The battle for song of the summer is upon us, and Fredrik Eklund just threw his hat into the ring. The Million Dollar Listing New York agent released his first single, "It Gets Better," on iTunes on Friday.
Of course, Fredrik has made a name for himself as one of the most successful real estate brokers in New York City, but he has long had musical ambitions, especially since he's run in the same social circles as the some of the industry's biggest songwriters and producers from his native Sweden. "This is a demo that I was always obsessed with and that I've been singing on for years, and I just thought, 'I'm just gonna do it. I'm gonna go all out. I'm gonna really do it,'" Fredrik recently told The Daily Dish about the tune.
So Fredrik flew to Los Angeles and spent two days recording the track, which the MDLNY agent co-wrote with Jonas Saeed, aka KONO, who also produced the single. Fredrik seemed to wow husband Derek Kaplan with his performance in the booth alone. "Derek was with me in the studio, and he was laughing and shaking his head because I was really, really giving it in the studio," Fredrik said. "You know, kissing the microphone and really holding it in my hands and dancing around in that little soundproof, padded room."
But "It Gets Better" isn't just meant to motivate you to bust a move (although, it will surely do that); Fredrik also hopes the lyrics of the song speak to "anyone who's ever felt alone or different or isolated and feeling like they don't fit in" and show them that "it always gets better, especially if you do your own thing and live to be you and don't get beaten down."
That's a message that Fredrik hopes to convey in the cover art for the single as well, which features a photo of the MDLNY broker when he was 6 years old. "I did that because back then — and although I had a really loving family and a lot of loving friends, I had a really great childhood — I did still feel exactly like that inside. I felt like something was wrong with me, I felt different, I felt like maybe I didn't fit in," Fredrik explained. "Now, of course, I'm married and all this great success that I'm very happy about in New York and these television shows, and everything did go well. So it's a message in the song for anyone that felt like that. And I really do believe that's a universal message."
The cover art for Fredrik's new single.
Fredrik will also be donating 25 percent of the proceeds from the song to the It Gets Better Project, which aims to inspire "lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth around the world that it gets better, and to create and inspire the changes needed to make it better for them," according to the nonprofit organization's website.
And it took time for Fredrik to become the outgoing and uber-confident man we see today on MDLNY. "I feel very fortunate because Sweden is a very open environment to grow up in. And New York is a very accepting city. I mean, it's New York City, after all. But I have to remind myself that it's not like that all over the world. There's many different places, many different environments," he shared. "The message is really universal. Anyone who's ever been a minority or felt as an outsider, you shouldn't. And you should just find the strength within. When it comes to me and my life, I have to work really hard to become the confident guy that you see on the show. But I still look back, and I still think that, yeah, it wasn't that easy to get there."
Fredrik brought this message all over New York City for his music video for the single, which you can view a clip of, above. "I have so much respect for people that are actually real pop stars and do this for a living, because it's a lot of work, and I was sweating, drenched in the hot humidity, dancing like crazy. I never said that I'm a really good dancer. I'm just a goofy dancer," Fredrik said about the visual. "But I do, hopefully, have a lot of energy in this video, and you're gonna see. And it's very iconic New York. And I put it all together, and I had a vision, and I'm really proud of how it came out."
But for those who didn't know that Fredrik had the music in him, he said that taking on this project is actually a perfect fit for him. "It's more like performing, in a way," Fredrik said. "I'm a very big personality, big character, I always dance around, my long legs kicking in the air. So, for me, the step to sing, I don't think it's that dramatic, for me, at least, you know what I mean? And I don't see myself as like, OK, now I'm changing my career and being a pop star. It's not about that."
Along those lines, Fredrik isn't sure what the future holds for his music career — or if there will even be one. "I've been thinking a little bit about it. Listen, we'll see. I need to release this baby now and let it fly and let it sing. And we'll see. I've had a lot of fun, and I'll keep all my options open, how's that?" Fredrik said before adding, "If it's No.1 on iTunes or No.1 on Billboard, I think there'll be more songs."
What "It Gets Better" is really all about for Fredrik is to make people dance, laugh, and feel inspired. "My goal is really threefold. One, of course, that people are gonna sing it, that it's gonna be a hit and people are gonna love it and dance to it. Number two, that it's gonna make people smile and laugh, like this is hilarious, like this is so unexpected and hilarious, like I need to watch it again, it's just hilarious," Fredrik explained. "And the third thing is the message in the song and the charity and giving back and really hopefully someone like the little 6-year-old that I was, they can listen to the song, and young kids all over feel like if he could do it, I could do it. It does get better."
Check out more of Fredrik's Big Apple adventures, below.