Alice Babs (born Hildur Alice Nilsson on 26 January 1924) is a singer and actor from Kalmar, Sweden. While she has worked in a wide number of genres – e.g. Swedish folklore, Elizabethan songs and opera – she is best known internationally as a jazz singer. Making her breakthrough in Swing it magistern (Swing It, Teacher!) (1940), she appeared in more than a dozen Swedish language-films. Despite playing the well-behaved, good-hearted, cheerful girl, the youth culture forming with Alice Babs as its icon caused outrage among members of the older generation. A vicar called the Alice Babs cult the “foot and mouth disease to cultural life”.
In 1958, she was the first artist to represent Sweden in the Eurovision Song Contest, finishing in 4th place with the song “Lilla stjärna” (“Little Star”). The same year, she formed Swe-Danes with Ulrik Neumann and Svend Asmussen. The group would later tour the United States together, before dissolving in 1965. A long and productive period of collaboration with Duke Ellington started in 1963. Among other works, Alice Babs performed his second and third Sacred Concerts that were originally written for her. Her voice had a range of more than three octaves; Duke Ellington said that when she did not sing the parts that he wrote for her, he had to use three different singers.
Alice Babs currently resides in Sweden.