JONAH HEDQVIST The Best Male Popstar Since, like, whenever! (An Introduction of Sorts!)

Critical Links:
30 second clip of Summer High through Zshare (here)
Hear the entire song and show your love on his myspace (here)

There are many male pop acts at the moment. All are great and sublime but none as refreshing as Mr.Jonah Hedqvist. His single Summer High is currently shooting up the Swedish charts and has become a DontStopthePop legend. He's always been a firm favourite of DontStopthePop but now I can safely say that he is one of few acts that reaffirm why this blog (still) exists. This needs some explaining. Unlike so many other acts who have to be pulled, wrenched and hurled from the closet once their sexuality is revealed Jonah did it the other way round. He is extremely proud of who he is and to me is the first male musician who might be seen as a role model for young gay boys who often see male singers come out through trouble, scandal or after the sun has set on the performer's career.

On the contrary Jonah really never came out-it just is what it is. Now usually I don't make an issue about sexuality but this singer is fucking cool. So much so he was Mr.Gay Sweden. I feel like all those pride marches I went to as a kid and teenager has finally resulted in an act that is up there waiving the rainbow flag with you. So, Jonah is a star. An out and very happy popstar. So what makes him a legend?

Last year, he was due to perform his previous single "Once In A Lifetime" at Stockholm Pride but after leaving a gay bar he was attacked in a vicious hate crime. This is what he had to say on the subject-

"I heard a few steps behind me and got a glimpse of a couple of silhouettes. Then everything went black. There was blood all over the place and I had two big gashes in my head. The whole situation was very hard to understand and still is. I got a pretty bad concussion but I refused to stay in bed for my performance at the big Closing Pride Show. Then it would have felt like they had won. The thought of being followed and beat to the ground for the sake of being gay scares me. This might seem like a chiche, but the assault changed me in the way that I do appreciate life and my friends even more. This last year music has been therapy for me, so i put all my emotions in writing lyrics."

This is the man gay mags should be featuring on their front covers!

So to the music. Ok, there are three singles by Jonah. The first two were ultra camp and extremely sublime. His take on I am What I am is the best cover of the song since the French musical first appeared some twenty years ago in the La Cage Aux Folles by Jerry Herman. And yes, I think its better than Gloria Gaynor's epic version! Theres something about the deep voice of Jonah singing the song that really brings out the essence that made it the rallying cry of the Gay Pride movement. When sung by a woman, whether it be the Gaynor, the Bassey or the Marti Webb something is lost. I don't know why or how but perhaps the song was meant to be sung by a man who was proud of who he is despite what the world threw at him. The production is helped out by the inclusion of the schlager legend Shirley Clamp taking the helms on the backing vocals. Its an epic song by a man singing about coming out of the closet just as the original was in the original stage production. For this reason alone it surpasses all the amazing disco covers done by those wonderful diva's previously mentioned above.



The second single was the anthemic Once In a Lifetime which follows in the same uplifting spirit of I Am What I am. Clearly dedicated to Eurovision, Once In A Lifetime is part-Kylie and part-Dannii. Its a track Alcazar would love to record as it brings a huge smile to your face. Indeed, the song sounds like the template for the recent albums released by his fellow Swedish singers Magnus Carlsson and Danny.


Now its his latest single that has secured his status as "DONTSTOPTHEPOPS finest male act of 2007". Forget Mika, Robbie, Magnus! And leave that Danny at home! This is the sound of the most exciting Swedish male pop act of 2007 and next year. Forget Sweden-lets break down the borders, I personally think Summer High could be the best pop song by a male singer in the world so far this year. Am I being over the top? Well its so catchy its unbelievable, ever so kitchy, ever so witty and ultra pop it makes you immediately run out and dance in the streets wearing very little (if the weather is nice of course!). Coming in at under 3 minutes long, the song is too addictive to describe but is perhaps the most perfect and concise pop song I've come across by a male singer in ages!

If theres anyone in the UK from the music industry reading this they need to sign this boy immediately. Jonah has told me the album is nearly done and you can't fault a boy whose dream it is to represent the UK at Eurovision. So in the next couple weeks of expect to see more on and about Jonah as DontStopthePop follows his music, his career and his self journey through the world of pop and as a gay boy myself it makes me so proud that Jonah is literally out there doing something great with his music.

Thank you to Jonah and all at Pyjama Records
When the album is out you'll be able to buy it here (CDON)


11 comments:

Mark P said...

Aw, this is great.

Daniel Stevens said...

Hi DSTP

Not too fond of this earlier stuff. They are a bit too much. But his new stuff is brilliant. He's got a really good voice. Really deep and manly. I can't think of other male singers at the moment with such a manly voice. There's a touch of Tom Jones about his new material and his voice.

Great B-tween interview too. I think I love DSTP when it gives my Swedish acts. Any news on Isabel Guzmans album?

(oh and I think your right regarding Jonah and the gay issue but i don't want to go on about that without being too political or nasty to other acts)

Paul K said...

I go away for a few days and look what I've missed..............this Jonah fella is rather perky isnt he. Your right, he is a bit of a legend. Got more balls than a lot of singers I don't care to mention. I always thought Sweden was liberal!

Anyway, great song (Summer High) and I look forward to importing his album...

P.S could you please stop featuring all these Swedish singers. They are brilliant but they cost so much!

Mark said...

hello robert v good article. i really like Summer High! Is it from an album? (I've just read its not done yet...ignore that question-i'll order it when it comes available though!).

btw did they catch the bastards who attacked Jonah?

Paul said...

ooo tres bon. thanks for the heads up. i love the positive role models that come out at the start of their career, don't make a big palarva of it and just get on with it - the alter boys, will youngs, dan gillespie sells, jake shears, et al should all be applauded and all be getting the magazine covers. Welcome Jonah to that privileged and admirable group

Trash Addict said...

He's amazing! Finally a gay pop star with some dignity - not a tragic closet case until they're past it like Darren Hayes. I can't wait for the album!

Anonymous said...

James

I read this and felt really sad for Jonah which has ultimately led to finally comment! I think talking about sexuality is a private decision for many musicians. I don't think that should be held against them (especially if they might have been ordered to remain quiet by the record company). However what makes me sick is the the likes of Darren Hayes who'll sell themselves to the gays and will freely talk about their sexuality to promote a CD when his career is quite over.

But its brilliant (perhaps amazing) that Jonah is so frank at the start of his career. He's the way forward. I really agree with you on that. Like the second Paul said, it irks me a bit that gay singers like Simon Curtis and Jonah Hedqvist arn't getting the front covers in gay (lifestyle) magazines or exposure that the likes of Mr.Hayes and Will Young always do. They could have a great effect on young individuals who identify with their stories and might feel a bit more comfortable about themselves.

I do like Darren Hayes. I was one few people who actually bought his cd instead of downloading it. I must say it’s a great package. However young gay kids have little to connect with him.

This Jonah fella is utterly different to Darren in that respect. A total different kettle of fish. Robert you mentioned that you feel proud. I share this feeling. I really do.

Reading his story in this article I immediately identified with what he's gone through. Thats something I rarely do and to be honest with you it actually made me feel icky!

A gay positive role model! He determines himself, doesnt try to fit the bill or in. How unusual and scary is Jonah? But at the same time its also great.

I truly hope the gay community takes note of the brave steps that Jonah has taken. I have!

MM said...

TrashAddict said it with just one word and that was dignity.

Thanks for making me aware of this guy. I love the music AND the guy.

If the album is as catchy as Summer High it will be on my Christmas list!

Fredrik, Höör said...

What a site this is! I spent all day yesterday here. And I thought I was the only one... Even though I'm 36 - I should have known better, I should have searched the blogs - not just amazon.de for "customers who bought Befour also looked at these items".

So much to listen to. And even if I'm from Sweden, there were things here that I didn't know about the Swedish acts.

Haven't had the time to read it all here, but I'm missing Tina Cousins so far (Angel, Pretty Young Thing).

And my new goddesses - (sorry Bananarama, you're still good, but...) Lucky Twice!!! 3rd single - lucky twice song - I'm in love!

About Jonah Hedqvist - I think he came out as gay long before he had a singing career, so there wouldn't be much use in trying to hide it. He's not one of my favorites. I like the girls... when they're singing. Only then. Sort of.

I will return. Often. Thanks!

Peter Lassing, Karlstad/Sweden said...

I went to see a show lots of years ago... And guess what: It was starring Jonah (Then: Jonas) Hedqvist.
Totally fab! He was 12 or 13 something and already shining like a star. It was something very special about his apperance on stage... Very rare.
So I do think his singing started long before he decided to be an open gayartist.
We have so many artists in sweden (NO NAMES) that choosed to live in the closet, either decided by them self or by their recordcompanies.
Jonah/Jonas is really a fresh air!

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