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Emilia takes on the ‘Big, Big World’

A few years ago, Swedish pop singer Emilia grappled with a decision most teenagers don’t face: Should she stay in her R&B-inspired group Ahunda People, recently signed to a recording contract, or strike out on her own?

She made the big, big step, and now her first single, the pensive pop song “Big, Big World,” is an international hit and she’s nominated for best song and best newcomer at this year’s Swedish Grammys.

“It was a big decision for me,” Emilia said recently, “and I felt really bad about it, because we were all very close friends, but I guess we just didn’t want to do the same things. We wanted different things. I wanted to do my songs, and they didn’t like them. They felt (the songs) were a bit too girly.

“Everything was really bad for a moment, but then when Yogi (aka Lars Anderson, son of the late Stig Anderson, who discovered and managed Abba) came, I said, ‘Yeah, this is what I want to do.’ He had many ideas, and we connected really good, so I decided it was this or nothing.”

Anderson produced Emilia’s debut Universal album, “Big, Big World” (released Dec. 8), a collection of catchy, mellow pop tunes that examine the turmoil of lost loves and moving on.

“When I wrote the (title) song, it was all about love,” Emilia said, “but I hear all kinds of different stories from fans, like maybe they have a big fight with their parents or they’re having problems with school or a friend they don’t see anymore. It’s different stories. The song sounds sad, but it is positive, like you will survive and you will probably get stronger by the experience.

“It’s crazy, I’m doing interviews with people in Asia, places that I’ve never visited and they’re so far away, but still they like the song. I guess we’re not that different in the world; we all have the same experiences.”

“Big, Big World” was one of the fastest-selling singles in Swedish history, going gold only six days after its release last year. It’s No. 1 this week in Germany and also went Top 10 in Britain, Denmark, the Netherlands, Italy, Norway and Austria.

How it fares in the United States is up in the air. Emilia says she will do her best to avoid the dreaded “one-hit wonder” syndrome.

“That makes me really, really sad,” Emilia said, “but so what if I am a one-hit wonder. I get to travel around all over the world, see a lot of people and I get to do, at least for the moment, what I love. If I am a one-hit wonder, that’s what I am, but I’m going to continue doing music, writing music and making sure it won’t happen.”

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