(Re-heated from 2009-07-22 – view the original post here. Update at the bottom of the post.)
You might have to be Swedish to fully comprehend the greatness that is Leila K – even if it’s easy for most Swedes to forget that she was one of Sweden’s biggest pop forces during the late 80s and most of the 90s when you think about the current state of her career, but more on that later.
Ain’t down with no crack… GER #3, #8 UK, SWE #10
Miss K was first discovered by Rob’n’Raz at a singing contest and offered to make an album with her – which resulted in Leila’s biggest hit to date, “Got to Get” and was followed by the hit single “Rok the Nation” and an album – “Rob’n’Raz featuring Leila K”. Leila, however, was already getting restless and started doing concerts of her own, eventually breaking up with Rob’n’Raz to pursue a solo career.
Clip of “Time” and interview in Swedish
Her first solo single, “Time”, was a big ole’ flop – or as Dannii’s droids would put it – “stores ran out of stock”. The song itself is a funky dance tune, quite typical of the early nineties and while not bad, not really worthy of miss K. She followed “Time” up with “Magic Ball
“, another bomb and things started looked dim. Luckily for miss K, she was on the verge on scoring a European smash hit!
$ucce$$! GER #3, SWE #21, UK #23
While “Open Sesame” didn’t fully break her as a solo artist in Sweden, the rest of Europe was much kinder and it seemed like Leila’s career was finally taking off; it can also be noted that “Open Sesame” was co-produced by Denniz Pop, who happened to be mentoring a young Max Martin. She followed it up with a slightly frantic cover of Plastic Bertrand’s “Ca Plane Pour Moi
“, another European hit and an album, “Carousel”, was released. According to the ever-reliable Wikipedia, she was also the highest-selling female in Europe in 1993 – take that Madonna!
Leila K in da houseeeee! SWE #8, FI #2, BE #37
Not showing any signs of slowing down at this point, Leila K quickly followed this up with the Denniz Pop / Max Martin collaboration “Electric”, which also sampled Shannon’s “Give Me Tonight
“. Peaking at #8 on the Swedish single sales chart and at #2 on the Tracks chart, it’s a Swedish classic! Well, at least in gay clubs – you can’t enter a club without this playing at some point during the night. “C’Mon Now” (below) was the next single and while it wasn’t a huge hit, it can be noted for sharing similarities with a certain teenage whore anthem
. Tsk, tsk Max!
Britney Spears is a thief! FI #3, SWE #21
During this time she was also followed around by film-maker Göran Olsson, who had been commissioned to do a documentary about her for SVT. I’m not going to go into depth about it, as I plan to do a separate post about it in the future, but let’s just say that the result became infamous for showing what a huge mess miss K was. “Fuck You, Fuck You Very Much” is a Swedish trash classic!
Unsurprisingly, her career at this point started to unravel and it wasn’t helped by the fact that her partner-in-crime Denniz Pop died in August 1998 – just two months before Max Martin had his big break with “…Baby One More Time”! While she did continue to work on a few tracks in the late 90s, bar a brief appearance in Daisy Dee’s cover of Open Sesame
, Leila K seemed to have vanished into pop oblivion!
Rumours started spreading about Leila being a homeless drug addict and in 2003 she confirmed it in one of Sweden’s biggest newspapers. Her former record company then tried to release a “Greatest Tracks” compilation to help her out, but sadly, it bombed and only sold about 5000 copies in Scandinavia. At this point I could go on about the various rumours of her going to jail, changing her stage name to Samira, reports of her being dead, “comeback” rumours and more rumours about the crimes she supposedly commited – I would however, like to end this post with one of my favourite bonus/unreleased tracks off her Greatest Tracks compilation; her completely bonkers cover of Madonna’s Burning Up where she basically screams her way through the song. It shouldn’t work, but she managed to capture that youthful energy that Madonna has been chasing for the past few years. So enjoy it and fuck you, fuck you very much!
[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/52853337″ iframe=”true” /]
Besides earning her 100th conviction
(!), Leila K did kind of end up making a minor comeback – she somehow managed to record a feature of on Wallenberg’s “Legendary” last year which is based around a quote from the movie “Paris Is Burning
“. It is rumoured she was supposed to appear in the video, but in true Leila K style it never happened but at least it features fierce queens vogueing, so that’s something. Sadly, the song was unsuccessful and Leila K seems to have disappeared into the wilderness again, only popping up in the newspaper for her latest criminal charges. Le sigh.