Starting when he was very young...
Simon picked up playing drums as his first instrument. He was only three years old when he got his first kit. Hitting on his mom's pots and pans constantly every day was the reason behind the decision and soon, Simon was jammin' to his father's guitar playing.
At the age of five he got his first teacher, Patrick Alain Jean. A French drummer who had toured the world with famous singer Demis Roussos and moved to Sweden. Patrick and Simon altered their time between practicing drums and doing other fun kids-stuff like playing football (soccer). This was a great time for Simon where he could really evolve musically.
Moving on, Simon later got his first guitar. A decision not well received at the time, as his drum teacher wanted him to focus on the drums. But Simon got his guitar and the first thing he did was to plug it in to his battery driven mini-amp with a strap and head on over to the girl next door to play his first chords. He didn't actually know any chords, so he was just strumming. But the spirit was there.
IN THIRD GRADE,
when Simon was nine, he and his fellow classmates played the recorder (a flute). A mandatory instrument in Sweden at the time, if you wanted to apply for further musical studies. Simon doesn't remember how to play and can unfortunately not take requests. But it was during this time he was noticed by music teacher Adam Zimny who would come to shape Simon's musical path for years to come. Adam let Simon play rhythm guitar while the other kids where tootling away on their flutes. Soon a band was put together and Simon was front man.
The band, named Simon levererar (Simon delivers [EN]) was widely appreciated around the local community and they performed at various events and concerts. The band was led by Adam but many of the kids parents helped in various ways and Simon's dad was always very committed to their success. And success would come.
Swedish televison (SVT) was about to film a new season of a very popular TV-show, called Rena Rama Sanningen. SVT was looking for some talented youngsters to be featured in the show and after a few meetings and a successful showcase, Simon and the band were chosen.
This was an amazing opportunity as this was broadcasted nation-wide on Friday evenings for several months. Watch a short sequence here!
More opportunities arrived with SVT later but for various reasons the band was unable to secure another TV appearance. In Sweden that is.
Because two years later, in 1996, Simon levererar took part in a major European music competition called BIM in Bydgoszcz, Poland. Simon was awarded the "best individual performance" and made a hugely popular performance at the closing ceremony gala. The show was broadcasted on national TV. Simon was only thirteen years old.
WATCH SIMON'S PERFORMANCE!
DURING HIS CHILDHOOD,
Simon suffered from a very low self-esteem. Something that may not seem very likely, given his big charisma on stage, but behind the artistry there was something else going on. In his early 20's, he would seek counseling to deal with his problems but when he was in his early teens, that was a long way ahead. Simon have told the story that he remembers being truly happy during kindergarten up till he was about seven years old. Having friends and a strong feeling of "being part of the group". But that would all change when he was about to start first grade and his family moved across town.
Even though they moved to a "top area" in the city, the school's position acted as a wall between two areas on either side of it. One side housed the rich people with the villas and the other - the ones without. Simon paints a picture that may not be recognized by all. But being the new kid on the block, isolated with the other kids, away from grownup supervision, he knows his past.
"I remember a birthday party invitation. This was taking place inside the classroom during a lesson and our teacher initiated the whole thing. So it was no "just among friends" thing. The birthday kid was sent out in the classroom to hand out the invitation cards. Every single kid got one except me. Then, kids being kids, everyone knew and of course they talked, pointed fingers and laughed at me. But that's not what hurt the most. It was the fact that 29 out of 30 got an invitation and I didn't."
"To put this short, all guys played hockey. Me too. We were good. Positive competition amongst us. One day our teacher told us to go get our caps. We all had them, it was a thing. Everyone on the rich side of school had expensive caps with US teams on 'em, like New York Rangers and so on. I had a cap with our own local team, because my parents couldn't afford the US version. Our teacher told us to line up on either side of the classroom depending on what kind of cap we had. This ends up in me being the only one standing on one side and the rest on the other. That one hurt. I'll never forget it and till this day I have no idea why we did it."
"It took me years to get over the kind of feelings such things scar you with. No kid should have to experience that! I'm not sure you ever get rid of it, it's a piece of who you are, but I don't feel bad about it anymore. On the positive side, my scars have given me a deep sense of connection with my inner feelings and that is a good thing when writing music. I'm proud of who I am and my past."
IN HIGH SCHOOL,
Simon carried on with his musical studies. Just prior he had met Ali Payami as the two were classmates in seventh to ninth grade. At the time they didn't do music together, as Ali hadn't picked up his successful path yet, but Simon focused his studies around music and evolving as a live act.
A new band was formed, called Less Is More, and when the boys were around eighteen they started to play professionally and earn some money. It was during this period that Simon's musical influences also widened greatly. Students with very different musical backgrounds met and school acted as a big melting pot. Lynyrd Skynyrd, Metallica, Country, ToTo, Folk music, Lenny Kravitz and The Beatles. You get the point. But this was something very similar to Simon's upbringing and he was quick to adapt. He was always raised listening to a wide array of music and genres. Something Simon feels has served him well as a songwriter, but has also made him feel uncomfortable being placed in one single genre as an artist.
After graduating high school and doing ten months of mandatory military service in Sweden, Simon attended studies for a master in education of music. Main subject - guitar. With multiple add-ons as vocal training, piano, music production and ensemble. After graduating four and a half years later, he would attend the music production program available only after completed studies. A program that ran over two years and was studied at half-speed. The rest of the time Simon was teaching, playing and writing music.
It was during this program that Simon started working on his first album A Brand New Day.
An album that would give him two nominations and won win for best song of the year in the country genre at the Hollywood Music in Media Awards.