Salem Al Fakir

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Salem Al Fakir
Salem Al-Fakir 2014-08-28 001.jpg
Background information
Birth nameLars Salem Al Fakir
Also known as
  • Lagola
  • Damien Adore
Born (1981-10-27) 27 October 1981 (age 40)
Huddinge, Sweden
  • Musician
  • singer
  • songwriter
  • record producer
  • Vocals
  • piano
  • guitar
  • bass
  • keyboard
  • drums
  • violin
Years active2006–present
Associated acts

Lars Salem Al Fakir (born 27 October 1981) is a Swedish musician, singer, songwriter and record producer.[1] He regularly collaborates with Vincent Pontare as the songwriting and production duo Vargas and Lagola.[2] Together, they have worked with many artists, including Avicii, Axwell & Ingrosso, Madonna, Seinabo Sey and Lady Gaga. In addition to their songwriting and production work, they release alternative pop music as Vargas & Lagola.[3]


Early life and artist career[]

Al Fakir learned to play violin at the age of four and subsequently toured Russia as a solo violinist at the age of fourteen, but returned to Sweden to study jazz piano. As a student he attended the Adolf Fredrik's Music School in Stockholm.[4]

In the autumn of 2006, Al Fakir released his first EP Dream Girl. He is most famous for his chart topping albums This Is Who I Am (2007), Astronaut (2009) and Ignore This (2010). At the Swedish Grammy Awards in 2008 he won big – taking home four awards and being nominated in seven categories.[5]

Al Fakir performing in 2007

He took part in Melodifestivalen 2010, the Swedish national selection for the Eurovision Song Contest 2010, with "Keep On Walking" and finished in second place.[6]

2010–present: Songwriting[]

After his solo career, Al Fakir became more focused on the songwriting. Beginning to collaborate with Avicii on "Silhouettes" in 2012.[7] Among the first co-writes with Vincent Pontare are Avicii's 2013 Billboard Hot 100 single "Hey Brother" and "Younger" by Seinabo Sey.[8]

At the 2014 Swedish Grammy Awards, Al Fakir, Vincent Pontare and Magnus Lidehäll were awarded Composer of the Year after writing for Veronica Maggio's album Handen i fickan fast jag bryr mig and the Petter album Början på allt, and work with artists like Galantis.[9] In 2014 he wrote numerous songs on Mapei's album Hey Hey and Avicii's "The Days" and "Divine Sorrow" (with Wyclef Jean).[10] Al Fakir followed up with another successful year in 2015 co-writing most songs on Seinabo Sey's highly acclaimed debut album Pretend and songs for Madonna's Rebel Heart album.[11][12]

Vargas & Lagola have co-written some of the biggest hits by Axwell Ʌ Ingrosso – "More Than You Know", "Sun Is Shining", "Dreamer" and more - taken from their 2017 album More Than You Know.[13]

The duo have also contributed to two songs on Swedish rock band Ghost's Billboard 200-charting and Grammy Award-nominated album Prequelle, including the album's second single "Dance Macabre" which topped Billboard's Mainstream Rock Chart.[14][15][16]

In 2018, the same moment as Vargas & Lagola blazed onto the alternative pop scene with the hit single "Roads", they shared the no.1 spot as Sweden's most streamed songwriters for songs including Avicii – "Without You (feat. Sandro Cavazza)" and "Waiting For Love".[17] After working closely with Avicii for several years, Al Fakir and Pontare played a key role in finishing up the 2019 posthumous Avicii album TIM and are featured artists on three of the album songs.[18] On 5 December 2019, Vargas & Lagola performed at Avicii's Tribute Concert in Stockholm.[19]

Vargas & Lagola's debut album The Butterfly Effect was released in January 2020.[20]


As Vargas & Lagola[]

As solo artist[]


Year Album Peak positions
2006 Dream Girl (EP)
2007 This Is Who I Am 1
2009 Astronaut 7
2010 Ignore This 1


Single Year Peak positions Album
"Dream Girl" 2006 25 This Is Who I Am
"Good Song" 36
"This Is Who I Am" 2007 43
"It's True"
(with Axwell and Sebastian Ingrosso)
"It's Only You, Part 2" 2008 41 Astronaut
"Astronaut" 2009 34
"Keep On Walking" 2010 3 Ignore This
"4 O'Clock" 49
"Split My Personality"
"I'm So Happy"
(featuring Josephine Bornebusch)

Uncredited vocal work[]

Single Year Peak positions Certification Album
2012 11 Non-album single
"You Make Me"
2013 1
  • GLF: 4× Platinum[26]
  • ARIA: Platinum[24]
  • FIMI: Gold[27]
  • IFPI NOR: 2× Platinum
  • BPI: Gold[25]
  • RIAA: Gold[28]
"Something New"
(Axwell Λ Ingrosso)
2014 20 More Than You Know
"On My Way"
(Axwell Λ Ingrosso)
2015 18
  • GLF: 2× Platinum[31]
"Sun Is Shining"
(Axwell Λ Ingrosso)
(Axwell Λ Ingrosso)

Songwriting and production credits[]

Year Artist Title Album
2012 Avicii "Silhouettes" Non-album single
2013 Avicii "You Make Me" True
"Hey Brother"
2014 Galantis "Smile" Galantis (EP)
Mapei "Blame It On Me" Hey Hey
"As 1"
"Second to None"
"Step Up"
Wyclef Jean "Divine Sorrow"
(featuring Avicii)
Non-album single
Avicii "The Days" The Days/Nights
2015 Madonna "HeartBreakCity" Rebel Heart
"Wash All Over Me"
"Rebel Heart"
Galantis "Kill 'Em with the Love" Pharmacy
"Call If You Need Me"
Avicii "Waiting For Love" Stories
Seinabo Sey "Younger" Pretend
"Hard Time"
"Pistols At Dawn"
2016 MishCatt "Another Dimension" Highlighter
2017 Johnossi "On A Roll" Blood Jungle
Avicii "Friend Of Mine"
(featuring Vargas & Lagola)
Avīci (01)
"Without You"
(featuring Sandro Cavazza)
Toby Randall "Hold Me Down" ONE.
Axwell Λ Ingrosso "More Than You Know" More Than You Know
"Something New"
"This Time"
"Sun Is Shining"
"On My Way"
Axwell "Barricade"
2018 Seinabo Sey "I Love You" I'm a Dream
"Never Get Used To"
"I Owe You Nothing"
"Good In You"
Ghost "Dance Macabre" Prequelle
"Life Eternal"
MagnusTheMagnus "It Don't Impress Me"
(featuring Madi Banja)
Non-album single
(featuring KIDDO)
David Guetta "Light Headed"
(with Sia)
RØMANS "Glitter & Gold" Non-album single
Salvatore Ganacci "Kill A Soundboy"
(featuring Nailah Blackman)
Non-album single
2019 Gryffin "You Remind Me"
(featuring Stanaj)
Frank Walker & Astrid S "Only When It Rains" Non-album single
PRETTYMUCH "Eyes Off You" Phases - EP
Avicii "Peace Of Mind"
(featuring Vargas & Lagola)
"Tough Love"
(featuring Agnes, Vargas & Lagola)
"Excuse Me Mr Sir"
(featuring Vargas & Lagola)
Otto Knows "About You" Non-album single
Ghost "Kiss The Go-Goat" Seven Inches of Satanic Panic
"Mary On A Cross"
Agnes "Intro" Nothing Can Compare
"I Trance"
"Not Dangerous"
"Interlude (What Is Wrong)"
"Interlude (I Like To Sing)"
"Nothing Can Compare"
Mapei "Ether" Sensory Overload
2020 Galantis "Steel" Church
"Unless It Hurts"
"Never Felt A Love Like This"
(with Hook n Sling featuring Dotan)
Agnes "Goodlife" Non-album single
Lady Gaga "Sine from Above"
(with Elton John)

Songwriting and production credits for local Swedish artists[]

Year Artist Title Album
2013 Veronica Maggio "Sergels torg" Handen i fickan fast jag bryr mig
"Jag lovar"
"Hela huset"
(featuring Håkan Hellström)
"Va kvar"
"Låtsas som det regnar"
"Bas gillar hörn"
"I min bil"
Petter "Mighty"
(featuring Newkid)
Början på allt
"Början på allt"
(featuring Eye N'I)
"Håll om mig"
(featuring Daniel Adams-Ray)
"Tills döden skiljer oss åt"
(featuring Lilla Namo)
"Alla vet"
(featuring Agnes)
"Sitter på en dröm"
"Minnen del II"
"Släpp mig fri"
2016 Veronica Maggio "Den första är alltid gratis" Den första är alltid gratis
"Vi mot världen"
"Pang pang"
2018 Petter "Kliv på!"
(featuring Eye N'I)
Lev nu
"Lev nu dö sen"
(featuring Vargas & Lagola)

Awards and nominations[]

Year Awards Category Nomination Outcome Ref.
2007 The Swedish MPA Awards Best Newcomer Himself Won [34]
The Monica Zetterlund Scholarship Young and Promising Artist Himself [35]
SKAP Anniversary Award - Himself [36]
2008 Expressen Kultur - Spelmannen - Himself [37]
Swedish Grammy Awards Composer of the Year Himself [38]
Male artist of the Year Himself
Producer of the Year Himself
Newcomer of the Year Himself
Song of The Year "Good Song" Nominated
Album of The Year "This Is Who I Am"
Lyricist of the Year Himself
P3 Guld Best Male Artist Himself [39]
Best New Artist Himself
2010 Swedish Grammy Awards Composer of the Year Himself [40]
Male Artist of the Year Himself
2011 Swedish Grammy Awards Song of the Year "Keep On Walking" [41]
Male Artist of the Year Himself
2014 Swedish Grammy Awards Composer of the Year Himself (with Vincent Pontare & Magnus Lidehäll) Won [42]
The Swedish MPA Awards International Success of the Year Himself (with Vincent Pontare & Magnus Lidehäll) Nominated [43]
2015 Swedish Grammy Awards Best Children's Album Himself (with Glada Hudik-Teatern & Pontus De Wolfe) Won [44]
Composer of the Year Himself (with Vincent Pontare & Magnus Lidehäll) Nominated
The Swedish MPA Awards International Success of the Year Himself (with Vincent Pontare) [45]
2016 Swedish Grammy Awards Composer of the Year Himself (with Vincent Pontare, Magnus Lidehäll & Seinabo Sey) [46]
2018 Swedish Grammy Awards Composer of the Year Vargas & Lagola [47]


  1. ^ "Grammisvinnarna genom åren" (in Swedish) – via
  2. ^ "Den stora omvandlingen". (in Swedish). 15 January 2015.
  3. ^ "Production Duo Vargas & Lagola launch themselves with party-house banger "Rolling Stone"". 27 January 2017 – via
  4. ^ Berit Nygren (28 May 2009). "Stor festival för Adolf Fredrik 70". Sveriges Radio (Swedish Government radio broadcaster). Archived from the original on 29 November 2014. Retrieved 11 October 2014.
  5. ^ "Tidiga Grammisar till Salem Al Fakir". Svenska Dagbladet (in Swedish). 9 January 2008 – via
  6. ^ Andra Melodifestivalen jokern klar Retrieved 20 March 2016 Archived 25 February 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "Avicii & Salem Al Fakir Silhouettes". 13 May 2013 – via
  8. ^ "Avicii Chart History" – via
  9. ^ "Grammis 2014". 20 February 2014 – via
  10. ^ "Wyclef Jean and Avicii team up for "Divine Sorrow"". 19 November 2014 – via
  11. ^ "Seinabo Sey releases debut album 'Pretend'". 23 October 2015 – via
  12. ^ "Madonna releases new album 'Rebel Heart'". 9 March 2015 – via
  13. ^ "Axwell Λ Ingrosso – More Than You Know" – via
  14. ^ "Kanye West Earns Eight no. 1 album on Billboard 200 Chart with 'Ye'". 6 October 2018 – via
  15. ^ "Ghost Waltzes to Third Mainstream Rock Songs No. 1 With 'Dance Macabre'". 14 February 2019 – via
  16. ^ "GRAMMY Award Results for Ghost". 23 November 2020 – via
  17. ^ "Vargas & Lagola är de- mest populära låtskrivarna 2017". 23 February 2018 – via
  18. ^ "'I had to honour him': the friends who finished Avicii's final album". 6 June 2019 – via
  19. ^ "Avicii Tribute Concert" – via
  20. ^ "ALBUM: Vargas & Lagola - 'The Butterfly Effect'" – via
  21. ^ a b "Salem Al Fakir discography". Hung Medien. Retrieved 14 July 2013.
  22. ^ a b "Salem discography". Hung Medien. Retrieved 14 July 2013.
  23. ^ "Avicii – Silhouettes" (in Swedish). Grammofon Leverantörernas Förening. Archived from the original on 29 October 2013. Retrieved 12 October 2013.
  24. ^ a b "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2013 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association. Archived from the original on 4 February 2016. Retrieved 12 October 2013.
  25. ^ a b "Certified Awards" (enter "Avicii" into the "Keywords" box, then select "Search"). British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 12 October 2013.
  26. ^ "Avicii – You Make Me" (in Swedish). Grammofon Leverantörernas Förening. Retrieved 23 December 2014.
  27. ^ "Certificazioni - FIMI".
  28. ^ "Gold & Platinum: Avicii". Recording Industry Association of America. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 12 October 2013.
  29. ^ (Click "search all records" and view 11 December 2014. Then click "visa" on "Something New")
  30. ^ "Certificazioni - FIMI".
  31. ^ (Click "search all records" and view 2 April 2015. Then click "visa" on "On My Way")
  32. ^ (Click "search all records" and view 26 June 2015. Then click "visa" on "Sun Is Shining")
  33. ^ "ZPAV :: Bestsellery i wyróżnienia - Wyróżnienia - Złote płyty CD - Archiwum".
  34. ^ "Resultat och bilder 2007" (in Swedish).
  35. ^ (in Swedish). 3 September 2007 Missing or empty |title= (help)
  36. ^ "Resultat och bilder 2007" (in Swedish). 3 September 2007.
  37. ^ "Spelmannen till Salem Al Fakir". Svenska Dagbladet (in Swedish). 6 January 2008.
  38. ^ "Nominated 2008" (in Swedish).
  39. ^ "Alla P3 Guld-nominerade 2008 - P3 Guld" (in Swedish).
  40. ^ "Nominated 2010" (in Swedish).
  41. ^ "Nominated 2011" (in Swedish).
  42. ^ "Nominated 2014" (in Swedish).
  43. ^ "Nominerade till Musikförläggarnas Pris 2014" (in Swedish). 29 September 2014.
  44. ^ "Nominated 2015" (in Swedish).
  45. ^ "Nominerade till Musikförläggarnas Pris 2015" (in Swedish). 28 September 2015.
  46. ^ "Nominated 2016" (in Swedish).
  47. ^ "Nominated 2018" (in Swedish).

External links[]

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