Ola Svensson

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Ola Svensson
(Brother Leo)
Svensson Ola 120803 RixFM Ola 09983.jpg
Ola Svensson (2011)
Background information
Birth nameOla Nils Håkan Svensson
Also known asOla
Born (1986-02-23) 23 February 1986 (age 34)
Lund, Skåne, Sweden
Genres Pop
Occupation(s) Singer
Labels Columbia Records, Oliniho Records (formerly Universal Music)
Associated acts Alexander Kronlund, Shellback, Klas Åhlund
Website www.brother-leo.com

Ola Nils Håkan Svensson (born 23 February 1986) in Lund, Skåne, professionally known simply as Brother Leo, is a Swedish artist and songwriter. Until 2014, he was best known by his mononym Ola. His career began on Swedish Idol in 2005; however since coming 8th, Ola has released four albums. Eleven of his releases have reached Top 5, with 6 making it to number one on the Swedish singles chart, attaining gold and platinum certification. After being signed to Universal Music for many years, Ola founded his own record label Oliniho Records for the Swedish market, keeping distribution arrangements with Sony Music in Europe and internationally. Starting 2018, he records under the stage name of Brother Leo for Columbia Records. [1] [2]


Early life

Ola was born to Swedish parents, and has two adopted brothers from El Salvador, Jonas and Daniel, his elders. His second single "Brothers", deals in part with his relationship with his brothers with the official music video carrying footage of their childhood. From the age of 5, Ola has played piano, and a strong musical influence came from his grandfather who died when Ola was 8. After he died, Ola decided to sing in a boys choir in memory of his grandfather. [3]

By age five Ola began playing the piano at Lund's Municipal School of Music, and at nine he joined a boys' choir in his home town Lund. Ola Svensson was an avid football (soccer) fan devoting most of his life to the sport. Ola played for a long time for Trelleborgs FF team before moving to the first division team Vasalund IF.

As an 11-year-old Svensson had a starring role in the set of the opera The Magic Flute at the Malmö City Theatre, directed by Philip Zandén. [4]


Encouraged by his friends, Svensson tried out to the Swedish Idol auditions. In 2005, Svensson auditioned for season 2 of the Swedish edition of Idol . [5]

In the initial audition in Malmö, he sang "This I Promise You" from 'N Sync and later "Mandy" from Barry Manilow / Westlife and finally "Against All Odds" from Phil Collins as a duet. Just 19 and coming from Lund, he performed his qualifying audition "Show Me Heaven", a song from Maria McKee. The audition was broadcast on 21 September 2005 on Swedish TV4 channel.

In the live shows, he sang "My All" from Mariah Carey (Live Show 1, theme "My Own Idol"), "True Colors" from Cyndi Lauper (Live Show 2, theme: the 1980s) and "Kom igen, Lena" from Håkan Hellström (Live Show 3, theme: Swedish Hits) going to the next round on all three performances.

But he was eliminated on Live Show 4 broadcast on 21 October 2005, after performing Justin Timberlake's "Cry Me a River", receiving the lowest votes from the public. He finished the competition as eighth overall for the season. [6]

Early career

Ola Svensson.jpg

Despite being eliminated early from Idol, a record deal was soon signed with producer Jonas Saeed, [7] and his debut album Given to Fly was released in June 2006, appearing straight at number one in Sverigetopplistan, the Swedish Albums Chart in its first week of release. His first single "Rain", a cover of a song by Anthony Callea was decided by a poll conducted on his website, winning 60% of his fans' votes.

Between 2005 and 2010, Ola released 8 singles with Universal Music, five of which reached no. 1 on the Swedish charts, and all gaining a top 5 spot. The single "Natalie", released on 7 June 2007, topped the Swedish singles chart for 5 weeks and was certified platinum. [8] It aired in a number of European radios outside Sweden. The follow up album Good Enough was released in autumn 2007 and reached number 2 on the album charts in Sweden.

In 2008 Ola won a coveted Rockbjörnen award in Sweden, for Best Song of the Year with "Feelgood". He has also received 14 nominations for the Rockbjörnen award and also a nomination for a Grammy Award. On 22 June 2009 Ola released the single "Sky's the Limit" that again topped the Swedish charts.

In 2009, having gained great success, he took part in the music event NJR in The Park and in Diggiloo Tour with Mojje, Lasse Holm and other artists. In autumn of 2009, Ola participated in the Swedish version of Clash of the Choirs known as Körslaget with his male choir Team Ola from hometown Lund. Finishing as winners of the competition, he donated 500,000 Swedish kronor (around 50,000 pounds) to refugee charity Tamam. [9]

In June 2010, Ola released an EP on iTunes Sweden which featured the single "Overdrive", two new tracks from the upcoming album "All Over The World" and "Still Remember", and a remix of his previous single "Unstoppable".


Ola Svensson during Sommarkrysset in Grona Lund Ola Svensson (2008).jpg
Ola Svensson during Sommarkrysset in Gröna Lund

Ola has taken part in Melodifestivalen twice in a bid to represent Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest in 2008 and in 2010. Ola first participated in Melodifestivalen 2008 appearing for the second semi-final on 16 February with the song "Love in Stereo". The song was written by Tony Nilsson and Mirja Breitholtz. He moved to the "second chance" phase in Kiruna on 8 March 2008 and was through in the first round against the band Caracola, but was overtaken by Sibel in the second round with her song "That Is Where I'll Go". Ola was eliminated without reaching the finals. Despite his failure, his song "Love in Stereo" charted in Sweden reaching number 2 in Sverigetopplistan, the official Swedish Singles Chart.

On 6 February 2010, Ola participated yet again in Melodifestivalen 2010. During the semifinal stage in Örnsköldsvik singing "Unstoppable", full title "Unstoppable (The Return of Natalie)", a reference to one of his initial big successes "Nathalie". The song was written by Ola together with Dimitri Stassos, Alexander Kronlund and Hanif Sabzevar. Ola sang first in the first heat, and qualified through to the final, held in Stockholm Globen Arena on 13 March 2010. [10] He finished seventh in the final, with 47 points, but received the most points from the international jury.

Record companies

In June 2010, Ola bought himself out of his Universal Music contract after two albums with Universal, Given to Fly (2006) and Good Enough (2007) and started his own record company, Oliniho Records. [11] [12] [13] His first album on the label, sef-titled as Ola reached number 3 on the Swedish Albums chart. The singles "Unstoppable" and "Overdrive" both became number one hits in Sweden. the single "All Over the World" was later awarded best Scandinavian pop song by the British music site Scandipop. [14] On the Ola album, he collaborated with Alexander Kronlund and the English artist and songwriter Labrinth on the track "Let It Hit You"

During 2011 his company signed several international deals, amongst them, Europe, the US and UK. He is currently releasing music in mainland Europe with Sony Music. The newly established company said that after five years on a major, Ola [had] decided to start his own record company, Oliniho Records. Ola was quoted saying: "Why not try to do this myself. With the freedom I have today I think it's easier to follow my own direction and I can develop both my artistry and my songwriting in a more natural way."

In February 2016, Ola joined label Warner/Chappell and will release forthcoming albums through this label. [15] Oliniho Records still exists, however will not be used to release any more music, or sign any acts.

International success

Ola (2011) Ola Svensson,.jpg
Ola (2011)

Ola's first UK single, "All Over the World", received much attention, becoming the most played video on 4 Music and The Box and being championed by Scott Mills on BBC Radio One on his show Ready for the Weekend. In the US it has entered the Hot Dance Airplay Chart and the Billboard Dance Chart. Ola also received attention from popular blogger Perez Hilton, who called the song "sweet sweet europop deliciousness". [16] [17]

In 2011 Ola Svensson / Oliniho Records signed contracts with several countries, including 3BEAT in England, David Gresham Records in South Africa, [18] and Ultra Records in the United States. [19] [20] [21]

In November 2011, Ola travelled to New York to film his music video to "All Over the World". [16] It was released in South Africa, United States and England as per signed agreements and through All Around The World record label. The single reached the number 36 on the Billboard Dance Chart in the United States, [22] [23]

2012 began with Ola's first promotional tour of the US with notable concerts in New York and California to support the release of "All Over The World". Whilst there, he also found the time to shoot the video for his single "I'm In Love", in Los Angeles, the first taken from his upcoming fourth studio album. [24] It was an international hit charting in German and Austrian charts and was a big hit in Italy's FIMI Singles Chart reaching number 4. The single was co-written by Ola and some others, alongside one of the more successful songwriters and producers in the world, Shellback, who has also written and produced for artists such as, One Direction, Pink and Usher. [25] Ola also toured internationally to promote his hit single "All Over The World", that had found airplay notably in the UK, South Africa, Germany, Russia and the Middle East. The song went gold in Italy with and Ola's Italian tour. [26]

Single "Maybe" was released in Sweden on 16 August 2013. [27] The video for the single premiered at the music site Gaffa [28] and was a hit on iTunes chart. [29] The single "Jackie Kennedy" in Italy on 3 September 2013. [30] It is taken from Ola's new album Carelessly Yours which was also released through his Oliniho Records. On the music video, Ola impersonates Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis in some scenes. [31] A third single, "Tonight I'm Yours" was released in Sweden October 2013. The video filmed by video artist Åsa Riton, premiering at the Swedish music blog PSL [32]

Carelessly Yours , released on 15 January 2014, reached number 4 on the Swedish album charts in its week of release. All the songs were written by Ola Svensson. He also took part in the production on several tracks. Partners on this album among others were Shellback, Johan Kermit Boback, Klas Åhlund and Patrik Berger. Svensson made an extensive tour in Sweden, Europe and internationally during 2013 and 2014 playing in twenty countries for promoting his international career.

Then he published an exclusive single for the Russian market called "This could be paradise" while in 2016 the Swedish DJ Philipp Mikal recorded a song with him called "Waiting 4".

Television and radio

Since 2006, Ola has performed regularly and given interviews on Swedish television shows such as Gomorron Sverige, Förkväll, Vakna! Med The Voice, Sommarkrysset, Faddergalan, Celebration of the National Day, Bobster, and the morning shows on SVT1 and TV4, amongst others.

In 2007 he recorded the song "Du är Musiken i Mig" with Molly Sandén, which became the Swedish language version of "You Are the Music in Me" for the film High School Musical 2 .

He took part in a short documentary My Life as Ola about his experience as an artist and as an individual. He also appeared in several programs including the Swedish series Så ska det låta.

Outside of Sweden, he has also taken part in the Polish "Sopot Festival" and "Hity Na Czasie" in August 2009 with the hit song, "S.O.S". Ola has also performed acoustic versions of his singles on radio stations such as RixFM, NRJ, Sveriges Radio and Mix Megapol.

In 2010, he recorded with Danish singer Mohamed Ali and Norwegian singer Endre Nordvik the song "Fire" for the Scandinavian Nordic version of the film Camp Rock 2 . The song appeared on the soundtrack album Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam .

He has also performed on televised concerts outside of Sweden such as Europa Live in Russia in 2013. His song "Rich & Young" was used on 9 May 2014 in the eight episode of Italian television series Colorado broadcast on Italia 1 (Italia Uno), further reinforcing his popularity with Italian listeners.



Studio albums

TitleDetailsPeak chart positionsCertifications
Given to Fly 1
Good Enough
  • Released: 5 October 2007
  • Label: MMS Records, AristoTracks
  • Format: digital download, CD
  • Released: 15 September 2010
  • Label: Oliniho Records
  • Format: digital download, CD
Carelessly Yours
  • Released: 7 January 2014
  • Label: Oliniho Records
  • Format: digital download, CD

Studio albums

TitleDetailsPeak chart positionsCertifications
Good Enough (The Feelgood Edition) 2


TitleYearPeak positionsCertificationAlbum
as Ola
"Rain"20061Given to Fly
"Natalie"20071Good Enough
"Love in Stereo"20082Good Enough - The Feelgood Edition
  • SWE: 2× Platinum [38]
"Sky's the Limit"20091
  • SWE: Gold
Non-album single
"Unstoppable (The Return of Natalie)"2010194
  • SWE: Platinum
  • SWE: Gold
"All Over the World"321
  • SWE: Gold
"I'm in Love"201245411
  • ITA: 2× Platinum
Carelessly Yours
"Jackie Kennedy"32
"Tonight I'm Yours"
"Rich & Young"2014
"Losin' It"
"This Could Be Paradise"Non-album single
as Brother Leo
"Strangers on an Island"2018TBA
"Push Up"
"Everything on Red"
"Sad Child"
(with Sandro Cavazza)
[upper-alpha 1]


as Ola
2007"Du är musiken i mig"
(Molly Sandén and Ola)
21From High School Musical 2
Swedish version of
"You Are the Music in Me"
(Ola, Mohamed Ali and Endre Nordvik)
From Camp Rock 2
Scandinavian version of
2016"Waiting 4"
(Philipp Mikal feat. Ola)
"—" denotes singles that did not chart or were not released

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  1. "Sad Child" did not enter the Swedish Singles Chart (Sverigetopplistan), but peaked at number 2 on the Sweden Heatseeker Chart [39] .


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  4. Good Company Biografi - Philip Zandén
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  14. Scandipop: Scandipop Awards the Winners
  15. Musikindustrin.se: FÖRLAG Ola Svensson till Warner/Chappell (in Swedish)
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  25. Ola tillbaka med singel-succé | Skånska Dagbladet
  26. http://www.ola.cd/i´m-in-love-has-now-sold-gold-in-italy/%5B%5D
  27. Gaffa.se: Videosläpp "Maybe" (in Swedish)
  28. Scandipop "Maybe" studio version
  29. √ Ola nuovo singolo 2013 Jakie Kennedy | News | Rockol
  30. Scandipop-Jackie Kennedy
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