Oh, Sweden. How do I love thee, let me count the ways: Ikea furniture, quirky filmmakers, and so many amazing female musicians it makes my indie pop music loving heart nearly burst.
This year, the country that brought us everyone from The Cardigans to The Knife will be honoring its very best, along with neighboring creative talent machines Iceland, Denmark, Finland, and Norway. Twelve musicians from the region were shortlisted for the inaugural Nordic Music Prize, an industry driven award similar to the UK’s coveted Mercury Prize, and aims to honor musical innovation and integrity rather than record sales or YouTube hits. The jury is comprised of a mix of record label insiders and music writers from around the world.
Jan Gradvall, the Swedish representative for the prize, summed up enthusiasm for the new award:
From a Swedish point of view, this is the first ever music prize where all the Nordic music industry professionals have taken part in voting. I really feel that we’ve been missing a music prize where the winner is determined solely by the quality of the music. Also, musical life in the five Nordic countries is more vital than ever before! The United States and England are looking towards Scandinavia, and the nominees really reflect international quality.
And if you’re choosing from 2010’s roster, you’re not short at all on interesting talent, new and old. Of the 12 nominations, rad female musicians made up a third of the shortlist. Robyn, who has been charming Sweden with her pop music since 1997, was nominated for last year’s Body Talk, which she released in three pop dance hit packed parts.
Joining Robyn on the short list are folk sisters First Aid Kit, who began their career as teens and could give CocoRosie a run for their money; Icelandic Ólöf Arnalds (formerly of the band Múm) was nominated for her sophomore album Innundir skinni, which featured a guest appearance by Björk on “Surrender”); and Norwegian singer songwriter Susanne Sundfør got a nod for The Brothel, which was a bestselling album in Norway last year.
The prize will be given in February during the by:Larm Festival in Oslo. Meanwhile, load up your iPods with these ladies for a preview of the creme de la Nordic creme.