Feeling Like A Number One

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Ever since Abba first put Sweden in the musical spotlight, a steady stream of songs has flowed from the north. Swedes have "disproportionate influence" in music, says MTV Networks International chief William Roedy, because "so much artistic leadership comes out of the place." That's really no surprise, given music's important place in the country's folk culture. And thanks to an educational system that offers free music lessons and extensive English training, the songs travel well.

But the talent doesn't stop at Sweden's borders and, despite the stereotype, these musicmakers are far from one-dimensional. "Their influences are so...