Pop singer and model Jessica Folcker was one of Sweden's most successful international recording artists in the late '90s. Her early material was produced by Cheiron Studios, also responsible for huge hits from the likes of Robyn, Britney Spears, and the Backstreet Boys. Later material included a return to her roots with a Swedish-language album followed by a move into harder electro-pop sounds.
Born Jessica Elisabeth Angelique Folcker in Taby, Stockholm, in 1975 to a Swedish mother and Senegalese father, Folcker first entered the recording industry as a backing vocalist for the likes of Ace of Base and Dr. Alban. Her exotic looks also saw her selected to represent Stockholm in the 1994 Miss Sweden competition. In 1998 she released her debut album, Jessica, largely written and produced by Max Martin and her then-boyfriend, Denniz Pop. The album was a huge success, with the singles "Tell Me What You Like" and "How Will I Know (Who You Are)" both entering the Top Ten in Sweden. The album was also a success in Europe and particularly in Asia, where she conducted a six-week promotional tour that encompassed Japan, the Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand, resulting in gold and platinum awards in several countries. At the time she was credited on her records simply as "Jessica."
In 2000 Folcker released her second album, which was entitled Dino in tribute to Denniz Pop, who had succumbed to cancer in August 1998 just as her career was taking off. For the international release of this album her surname was altered to "Folker" to avoid radio DJs mispronouncing it. Despite scoring a Top Ten U.S. club hit with "To Be Able to Love," sales of this record were disappointing and Folcker was dropped by Sony BMG International. However, her career took an upward swing in 2002 when she was featured on "Crack It (Something Going On)" by Swedish dance group Bomfunk MC's. The song was a massive international hit, going Top Five throughout Europe.
As a solo artist Folcker was quiet until 2005, when she returned with a new record label and third album På Svenska, which was entirely recorded in Swedish. To promote the record she took part in Sweden's most popular TV contest, Melodifestivalen, in which a mix of established and unknown singers compete to represent Sweden in the Eurovision Song Contest. The song "Om Natten" was positioned for success but considerably underperformed, failing to even qualify for the grand final. The album was another commercial disappointment. In 2006 she competed once again in Melodifestivalen, this time in English with "When Love's Coming Back Again." Once again she failed to qualify for the finals, and no album was forthcoming. In 2007 she returned on an independent label with her fourth album, Skin Close, which heralded a more mature electro-pop sound. ~ John Lucas, Rovi