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Sunday, 16 July 2017

My first 10 years as a Salem fan

You can blame Crown Princess Victoria.  And Måns Zelmerlöw.

The celebrations to mark Victoria's 40th birthday two days ago took me right back in time, 10 years to be exact.  Regular readers are probably bored with this story, but I love to tell it anyway :)

Back in July 2007, I found out that there was a concert, which I could watch on SVT Play, to celebrate the 30th birthday of the Swedish Crown Princess.  At that time I didn't realise that Victoriadagen was an annual event in Sweden, but this concert had caught my attention because Måns was one of the guest performers on the ooncert.  I'd become a fan since his first Melodifestivalen performance in 2007 with "Cara Mia" (pictured below)


Whilst watching the Victoriadagen concert I discovered this very talented young performer called Salem Al Fakir, whom I'd never heard of, but it was one of those rare moments when you know that you have found something very special indeed.

That night didn't just introduce me to the music of a terrific musical talent, but it changed my life.  I wanted to know more and more, and I became a superfan of his music.  I initially wrote about Salem on my other blog, EuropeCrazy, but at the end of 2007 I created Planet Salem as a fanblog for Salem and his music.

Salem's link with the Swedish royal family continued.  He returned to Victoriadagen in 2009, just after the release of the "Astronaut" album.  Later in 2009 he was invited to the Polar Music Prize ceremony to perform Peter Gabriel's "Solsbury Hill".  This ceremony was of course attended by the Swedish royal family!



In 2010, Salem along with Linn Segolson specially wrote a song for the wedding of Crown Princess Victoria to Daniel Westling (now Prince Daniel).  Salem, along with the Segolson siblings Linn and Stefan, performed "All Day Love" at a special gala concert on the evening before the royal wedding. Little did we know that this would be the last "new" song which we would hear from Salem as a solo artist.



If you needed even more proof that Salem was one of the Swedish royal family's favourite artists, then he was back again "by royal appointment" at the wedding of Victoria's brother, Prince Carl Phillip to Sofia Hellqvist (now Princess Sofia) in June 2015.  This time he was performing not one of his own songs, but a cover version of the Coldplay song "Fix You".



A lot has happened in the 10 years since that Victoriadagen concert in 2007.


Victoria is now 40 years old, rather than 30, and she now has 2 children from her marriage to Prince Daniel.  (the above picture is from Victoria's birthday celebrations on 14th July 2017)

Måns Zelmerlöw remained in the spotlight.  He won Melodifestivalen in 2015 and went on to win the Eurovision Song Contest that same year.  When it was Stockholm's turn to host Eurovision, in 2016, Måns co-presented the contest and they were acclaimed by many fans as the best presenters ever at the contest.  Måns continues to release music and play live.

We all know what happened to Salem - since his last new music as a solo artist in 2010, he has gone on to write and produce for many Swedish and international artists, and his vocals have featured on hits from Avicii and Axwell and Ingrosso.  Now Salem has entered an exciting new phase of his musical career, teaming up with that other great Swedish musical talent Vincent Pontare, to form Vargas and Lagola, who have already released some great music in 2017 and promise more to come.

And as for me?  Well, Planet Salem was at its height between 2007 and 2010, those were three crazy and wonderful years which I will never forget.  But now I am 10 years older, and I do not have the energy which I used to have.  My health is not as good as it used to be, and the past couple of years have been a very sad time for me.  However, I continue to love Salem's music - that will never change!  To the next 10 years!  :)

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