25 March 1975|
Sofia Karlsson grew up in Enskede, Stockholm. She attended the folk music department of the Royal College of Music in Stockholm. From 1998 to 2002 she was a full-time member in Swedish folk music act Groupa. In 2002 she released her debut solo album Folk songs.
In 2005 she made her public breakthrough with her second album Svarta ballader (Black ballads). The album contains her interpretations of the Swedish poet Dan Andersson. The album was in the charts for more than a year and has to date sold 60,000 copies. It was rewarded with Swedish as well as Danish Grammys.
After touring the country for two years she released her third album Visor från vinden (Songs from the loft) with its collection of classical songs sung in Swedish, but written by poets and musicians such as Baudelaire, Dan Andersson, Marianne Flodin, Mikael Wiehe, Alf Hambe, Inger Hagerup, Carl Michael Bellman, Peps Persson, and Evert Taube. The album also contains Lars Forssell's free version of Boris Vian's "Le Déserteur".
Peggy Latkovich, writing on Rootsworld, describes Karlsson as "an artist who deals in nuance and delicate shadings", adding that her voice "has the smoky overlay of Sandy Denny and the expressive phrasing of Niamh Parsons". Rootsworld describes Folk Songs as understated, with "exquisitely subtle performance". Rather than being traditional Swedish folk music, Karlsson and her band produce "meticulously wrought, emotionally satisfying works of art".
The review site Dagensskiva.com gave the album 10/10, writing that "Sofia Karlsson has built a bridge to my childhood experience of Dan Andersson. The romantic, primaeval forest's loneliness and longing for closeness."
In 2006, Karlsson won the "folk/world music" prize at the Swedish Manifest Gala, where the jury said that "With an alloy of Swedish song tradition, folk music precision and playful genre-borrowing, Sofia Karlsson's album has made Dan Andersson indispensable for another generation."