Charlotte Perrelli, formerly known as Charlotte Nilsson, is a Swedish pop singer most famous for winning the Eurovision Song Contest for Sweden in 1999 with the song "Take Me to Your Heaven."
Perrelli was born in Hovmantorp in the southern Swedish district of Småland in 1974. She performed in local bands from the age of 13, honing her skills until she finally got her big break in 1994 when she joined established dansband Anders Engbergs. She released two albums with the group before joining the highly successful group Wizex in 1997. During this period the group was nominated for a Swedish Grammi (Grammy) for their album Mot Nya Mål and enjoyed significant success on the Swedish charts.
In 1999 Perrelli struck out on her own, entering Melodifestivalen, the hugely popular televised competition in which Swedish singers, both veteran and unknown, compete to represent their country in the annual Eurovision Song Contest. Her entry, "Tusen Och En Natt," a lively pop number very reminiscent of classic ABBA, won the competition. It was rewritten in English as "Take Me to Your Heaven" for Eurovision, in which Perrelli also stormed to victory. She thus entered the record books as the first Swedish singer to win both the Melodifestivalen and the Eurovision on her first attempt, a feat that eluded hugely successful Swedish acts such as ABBA (who finished second with their first Melodifestivalen entry, "Ring Ring," in 1976, a year before they won with "Waterloo") and Carola Häggkvist.
Perrelli returned to Sweden a national heroine, and "Take Me to Your Heaven" was a hit all over Europe. An album, simply titled Charlotte, followed, although further singles failed to match the success of "Take Me to Your Heaven." By the release of her second album, Miss Jealousy, in 2001, Perrelli's popularity had slipped. The album's lead single, "You Got Me Going Crazy," was a Top 20 hit in Sweden, but the album was a non-seller. Perrelli segued into television presenting and theater for a while, hosting a semifinal of Melodifestivalen 2003 and appearing in a national production of Jesus Christ Superstar. Later in 2003 she released a new single, "Broken Heart," which showcased a more modern dance direction. The result was her first Top Ten single in four years. This success was augmented by another hit in 2004, "Million Miles Away," and an album, Gone Too Long, which represented a significant commercial comeback. Around this time she changed her professional name from Charlotte Nilsson to Charlotte Perrelli.
2006 saw the release of I Din Röst, a tribute to Swedish jazz singer Monica Zetterlund, who had died the previous year. In late 2007 it was confirmed that Perrelli would be competing in Melodifestivalen 2008, her first appearance since she won in 1999, with a song entitled "Hero." ~ John Lucas