Masayah (Swing-A-Ling)

Not one track on the debut album starts with Masayah moaning his name. This fact says more than one would think.

Generally, pretty much every new aspiring rap or R&B hit starts with a couple of "Uh-huh's" during the instrumental intro and also mentions the artist's name before the first verse. It's not only due to trend and tradition. An artist doesn't kick-start a song with a moan only because it's cool and the way it's supposed to be done. It's mostly about putting your characteristic insignia on the song so that clubbers and radio listening fans a like will recognize the voice of their idol reaching out to them. Identifying the artist without it would be close to impossible as producers work and use the same core of chords and hooks on many different productions. This is why Usher moans at the start of the intro - The Neptunes has already used the same intro in a song for Faith Evans.

And this is why you won't hear Masayah moaning "Uh-huh Masayah".

Masayah doesn't need to brand a song that is already his own from start to finish. Nor does he get an ego boost from copying the big boys. And why should he? You're not exactly the ego boosting type if you already at sixteen get the opportunity to sing with a fresh pop star (DeDe) only to quit after a year to join the ranks of the Stockholm East Gospel Choir for two years. Same thing with his TV career: Masayah left the role as popular soap character Abbey in "Tre Kronor" and instead began writing songs with his best friends from the suburbs. Neither does Masayah need to profile his intros due to being produced in a similar fashion. Even though the influences are as clear as obvious - from Danny Hathaway to Timberland - they don't stand out in the sound. It's the true stories that stand out - stories about young love and even younger death in tough, segregated suburbia.

The music is uncomplicated. It's straight from the heart. From his own youth in the Stockholm suburb to the music his father brought from Uganda, and last but not least from his friends - in particular brother-in-arms Oskar with whom he tries out every chord change and lyric detail. Masayah has purposely avoided working with the country's most established and respected producers and instead spread the jobs on among others Lisha, Matthew (Petter, Ayo, Laila), Fred, Kaah and London legend Omar.

Masayah shares the values of the wave of "classic soul" that has given us Angie Stone, Maxwell and D'Angelo in recent years. It's 100 percent programmed hip-hop beats in conjunction with 100 percent organic instruments - from marimba to acoustic guitar to moog sounds. It also means his own average day and personality is more important to the music than the references in the sound. It's soul with closed eyes, gospel depth and the weight of a confession chair. A typical song is "15", where Masayah shares us the story about how one of his friends meets a premature death in high school following a drug overdose.

After dozens of vocal gigs and collaborations with people like Petter, Robyn, Titiyo, Stephen Simmonds, Thomas Rusiak, Dilba and Ken, Masayah has learned the tools of the trade and the business. He has now realized that he also - if he really puts his true, inner self on the line - can make a difference.