluntary music school at least once a week after regular school. This was the same for decades and I believe this had a huge impact on at least the way people viewed and experienced music and culture in our country. Obviously not everyone persued a professional music career, but that was not the point. It was just a broad positive effect.

There were other factors that made me become what I am today, I just think this example shows how much of a music tradition exits in Sweden.

Then you have all the Swedish acts that have become famous on the world stage. Obviously that helps too.

Quite remarkable for a country with less than 10 million people in it.

What does the nomination for the World Entertainment Awards mean to you, both personally and professionally?

Simon Andersson: it’s an amazing thing! I’m honored to be nominated and to be invited to play at the awards.

Of course you hope to win! But I must say I kind of feel like a winner anyway. it’s solid proof of your work and the invitation to play means a lot. That’s saying something too you know.

To me it’s a comeback. I’ve been fortunate enough that this is my third time nominated in Hollywood for my music. I’ve received one award for best song of the year but that’s some time ago.

After that I had a good run with most of my success being in the US , but then it all went south and I actually lost everything. Lesson learned of the importance of who you bring on to the team.

I’m not gonna go through the details now but it was tough. I didn’t have any resources whatsoever to bounce back, no team, no nothing. And quite frankly after seeing the inside of the music industry I wasn’t exactly full of inspiration and eager to get back on the horse.

Try is about not quitting or giving up. To believe in yourself and your abilities. This nomination is proof that it works and so it’s very special to me personally.

You’ve been recognized for your songwriting and production skills. Can you share some insights into your approach to these aspects of music creation?

Simon Andersson: Yeah, it’s passion, knowledge and hard work. Talent is also a part of it but if you don’t work hard to develop your talents, they are not worth anything.

Music has always been my life. I started playing drums when I was three years old and had my first teacher – who was a famous French drummer touring with Demis Roussos in the 70’s – when I was five. Then picked up the guitar and the piano. Started singing early on and just kept going. This has helped me tremendously in my production skills because I can think as a drummer for instance when recording or programming drums. Since I don’t practice or have practiced drums for YEARS I might not be able to play it, but I know HOW it would be played. This hand goes here, and snare comes after that tom and it should be this cymbal, not the other one because of where you are in a fill on the the drum kit. If that makes sense. It all just makes it sounding natural.

Production is important but it’s not music. Important point. ANY great song can be played with just a guitar and vocals. That simple.

it’s often forgotten these days. it’s all about the song. The music and the lyrics. Polished shit will never be a diamond! Ha ha

I always start with the music when I write. What’s the feel? Emotion, vibe. Focus on that. Get inspired. Could be a cool sound, a riff, melody whatever.

Then get the parts of the song. Verse. Chorus. A Bridge? Don’t think. Play. Experiment. Don’t judge or be afraid of trying things. You can re-arrange the order and re-write later.

DO NOT get stuck looking for the perfect kick drum sound. That will ruin your flow. And the perfect sound will not make it a hit. But the right hook or vibe just might.

I will also say that I focus on what part of the process I’m in. This is important especially if you’re doing many things yourself.

Are we doing songwriting, production or mixing? Focus on the right stuff in each part of the process. Don’t mix when you’re producing or writhing.

What was your experience like transitioning from the Swedish music scene to the international stage?

Simon Andersson: More or less seamless. We were doing afterski gigs in Austria years ago and there I learned to entertain in English. Or I should say I evolved and got good at it.

I spoke English fluently before that, most people do in Sweden, but entertaining a crowd is something other than a conversation so that was good practice for me.

Never seen myself as a Swedish artist in a way that I’ve sung in Swedish for instance. Obviously I can but always had my eyes on the international stage.

Can you tell us about a pivotal moment in your career that helped define your path as an artist?

Simon Andersson: I was part of a big TV production on national Swedish television when I was eleven. That was big. Then at thirteen I won best solo performance at a major European music contest. That was such an amazing  moment. I’ll never forget the feeling when we were on stage playing at the big gala ceremony that ended the whole thing. It was broadcasted on national television too. It was in Poland and not too long after the  Berlin wall fell so the whole atmosphere was… electric. it’s hard to describe. It was unbelievable and I got to experience that at thirteen. Best performance out of hundreds if not a thousand people that were part  of it. There’s a clip on YouTube. I say no more, ha ha.

How do you balance the roles of artist, songwriter, and producer in your work?

Simon Andersson: It can be a little tricky. As a producer you can produce very different things and sounds. I’ve also learned how to play different styles etc. That’s very useful and good but not necessarily the best thing as an artist. If you’re not real careful how you market that or present yourself you can get lost. Let’s say the great BB King could also play heavy metal.. Not necessarily a great benefit to his brand right?

To manage the workload I surround myself with a great team and people I trust. Chosen more carefully than the first time around I might add.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced in the music industry, and how have you overcome them?

Simon Andersson: The music industry is not about music. Period.

Understand that and get used to it.

it’s run by people who don’t care about music. If they say they do I can assure you they care more about money.

Lot’s of musicians and upcoming artists – perhaps most – don’t think like that or understand what drives others to support your successful career.

I wish I learned that sooner than I did. And a lot cheaper too! Ha ha

I’m NOT saying nobody in the industry cares about great music – that’s obviously not the case. But it’s not great music that’s the driving force in the top tier of the business.

Learn how to play the game and grow a thick skin. A dinosaur skin.

Who are some of your musical influences, and how have they shaped your sound?

Simon Andersson: How long of an answer do you like? Ha ha! Early on I watched a VHS tape my father had with videos of John Fogerty, Little Richard, Fats Domino and The Eagles etc. That made a big impact on me as a kid and  I watched that tape over and over. Later on when I was around eleven, I was heavily influenced by Chicago. The early era many seem to have forgotten about. I’m talking about the 70’s long before I was born.  So much great music they did back then! And their guitarist – Terry Kath – who was an amazing player really impressed me. Then during high school it was a lot of ToTo on the menu and I should also say that  growing up I listened to Swedish Pop/Rock group Roxette. Most people internationally would probably know their music from Pretty Woman. It Must Have Been Love. And there are many more that influenced  me over the years.

Nowadays I listen to as much different music as I can. I love taking influences from all over the place. My schedule don’t allow me to listen as much as I used to but I try to get new inspiration as often as I can.

What was the experience of performing live on American TV like, and how did it impact your career?

Simon Andersson: It was perhaps to hottest gig I’ve ever done! Not kidding! Ha ha

Must have been to hottest day ever recorded in Nashville. I thought it was a good idea to wear black jeans and a boots. It was not.

But it was an amazing experience. Everyone was really nice and it worked out great I think.

it’s one of those moments that you add to your experience bank. It makes you more comfortable.

Obviously it was not my first TV performance but the US is a big deal and that was my first live performance on US TV.

Hopefully not the last.

You’ve had success both as a solo artist and in collaborations. What do you enjoy about each experience?

Simon Andersson: With collaborations you can go anywhere. No matter your own style. Whatever you want to do as an artist you can.

As a solo artist your own journey is connected with your fans. it’s an interesting thing. Almost like a relationship.

As I said before, when being a solo artist you have to think more about your style or what you are as an artist. What’s the connection with your fans.

If Rammstein suddenly do a jazz album – it’s a little weird. If they collaborate with a symphony orchestra or famous opera singer – it’s not.

Can you describe the inspiration and creative process behind your song “Try”?

Simon Andersson: It was first written as an idea to a famous DJ. I received a request for something and came up with the basic melody and the hook.

But it was not finished and didn’t have any lyrics. At least not the way it turned out when it was finished.

The song or the project ended up in my drawer for some time and it was first last spring when we were planning a new release for the summer as I was playing my own festival that I’ve founded – South Ocean Festival in Malmö, Sweden – that I picked it up and felt “let’s finish this one”. It had the right vibe for what we were looking for.

A lot of tracks were already recorded – not the vocals – so it just needed a little love and production to finish it up.

The lyrics are mostly inspired by my own journey and how it turned out so far. I mean it wasn’t planned. Life man. We all keep going don’t we. And you should never give up on your dreams.

What message do you hope listeners take away from your music?

Simon Andersson: I hope they feel something. Depending on the song obviously. I want to experience something with my fans, especially live. But it’s a journey we do together.

With age I get better and better connecting with my inner self and hopefully that’s something I can share with my fans. And we go forward and grow together.

Can you share any upcoming projects or goals you’re currently working on?

Simon Andersson: Yeah. I mentioned South Ocean Festival. We’re doing our second year now with that. Really exciting and an amazing project.

So far we have The Cardigans (SE), The Midnight (US) and DeWolff (NL) confirmed. More amazing acts to be announced soon. Festival is held 12-13 July this year.

I’m working on lots of new music. it’s all about singles these days but there’s an album coming next year and we’re working towards that, building momentum and getting ready to tour.

it’s exciting and I feel really inspired to go forward into the future.

How has the music industry evolved since you began your career, and how have you adapted to these changes?

Simon Andersson: The biggest change is streaming. The old model is dead and now there’s no money in music. Selling music I mean – not live. That’s something else.

Social media doesn’t exactly benefit quality work either. it’s 2-3 seconds on TikTok. That’s the attention span.

I mean it’s not really possibly to present anything of quality in that period of time. Music or ANYTHING really is not meant to be consumed that way.

Here’s an example. You get 2 seconds to look at the Mona Lisa. Did you appreciate it? Didn’t think so.

We live in strange times. All about quantity and not quality. Difficult to break the pattern but I’m sure it will change or break down eventually.

A good model would be to combine the user-friendly interface of Spotify with buying or renting music. Something like that.

iTunes was not bad at all. It was very convenient and it supported a sustainable business model.

I’m not about “We need to go back in time and I liked it better the way it was” but there needs to be a sustainable model to support people’s work and where creativity and freedom can thrive.

Today’s business model is corrupt beyond belief. If you stream my music as an independent artist, parts of the royalties go to the major labels.

it’s like you’re buying something at Walmart and they have to pay IKEA a portion of their revenue. Do you think they would agree?

Finally, what advice would you give to aspiring musicians trying to make their mark in the industry?

Simon Andersson: Start with passion for music and forget about the industry and all I just said about it. Learn how to play! Have fun. Play with a few friends and get going together. Interact and inspire each other.

Test things. The reward is unbelievably satisfactory. Don’t just rely on loops, samples and stuff. You can use that anyway whenever you want. I do too.

The most important thing is to learn how to connect with people and music is such a gift.

Learn that and you have every chance possible to become successful. And success is not measured in just money and fame. Remember that and you stay happy as well.

Simon Andersson‘s narrative is a testament to the power of persistence, passion, and adaptability in the ever-evolving world of music. His experiences, ranging from his musical beginnings in Sweden to his international acclaim, highlight the importance of authentic artistry and staying true to one’s roots. As he looks forward to exciting new projects and continues to shape his unique sound, Andersson remains a beacon of inspiration, demonstrating that true talent coupled with relentless dedication can indeed leave a lasting impact in the global music landscape.

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