Band of the Day

2013.04.25

Sally Shapiro

Lustrous disco beats led by the alluring vocals of a shy Swedish songstress
The darkness will end, the dawn will shine. You are my love, I'm by your side tonight.
lyrics from I'll Be By Your Side

The name “Sally Shapiro” refers to both the Swedish duo, consisting of the producer Johan Agebjörn and an anonymous singer, as well as the pseudonym of the singer herself. In December 2004 Johan discovered Shapiro’s gentle and beautiful voice while the two were singing Christmas carols together. About one year later they uploaded their first track, “I’ll Be By Your Side,” to italo disco forums and were immediately being contacted by record labels.

In 2007, Paper Bag Records released Sally’s debut, Disco Romance, in North America, a nostalgic trip back to romantic italo disco of 1984. The album was revered by the press, nominated as “dance/electronic album of the year” at the U.S. Plug Awards and was given a spot in Pitchfork’s Top 50 albums of 2007. They were subsequently remixed by Lindstrøm, Tensnake, Junior Boys, CFCF, and Juan MacLean. Their song “Hold Me So Tight” was also included on Felix da Housecat’s mix CD in 2008. In 2009 their second album My Guilty Pleasure was released, featuring Tensnake as guest producer on "Moonlight Dance", and was called "one of 2009s best" by UK blog Popjustice.

Sally Shapiro is known for her shyness: she does not reveal her real name, will not even let Johan into the studio when she sings, and has never performed her songs live. After a handful of DJ dates in 2008, she decided to never ever stand on stage again. Instead, the music has been spread through blogs, radio channels and dancefloors worldwide, and even been played on the Armani catwalk. Johan is regularly playing Sally Shapiro tracks when DJing on European dancefloors, and he also has a career as a solo musician and remixer (Lindstrøm, Glass Candy, Wolfram feat. Hercules & Love Affair etc). Sally appeared on a few tracks on Johan's solo album Casablanca Nights (Paper Bag 2011), one of them a duet with the legendary italo disco singer Fred Ventura, but there were no proper Sally Shapiro releases during 2010-2011.

The long-awaited new album Somewhere Else breaks the silence, and is marked by a greater degree of collaborations and guest musicians on different instruments than earlier. It features Electric Youth (known from the "Drive" soundtrack), Anoraak and Le Prix, and there are also co-producers and musicians playing guitars, saxophones, flutes. The melancholic harmonies and the 80s disco feel are still present, but there are also influences from indie pop (á la Belle & Sebastian), funk, IDM, trance, jazz and ambient. "We don't think of ourselves as an italo disco duo anymore, but probably we are just home blind, and people will call this an italo disco album anyway" Sally says. "The title describes the recurrent theme in the music and my life, to somehow never be satisfied with what you have, or where you are - to always wish you were somewhere else."