Agnes Carlsson (credited simply as Agnes), born 6 March 1988 in Vänersborg, is a Swedish pop, R&B and dance singer who rose to fame as the winner of the second series of the Swedish singing competition Idol in 2005. She has since gone on to be one of Sweden's most popular and best-selling female singers, selling over 160,000 albums in her home country alone.
In the spring of 2005, a 17-year-old Carlsson auditioned for the second series of phenomenally popular Swedish singing competition Idol in Göteborg, singing "Varje Gång Jag Ser Dig" by Lisa Nilsson. The four judges were all hugely impressed by the strong power of her voice and she successfully passed through to the theatre rounds of the contest. Her vocals continued to impress, and she made it to the semi-finals. To the dismay of the judges, Carlsson did not get a place in the final eleven contestants, and when she again failed to grab a place through the special 'wildcard' round, they decided to pass her through to the finals as the judges' choice contestant. Despite this setback, Carlsson wowed both the judges and the public during every week of the finals, and after making it to the grand finale nine weeks later, she defeated runner-up Sebastian Karlsson and was crowned as the second Swedish Idol. Throughout the finals, Carlsson had never landed in the bottom 2 or 3, and she is currently one of only 4 wildcard contestants to win an Idol competition anywhere in the world. She was preceded in 2004 by Canada's Ryan Malcolm and Kazakhstan's Almas Kishkenbayev, and followed in 2007 by Australia's Natalie Gauci.
Immediately after winning Idol, Carlsson signed a recording contract with Sony BMG and her debut single, "Right Here Right Now" was released. A week later, the song debuted at number one on the Swedish singles chart, a position it held for six weeks. It was quickly certified double platinum for the sale of 40,000 copies in Sweden. Just one week later, on December 19, 2005, her debut album Agnes was released to positive reviews and massive opening week sales. It shot into the albums chart a week later at number one, a position it held for two consecutive weeks.
In March 2006, whilst touring in support of her debut album, Carlsson released her second single, "Stranded". Although it received positive critical reviews, the single did not gain commercial success and stalled in the singles chart at number twenty-seven. Despite this however, Carlsson's debut album continued to enjoy huge sales success, selling over 90,000 copies in Sweden alone. It was certified double platinum and to date holds the record for being the highest-selling album by any Idol contestant.
On August 22, 2006, only eight months after her Idol win, Carlsson's third single "Kick Back Relax" premiered on the TV-show "Sommarkrysset". The song, which would serve as the lead single from her much anticipated sophomore album, was released on September 7 and narrowly missed the top spot on the Swedish singles chart, peaking at number two. Her second album, Stronger was released on October 11, less than a year after the release of her debut. Like its predecessor, Stronger debuted at number one on the albums chart, and went on to sell 50,000 copies, certifying it platinum. One of the album's tracks, "Love Is All Around" has since been covered by numerous singers in three continents, the most notable being by Australian Idol alumni Ricki Lee Coulter, which peaked at number two in Australia and became one of the country's biggest hits in 2007.
On November 15, Carlsson released "Champion", the second single from her sophomore album. The song peaked at number nineteen, seemingly setting a pattern of high-low chart positions for Carlsson, which had also occurred with the two singles from her first album. In early 2007, Carlsson embarked upon her second national tour in just over one year. In December, Carlsson and her former Idol fellow contestant Måns Zelmerlöw joined forces for a huge Christmas campaign for clothing store MQ. In order to promote the company, they released a cover of the Mariah Carey song "All I Want For Christmas Is You", which peaked at number three on the Swedish singles chart.
In early 2008, it was announced that Carlsson had parted ways with her record label Sony BMG, citing creative differences as the reason behind the split. She quickly signed to record company Roxy Records, who stated that after taking a short break from the music industry, Carlsson would return with her third studio album, the first with her new label. On August 11, Carlsson's fifth single "On And On" was passed to radio stations and released as a digital download. Geared towards the dance and club genre, the single was a clear change of artistic direction for Carlsson's music, which had previously consisted of pop and RnB. The first public performance of the single was on August 16 during the Swedeish TV-show "Sommarkrysset". The single debuted at number twenty-seven, but following its physical release it surged up the chart and spent three weeks at its peak of number 8, as well as charting at the top spot of the dance and club charts.
On September 13, Kaj Kindvall, the host of the radioshow "Tracks" announced that Carlsson's highly anticipated third studio album would be called "Dance Love Pop" and then went on to explain the reason behind the record's name: "Dance Love Pop covers the three things that the music is all about on this album; dance-music that has a twist of pop and is about love". Roxy Records confirmed the album's title four days later, and also stated that the release date of the album would be October 29, 2008.
In an interview with Swedish radio channel P3 the song "Love Me Senseless" was played, and although it was confirmed as a track on Carlsson's third album, it was not confirmed whether it would be released as the second single. The album Dance! Love! Pop! was released on October 28 and debuted on the Swedish albums chart at number 5 with sales of 10,000 copies. On November 24, "Release Me" was released as the second single from the album. It debuted on the Swedish singles chart at number 60 based on digital downloads alone, whilst the album was certified gold for the sale of 20,000 copies since its release.