Cirkulera magazine (4/2012)

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Text: Catharina Petrini

Loreen got Sweden back on the “Eurovision-heaven”. She is a small person but has got a voice borrowed from the Angels. “Cirkulera” tried to capture her soul and the thoughts about the return and reduce the amount of waste at a anonymous hotel room in Stockholm.

We consume to much, she says from the grey, seemingly comfortable sofa. Plates with leftovers indicates on a long day in her new life. Just half a year ago everything looked different. Before Eurovision.

The thin person in front of me is dressed in tight jeans, a T-shirt that gives somewhat of a “worn-out-feeling” and huge shoes. Black eyes hide behind a matching fringe. She calls herself worldwide-citizen and in that lays a great self-imposed responsibility. She wants to help everybody.
– If you are strong yourself you have a responsibility to help others, she means.

Buy us happiness
Loreen talks about consumption. She express herself with a warm, word-painting voice. She has thoughts about most things. It is easy to understand that she is magical on stage and took Europe with storm.

– Every land has their problems. In the third world their is no opportunity to consume. It is about surviving. But her in the west is is like there is something missing and we consume to be happy. We try to buy us happiness, safety. We just try to fit in.
Loreen herself does not buy much, she says. She lives simple. “Simplicity”, as she calls it herself. She would more likely put money on a good dinner or health-products.
– And I love to put my money on others around me, she points out. When she buy things she thinks about where and how it is produced. It can cost more. It is about thinking on what you lay your money on, prioritize and compromise. Not put the money on something that just gives short joy. She doesn’t mind borrowing clothes. Especially stage-clothes, which she borrows from different showrooms. She would never let stage-clothes be accustomed only for her.

She sort the garbage, plastic, paper and food waste. Loreen philosophize that it is easier with waste-sorting in a small town where their is more communication. In Stockholm most people think about their self, here it is about your carrier.

Loreen comes from simple conditions.

She was born in Stockholm, Moroccan parents. She was 6 year old when her parents separated and Loreen moved with Her mum to Västerås.
– We were many siblings, so mum had to do her magic in order to survive. She knew what we needed, and she was good at making the money go around, never wasted food always saved it for later.
There is a pride about her mum, and you can suspect that it is from her Loreen gets her engagement.
– I hate discrimination, man or woman. It is about human rights. I have seen it up close. My mum was a fighter, she succeeded to break away, but that does not mean she was an outcast, she says.

She talk about poor cousins, who barley have a roof over their head, lives on just a few square meters with sheep in the same room and girls in give in marriages, not of cruelty but in order to survive, just to get food for the day.
For Loreen family means safety.
– People make me feel safe. When I am together with the “main people” in my life, like mum and my siblings I can let my guard down and be myself.

Music was a sanctuary
Loreen was withdrawn as a child. Very withdrawn she says with a vague uncertain smile. Maybe she was a child that didn’t have it easy all the time. She found a sanctuary, music. She loved to lock herself in the bathroom, play with the acoustics and do magic with the echo of her voice. She put out the light to focus on the sound.
To be an artist was distant to her. The music was private, very private. But everyone has a destiny, Loreen believes. And hers was music. She tried other paths too, for example being a host on a television show.
– I was awful, so bad, she says and laughs.
It was people around her that made her aware of the fact that she should share her music. But that was a huge step.
– It was a process to learn to share my music, to dare to express things I only held private before, she says.
It was Idol that decided her fate. Her sister persuaded Loreen to search to Idol. Who know, maybe otherwise the bathroom still would have been her stage.

Evolution turns
We return to consumption and happiness. Loreen hopes the evolution is in its turning point. That the consumers just dig their own grave.
– It is about awareness, she says. We start to see through the big companies illusions which main purpose is to make us want to buy more. Now, we start to think more about ourself. Just think about yoga that now is a type of work out and health stores are running better than ever.
Loreen doesn’t think this new trend will make us more selfish. More like: if we feel good we can help others to feel good too.
– If we are happy, really happy we don’t need to consume, she says. But above all we need to stay true to ourselves. That I live they way I want to live, I don’t compromise. But, Loreen adds, in order to stay true to yourself you need to understand your own truth.
Loreen make herself an example. She thinks much about that she need to feel good. I think about what I eat and use a lot of different healthy products and try to go to quiet retreats twice every year.

That makes her feel good, and when she feels good she is strong and only then can she take responsibility for others. She is for example engaged in the women’s situation in Azerbaijan.

Loreen talks about people that inspires her. About people that are true to themselves and through that can give other people energy and inspiration. She talks about a 70 year old woman she met by coincidence.
– She has in 15-20 years devoted her life to trying to get girls away from prostitution. She tries to persuade girls to get off the street. She turns to different companies and ask for food to give them, and a place for them to stay. The pimps threats her, but she stands there strong. Talk about will-power, a fire soul! She gives me inspiration.

Don’t want to compromise
Back to Idol. Idol wanted to form Loreen to something she wasn’t. She were to sing a certain song in a certain way and even look a certain way.
– That made the heart and brain wake up, she says and paints emotions with her hands. It evoked questions. Do I want to become an artist, do I want to sing others’ songs, do I want to compromise?
The answer is, Loreen wants to be her own, to do things her own way, not compromise.
– The need to express myself in my own way was enormous.
Idol unconsciously made Loreen find her own truth. That it was not OK for others to intrude in her integrity, that there is no right or wrong when it comes to creativity and that she doesn’t want to compromise.
Loreen believes in herself and came to Melodifestivalen 2011 to later on sweep clean the floor in Europe 2012. Her first album was release in October.
It is hard to capture a persons soul in a anonymous hotel room. Maybe Loreen wants to keep her soul for herself. But she let us see glimpse of it anyway.

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• Translation: Amanda |
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