Loreen in QX, November issue 2012 (English)
Greatest in Europe
Loreen recently released her extremely anticipated debut album. We felt that it was time to once again let the Eurovision winner grace the cover of QX and talk about the album, the past year and her love for her gay fans, which she says has taken her to where she is today.
We haven’t seen each other since the night before she went to Azerbaijan. Then we hugged each other before her promotional gig in a room on Drottninggatan in Stockholm. Then I knew that she would go to Baku and win.
Now here we are five months later. Euphoria is one of the most successful Eurovision winners ever and has been number one on the charts in seventeen European countries.
- The past six months have consisted of previously booked gigs, new after-victory-promotion and the completion of my album. It’s been hectic. I could receive a mix of a song while I was in Spain and then change it the way I wanted it in a studio in Germany.
Most of the Swedish gigs that were booked before the Eurovision victory were conducted despite the demand after her abroad.
- I wanted to get out and meet those who support me, and I refused to cancel. It would have been terrible not to give them something back, she says seriously.
The difference between Loreen before she competed in Melodifestivalen in Växjö in February and now, isn’t big. But she says that she’s become more hard-bitten. She dares to put her foot down when she doesn’t feel that she is following what is going on.
- This has been a great test. How important it is to protect your identity. I see that people around me have a financial interest and want to strike now, and that’s okay. But I have to think of myself too. I have stood, as an only woman, at the record company and struggled for what I want. I have, of course, gained knowledge on how things work before, because to go there and not have a clue of what’s going on is not going to work. In international terms, there is a way of production thinking that differs from Sweden, and I’ve become aware of that. But I am the creator, and there must be a respect between the businessmen, strategists and me. That’s just the way it is.
Have you had any personal time since you won?
- I’m starting to have some now, and then I’m just home. I meditate and do things that have nothing to do with my work. I can just simply sit down…. it may sound boring but it’s so nice to turn off the phone and just be. I feel comfortable in my own company.
How does your home look like?
- It’s very simple. I need a platform that grounds me and I don’t like to own things. I don’t have lot of furniture and stuff, and there are no pictures on the walls. Just one red dot, for focusing.
I’m trying to get an idea how big that red dot appears on a blank wall. Is it big? Handpainted or printed? But before I can ask she continues:
- I recently renovated a bedroom into walk-in closet. A friend helped me with it, because I need to be able to structure. I borrow a lot of clothes, and must maintain the arrangement of it. If it’s a mess then it’s a controlled mess, I’m pretty pedantic. I want it to be clean when I come home after a work trip. I could miss flights, and actually have missed flights, because I had to clean so that things are where it’s supposed to be when I get home.
I can imagine that the people around her wouldn’t do the same if they knew Loreen missed the flight because she had to vacuum clean when she was supposed to be sitting in a taxi on the way to the airport.
The most common question Loreen has received in the past year has been about how it felt to win and it bothers her a bit. Partly because she says it wasn’t she who won, it was her team and everyone who believed in her. Partly because her focus was on performing as good she possibly could on stage, and she didn’t have time to really realize how the victory itself felt.
- But there’s one thing about this whole Melodifestivalen and Eurovision that bothers me. I hate the notion that “people with cred” say that there’s only nerds who watch Eurovision song contest, and that ordinary people don’t understand what good music is. Some journalists have said that I differ from the rest in the contest, and I’m not like everyone else. Don’t sit around and talk shit. What gives them the right to say what’s good music and what’s uncool? I have been a bullied victim all my life I don’t want to belong to a group who thinks that they are better than others. I’m so glad that people connected to my performance, that they believe in something different.
Loreen has shown that “different” works in bigger contexts, and when Melodifestivalen kicks off next year, it feels like she has re-written the rules for what the Swedish people will vote for. But it wasn’t an easy road. There were a lot of opinions on her performance before she won Sweden’s fifth victory in Eurovsion: Too dark, too introverted, too separate and too much fringe.
- I like my fringe . It’s a little protection. We humans are always searching for the eyes, and if you can’t directly see the eyes, you detect differently. You listen better if you don’t get direct contact with the eyes, which are said to reflect the soul.
The album Heal, that was released a few days ago, has been eagerly awaited. And according to me, who was able to hear a couple of tracks before ending the interview in May last year, she corresponds to the expectations. She creates her own sound. And the songs already released are dressed in new suits. My Heart is Refusing Me has become more of a dance tune and more “easy” while the single Sober has become darker.
- Sober sounds now like I originally wanted it to sound. The version that was released is a compromise and I have always been irritated over that. I wanted to give the story a different sound and make it darker.
She smiles. She’s aware that it’s easily a lot of pain in the songs and that she has to balance with lighter productions so that “you wouldn’t only to want to cut your wrists”
- I am pretty “light” myself. But then I end up in my trances and it becomes something different, something with a lot of pain. It’s a process … and who knows, maybe there will be a light romantic record in the future.
She smiles and continues:
- So I looked into what songs I could make “lighter”, and MHIRM … already exist in another version, so now it could be created in this way. I tire quickly with productions and like to play and be creative. And it’s just pure mathematics really: A record that only has pain from beginning to end is …the pain becomes more accessible if you get breathing space in-between. Otherwise you can’t take in the message.
Message yes. Loreen was not only unique in the Eurovision by taking home a crushing victory and giving us a performance we haven’t seen in this context before. She also dared to take a position in Azerbaijan, and visited human rights organizations between rehearsals and cocktail parties.
- Everything I do has a connection to people. I want to make others feel something, and it’s not for my own sake. To just go up on a stage and pose gives me nothing, then I might as well stand in front of the mirror at home. In Baku I got the press on my side and they wrote about other things than that I slipped on stage and what I wore on stage. I wish there had been more time there, so I that could have set up even more meetings.
She talks about a gig she did in Belarus. How she had to talk in codes when she called home, how had to be sneaky to meet people for dissident organizations and how she realized it was useless to argue when she didn’t want to go in President Lukashenko rented limousines.
- I took the money I earned and gave them to an organization working for human rights. It was the only right thing to do for me.
She strongly disagrees with those who think that Eurovision shouldn’t be organized in countries with oppression and dictatorship.
- When people said, ‘Should Eurovision really be in Baku, they’re xenophobic and don’t like gays, “, I was against it. If it’s somewhere that Eurovision should be it’s right there. It’s great that we can go there and highlight the problems. It’s terrible that people can’t live freely.
I understand why you were popular amongst Eurovision fans, which largely consists of homosexuals.
- I was embraced by the gay community from the start. I would probably not be sitting here today if it had not been for that support. We stick together, the one’s who feel the need to protect people who are different.
What do you mean by “we”?
-We who … act in a different way, that don’t think female/male, who doesn’t want to be labelled. The one’s that are different according to the masses.
She smiles and continues:
- That’s the way it is. I will not forget who was there from the start. And I understand why. Takes one to know one (laughs). It’s because you are different.
Last time I interviewed you for QX you said something that I’ve carried with me. “Love is where you find it.” I like that way of thinking.
- Yes, that love should be defined by whether you have a penis or a pussy is quite sick.
She points to the genital area, and then the heart.
- This is pleasure, this is the heart. It’s really not that hard.
A Eurovision winner has spoken.
Translation by Ajda!
Gillade verkligen denna intervjun... :)
muy bien Loreen, yo pienso como tu en todo esto.
Te adoro chica, ojala puediera conocerte algun dia!