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Anna Sahlene
Anna Sahlin 2008.jpg
Background information
Birth nameAnna Cecilia Sahlin
Also known asSahlene, Anna Sahlene, Anna Sahlin
Born (1976-05-11) 11 May 1976 (age 43)
OriginSöderhamn, Sweden
Occupation(s)Singer, Actress
Years active1999–present

Anna Cecilia Sahlin (born 11 May 1976), known professionally as Anna Sahlene and formerly by the one-word stage name Sahlene, is a Swedish performer best known as a singer: she placed third at the Eurovision Song Contest 2002 with "Runaway" the Estonian Eurovision entrant for 2002.

Early life/career[edit]

Born in Söderhamn on 11 May 1976,[1] Sahlene was the oldest of seven children having three younger brothers and three younger sisters. Both her parents had strong musical inclinations which were passed on to their children, with Sahlene herself singing from an early age in addition to learning cello, guitar, oboe and piano. However her performing career began as an actress: at age nine she had a lead role in The Children of Noisy Village (1986), based on a story by Astrid Lindgren, and subsequently reprised her role - that of Anna - in the sequel More About the Children of Noisy Village (1987) appearing in both films billed as Anna Sahlin.[citation needed]

Sahlene did not pursue a performing career subsequent to these two films - although she appeared on television in 1989 when the two Noisy Village films were run as a seven part series - until the age of eighteen when she moved to Stockholm with aspirations to be a singer. She was for several years a member of One Voice a gospel choir directed by Gabriel Forss whose members also performed as background vocalists on recordings by such artists as Eric Gadd, Carola and Robyn.

She was among the members of One Voice who formed the chorale for the Charlotte Nilsson performance of "Take Me to Your Heaven" at Eurovision 1999 where, representing Sweden, the number won. At the subsequent Eurovision 2000, held in Stockholm, Sahlene was again onstage as one of the members of One Voice who formed the chorale for the Claudette Pace performance of the Maltese entrant "Desire".[2] Sahlene's own recording career began in 1997 when she fronted the band Rhythm Avenue on their album Twelve Steps Down the Avenue.[citation needed]

As Sahlene[edit]

The Little Voice[edit]

Sahlene's first solo single in 2000 was called "The Little Voice" ("The Little Voice" did not pick up much airplay until it was later covered and released as a single by Hilary Duff in 2004, though with almost entirely rewritten lyrics). Three videos were made for tracks recorded by Sahlene for Roadrunner Arcade Music: "Fifth Element"; "The Little Voice", landing in the top 5 of MTV Nordic's most played list; and "Fishies", filmed on location in Sardinia, Italy. "The Little Voice" and the 2001 single release "House" were both minor Swedish chart hits for Sahlene with respective peaks of #51 and #52. Sahlene recorded tracks for a The Little Voice album release which was shelved due to EMG's buyout of Roadrunner Arcade Music and its eventual fall into bankruptcy. However Sahlene was afforded the opportunity to serve as opening act at Swedish concerts by Robert Plant and Bon Jovi as part of the promotion for The Little Voice album prior to its release being canceled.

Eurovision 2002/ Runaway[edit]

Sahlene was subsequently signed to Virgin Records Sweden but had yet to record for that label when Virgin Sweden was contacted in January 2002 by an Estonian songwriting team who had entered their composition "Runaway" in Eurolaul 2002: top Estonian pop star Ines had recorded the demo of "Runaway" but opted out of performing the song in Eurolaul and the songwriters - unable to solicit another Estonian singer - were now hoping to recruit a singer from Sweden. Virgin Records telephoned Sahlene with the offer to perform "Runaway" at Eurolaul 2002 the evening of the day the label was contacted by the songwriters and at 6 a.m. the following morning Sahlene flew to the Estonian capital of Tallinn where she rehearsed with the writers of "Runaway" over the two weeks remaining prior to Eurolaul 2002.

On 26 January 2002 Sahlene's performance of "Runaway" at Eurolaul 2002 resulted in a first-place finish, with "Runaway" resultantly becoming the Estonian entrant for Eurovision 2002 and on the night of competition for Eurovision 2002 - mounted 25 May 2002 at Saku Suurhall Arena in Tallinn - Sahlene's performance of "Runaway" resulted in a third-place finish.[3][4]

"Runaway" debuted at #20 on the Swedish singles chart dated 12 June 2002 but failed to rise higher although it did spend 14 weeks in the Top 40 with seven of those weeks in the Top 25.

2003 (Melodifestivalen/ debut album) - 2004[edit]

In 2003 Sahlene made her first bid to represent her native Sweden at Eurovision participating in Melodifestivalen, the Swedish national preselection round for Eurovision, with the number "We're Unbreakable" which on 8 March 2003 bowed out of Melodifestivalen 2003 with a fifth-place finish in Round #1 of Semi-Final #4. Sahlene had freely admitted prior to Melodifestivalen 2003 that the intent of her Melodifestivalen participation was to showcase "We're Unbreakable" only to the point of securing a hit in Sweden and Estonia: she was sure "We're Unbreakable" would not be voted by the Swedish public as their Eurovision entrant and Sahlene in fact preferred not to compete on the Eurovision main stage for a second consecutive year.[5]

"We're Unbreakable" was included on Sahlene's debut album It's Been a While which mostly consisted of tracks from her unreleased Little Voice album and also conctained "Runaway": It's Been a While was released on M&L Records - a Lionheart Music Group label - in April 2003 and "Unbreakable" became a hit on Swedish radio although it was not released as a physical single and therefore did not chart.

Sahlene's name was leaked as a possible performer for the Melodifestivalen 2004 entrant "Baby I Can't Stop": however the eventual performer of the song was Gladys del Pilar.

Sahlene was a guest performer on the album What a Wonderful World by the Joybells, singing the title track for that summer 2004 release.

As Anna Sahlene[edit]


In February 2005 Sahlene's second album Photograph was released on M&L's parent label Lionheart with artist credit reading Anna Sahlene: the addition of the first name "Anna" to Sahlene's professional name was first evident on this album's advance single "Creeps" - released in January 2005 to become a hit in both Sweden (#28) and Finland (#13) - and the subject of this article has been credited as "Anna Sahlene" in all her subsequent professional endeavors, including voicing the character of "Cappy" in the Swedish-language dubbed version of the computer animated comic science fiction film Robots (released by 20th Century Fox March 2005).

2006 (Melodifestivalen) - 2007[edit]

In 2006 Anna Sahlene again vied to represent Sweden at Eurovision participating in Melodifestivalen 2006 with the song "This Woman" which Sahlene composed with Bobby Ljunggren and Henrik Wikström: "This Woman" bowed out of Melodifestivalen 2006 in the first semi-final having finished that round in fifth place and thus just missing the cut-off for advancement. However Sahlene's recording of "This Woman" - released on M&L - did return her to the Swedish Top 20 for the first time since "Runaway" with "This Woman" peaking at #19 in March 2006 although the eight-week chart tenure of "This Woman" was far briefer than that of the #20 hit "Runaway".

Sahlene was one of the contestants on the 2007 season of the Swedish TV show Let's Dance on TV4. Sahlene was voted off the show, which was won by Lasse Brandeby.

On 11 August 2007 Sahlene began an extended run in the female lead in the musical Footloose in Gothenburg: the show moved to Stockholm on 20 February 2008.

2008 - 09 (Melodifestivalen)[edit]

In January 2008 it was announced that Sahlene would possibly participate in that year's Selecția Națională: the national preselection round for Romania in Eurovision: although the demo of the number "Dr Frankenstein" had only featured vocalist LaGaylia Frazier it was tentatively planned that the number would be performed in Selecția Națională as a duet by Frazier and Sahlene with the duo being billed as LaSal. However, by the month's end it was confirmed that Sahlene's schedule would not permit her to participate in Selecția Națională ("Dr Frankenstein" as performed by LaGaylia Frazier at the Selecția Națională final of 23 February 2008 finished in tenth place). Sahlene was a guest performer at Eurolaul 2008 broadcast live from the Eesti Televisioon Studio in Tallinn on 2 February 2008 previewing her upcoming single release, a cover version of Maria Arredondo's #4 2007 Norwegian hit "Brief and Beautiful".

Sahlene again bid to represent Sweden at Sweden at Eurovision 2009, competing in Melodifestivalen 2009 with "Killing Me Tenderly" a duet with Maria Haukaas Storeng: conceived as a solo, the song's composers had recast "Killing Me Tenderly" as a duet upon finding the demo submitted by Sahlene and that submitted by Storeng equally impressive. "Killing Me Tenderly" bowed out of Melodifestivalen 2009 in Semi-Final #4 - held 28 February 2009 - in seventh place: however the recording of "Killing Me Tenderly" by Anna Sahlene and Maria Haukaas Storeng - released on M&L - rose as high on the Swedish charts as #10 (though with a very brief overall chart tenure of three weeks).

On 24 October 2010 Sahlene performed at a "Eurovision Night After Dark" party held at the Swedish embassy in Washington D.C..

Recent career[edit]

In 2010 Sahlene was one of several artists featured "Ta Min Hand" a charity single in support of SOS Children's Villages; Sahlene was also among the personnel of "Ta Min Hand" who performed at an accompanying fundraising concert held at Kungsträdgården on 20 November 2010 - the day of the single's release.[6]

From the fall of 2010 Anna Sahlene and LaGaylia Frazier extensively toured Sweden with an R&B-oriented live show entitled the Blues Mothers.

2012 saw the first release of any new recordings by Sahlene in four years, with the single "Jamie" released 27 February and the follow-up "Horns of Mississippi" released 6 July 2012: these two singles are included on the eleven-track album Roses released 26 September 2012.

It has been announced that as of 27 December 2012 Sahlene will perform in the role of Maria Magdalena in the Göta Lejon Theatre production of Jesus Christ Superstar.

In 2013 Sahlene voiced the character of Queen Tara in the Swedish-language dubbed version of the animated film Epic released by 20th Century Fox May 2013.

It was announced 5 May 2016 that Sahlene and Dea Norberg will be the backing vocalists for Dami Im when she performs the 2016 Australian entry for Eurovision: "Sound of Silence", which Im is scheduled to perform in the second semi-final 11 May 2016 at the Globen: a Top Ten place in the semi-final will entitle Im to perform "Sound of Silence" in the Eurovision 2016 Grand Final held at the Globen on the night of 14 May 2016. At the 5 May 2016 rehearsals for Im's semi-final performance Sahlene and Norberg performed their background vocals offstage.[7]

In the fall of 2018 she played the role Grace in Nöjesteaterns production of the stage musical Annie. She reprised her role in the spring of 2019 in Lorensbergsteatern in Göteborg.

In May 2019, she will provide backing vocals at Eurovision 2019 for the United Kingdom’s entry “Bigger Than Us” by Michael Rice.[8]


Year Single Album TUR
2000 The Little Voice It's Been A While
2001 Fishies Non-album single
2002 Runaway It's Been A While 50
2003 Do You Really Wanna?
No Ordinary Girl
We're Unbreakable 12
2005 Photograph Photograph
You Can Shine Non-album single
Creeps Photograph
2006 This Woman Non-album single
2009 Killing Me Tenderly feat. Maria Haukaas Storeng Non-album single
2013 Vertigo feat. Bassflow Non-album single


  1. ^ Anna Sahlin at the Swedish Film Database. Retrieved 5 February 2011.
  2. ^ "Lilla Anna har blivit stor". Poplight (in Swedish). 14 February 2006. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
  3. ^ Bohlman, Philip V. (2004). The music of European nationalism. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO. p. 2. ISBN 978-1-57607-270-7. Retrieved 6 February 2011.
  4. ^ "Eurovision Song Contest 2002". European Broadcasting Union. Retrieved 6 February 2011.
  5. ^ Galanoff, Nikolai; Alexandra Manuikian (18 February 2003). "Sahlene: I don't wanna participate in Eurovision again". Retrieved 11 August 2013. "Unbreakable", which is my song in the final, is very good, but I do not think that it could win. The reason is that Swedes are very conservative towards Eurovision. We have got no international judges as in Estonia, the Melodifestivalen winner is chosen by public. That's why I'm sure that I won't get first place....The fact is that Sweden will choose [an] old-fashioned song. But my entry this year is very very Pop-ish. The aim of my participating in Melodifestivalen 2003 is to make "Unbreakable" a radio hit in Sweden and in Estonia. I don't want to participate in Eurovision again. [That would be] too hard work, too much nerves. Well, I'm quite sure that won't win [Melodifestivalen 2003] this year.
  6. ^ "Swedish Pop Stars Do Their Thing for Charity". Scandipop. 17 November 2010. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
  7. ^ "Anna Sahlene (Estonia 2002) returns to Eurovision!". Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  8. ^ "אנה סהליין (אסטוניה 2002) תלווה השנה את בריטניה". EuroMix.

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Tanel Padar, Dave Benton & 2XL
with "Everybody"
Estonia in the Eurovision Song Contest
Succeeded by
with "Eighties Coming Back"