Swedish singer Carola Häggkvist was born in Stockholm in September 1966. She appeared on TV for the first time after winning a talent show in 1977. A couple of years later Bert Karlsson discovered her and she was offered to take part in Melodifestivalen 1982, the preselection for the Eurovision Song Contest but she said no. In 1983 she recorded the album "Stand by with Carola Häggkvist" with the swedish metal band Standby. However, in 1983, she decided to participate with Främling, which became Carola’s big breakthrough. She won Melodifestivalen with full points from all juries. A few month later she represented Sweden in Eurovision in Munich, and a record was broken; 6.1 million Swedes followed the competition, that’s 84% of the Swedish population and that record has still not been broken.
Her debut Främling sold in an amazing one million copies, that also being a record that will hold for a long time and probably never be broken in Sweden. Främling was also recorded in English, German and Dutch. During 1983 and 1984 she released three albums at Mariann (the record company of Bert Karlsson) and they all sold very well.
In 1985 Carola started to cooperate with the Beegees. She recorded an album, Runaway, with songs written by Maurice and Robin Gibb and produced by Maurice. The record sold double platinum when released in Sweden the following year. After this album Carola left the pop-scene for a while, doing a church tour together with Per-Erik Hallin and releasing the live album Carola & Per-Erik Hallin i Rättviks kyrka.
In Melodifestivalen 1990 Carola made a surprising comeback with Mitt i ett äventyr and ended up second. She also released a new album, Much more, and she was constantly followed by the tabloid press. The next year she went for revenge in Melodifestivalen, entering with Fångad av en stormvind and won. In the Eurovision Song Contest 1991 in Rome she practically tied with Amina from France but managed to win thanks to more times 10 points. Later that year she recorded a Christmas album – Jul.
As the first Scandinavian popartist ever Carola went to China and released an album there in 1992. After her 10 years anniversary as an artist in 1993 she changed her focus and made a gospel album, My tribute, which was released in Scandinavia and 12 other countries. It also made her Gospel Artist of the Year in the Netherlands 1994. She continued to release albums and in 1994 a more rockish one came, Personligt. This was the first album with songs written by Carola herself.
In 1995 Carola made her debut as a musical actress doing the role of Maria in the Sound of music, acting with Tommy Körberg. Three years later she sang the theme song in theNorwegian musical Sophie’s world, which was released on the album Songs from Sophie’s world. Several years later, 2002, she made a short appearance as Fantine in Les Miserables in London.
Carola once again goes ‘non-pop’ and does an album with psalms written by Lina Sandell in 1998, Blott en dag, and an album with children’s songs in 2001, Sov på min arm. Later in 2001 she returns to pop with the album My show.
In 2003, Carola has her big 20 years anniversary as an artist. She has released one collection-CD, Guld, platina & passion – det bästa med Carola and will release a big collection with 4 CD:s later on (Guld, platina & passion – det mesta med Carola). At the moment she is touring Sweden for, what she claims, the last time and she is currently on svensktoppen (the Swedish charts) with her new song När löven faller (Autumn leaves), which originally was written for Melodifestivalen 2003 but got disqualified.
All in all, Carola has released 15 albums and 5 collection-albums in her 20-year-long career and she is one of the most well known artists in Sweden. Her career so far has been incredible, yet controversial, half the Swedish population loves, the other half more or less hates her...