QX Magazine: “Biggest in Europe” (10/2012)

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We have not seen since the night before she went to Azerbaijan. The we hugged each other before her promotional gig in a room of Drottninggatan in Stockholm. Then I knew she was going to Baku and win. 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 canceled gigs, new for-profit-promotion and to complete the album. It has been hectic. I could make a mix of a song while I was in Spain and then make it as I wanted it in a studio in Germany. Most of the Swedish gigs that were booked before Eurovision profit was conducted, even though people wanted her abroad.

– I wanted to come out and meet those who support me, and I refused to cancel. It had been a terrible *diss* to not give them something back, she says seriously. The difference between Loreen before she went to compete in Växjö in February and now is not big. But she says she has become more resistant. She dares to put her foot down when she doesn’t feel that she knows what happens.
– This has been such a big test. How important it is to protect our identity. I can see that people around me have a monetary interest and want to strike now, and it is okay. But I have to think about myself too. I’ve been lonely girl, standing on the record company and kept huge struggles for what I want. Of course, I have put myself in how things work, to get there and don’t have control is not going to work. For international speaking, is a product thinking that is different from how it works in Sweden, and that I have become aware of. But I am the creator, and there must be respect between me, businessmen and strategists. That’s the way it is.

Have you had any personal time since you won?
– They’re starting to come now, and then I’m home. I meditate and do things that has nothing to do with work. I can just sit… It may sound boring but it is so nice to turn off the phone and just be. I am comfortable in my own company.

How does it look in your home?
– It’s very simple. I must have a platform that soils me and I don’t like to own things. I do not have a lot of furniture and stuff, and there are no pictures on the walls. Just one red dot for focus sake.

I’m trying to get an idea how big it where the red dot appears on the blank wall. Is it big? Handpainted orprinted? But before I can issue she continues:
– I recently made my bedroom to a walk-in closet. A friend helped me with it so I would be able to structure. I borrow so much clothes, and must hold structure in it. If it is a mess then it is a controlled mess, I’m pretty pedantic. I want it to be clean when I get home after a work trip. I may miss flight, and I have missed flights, because of cleaning so that things are where they should when I get home.
She laughs.
I can imagine that the people around her not done the same if they knew that Loreen missed the plane because the vacuum cleaner was torn up when she actually would sit in a taxi on the way to the airport.

The most common question Loreen got the recent year has been about how it felt to win, and it was bothering her a bit. Partly because she says that it wasn’t she who won, it was her team and everyone who believed in her. Partly because the focus was on to do as well on stage as possible, and then she did not have time to feel how the victory itself felt.

– But one thing about this whole Melodifestivalen and Eurovision bothers me. I hate that people says that only geeks is watching Melodifestivalen and the common man don’t know what good music is. Some journalists have said that I’m different from the remaining in the contest and taht I’m not like the others. Do not sit around and talk shit I say. What gives them the right to say what is good music and what is uncool. I have been a bully-victim all my life I don’t want to belong to a group that thinks they’re better than others. I’m so glad that people took in my appearance, they believed in waht is different.

Loreen have shown that the “different” work in all situations and, when Melodifestivalen kicks off next year, it feels like she has written new rules for what the Swedish people will vote for. But it wasn’t an easy thing. It was a lot of opinions about her and the number before she won Sweden’s fifth victory in Eurovsion: Too dark, too introverted, too own and too much bangs.
– I like the bangs. It is like a protection. We humans are always looking for eye contact, and you don’t see the eyes directly, you feel in an other way. You listen better if you haven’t a direct contact with the eyes that says reflects the soul. Heal, the album that came out in days has been awaited. And to me, that heard a couple of tracks already before the cover interview in May last year, she equivalent to her expectations. She creates a sound that’s unique. And the songs that already is released are being dressed in new suits. My Heart is Refusing Me has been more like a dance hit and more “easy” while the floorfiller single Sober has become darker.
– Sober now sounds like I wanted it to sound. The production, which was released is a compromise and I have always had an irritation over it. I wanted to give the story a different sound and make it darker.
She smiles.
She is aware that there easily become much pain in the songs and that she must balance some lighter productions so that “you don’t want to cut your wrists”.
– I am basically pretty bright. But then I end up in my trances and then it becomes something else, something with a lot of pain. It is a process … and who knows, maybe a bright romantic disc will come in the future.

She smiles and continues:
– So I checked what songs I would able to do a bit more “light”, and My Heart Is Refusing Me already exists in another guise, so now it could be done this way. I tire quickly with productions and like to play and be a bit creative. And it’s just pure mathematics actually: A record that only contains 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 wasn’t 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 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 could stand in front of the mirror at home as well. In Baku I got the press on my side and they wrote about other things than that I slipped on stage and what I was wearing. I wish there had been even more time there, so that I 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 that works 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 arranged in Baku, they’re xenophobic and don’t like gays, “, I was against it. If it’s somewhere 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 most consists of homosexuals.
– I was embraced by the gay community from the start. I would probably not be sitting here today if it wasn’t for that support. We stick together, the one’s who feel the need to protect people who are different.

What do you mean “we”?
– We who… act in a different way, that don’t think female/male, who doesn’t want to be divided. The one’s that are different according to the masses.
She smiles and continues:
– That’s the way it is. I will not forget those who were there from scratch. 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 if 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 isn’t that hard.
A Eurovision winner has spoken.

• Original link: https://www.qx.se/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/QXNovember2012.pdf
• Translation: Tilda | http://lorinetalhaoui.weebly.com/translated-interviews.html
• Photography: http://gallery.lovely-loreen.com/displayimage.php?album=7&pid=45#top_display_media