A Swedish musician, singer, composer, and actor who has become a major star in his homeland despite (or perhaps because of) the challenging nature of his work, Freddie Wadling was born in Gothenburg, Sweden on August 2, 1951.
Wadling developed a cynical view of humanity as a child, as his father abandoned the family when he was a boy and he suffered premature hair loss that made him the target of bullies at school. A natural misfit and rebel, Wadling became involved in Sweden's burgeoning punk rock scene in the '70s, forming one of the country's first punk bands, Straightjacket, in 1975. In 1978, Wadling and several of his bandmates quit Straightjacket to form a new band, Liket Lever, and in 1979 he was serving double duty as he signed on as bassist with Jonas Almqvist's controversial goth/industrial group the Leather Nun. Rarely content to focus on just one project, Wadling worked with two other projects in the early '80s, playing guitar with the band Perverts and handling bass, keys, and vocals with the group Cortex, whose song "The Freaks" would become one of Wadling's anthems. In 1984, Wadling left the Leather Nun and began focusing most of his energies on a new group, Blue for Two, featuring Wadling on vocals and Henryk Lipp on keyboards.
In 1986, Blue for Two released their self-titled debut album, and the next few years they became one of the most popular acts on the Swedish alternative music scene. Blue for Two would release four more albums between 1988 and 1997, and would tour extensively until Lipp developed health problems that prevented him from going out on the road. As Blue for Two became established as one of Sweden's leading acts, Wadling found another outlet for his creativity with the group Fleshquartet; while Wadling was never an official member of the band, he appeared with them as a collaborator and guest vocalist often enough that he became closely associated with them. Wadling also busied himself with several other short-lived side projects, including the Mobile Whorehouse and Suzie Beats Them All, as well as contributing guest vocals to a 1999 album by the classical ensemble the Forge Players, Flow My Tears: The Songs of John Dowland.
Given Wadling's store of creative energy, it was inevitable that he would launch a solo career, and in 1989, he released his first album under his own name, Something Wicked This Way Comes. In 1991, he brought out his second solo album, Picnic on a Frozen River, as well as The Dice Man, a sampler album that included tracks from many of the groups with which he'd recorded. (In 1997, he delivered another, similar collection, A Soft Hearted Killer.) 1999 brought one of Wadling's most celebrated solo albums, En Skiva Till Kaffet. The same year also saw him performing on-stage in Gothenburg in a musical adaptation of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, with the singer cast as the infamous monster. (Wadling has also dabbled in opera, writing the lyrics for a pair of contemporary operas staged in Sweden.) Another solo effort was released in 2000, Skillingtryck Och Mordvisor, in which Wadling delivered new interpretations of dark-themed folk ballads from the 19th century. In the mid-2000s, Wadling became one of several Swedish artists of note who were awarded a guaranteed income for life by the nation's Arts Grant Committee.
In 2012, Wadling released one of his most unusual and successful albums, With a License to Kill, in which he put his own unique spin on theme songs from the James Bond movie series. That same year, Blue for Two staged a one-off reunion with the album Tune the Piano and Hand Me a Razor, and Wadling also collaborated with the group Kingdom of Evol on the album Dark Passages: Nocturnal Incidents. In February 2016, Wadling released a new album, Det Ar Inte Nog (aka "After the Rain"), and announced a short run of shows in Sweden in support. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi