Still only at the beginning of their careers, three Swedish musicians Omar Rudberg, Jireel and Greekazo have already achieved success. Now, released from the constraints of the past year, they are rushing once more toward their futures
Here we stand before three young Swedish musicians who in their own ways tell the story of climbing to unbelievable heights. Coming from three different backgrounds, dabbling in three different genres, Omar Rudberg, Jireel and Greekazo have all managed to reach fame and recognition at a very early age. Not one of these three modern day marvels has yet reached the age of 25 (Greekazo is 20 years old, Jireel is 21 and Omar 22) but have already been in the public eye for years.
Jireel, the smooth hip-hop vocalist, whose flows over characteristically suave beats have landed him a Swedish Grammy (among other prizes), has been dubbed one of the most promising performers on the Scandinavian music scene today. Greekazo had countless international listeners trying to decipher his Swedish shocking bars about chocolate bars in his decadent anthem ‘FÖRSENT’ (‘Too late’) when the song was featured in the Netflix smash-hit series Snabba Cash. Omar has reached fans worldwide as a member of neo-boy band FO&O, f.k.a. The Fooo Conspiracy, and is now turning a new page with a solo project and a blossoming acting career that started with a part in another Netflix hit show, Young Royals.
Omar Rudberg feels most at home on stage, which is where he longs to be after this past year of hopelessness. “I finally want to release a lot of music,” he says enthusiastically. “I want to revitalize myself as an artist, live on phat stages where I can feel the adrenaline again!”
Omar has not always been this certain about being the centre of attention, but in a way that feeling might have steered him to where he is today. “In school, I was an outsider,” Omar says. “I don’t know if I’m an outsider anymore, but I can still sometimes feel like one. It has impacted me in both a good and a bad way. The good thing about it is that I have focused on chasing my dreams.”
Since then, Omar has succeeded both in music – with FO&O and as a solo artist – and as an actor in teen drama Young Royals. He says he is “grateful for getting a leading part in a Netflix show that has become an international hit. It has affected my music through millions of fans beginning to follow me, being interested in who I am and what kind of music I make. Now, I have a lot of people waiting for new music from me. I wouldn’t have believed it if you told me that during the summer of 2020.”
The second season of Young Royals premières in 2022, but right now Omar says, “I’m focusing on my music”.
Jireel’s sensitive, emotional sound has achieved its form step by step, and this gradual change is noticeable across the four albums he has released since 2017.
“I think my personal development takes place in my music,” he says. “The success also contributes to my personal growth, since I write about things I experience and see.”
Commenting on his genre’s extreme accomplishments in Scandinavia in recent years, Jireel says: “I believe Swedish hip-hop will surpass itself and continue to break down the barriers you’ve believed to be unbreakable. Hip-hop will continue to be a strong genre in Sweden, and I think we can expect lots of artists going international.”
Jireel describes his latest album, 1953, as “a very personal and dark project about my family”. It seems like he gathers strength from his family and his close friends, all of whom have played their parts in his success. “They have helped me by always being themselves, being a hundred percent honest towards me. I don’t have a bunch of ‘yes men’ around me who just say what I want to hear – I have friends and family who say what I need to hear.”
Looking forward to getting back on the road, Jireel says he has devoted the past year revitalizing his live show, taking it to the next level. “I think people will be shocked when they see what we have to offer.”
Greekazo, the gritty street poet representing Stockholm suburb Hässelby (“Wherever I end up, Hässelby is and will always be my home,” he says), sucker punches holes in provocative punchlines like there’s no tomorrow, pestering Swedish moralisers who are unable to understand his obvious societal function.
For the most part, Greekazo is the truth teller Sweden might not deserve but the one it needs, a small stroke on the canvas of possibility. In lyrics packed like a Big Mac with millennial references, ’kazo is brutally honest about his light-shy endeavours, because that’s what suburban reality looks like today. Like one of the songs off his latest album 6TON5 states, this young rapper does not, in fact, give a fuck. Greekazo is not too late, nor is he too early. As it seems, he has hit Sweden at the exact right time.
“Today, I can be more personal in my lyrics than I could before” ’kazo says about his artistic progress since his debut at an early age. “I have developed my sound and dared to try new things, like singing, for example. That would have been completely inconceivable two years ago.”
After his rapid start in the music business, launched when his very first single ‘HotSpot’ made him the hot new talent, there are still no signs of Greekazo pausing for breath. “This last year, I’ve been locked up in the studio, trying to create new music. When I lost my first summer tour, it was a real backlash and I became unmotivated for a while. Playing live is the great driving force for me as an artist. I love being on tour.”
Whatever the future holds, it seems bright when you start out as early and as strongly as Jireel, Greekazo and Omar Rudberg.
@officialomar; @jireellavia; @greekazo
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