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Sportsman was the nom de plume of Swede Per Magnusson, formerly of Stockholm soul-pop quintet the Sonnets. Following the band's grueling 2010 world tour, he decided to take some time out for reflection and traveled to East Africa. After visiting Tanzania, he ended up on a beach in Kenya overlooking the Indian Ocean, where he had an epiphany: he wanted to make music that sounded like the scenery he was looking at. He found a pack of cigarettes in the sand bearing the brand name "Sportsman," and his solo project was born. Upon returning to Sweden, he left the Sonnets, teamed up with production duo Montauk (who had remixed the band), and began to demo songs. His 2013 debut single "Rally" retained the '80s influences that had driven the Sonnets, but sidestepped the band's new romantic and blue-eyed soul obsession for a more contemporary feel. Lush, ethereal, faintly melancholy ambient pop, it featured vocals from his girlfriend Linnea Jönsson, formerly of indie pop darlings Those Dancing Days. An EP, Usher, followed, and another single, "Begin Again," was released the following year. Magnusson took his time crafting his debut album, Neverland, which did not appear until mid-2017. Released on Best Fit Recordings and described by him as "a final farewell to my childhood," it was heralded by the beautiful single "Running on a Beach," the most fully realized distillation of his distinctive sound that he had produced up to that date. ~ John D. Buchanan