4 to Watch: Tobias Froberg

Living for the City

Music Features Tobias Froberg
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Hometown: Gotland, Sweden
Fun fact: The first album Froberg received as a child was a live recording of an Elvis show in Las Vegas. “I loved it because the name ‘Elvis’ was written in tiny, tiny stars,” he says. “I thought it looked really cool.”
Why he’s worth watching: After touring in support of fellow Swedish folkie (and brother-in-buzz) José Gonzalez, Froberg just finished his first headlining North American tour.
For fans of: Paul Simon, Sondre Lerche, Damien Rice

Tobias Froberg recently relocated from Gotland, his Swedish island hometown, to Stockholm, the country’s political, economic and cultural center. According to Froberg, this sort of move is inevitable for a Swedish artist. “Everybody moves to a big city sooner or later,” he says.

Froberg describes his latest release as “a city record” shaped by experiences in Stockholm, New York and London. Straightforwardly titled Somewhere in the City and recorded with friend and producer Linus Larsson, the album mixes a folky singer/songwriter vibe with subtle elements of genres as diverse as Motown, country, pop and gospel. Froberg goes from spiritual (“God’s Highway”) and romantic (“Love and Misery”) to celebratory (“What a Day”) in a 40-minute span, giving listeners a stripped-down glimpse of the ups and downs of his new single life in Stockholm. And a testament to his moving on: There’s only one song about the elusive Elisabeth, the inspiration (and subject) of his entire last album.

Despite Froberg’s newfound metropolitanism, touches of Gotland appear throughout Somewhere In The City’s songs—in his unpolished voice, squeaky-clean lyrics and the birds chirping in the background of “The Features of a Human Face.” Froberg says he isn’t ready to move too far from his hometown, where he still often visits his parents. “I saw an interview with Bono from U2 where he explained that [while] nobody else could hear it, The Joshua Tree was, in a way, very Irish to him. I don’t know if anybody else can tell, but I can tell that I’m from Gotland.”