Discovery: Sweden’s Gustaf Axel

Born in Sweden, singer-songwriter Gustaf Axel started his musical journey in the early 90’s listening to VHS tapes of Michael Jackson. Anything less seems like a sad excuse for a musical education, wouldn’t you think?

On top of Michael Jackson tapes, Gustaf was surrounded by native, Swedish folk songs and lullabies. After a jam band career sponsored by Fisher-Price, Axel was gifted his first guitar at age six. It sounds like his family recognized that the amount of noise was inevitable, thus an upgrade from 100% plastic cacophony was necessary. Lucky for us, Gustaf has been pursuing music since then as both a singer, songwriter, and collaborator.

At the age of 12, Gustaf and his family moved to Melbourne, Australia where he was exposed to many new genres of music including rock, jazz, boss nova, and kangaroo trap house. By the time he had finished high school, he had received two music scholarships – one to a Jazz Program in South Australia and the other to a local contemporary music school in central Melbourne. Forgoeing the music school, Gustaf decided to pursue his own career, playing around in the local scene. At 19, Axel joined goodbyemotel, an indie group that you may have heard on Gossip Girl, SUITS, and Covert Affairs to name a few. The group toured to SXSW and CMJ festivals.


Over the course of the last eighteen months, Gustaf has focused on his own music, looking forward to his first solo release. He has been collaborating with the talented Kiyanu Kim, Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” writer. In addition, he has been working alongside Kieran Jones in London who has written for Gossip, Gabriella Climi, and Pet Shop Boys. Mark your calendars for Gustaf’s forthcoming release, expected later in 2017. Watch one of his latest videos for MJ’s “Earth Song,” shot in Bushwick this past February. To make things even better, catch Gustaf play at Rockwood Music Hall on Saturday, May 27 at 6:30. Stage 3. Get tickets now here, kids.

video by Vlad Grinberg / photos by Alex Knight