Jill Johnson is a Swedish country-pop singer in the contemporary Nashville tradition who, after breaking into the Swedish mainstream during the late '90s with material sung in her native language, began singing primarily English-language material to regular commercial success in her homeland.
Born on May 24, 1973, in the remote town of Ängelholm, Sweden, Johnson considers herself a small-town girl and, even after attaining fame, maintained a home in the Swedish countryside. She began singing professionally at an early age, first joining a country & western band at age 12 and touring Norway and Denmark in turn. Years later she signed a major-label recording contract with EMI Denmark and recorded her full-length album debut, Sugar Tree (1996), with producer Paul Bruun; the song "Shake the Sugar Tree" became a hit in Denmark. That same year she scored her first Swedish hit single with "Kommer Tid, Kommer Vår," a Top 40 duet with Jan Johansen.
In 1998 Johnson released her Swedish full-length album debut, När Hela Världen Ser På, on BMG and performed a song from the album, the Top Five Swedish hit single "Kärleken Är," at that year's Melodifestivalen, ultimately winning the competition and advancing to the annual Eurovision Song Contest, where she represented her homeland. For her next two albums, Daughter of Eve (2000) and Good Girl (2002), Johnson sang in English and traveled to the United States to collaborate with various producers, songwriters, and musicians in both Los Angeles and Nashville. The American-fashioned results weren't especially popular in Sweden, spawning no major hits and failing to rival the commercial success of her Swedish breakthrough album, När Hela Världen Ser På.
Johnson returned to the upper reaches of the Swedish singles chart in 2003, however, with "Crazy in Love," a Top Ten hit single that she was elected to perform at that year's Eurovision Song Contest. The success of "Crazy in Love" inspired the release of Discography (2003), a career-spanning retrospective compilation. Later in 2003 Johnson released an album of new material, Roots and Wings, which spawned a pair of charting singles ("Can't Get Enough of You," "God's Gift") and itself became a Top Five hit on the Swedish albums chart. Subsequent albums including Being Who You Are (2005), The Christmas in You (2005), The Woman I've Become (2006), and Music Row (2007) all broke into the Top Five of the Swedish albums chart while, additionally, there was a series of Top 40 hits including "God Bless a Girl in Love" (2005), "Heartbreak Hotel" (2006), "Cowboy Up" (2006), and "Angel of the Morning" (2007). ~ Jason Birchmeier, Rovi