Shirley was born in 1973 in Borås, Sweden, although her father is British and she has dual nationality. Her singing career began as a backing singer for various singers and groups, which included on the Eurovision Song Contest stage in 2001 for the Greek entry, Antique and their song “I Would Die For You“.
Shirley’s solo career took off in 2003, when she took part for the first time in Melodifestivalen, with the song “Mr Memory“. Melodifestivalen is the annual Swedish national song contest run by public broadcaster SVT, which occupies probably a bigger place in Swedish popular culture than even X Factor in the UK. It is the most watched TV programme in Sweden every year, watched by close to half the Swedish population, with saturation coverage in Swedish media, and is internationally renowned for the quality of the songwriters, artists and songs it consistently attracts.
The following year in 2004 Shirley reached the final of Melodifestivalen, with the song “Min Kärlek” (translation: My Love). The song came second, finishing just behind Lena Philipsson’s “Det Gör Ont” (It Hurts), and subsequently reached Number 3 in the Swedish singles chart.
Shortly afterwards Shirley released her first studio album, Den Långsamma Blomman, which peaked at Number 3 in the Swedish album chart, with a gold sales certification, and spawning two further hit singles. She followed up with a Christmas hit, a schlagertastic cover of “Do They Know It’s Christmas“.
In 2005 Shirley again entered Melodifestivalen and won her semi-final, this time placing fourth in the final with the song “Att Älska Dig” (To Love You). The song peaked at Number 4 in the Swedish singles chart, and served as lead single for Shirley’s second album Lever Mina Drömmar which peaked at Number 5 in the Swedish album chart.
A cover album of Swedish hits Favoriter På Svenska provided Shirley with a third Top 10 album placing. The Swedish language cover version on this album of Roxette’s “It Must Have Been Love” also chalked up a third Top 10 single in Sweden. A fourth studio album Tålamod in 2007 provided a fourth Top 20 album chart success.
Shirley returned to Melodifestivalen for a fourth time in 2009, and although not successful on the night of her semi-final, her beautiful ballad “Med Hjärtat Fyllt Av Ljus” (With My Heart Full of Light) shot to the top of the Swedish singles chart to give Shirley her first Number 1 single and fourth Top 10 hit. It acted as lead single for her Greatest Hits compilation För Den Som Älskar… En Samling which gave Shirley a fifth Top 20 album in Sweden. There is also a very good remix of the song by Oscar Holter which is much easier to dance to!
In 2009 Shirley was also one of the commentators for SVT’s coverage of the Eurovision Song Contest from Helsinki.
In 2011 Shirley returned to Melodifestivalen, this time with Vera Prada and Jessica Marberger, collectively performing as Shirley’s Angels. Their song “I Thought It Was Forever” reached Andra Chansen (the second chance round for songs that came 3rd or 4th in their semi-final) but were eliminated.
After giving her first ever UK performance for us at Eurofest in 2012, Shirley was back in Melodifestivalen again in 2014 with another solo performance. Sadly “Burning Alive” came 6th in the semi-final and failed to qualify for the final.