While sometimes dismissed as cheesy and overly romantic, Peter LeMarc has been an important part of the Swedish singer/songwriter scene since the early '90s, incorporating elements of soul and R&B, and regularly reaching the charts. His early pop career was far less successful, and it wasn't until he abandoned the synthetic '80s sound that he managed to break through to a wide audience. After a few critically acclaimed albums where he balanced the soul influences with hit melodies and a gentle sound, the latter took over and he once more found himself without much critical support. In the late '90s, LeMarc made sort of a comeback with two more modern albums and also worked as a songwriter for other Swedish artists.
In 1958, Peter LeMarc was born in the small industrial town of Trollhättan in western Sweden. During the '70s, he played blues, rock & roll, and soul in a number of local bands. After resettling in Göteborg in 1978, LeMarc joined Box 81, the first band he played in that received any attention. A few years of playing at local clubs lead to them being allowed to play warm up for Eldkvarn, but no further. LeMarc left the band later that year, but stayed in Göteborg and tried to get a contract as a solo artist. The major labels weren't interested, but the newly founded company Trend finally signed him, and his solo debut, Buick, was released in October 1982. The critics were welcoming but the album didn't sell much. Circus Circus was released the next year, featuring the still unknown Orup, and received even better reviews, but the audience was still absent. On all his early albums, and especially the second, there were heavy traces of Motown, but the music is not to be mistaken for soul, having a distinct synth-based '80s sound.
The third album for Trend also failed to sell, even though the most obvious Motown pastiches were left out, and in 1985 LeMarc signed a contract with MNW, the dominant Swedish alternative label from the '70s. At first he was no more successful there, but in December 1986 he made a second debut with a self-titled album. The soul influences were still there, but this time LeMarc had taken a detour, with the blue-eyed soul (later the lyrical influences from Van Morrison would become very obvious) and '80s pop that had dominated his earlier career abandoned for a more basic rock sound. For half a year, the album was just as unsuccessful as his earlier ones, but in the summer of 1987, "Håll Om Mig" became a radio hit. Slightly ironic, this song that meant the definite breakthrough for LeMarc was the track on the album that most echoed his early, unsuccessful period.
When LeMarc left on a new tour, the audience was suddenly there and the next two albums, following the same concept of mixing soul and singer/songwriter tendencies, were highly successful. LeMarc was an important Swedish pop artists and lyricist in the early '90s, but the inoffensive sound and his motifs, often the problems of marriage, had him labeled as adult contemporary. His later albums abandoned even more of the soul influences for a softer sound, and accordingly the attitude toward LeMarc from the critics was ambiguous, both respectful and dismissive. Bok Med Blanka Sidor, released in 1995, changed this. LeMarc employed a modern sound and showed a less romantic side, and the album was well-received by both critics and record buyers. Another album was released in 1997, but the rest of the decade LeMarc concentrated on writing songs for other artists. ~ Lars Lovén