Sally Shapiro's music is a blend of 80s-inspired italo disco and twee indie pop - melancholic yet hopeful, sweet yet danceable. The name "Sally Shapiro" is both referring to the Swedish duo, consisting of the producer Johan Agebjörn and an anonymous singer, as well as the pseudonym of the singer itself.
In December 2004 Agebjörn discovered Shapiro's gentle and beautiful voice while the two were singing Christmas carols together. About one year later they uploaded their first track "I'll Be By Your Side" to italo disco forums and were immediately being contacted by small record labels, leading to a 12" release on Austrian label Diskokaine in May, packaged in Italian colours. The single became a blog favourite, sold out quickly and was given excellent reviews in e.g. Pitchfork Media, Vice Magazine and The Village Voice.
The album "Disco Romance" was released on Diskokaine in Dec 2006 to critical acclaim and subsequent represses and rereleases. In October 2007, Canadian-based indie Paper Bag Records released "Disco Romance" in North America with a revised track listing including new tracks. The album was nominated as "dance/electronic album of the year" in the U.S. Plug Awards and was given a spot in Pitchfork Media's top 50 albums of 2007.
Since then the duo's presence on music blogs continued by the releases of two remix albums, including remixes by Lindstrøm, Junior Boys, and Juan MacLean. Their song "Hold Me So Tight" was also included on Felix da Housecat's mix CD in 2008.
In 2008 Sally Shapiro did a handful of DJ dates, though Sally's shyness and uninterest in standing on stage led to the duo early 2009 announcing that there will be no Sally Shapiro live or DJ performances in the foreseeable future, only Johan solo DJ sets. Sally is more interested in having a normal life with a normal job and prefers to "spend the holidays picking blueberries instead of touring". Meanwhile, Johan released his solo ambient album "Mossebo" on Lotuspike and made remixes for artists like Lindstrøm and Glass Candy.
2009 sees the release of Sally Shapiro's long-awaited follow-up to "Disco Romance", titled "My Guilty Pleasure". The album is described by Sally and Johan as a bit more poppy and a bit more varied than the debut, taking influences from genres like trance, cosmic disco, acid, ambient and jazz while still having 80s disco as its base, and definitely keeping the romantic feel of "Disco Romance". "It will hopefully make you fall in love with the person sitting next to you on the bus", Sally says.
Roger Gunnarsson (of projects like Cloetta Paris and Nixon) is credited as co-writer on about half of the songs on the album. The collaboration with Roger began with Sally making a cover version of his track "Anorak Christmas". It turned out Roger was already a Sally fan and since then Sally and Johan have been in frequent contact with him. The poppyness of the melodies and lyrics is partly thanks to him. One song, "Save Your Love", was written by the Cloetta Paris duo especially for Sally, and they are also singing backing vocals on "Love In July".
German nu-disco producer Tensnake - who earlier remixed Sally's "I'll Be By Your Side" into a European club hit - was asked to be guest producer for the track "Moonlight Dance". "I was out of production ideas for that track and we had a feel he might be the right person to do it", Johan explains. "We were both really happy with the result and put it as the lead-in track on the B-side of the album."
On the whole, "My Guilty Pleasure" took a longer time to complete compared to the original edition of "Disco Romance", which was put together in little more than half a year. "We felt less in a hurry to finish it, so we had more time to re-record parts and pay attention to details", Sally and Johan say. But now it's here.