QX magazine (6/2011)

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Text by: Ronny Larsson | Photo: Peter Knutson

– You can do anything with a dance beat and it still sounds fun. But you should be able to take down the beat and still have a good melody. The main thing is a strong song. That’s why I want to release an EP and not a whole album. Every song need to be a potential single, and I want to say something with them. They must have a soul and a silver lining. These songs are about relations or more relationship problem. I like to have a theme and a clear form.

– I love to have different influences and styles. It is wonderful to just skip all rules be open for options. A little like being bisexual, but with music.

Loreen laughs. Which she does often. We wanted to capture Loreen’s musical mystery and melancholy on picture. But almost half of the pictures that the photograph Peter takes shows a smiling Loreen. There is obvious more sides to miss Loreen.

It was Loreen’s younger sister that pushed her to be in Idol, the show that gave us our first introduction of her. She came in 4th place, it was the program’s first season.
She got a couple of job offers after Idol, but never felt that they were the right thing so instead she traveled.
A friend ask her to help out on a TV-job in New York, ever since she has been working with different productions companies.
She has worked as a component producer the last couple of years, or drama queen as she calls it herself. She create drama and have worked with project like ”Wife free”, ”Food emergency” and Elin Kling’s fashion program. But now, music is everything.
But it took a while to find her sound. The producer and songwriter Moh Denebi, who Loreen known since the Idol-time, got in touch with her on Facebook last year. She together with Björn Djupström had found the thing she was looking for for 6 years. A sound that reflects who Loreen is as an artist.

Måns Zelmerlöw, that sits in the same Facilities as Moh, heard what Loreen and they guys were presenting in the studio. And to give them the creativity freedom they needed he created a record company.
– Haha, yes that was completely crazy. Måns is creative. He is not afraid of anything. I can say ”Let’s take over the world”, he answers ”Good idea!”
She laughs.

My Heart Is Refusing Me is one of Loreen’s songs. They send it it to Melodifestivalen even though many around her were skeptical to this. Something that Loreen didn’t understand.

– I didn’t understand why it would be so wrong if I participated in Melodifestivalen. Did I get a stage? Yes. Could I do whatever I wanted? Yes. Could I wear what I wanted? Yes. Yes. I can’t stand ‘social codes’ – I don’t know what’s hot and what’s not. People need music. So just give it to them and stop thinking about what’s ‘right’. Fuck credibility!

My Heart is Refusing Me have lasted longer than many of the songs that were in the finally. It’s still on top. But this song just got to the Second chance in Melodifestivalen.
I wasn’t there to win, just to show people what I’m about. All of us working with the song said that right from the beginning.
– It was great that I had that attitude, because normally I’m really competitive!
Loreen laughs again.

Given her ease to a smile it is interesting that her music have such a huge sadness in it.
– Melancholy is there for a reason, it is a must for my creations and my inspiration. I get in a trance by melancholy and I also sing better. When somebody play a happy melody my whole system shuts down and I feel nothing. It’s not like I lock my self in with misery but melancholy opens up a part of me. People in Sweden thinks melancholy is something bad. We are way to controlled by this and it is sad that we don’t want to feel pain.
The melancholy is in her roots, Morocco, and Berber. Loreen’s parents originates from Morocco’s aborigines peoples, Berbers.
– I speak Arabic and Moroccan. The phrasing in my song comes from there. It leans more against the Enya-direction.
– E-e-iyee- in My Heart is Refusing is a example on that. Would a Berber hear this song they would say ”Ey, this is our”.
Loreen grew up in Åkersberga and Västerås with five younger siblings, she describes her younger self as an oddball.
– I had a different attitude that the other kids. My mother didn’t know the Swedish culture and I learned from her.
This collided with the Swedish way of doing things. I questioned everything all the time.
– Our family helped taking responsibility and we moved forward with difficulties. It was us against the world and I had to grow up fast if we were going to make it.
The music became Loreen’s sanctuary. While her classmates went home and played with each other after school she went home put out the light in the bathroom and sang.
– I could stand there for hours with my younger sisters banking on the door. The acoustics there was so nice. I sang songs by Celine Dion, Mariah Carey and Whitney, strong artists, I never thought about if I sang good, I just sang. It was my thing.
Loreen and her sisters grew up in a Liberal Muslim home. But still with certain rules about alcohol and homosexuality for example.
– I questioned everything when I was little. Why is it like this? Why can’t you do that? When I was about 17-18 I started to questioned religion. I understood that I wasn’t Muslim nor Christian. But I am spiritual today, just like my mother.
– I always had a strong intuition and followed it regardless what the religion or my surrounding said. One of my closest friends in high school was homosexual. I never felt that something was forbidden or weird from the gay audience. If it so wrong, why would God place me here, with these people and in this situation?
– I challenge by taking home the girl and said this is my friend, she likes girls and she will sleep over. I questioned and challenged. I say like this, the thing you don’t understand you fear.
Have you questioned you sexuality?
– I will say like this: Love is where you find it. It is not the sex you fall in love with, it is the soul. It doesn’t matter if it is a women or a man. My sexual orientation… (Loreen pauses and looks at me). – … It would be wrong to say I only like men. I’m open. I want to find love, if I find it with a women and it feels right, it is right. There is no doubt from my side. No questions asked. Get rid of the rules and regulations.
Have you been in loved with a woman?
Loreen smiles.
You don’t have to answer, I try.
– I will answer you like this…, she says and smiles widely.
(Loreen preformed at a huge gay party at Kolingsborg, Stockholm in July, a couple of days later she is at the HBTQ-festival in Göteborg.)
– It was from the gay audience I got my first appraise on the song My Heart Is Refusing Me.., I want to be with persons I feel at home with. It is there my love will be.

Many of us felt that you raised the musical bar in the festival, and no question about it, Europe would have loved My heart Is Refusing Me and your theatrical expression. Is there a possibility that you will return to Melodifestivalen?
– To stand on that stage is a fantastic thing to experience, and I want to give people music. I don’t care about what credibility is. It would be weird that me, an odbdall, would like to belong to something that is topnotch. I think everything is topnotch.
– In Sweden just enough is best. But eh.. It is all about “I don’t want you to live your life because then I’m reminded that I don’t do it.” It is so stupid. Do what you want, and don’t let people tell you what to do. Fuck that. Of course we hate an oddball that is just enough.

Original link: https://www.qx.se/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/QXJuni2011.pdf
Translation: Amanda | http://12points-to-loreen.tumblr.com/post/27699948342/interview-from-the-magazine-qx-2011-by-ronny
Photogallery: http://gallery.lovely-loreen.com/thumbnails.php?album=241