The last time I had a chance to speak to Agnes Thee Carlsson, known simply as Agnes, was back in 2010 at Soho House in Manhattan, at the stateside release party for her already international hit, “Release Me.” I was still so young and dumb then. Now I’m just less young.
A decade later, we’ve reunited – in Zoom form, as is customary in a pandemic world – to catch up on everything that’s happened since.
For the uninitiated, Agnes first rose to Swedish superstardom after winning the second season of Sweden’s Idol, going on to become a pop sensation in her home country before making moves onto the dance floor with her third album Dance Love Pop, extending her reach across international waters with songs like “On and On” – and, yes, “Release Me” – followed by an incredible follow-up, Veritas, in 2012. (“All I Want is You” is still chill-inducing.)
Following an extended break from the industry starting in 2015, Agnes returned with the Nothing Can Compare EP last year, which found her feeling revitalized and re-inspired, still madly in love with dance music, working her way up the stairs from the club basement towards a higher state of disco euphoria, complete with hypnotic and pulsating anthems like “I Trance” and “Limelight” – and even a Paris Is Burning interlude.
At the top of 2020, Agnes dropped the dazzling “Goodlife,” and as of this past month, is back with a moment of spiritual dance floor divination in the form of “Fingers Crossed.”
Please enjoy our socially distanced conversation about her start on Idol, coming to America with “Release Me,” taking a break from the music industry, finding inspiration in disco and ball culture, Melodifestivalen and Marie Serneholt, spirituality, plans for 2021 and finding peace in the middle of quarantine. It was truly a pleasure.