– It hurts to be quiet (24/11/2017)

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We have talked to Loreen about her new album “Ride”, why she chose to crop the hair and the price she had to pay off to stand up for herself as a woman.

Five years have passed since the Eurovision winner Loreen released her debut album Heal, and now she comes with the sequel Ride, which is about breaking out. The album has been recorded together with members of the group Amason, and the visual language she has created together with photographer and designer Johan Lindeberg. He has also directed the two music videos released; ’71 Charger and Hate The Way I Love You. Loreen also has a new style. Not only fringe is gone, she has cropped the hair completely.

– I do not really try to break away from anything, it’s an organic process. Everything has its time. The old was perfect there and then but then you have to go on and it is not always something that you are aware of, suddenly you get stuck and wondering what the hell happened?

What is the biggest difference between your previous album Heal and Ride?

– The biggest difference between now and then is that I can stand today for my power. I held back in order not to be perceived as too strong or too much. It applies to so many women that we adapt to appear as kind and talented. Fuck that, the top of the food chain is the woman. Just look at Grace Jones, many are scared of her and her power, and I’ve heard that I’m scary but I’ve released it. I’m in a different place now, today I stand for my power and am proud of it.

What is Ride about?

– Ride is an illustration of a change, a transformation. I’ve gone from something old into something new. If you stay for too long in old patterns, it creates a bitterness and with Ride I took the whole change. From Step 1, which is the frustration, to Step 2, the awakening, to Step 3, as for me, has been the release where I try to end up in sync with the person I want to be. Then the album touches several of the topics that interest me, egoism, politics, and unconditional love and so on.

She who spoke then asked the questions, where do you go and where are you going?

– It’s a pig-like question! What I noticed is that, as an individual, you always set goals for yourself around where you are heading or where you want to reach, but then it usually ends with realizing that the course can not be controlled. What I always strive for is to be as free as possible, and in balance with myself. That I’m true with what I want and what I do. Previously, I had to compromise who I was, now I’m more in sync with myself.

I’ve never thought of you as a typical pop artist, but expectations about what pop is’ve changed over time. How have you seen yourself?

– I’m totally uninterested with titles, I did not quite know what a schlager artist was when I went into mello. I got an offer to stand on a stage to express my creativity, and I said yes to it. I do not like the breakdown that people tend to do, what’s even a schlagerartist? Everyone does what they can for ability. I have not seen myself as any special type of artist. Why must we always put things in the box? Make sure what is valuable instead.

Now it’s five years since you took Europe and the world by storm with Euphoria. How was it actually going to be known in Sweden over a night, known worldwide and how did you handle it?

– I realized pretty quickly after I won it would be a great change. That it would go very fast, and it was very difficult to handle. I traveled every day and eventually I did not know which airport I was at. I expressed my mind that I would be very careful about receiving too much acknowledgment from my surroundings, and if I did, I would make sure to give as much back to the others in my surroundings and help organizations and so on. I needed it to maintain some kind of balance. Confirmation is like a drug, you get emptied as fast as you are without it and then you have to stand on a stable ground.

I spoke with another artist, AMKosman, who says that it often involves pain with making music and being called a genius in many ways is about to meet someone else’s unreasonable demands. How is it for you to create music?

– I agree with her and I just know what she means, but I have also learned that if I enter the studio influenced by what others think and think about me or their demands, I’m going out emptyhanded. I can not create something good if I allow that kind of emotion of energy to take over. Björk is a good example of an artist who ignores the industry’s requirements and does not adapt. But also, what is a genius? Who determines it and what is it based on?

Do you become another person when you stand on stage?

– Yes, I will become even more myself, you will come closer to me as a human being. That’s the way I communicate – with music. Actually, standing on stage is strongly associated with a big fat ego, but to me it’s the platform I can communicate on to reach out and inspire others.

I think of #whenthemusicsounds like being part of the #metoo revolution. Do you feel that the climate in the music industry has changed?

– I’m so damn glad that this is happening now, it means that justice exists and that it is done, this is our revolution. We will not go back now, and they will not escape. I’ve been taking very much dirt just because I was not quiet. I have been classed as “messed up”, difficult to work with and become very discouraged as a woman because I said no. But I have to, it hurts to be quiet and watch.

What do you think will happen now?

– The development that is happening now is so cruel because it encourages creative freedom. The little click of people who had control before did not get it anymore, there are fewer rules about what’s right and wrong in the music industry. Everyone also has access to the music in a completely different way, there has really been a revolution on our platform. More music will be released but that’s only positive.

If you had to say something to Loreen at the beginning of your career. What would you say to her?

– It’s a bit contradictory maybe, but I would asked myself to take it a bit easy, do not over-analyze everything and take a little more light on things. I used to think holes in my head and it took a lot of energy.

What do you think about before 2018?

– Philosophically, I believe, as my good friend Hans Rosling said, that everything is getting better. We are looking for improvement and the world is in the right direction, believe it or not. On a personal level, I will make an international launch with Ride and make a few gigs at home in Sweden, not a tour but just a few selected concerts. I’m looking forward to playing at home, really, I really love Sweden.

Text: Stefanie Ravelli
Photograph: Johan Lindeberg I Daniel Lindgren Digitech
Styling: Maria Monti
Photograph assistent: Sam Britz

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