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Ana Johnsson made her foray into the limelight on the first season of the Swedish edition of Popstars, where she performed in the chart-topping girl group Excellence. She left the group in 2002 in order to pursue a solo career, exchanging the group's syrupy-sweet Europop for gritty Avril Lavigne-style teen pop. Johnsson's first single, "The Way I Am," peaked at number 17 on the Swedish charts in 2003, and her debut album, Cuz I Can, came out one year later. Neither the album nor the single sold particularly well; nonetheless, an executive at Columbia Tristar contacted Johnsson soon after with an invitation to contribute a song to the Spider-Man 2 soundtrack. That song, "We Are," launched Johnsson into the international limelight; the single sailed into the Top Ten in Sweden, Austria, Norway, and Britain, and peaked at number 25 on the United World Chart. Her sophomore album, 2004's The Way I Am, peaked at number one in Japan and made a strong showing in Germany (number 15), Switzerland (number 20), and Sweden (number 27). It garnered numerous award nominations in Sweden, and secured Johnsson's place as one of Sweden's most promising up-and-coming pop artists of that year. Her third album, Little Angel, was released in Scandinavia in 2006. The album itself didn't fare well on the charts, but it did manage to generate two Top 20 singles; "Days of Summer" peaked at number seven in Sweden, and "Exception" reached number 11. Johnsson also recorded an award-winning track for the Finnish-Chinese film Jadesoturi (Jade Warrior) with Finnish rockers Bleak during this period.