New Swedish star talks tennis, cigarettes and recording duets with his girlfriend
michael baggs
15:21 25th March 2013

Stockholm-based musician Per Magnusson has left the comfort of sought after Swedish pop quintet The Sonnets to embark on a brand new solo project known as Sportsman and is bringing his own brand of elegant R'n'B to the masses.

Magnusson recently travelled to Africa in search of a new direction and stumbled across his new guise whilst smoking the 'second best cigarettes in Kenya'. The Swedish singer tells Gigwise of his hopes for Sportsman and why he felt it was time to go solo.

"I had just finished touring the last album with The Sonnets and it’s always when you finish something that you search for a new direction," says Magnusson. 

"Personally, I always want to make something new and challenge myself. This vision was something I had to do on my own I think.

"I was in Kenya on holiday after the tour and I just found this pack of cigarettes in the sand and the label was Sportsman. I found it quite amusing to name cigarettes Sportsman. I made a friend there and he told me they were the second best cigarettes in Kenya.

"That was the same time that I realised that Sportsman was something I had to do and it became real to me."

Watch Sportsman's video for 'Rally' below:

Although Magnusson has already told us his new handle was found on a cigarette packet, the singer revealed he is a huge fan of sport and even reveals was pretty handy with a tennis racket in his younger years.

He says: "I am a tennis player actually. When I was 16, I was one of the best in South Sweden, but I didn’t do it for ten years. I’ve started again recently and play as much as I can.

"I love it just as much as music. I’m a big tennis fan. It's one of my biggest dreams to go to Wimbledon.

Magnusson is a self-confessed 'pop melody whore' and although he admits to not being totally sure what music he plans to make as Sportsman, a pop influence is going to be inevitable.

He says: "I'm curious to hear new songs from Sportsman myself because I don’t know what they are going to sound like yet. There’s no masterplan or vision."

"I love Katy Perry and Taylor Swift. They are probably the artists I am listening to the most right now. Not so credible I guess, but I just love a simple pop melody. My songs will always be darkened a bit. I don’t want to write just another Katy Perry song."

Featured recently on the Gigwise: Tracks of the Week list, Sportsman's debut single 'Rally' was one hell of a way to announce your new solo career. Singing on the track with girlfriend and former Those Dancing Days singer Linnea Jonsson, Magnusson has created a modern love song and one of the most beautifully romantic tracks of 2013.

Knowing the pair are in a relationship adds to the romanticism of the track but Magnusson says he was just happy to have Jonsson on the single because of her vocal talent. He says, "If I can be objective about it, I think she has the best voice I've heard, so that was any easy choice. I was just very happy that she wanted to sing on it because she hadn't sung in a while. I'm very happy that people get to hear her voice again."

As for the future of Sportsman, Magnusson explains that he is taking things slowly and can't quite believe something that started as a journey of self-exploration has been met with such critical acclaim and at such an early stage of his solo career.

"My only dream was to make music that inspires me. Music has always been my excuse to escape from everyday life and that was my only intention with Sportman. It’s so new it almost feels strange talking about it.

"Everything has just happened I haven’t had time to work out a master plan. I'm just overwhelmed and very thankful."

Sportsman's debut single 'Rally' featuring Linnea Jonsson is available now.