Last updated: 01/21/2010
Agnes Carlsson (born March 6, 1988 in Vänersborg), best known mononymously as Agnes, is a Swedish pop singer who rose to fame as the winner of the second season of Idol. She has since gone on to be one of Sweden's most popular and best-selling female singers, selling over 180,000 albums in her home country alone. In mid-2009 she became the first Idol contestant to receieve an international launch, with the singles from her third album Dance Love Pop being released in 35 countries worldwide.
Agnes began singining at a very young age. At the age of 8 she began to take professional singing classes and sang solo in front of a live audience for the first time whilst still at school. She also sang in the Vänersborg choir named 'Voice', citing her inspiration as legendary American singer-songwriter Stevie Wonder.
In the spring of 2005, a 17-year-old Carlsson auditioned for the second season of popular Swedish singing competition Idol in Göteborg, singing "Varje Gång Jag Ser Dig" by Lisa Nilsson. The four judges were all hugely impressed by the strong power of her voice and she successfully passed through to the theatre rounds of the contest. Her vocals continued to impress, and she made it to the semi-finals. To the dismay of the judges however, Carlsson did not get a place in the final eleven contestants through public voting, and when she again failed to grab a place through the special 'wildcard' round, they decided to pass her through to the finals as the judges' choice contestant. Despite the lack of early public support, Carlsson went on to wow both the judges and the public during every week of the finals, and as a result made into into the grand finale without ever falling into the bottom 2 or 3 contestants. With 57% of the one million public votes cast during the final, she defeated runner-up Sebastian Karlsson and was crowned as the second Swedish Idol, and the first female to win the competition. Carlsson is currently one of only 4 wildcard contestants to win an Idol competition anywhere in the world. She was preceded in 2004 by Canada's Ryan Malcolm and Kazakhstan's Almas Kishkenbayev, and followed in 2007 by Australia's Natalie Gauci.
Immediately after winning Idol, Carlsson signed a recording contract with Sony BMG and her debut single, "Right Here Right Now" was released. A week later, the song debuted at number one on the Swedish singles chart, a position it held for six weeks. The song was quickly certified double platinum for the sale of over 40,000 copies in Sweden. Just one week later, on December 19, 2005, her highly anticipated debut album Agnes was released to positive critical reviews that praised the power of Carlsson's voice, who was still only eighteen years old. The album immediately debuted at number one, and was certified platinum in its first week after selling almost 40,000 copies.
In March 2006, whilst touring in support of her debut album, Carlsson released her second single, "Stranded". Although it received positive critical reviews, the single did not gain commercial success and stalled in the singles chart at number twenty-seven. Despite this however, Carlsson's first album continued to enjoy high sales success, selling over 90,000 copies in Sweden by the time it officially left the Top 60 Albums chart. It was certified double platinum and holds the record for being the highest-selling album by any Swedish Idol contestant.
On August 22, 2006, only eight months after her Idol win, Carlsson's third single "Kick Back Relax" premiered on the TV-show "Sommarkrysset". The song, which would serve as the lead single from her much anticipated sophomore album, was released on September 7 and narrowly missed the top spot on the Swedish singles chart, peaking at number two. Her second album, Stronger was released on October 11, less than a year after the release of her debut. Like its predecessor, Stronger debuted at number one on the albums chart, and went on to sell over 50,000 copies, certifying it platinum. One of the album's tracks, "Love Is All Around" has since been covered by numerous singers in three continents, the most notable being by Australian Idol alumni Ricki Lee Coulter, which peaked at number five in Australia and became one of the country's biggest hits in 2007.
On November 15, 2006 Carlsson released "Champion", the second single from her sophomore album, which peaked at number nineteen. In early 2007, she embarked upon her second national tour in just over a year. In December, she and her fellow Idol contestant Måns Zelmerlöw joined together for a huge Christmas campaign for clothing store MQ. In order to promote the company, they dueted on a cover of the Mariah Carey song "All I Want for Christmas Is You", which peaked at number three on the Swedish singles chart and was certified gold for the sale of 10,000 copies.
In early 2008, it was announced that Carlsson had parted ways with her record label Sony BMG, with creative differences cited as the reason behind the split. She was quickly signed to independent label Roxy Recordings, and on August 11, "On and On", the fifth single of Carlsson's career was released as a digital download. Geared towards the dance and club genre, the single was a clear change of artistic direction for Carlsson's music, which had previously consisted of pop and RnB. The first public performance of the single was on August 16 during the Swedish TV-show "Sommarkrysset". The single spent four consecutive weeks at its peak of number 8, hit the top spot on the club chart and gained a gold certification.
On September 13, Kaj Kindvall, the host of the radioshow "Tracks" announced that the title of Carlsson's highly anticipated third studio album would be Dance Love Pop. The album was released on October 28 and debuted on the Swedish albums chart at number 5 with sales of 10,000 copies. On November 24, "Release Me" was released as the second single from the album and peaked at number 9.
In January 2009, it was announced by Roxy Records that "Release Me" would receive an international release during the spring and summer. The move marked the first time that Carlsson's music would be distributed outside Sweden. The single made its first international appearance in Denmark, where it peaked at number 6, followed by number 7 in Flanders, number 33 in Wallonia and a sudden appearance at number 83 in Russia despite the fact that it had received no promotion there. On April 1, Carlsson began her 23-date Dance Love Pop Tour in Skövde, Sweden. The tour is Carlsson's longest to date and her first to venture beyond Sweden, with two dates scheduled in Denmark. On April 18 it was announced that "Release Me" had reached number 1 on the UK Club Chart almost a month before its official release due to immense popularity. In May, the song was officially added to the A-List of Radio 1, the second most popular radio station in the UK. On May 8, just over six months since its release, Dance Love Pop was certified platinum in Sweden for sales in excess of 40,000 copies, becoming Carlsson's third album to reach platinum status in her home country. At the same time, Agnes made her first PR trip to the UK, took part in a live interview on BBC Radio 1 on May 23 and performed at London's G-A-Y, the biggest and most famous gay club in England. "Release Me" finally received its official UK release on May 25 and debuted at number 1 on the UK iTunes chart and, on May 31, debuted at number 3 in the UK Singles Chart.
The second single to be released outside of Sweden was On and On, first was the Netherlands on February 10 and later Poland, where the single peaked at 14 and 10. "On and On" is also to be released in the UK later in 2009.
In early june 2009, Agnes UK record company 3BeatBlue announced that the album Dance Love Pop is to be released in September 2009. They also confirmed that the album would be much like the swedish version released in October 29, 2008 but that some extra tracks and remixes would probably be added to the UK-edition.
On October 14 2008 it was announced that Agnes would compete in Melodifestivalen 2009, the competition that would decide Sweden's entrant to the Eurovision song contest. The song "Love Love Love", written by Anders Hansson, was chosen as her official entry song. Agnes later confirmed this in an interview in the Swedish newspaper Göteborgsposten, and it was further confirmed on December 2 2008 by SVT. Hansson had previously worked as the executive producer on Carlsson's third studio album Dance Love Pop, co-writing almost all of the record's tracks, including hit singles "On and On" and "Release Me". Originally, it was said that Carlsson was to perform "Love Love Love" as a duet with fellow Swedish singer and former A-teens-member Marie Serneholt, but when it was later decided that Serneholt would be competing on her own, Agnes took on "Love Love Love" as a solo performance. On February 28, 2009, Agnes advanced to the final round of Melodifestivalen 2009 and eventually achieved 8th place with 40 points. On February 28, she officially released "Love Love Love" in Sweden, where it peaked at number 4. A deluxe two-disc version of her third studio album titled Dance Love Pop: The Love Love Love Edition, featuring single "Love Love Love" and the remixes and music videos of "On and On" and "Release Me" was released on April 1. Following its release, Dance Love Pop returned to the Swedish albums chart and peaked at number 12.