Beatrice Eli, you will recall, is one of Sweden’s finest musical exports in the past few years and, when earlier this month she announced “watch this space” on Instagram after a bit of time off, we had a hunch something good was brewing.

That something good is now out in the world in the form of Showgirl (Live at Dramaten), an album recorded at and documenting Eli’s one-off spectacular at The Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm last December. Here’s what you need to know about it:

1. Eli was due to release her second studio album last year but the sudden passing of her father in March 2018 understandably changed the course of events. She decided to honour her obligations and complete the gigs she’d been booked to perform but her work on the new album was put on ice. She tells The 405: "What I realised when I tried to write songs after my father passed away was how clearly my voice was connected to my feelings. I wasn’t able to sing what I had written. This made me realise how valuable my voice is to me, how much emotion characterises my vocals and how much I love to sing."

2. Showgirl was one of the linchpins in Dramaten’s series of Performance Concerts, where a musician, together with a theatre director, devised a performance using theatrical conventions. We have previously reviewed another highlight in that series, Who’s Afraid of Jenny Wilson, and not unlike Wilson’s endeavour for Dramaten, Eli’s show was more than just a concert – it was also a story. When the offer to put on this production came through, Eli was initially hesitant. "Quite honestly, at that time I didn't want to do anything, I felt that my life was over”, she explains. “But then I thought: okay, let this be my last show, then”.

3. According to Eli, she wanted Showgirl to feel like a funeral and a rebirth, mixing old and unreleased songs, celebrating what’s come before and at the same time, showcasing where she’s heading next.

4. Eli’s reason for releasing a live album is pretty much fan-focused. She tells The 405: “I’m so pleased to finally share what my songs sound like in a live setting! I haven't had the money to be able to travel around the world and play for my fans so this is my way of performing for them. Through this record, everyone can be there at one of my shows, in a way.

5. The album consists of 10 songs that Eli picked out from the show and which have a special meaning to her, including a new version of her biggest hit, ‘Girls’. “It was and is a very important song to me”, she says. “I came out and found my queer family through it.” As the original version of ‘Girls’ is quite different in tone and sound from what Eli is into now, 5 years later, she wanted to shake things up a bit so she asked her friend and long-time band member, Sanna Sikborn, to help her craft a new, vocoder-infused version. “I love how it came out, there’s a sadness to it now”, she says. “It sounds like a memory. And if you think about it, the song is written from the perspective of someone who isn’t out yet, who isn’t living one’s true self. I think that sadness and longing jumps out now in a new way.”

6. Another one of Eli’s favourites on the live album is ‘The First Cut’. “I think it’s a straight-up banger and I never get tired of singing it. I love that song so much”, she laughs. Sandwiched between ‘The First Cut’ and ‘That’s Not Us’ (both from Eli’s 2017 EP, Careful) is a gorgeous new arrangement for Eli’s first ever single, ‘The Conqueror’, which in its final 30 or so seconds explodes into a climactic wonder.

7. The previously unreleased ‘Fumblin’ In The Dark’ is a sure-fire future hit. Eli sings: “Yeah, I made it through the storm / And I did it all on my own / You better watch your back / Now you know, motherfucker” and the frenzied energy of the song accentuates this instant ear-catcher.

8. The 405’s top pick on the record is ‘Beatrice, I Heard You Died’, written for Eli by Rudie Edwards. It’s beautiful, motivational and heart-wrenching. You can catch a video snippet of it from the show here.

9. The live album is released by Stockholm-based Cherish, a label championing music made by people who identify as women, non-binary and trans. It was recorded and mixed by Gustav Lindelöw, who has previously worked with Lykke Li and Peter Bjorn And John, and faithfully captured the mood and feel of the night.

10. Whilst Eli had originally planned for Showgirl to be a one-off performance, its success prompted numerous requests from venues across Sweden for further outings of the production. And so, Showgirl will be going on a mini-tour this year with a first confirmed date coming in June at Gothenburg’s West Pride.

Showgirl is out now on Cherish Label. Beatrice Eli plays West Pride in Gothenburg on 15 June. More details are available HERE.