– Eurovision winner soon in Skellefteå – “It’s about I have something to say” (22/02/2017)

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Loreen’s “Euphoria” took her all the way to Eurovision. Now she is back again, but behind three minutes Mello song is so much more accommodated. There is tireless commitment to a better world, and an artist who refuses to adapt.

The café at Odengatan in Stockholm is mellow, slightly illuminated and quiet without being swayed. At one of the stalls, moving movements are moving in a pace of a distinct, present voice. A voice so rhythmic and poetic that it can only belong to someone who creates with words and songs. There lies Loreen Talhaoui, with a glass of shining orange light in contrast to the long black hair.

– It’s very intense now, that’s it. But only I may begin the morning in peace and quiet, that’s fine, she says, smiling.

Four years ago she sang into the story. Her minimalist, emotional, organic performance in the Melodifestivalen was stuck. There was no doubt about who would win, and like Europe too. For Loreen it was overwhelming, a response she never thought of. That’s why it took a long time before she decided to get back to the competition again.

– Most of the others gave notice in September. And I decided the night before the press conference where the artists were revealed, in November. For two days I locked in and meditated, there were so many questions to lean out. If I do, why do I do that? Is that for the right reasons?

When Norran meets her, she has landed in the decision, a decision she describes as the hardest she has taken. Loreen is soon on a scene in Skellefteå and after hours of meditation that November, she came up to yes, she does it for the right reasons.

– I know I can stand there and lose, but I have to look past that and my own fears. To me, I feel I have something to say, something that’s needed. That fact decided, she says, taking a bite from the orange juice.

A heart that clings to something bigger and more important, it permeates the entire Loreen artistry. When she was a winner in Baku, it was something more than “Euphoria” that made a print. During her time in the country she met human rights activists who fought for freedom in a dictatorship.

– It was natural to me. It were my fans who informed me of how the situation was in the country, and then I had to do something. I contacted civil right defenders. After all, it was so nice to meet activists and remind them that they are doing something so much more important.

She tells about the inspiration she fetched from those who struggled in the silence, but also about what price she had to pay.

– It was tough. Many artists were hard drilled and afraid, even I was afraid. After I spoke, I received some threats, and could not go outside the hotel.

When she comes to Skellefteå to compete, everything is exactly in line with the commitment made by Eurovision in Baku. The song is called “Statements”, and that’s exactly what it is. If “Euphoria” was dreamy and whirling, “Statements” are rather a fist in the table, a still football on a fragile field.

– It reflects what is happening in the world, and my handling of it. It’s rebellious, with a little punk feeling. ‘Euphoria’ was fragile, this is “Euphoria” – Loreen got more skin on her nose, she has become the Joan of Arc, she has become a power. Now it is the woman in the front, the men have been playing long enough.

She talks about how it is needed now, in a world where Trump selected as the leader of one of the world’s most powerful countries, where people fleeing for their lives and are met by closed borders. It is needed in all forums, including the Melodifestival.

– I have a lot of heart issues, and there must be a deeper meaning in everything I do. I have just seen a documentary about Nina Simone where she tells us what important role we have artists and creators, especially in tough times. And I agree we must take responsibility.

Loreen public, musical journey began in Idol 2004 where she finished in fourth place. When the television program is mentioned shortcomings she out laughing.

– So God. I am a completely different person today. When I set up, I had only sung for myself earlier, and now I should be on television. I was so damn scared, but I assumed the challenge. Afterwards I realized that I had to slow down and find myself so I had a few years where I did something else, worked at the cafe and learned to make music from scratch. Because I always knew I wanted to be an artist.

When she performed “Euphoria”, snowy snowflakes fell to the stage floor in line with her movements. It was no coincidence.

– I love how soft and quiet it gets, snow and I have a special relationship. That’s why it’s incredible that I can compete in Skellefteå. I feel more embedded in the northerner parts of the Nordic region, and hope I get into nature when I’m up in Skellefteå. It would be amazing.

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• Translation: via Google Translate
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