"Swedish soul is good, even better than American soul." This rather bold statement is a view espoused by one of Sweden’s major soul front figures, Titiyo. Neither the view nor the statement surprise me. What is ironic is that the statement also embodies a zealous effort to cover up an inferiority complex. It is a syndrome which plagues the Nordic soul scene, and whose cure is like a nearsighted stubborn gander that refuses to wear corrective eyewear, just so he can join the swans. It is a scene that lacks a strong foundation in culture, which makes it an expression with no heart in it, a sewer system of spurious claims to vocal finesse, tinges of racism and exotica where true talent has to wade through the slime to keep artistic integrity pure.
After listening and witnessing minor tantrums on the part of many, one could just question... How is that Titiyo, after only one album under her belt had managed to claim rights to the throne that usually takes a lifetime to even be considered for?
The malaise of the record industry isn’t confined nor unique to Sweden but I’ll leave that for another column. Particularity lies in the inability to foster and nurture the soul vibes and thereby behold and support a vibrant, expressive scene reminiscent of its predecessors.