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A Scandinavian Justin Timberlake, a male version of Robyn, or - as he describes himself - a one-man boy band: it's easy enough to slap a label on Swedish pop upstart Juvelen, but that shouldn't suggest that his soulful electronic dance-pop is simply derivative. Indeed, it's surprising how few truly like-minded peers he has in the late 2000s - an period rife with exceptional female Scandinavian synth-poppers - given the era's fascination with the electronic '80s and, in particular, the output of Prince in his heyday, which is an undeniable reference point for Juvelen's work. Frustrated with unfulfilling stints as a guitarist and keyboardist in various bands, Jonas Pettersson made a fresh start in 2005, recording songs in a basement studio under the name Juvelen (swedish for "the jewel"), at first alone and then with producer Patrik Berger (Robyn, Hilary Duff), with whome he connected through mutual friends. After gaining some internet attention through Myspace, he was signed by Swedish independent label Hybris in late 2006. The buzz increased in 2007 thanks to the five-song EP - including "Watch Your Step," which reached #34 on the national charts, and the club hit "Hanna" - and an bare-bones but energetic live show featuring just Juvelen on stage by himself. In early 2008 he appeared on a track by the duo S.U.M.O. (&"It's Good") and released the lead single (&"Don't Mess") from his debut album, which would appear later that year. ~ K. Ross Hoffman


2005 in Stockholm, Sweden

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