Despite nearly 20 years in the spotlight, Ace of Base mastermind Ulf Ekberg is still a little shy about his status as the band’s platinum-blond hunk. Recently voted number one on Scandipop’s Top 10 sexiest men in Scandinavian pop music list, Ulf takes the honour in awkward stride.
“Well, I do read some comments online,” he laughs. “I guess, of course, I have realized that sometimes I’ve been associated with being a sex symbol. I was voted the Sexiest Man in Sweden, which was a little bit of a shock for me, but I was obviously very honoured by it. It’s probably even nicer to have that appeal when you are getting a little older; you take that even as a higher compliment than when you’re 22.”
Since the chart-topping success of international hits like “All That She Wants” in 1993, Ace of Base has developed an impressive track record of number ones toppled only recently by Katy Perry, who is also a huge fan of the ’90s supergroup.
The Swedish pop foursome is set to hit the stage Aug 4 at Exhibition Place for the Queer Beer Festival alongside local favourites Hunter Valentine and The Cliks.
Some fans may be surprised to learn that the original singers, Linn and Jenny, are no longer core members of the group. While Jenny left to pursue her solo career, Linn was never comfortable with the trappings of celebrity.
“We had an attack from a crazy German fan with a large knife aiming for Linn,” explains Ekberg. “It could have ended up really bad. After that, things changed a lot. The fun part of being in a pop band suddenly became a serious thing, a different setup, with armed bodyguards and secret identities. For Linn, who from the beginning was not so comfortable with this fame at all, it was very difficult. Looking back on all these years, she was only in the band for us and the fans. She was really suffering every day.”
Despite initial hesitation, fans around the world have begun to embrace the two new members, Clara Hagman and Julia Williamson, and the band is ready to perform what will, surprisingly, be their first official concert in Canada.
“We’ve been in Canada many times, but we’ve never had a full live concert, only promotions, like three or four songs,” explains Ekberg. “We are really looking forward to seeing our loyal fans in Canada. Hopefully they will like it. All the Canadians I know are amazing people.”