Sophie Zelmani was born 12th February 1972. She was originally called Sophie Christina Edkvist but changed her surname to her mothers maiden name Zelmani. Sophie was born in a suburb of Stockholm called Skogås.
She began to play guitar and write songs when she was 14 years old. That year her father drowned and the song writing was a way to process the trauma. She had gotten a guitar as a christmas gift some years ago but hadn't used it. Her step father learned her a couple of chords and then she started to play and write. The inspiration came from the music she heard on the radio - she didn't even own a record collection until she met Lars Halapi.
After school she had a couple of odd jobs. One of them was in a studio where she had to make coffee and be a right-hand man. She also got to record some demos that she sent to some record companies. Sony then gave her a record deal. They also presented her to Lars Halapi. He was then in the Band Bo Kaspers orkester and had produced their two records. He helped Sophie to arrange her songs and played many instruments and produced the record. He also introduced Sophie to much of the music that would inspire her, like Neil Young, Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen.
In May 1995 the first single was released, Always You. The single was a great success both with the critics and with the audience. It was one of the most played tracks on swedish radio durig May amd June. Her first ever live appearance was on the release party of the single. She played som dates on the touring festival Lollipop during the summer. On11th September the first album was released and it became loved by both the critics and the audience, just as the first single. Svenska Dagbladet's critic Dan Backman named Sophie a female version of Neil Young. He thought the album was real and natural, opposed to most things in the time that it was released. Maybe that was the reason that it got much attention.
Sophie got a Grammis (the swedish version of the Grammy) for best newcomer of the year. The record company wanted to take advantage of her popuklarity and started a large campaign with her. It didn't suite Sophie - she doesn't like to talk an therefore doesn't like to be interviewed. One infamous example is an interview in Swedish television in the talk show Tengby. The legend has it that she did only speak a couple of words, but that's false. She was also inexperienced as a live artist and had stage fright - she got black outs during the concerts the first years. During 1996 she was promoted abroad. She made a promotion tour to Japan and America. There was made a video to the single Always You and the album was released in Europe, the U.S., Asia and Australia. Several new singles were releases and new versions of some songs were recorded as B-sides to the new singles. The album was a hit abroad and it went gold in Japan. Some of her songs appeared on the soundtracks of Independence Day and My Best Friend´s Wedding.
The next Album, Precious Burden, was released in April 1998. During most of 1996 Sophie had been promoted abroad and during 1997 the work with the second album begun. As for the first record, and as it would come out, every time Sophie Zelmani made a new album, Lars Halapi arranged and produced the record. He quit Bo Kaspers orkester in 1996 and then has workes mostly as a producer. He has produced artists like Ulf Lundell, Eva Dahlgren, Peter Jöback and Tomas Andersson Wij.
The cover photo was taken by the dutch Anton Corbijn. During the summer of 1997 he made a photo session with Sophie Zelmani on the swedish island Gotland. It wasn't planned to be a photo session for an album cover from the beginning. It was a coincidence that the photos were taken on Gotland - Sophie was there on vacation when Corbijn phoned her up. The photos from the session is the first in a long series of photos that Anton Corbijn took in a blute tone. Pictures from the session is in Corbijn´s book 33 Still Lives. He has since Precious Burden photographed for several of Sophies album covers.
The promotion of Precious Burden was calmer than for the first record. The record has a darker mood than Sophie Zelmani but that didn´t stop the album from becoming a hit, it sold gold in Sweden. During the spring there was a new tour with several stops on festivals - Roskildefestivalem, Hultsfredsfestivalen, Brofästivalen and Vattenfestivalen.
In October a record for Amnesty was released with many of the biggest Swedish artists like Ulf Lundell, Plura, Mauro Scocco, Kent and Meja. Sophie Zelmani is represented with the original version of Dreamer. It was rerecorded for the next album Time to Kill. This was the second time she did charity - the first time was in 1996 when she played on Ulf Lundells concert for Bosnia.
Time to Kill
The 8th November Time to Kill was released. It's the first album with the section of muscicians that has played with her live and on record ever since: Peter Korhonen on drums, Thomas Axelsson on bass and Robert Qwarforth on keyboards and piano. Korhonen had played on the two previous records while it was the first record for the other two, but they played live with Zelmani from the first tour. On the two first records Lars Halapi played most of the instruments while Time to Kill is recorded as a group effort with one person playing one instrument. On Time to Kill is the only song on Sophie Zelmani's records thats he hasn't written, Losing You. It's written by Lars Halapi and he did record it for his solo album When Your TV Makes You Cry from 2005.
The lyrics on this album are less autobiographical than on the previous albums. Sophie was inspired by things that happened in her surrounding. The record was nominated in the female pop/rock category on the Grammis awards. The record sold well, just like Sophie Zelmani and Precious Burden. in 2001 she had sold about half a million records.
In 1999 Sophie recorded a version of Bob Dylan's Most of the Time that was meant to be on a tribute album that Bob Dylan had chosen the artists on. The record was never released but the song is on the soundtrack of the 2003 movie Masked and Anonymous. Bob Dylan co-wrote the script and had a part in the movie. In 2000 Bob Dylan recieved the Polar Music Prize. During the ceremonies in Stockholm Sophie played live. Others that performed was Bryan Ferry and the swedish poet Bruno K. Öijer.
Sing and Dance
Sing and Dance was meant to sound more different than the earlier records than it does:
- We wanted to do something different this time, but... well, it didn't turn out that way, said Sophie Zelmani. But we thought that it was different when we we finished the recordings.Bbut now I can't even remeber what we thougt sounded different. Ha, ha. I guess this is where I feel comfortable and Lasse got good taste... But I doesn't have the urge to change.
But there was a difference in some of the songs - the music was a bit happier and faster than before in songs like People and Breeze. The record contains a duet with Freddie Wadling on the song Once. Sophie did a second duet in 2002, together with Uno Svenningsson. They did the song Men bara om min älskade väntar. It's a swedish version of The Dylan song Tomorrow is a Long Time. The translation was made by Nationalteatern and the cover of it is on a tribute record to them called Nationalsånger.
In the summer of 2002 there was a 30 minute show with Sophie Zelmani on Swedish television. It was in a show called Solo, a show where an artist played songs live in the studio combined with segments of interview clips.
Sophie Zlemani was again nominated for a Grammis in best female rock/pop and Lars Halapi was nominated as the producer of the year.
Love Affair was released two days before the Christams Eve of 2003. Before the recording of the album it was meant to have large arrangements with strings and brass but during the session most of the arrangements was taken off the recordings and on many of the tracks it's only vocals, guitar and piano. Unlike the previous albums this took a long time to record.
The cover photo is photographed by Anton Corbijn. It's taken outside of Mariefred, in the middle of Sweden, where Sophie had moved.
Sophie Zlemani toured in Switzerland in 2003. She had become popular both there and in Germany and had included the countries on her tours ever since. Again she was nominated in the Grammis category of best female pop/rock act.
A Decade of Dreams
In 2005 the collection A Decade of Dreams was released. On the album are three new songs and rerecordings of So Long and Always You. It was during the recording of the new tracks that Sophie decided to make a new record. In 2005 Freddie Wadling released the album Jag är mosntret. Sophie wrote the song Det sitter i dig for it.
Memory Loves You
On the 2007's Memory Loves You Sophie sings more quiet than on the earlier albums. The singing often exceeds to whispering. The album was recorded during the spring and summer of 2007. Many of the songs were created in the studio during the recording sessions. Just as on the Love Affair tour Sophie Zelmani played in Germany and Switzerland. She did that in 2006 as well and an hour from her concert att the Blue Balls Festival in Switzerland was aired on Swiss TV.
The Ocean and Me
Already before the recordings the track order of the album was decided and the songs were recorded in that order. Much of the record was played live in the studio. The boat on the cover is painted by Sophie's grandfather. The pictures on her is taken by Anton Corbijn.
I'm the Rain
The songs were written and recorded in the Studio of Lars Halapi's home inÖsterlen in the very south of Sweden during the spring and summer of 2009. Sophie Zelmani played her ideas to Lars Halapi and he encouraged her and gave her tips for how to develop them. Then the recordings began, first with only the two of them and then the rest of the band came and recorded their parts. There was a new member on the record, Rickard Nilsson on keyboards.
A long tour followed the album during parts of the winter, summer and autumn.
© Karl Larsson 2009-2010, email@example.com
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