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  • Writer's pictureEmma Garrie

The Eurovision legacy of Swedish songwriter Thomas G:son

Sweden's Thomas Gustafsson is one of Eurovision's most prolific songwriters, but fans will know him better as Thomas G:son.

Early life

Hailing from Skövde, almost 350 km south west of Stockholm, Thomas, 53, still lives in the town where he grew up with wife Maria and two of his three children.

After spending his teenage years helping his estate agent father with local auctions on weekends, Thomas started his musical career in the late 80’s as a guitar player in hard rock band ‘Masquerade’. The band had moderate success, touring in Japan and releasing four albums before they split up.

Thomas moved on to a warehouse job and began writing songs in his spare time. His brother built a studio extension on to the family home and the rest is history!

First forays into Eurovision

Thomas became a full-time songwriter since 1998 and began his Eurovision legacy soon after.

He entered his first song in Sweden's Eurovision national selection show 'Melodifestivalen' in 1999, 'Natten är min vän' by Cleo Nilsson.

It finished in 8th place, but he would only wait two more years before taking out the Melfest crown.

'Lyssna till ditt hjärta' ('Listen to Your Hearbeat') by Friends won the title and went on to finish 5th place at Eurovision in 2001.

Not a bad debut!

He then began writing songs for other nations as well, he had songs in the Finnish national selection (UMK) in 2002 and then Denmark (Dansk Melodi Grand Prix) in 2003.

But it was Sweden again which saw his second Eurovision song, 'Invincible' by Carola which gave him another Top 5 finish in 4th place.

Eurovision success

After countless songs in the late 2000s he struggled to make an impact with only two national final entries making Eurovision - 'Ven a bailar conmigo' for Norway which finished 18th in the semi-finals and 'I Love You Mi Vida' for Spain which finished 20th in the Grand Final.

In 2010 he struck gold again with 'In A Moment Like This' performed by Chanée & N'evergreen for Denmark. It finished in 4th place for Oslo giving Thomas his third Top 5 entry.

But... it was his 30th Melodifestivalen song that created something very special.

A little track called 'Euphoria' by Loreen went on to win the Swedish selection and go on to take the Eurovision crown. It is regarded as a song that changed the Contest and has remained the fan favourite every year since.

Thomas was obviously overjoyed saying,

"It's absolutely one of the greatest moments. It was a long trip to make it happen but it was a really memorable thing."

He also finished in the Top 10 of the same year with another classic, 'Quédate conmigo' by Pastora Soler for Spain.

Post 'Euphoria' years

It didn't stop after Loreen of course, Thomas G:son would go on to have another eight Eurovision entries which included many well known songs:

2013: 'Waterfall' - Sopho Gelovania Nodiko Tatishvili (Georgia) - 15th

2015: 'Amanecer' - Edurne (Spain) - 21st

2015: 'Warrior' - Nina Sublatti (Sweden) - 11th

2016: 'Alter Ego' - Minus One (Cyprus) - 21st

2016: 'Midnight Gold' - Nika Kocharov & Young Georgian Lolitaz - 20th

2017: 'Gravity' - Hovig (Cyprus) - 21st

2018: 'Taboo' - Christabelle (Malta) - NQ (13th in semi-final)

2020: 'Mon alliee' ('The Best in Me') - Tom Leeb (France) - Contest cancelled

It's an incredible record and one has included many different artists, nations and styles.

In an interview with Scandinavian Traveler magazine in 2016, Thomas said that he writes an average of about one song a week but doesn’t overthink how the creative process works.

He has written songs in many different genres such as dance band, rock and power ballads but at this stage no hip hop – yet! The most important thing is that he likes the song himself…otherwise he knows it won’t be good.

He has also written two Junior Eurovision Entries for Sweden back when they participated in the contest.

Some controversy

Thomas’ career hasn’t been without controversy. In 2001, he and co-writer Henrik Sethsson were accused of plagiarism when comparisons were drawn between ‘Listen to Your Heartbeat’ and Belgium’s 1996 Eurovision entry ‘Liefde is een kaartspel’ by Lisa del Bo. The accusations were denied but a cash settlement was agreed upon when the Belgian songwriters took legal action.

Still going

Thomas has no plans to stop yet telling in 2017

“My goal is to write songs that I like and have a good time. That’s my main thing to not make it become boring this process. I will still write songs if I think it’s fun.”

In fact he had another two entries in Melodifestivalen this year, 'Tänker inte alls gå hem' by Arvingarna and 'Still Young' by Charlotte Perrelli.

This year's songs at Melfest were his 61st and 62nd in the Contest and he has written 40 for other nations and their national selections. 15 of these songs have made Eurovision itself and additionally two have won the OGAE Second Chance Contest ('Kingdom Come' for Anna Bergendahl and 'A Million Years' by Mariette).

An impressive record and one that doesn't look like it will stop any time soon.

Thomas G:son truly is an incredible Swedish Eurovision legend.


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