Source: Government of Sweden
The Government’s Music Export Prize for extraordinary services to Swedish music exports in 2020 goes to Oscar Holter. The Government’s 2020 Special Prize for long-standing contributions to Swedish music exports goes to Ale Möller. The Government’s 2020 Honourable Mention for achievements of particular importance to the internationalisation of Swedish music goes to the duo Sunshine.
The winner of the Government’s Music Export Prize was announced today during a ceremony in the Blue Drawing Room at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. The prize is awarded each year to Swedish music creators who have contributed to export success and to spreading a modern and positive image of Sweden abroad.
“This year’s winner of the Government’s Music Export Prize, Oscar Holter, is one of pop world’s most successful composers and is an excellent example of the outstanding international successes that have made Sweden one of the world’s leading music nations. From an export and investment perspective, the cultural industries play a particularly important role for Sweden as a creative and innovative country. Oscar Holter’s name has long been well established, and in 2020 he broke records on several playlists,” says Minister for Foreign Trade and Nordic Affairs Anna Hallberg.
Oscar Holter is the 23rd winner of the Government’s Music Export Prize, with the following citation:
Värmland’s Oscar Holter became a songwriter at a particularly young age and was already a producer of established artists by the 2000s. Then as now, he skilfully creates a meeting between classic pop harmonies and synth-based ‘hooks’. Holter once said: “I think that Kraftwerk are just as catchy as ABBA.” This is something that he’s demonstrated together with artists such as Christina Aguilera, Katy Perry, Justin Timberlake, Taylor Swift and Swedish Tove Lo, but the concept has never been as successful as when Holter, together with guru Max Martin, wrote and produced ‘Blinding Lights’ together with Canadian superstar The Weeknd. In short, ‘Blinding Lights’ is already one of the biggest pop hits of all time. In 2020, it topped the charts in 34 countries and has also broken records for the most number of weeks in the top 5 and 20 on the Billboard chart in the US. It has been played more than two billion times on Spotify alone. For Max Martin, it was the 23rd time he had reached number one in the US charts. For Oscar Holter, it was a confirmation that he is also up there among the most successful composers in the pop world.
The other nominees for the Government’s Music Export Prize were: Dafina Zeqiri, Garmarna, Ludwig Göransson and Nea.
The Special Prize for long-standing contributions to Swedish music exports went to Ale Möller, with the following citation:
Who is as comfortable in a polka from Dalarna as in a Greek rebetiko or on a stage in Senegal? Who else has brought Sweden to the world and the world to Sweden the way he has? The answer is obviously Ale Möller! The Scandinavian multi-instrumentalist who has often found global acclaim and been accorded innumerable awards. But is all this success the result of his being declared unmusical at a young age? That this forced him to discover music entirely through his own senses and ear? Ale Möller played jazz and The Threepenny Opera on many different instruments before he found his own place at the heart of music – folk music. Perhaps Professor (he can also claim that title) Möller is a reminder that all music – rock, blues, opera, tango and much more – is in some way just updated folk music. And as we know, folk music never stands still. Boundless and unstoppable, it examines the present day to grow into new forms in the same way as one of the realm’s foremost music ambassadors himself does – one week we see him lead a peace concert in Chinese Chengdu with 14 musicians from around the world, and the next he receives the same Special Prize as Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and Harry Belafonte – Ale Möller!
The Honourable Mention for achievements of particular importance to the internationalisation of Swedish music was awarded to the duo Sunshine, with the following citation:
When pop music from South Korea – often simply called K-Pop – became one of the most successful genres around the world, many Swedes were involved as songwriters, producers and music labels. Among the first was the duo Sunshine – Moa ‘Cazzi Opeia’ Carlebecker and Ellen Berg. Since 2017, the duo have been involved in dozens of number one hits in the K-Pop genre, topping the charts in South Korea and around the world. In 2020, Sunshine were involved in the song ‘We are Bulletproof’: The Eternal’, on the album ‘Map Of The Soul: 7’ by the giants of the genre, South Korean BTS. The album was one of the major factors of BTS becoming top-selling artists in the world in 2020 according to IFPI, the recording industry organisation. Since 2017, Sunshine have collaborated production duo Moonshine, Jonatan Gusmark and Ludvig Evers. This is also an important component in a Swedish pop export phenomenon that is decades old and is now beginning to receive broad attention and respect. The Swedish music companies that have had key roles in setting the Swedish stamp on the K-Pop scene include The Kennel, Cosmos and the Swedish office of South Korean EKKO Music Rights. The Music Export Prize puts the spotlight on Sunshine, but the prize is also an acknowledgement of the part of the music industry that chose a different focus to the mainstream.