“Life is great – but different,” tells Marie Fredriksson to Dagens Nyheter

STOCKHOLM - Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter (DN) has published an interview with Marie Fredriksson today. Reporter Sanna Björling met Marie to talk about the new album, childhood, music and life.

  Marie dug up her LP-albums and chose some Swedish songs she loved since she was young before she started to record "Min bäste vän". She takes things easy now, tour stress is gone, but music is still there and her lust for life is huge. "I feel fine now," she stresses out, "illness is gone." "It's fantastic," she says again, and she says this word often. Maybe because words don't come as easy as before, but mostly because she really feels like that, that everything is fantastic.

  "Min bäste vän" is released in a couple of weeks, Marie sings those songs she herself played in her record player when she was young, songs by John Holm, Pugh, Cornelis and Mikael Wiehe, "Pugh and Holm are the most important in the album. I always liked Pugh so much. He is a bit fuzzy and has his very own way of making music. 'Här kommer natten' is special. Even though my version is very similar to his, it sounds different when a woman sings it. It's done my way."

  The process to choose the songs went smoothly. Together with her husband Micke Bolyos, who produced and also plays in the album, they listened to those albums and chose which songs to cover. They started already last summer with Tatartcheff/McGarrigles "Ingen kommer undan politiken" (with Swedish lyrics by Ola Magnell). The album was recorded in January and is ready now.

  Marie is feeling a bit cold, she wears a pink t-shirt, a vest and black jeans. Her hair is cut short and blond. She is thin in her body but her face is not skinny. It's a result of the medicine she had to take during her illness, and Marie prefers to talk about something else. There's a before and an after her brain tumour, Marie's life is different today, "one can forget about all stress. I stressed too much in the past, Roxette took all my energy. One cannot live like that for long, and maybe, I think, there was some meaning in all what has happened, even if it may sound weird." Marie wants to go on with her life. She has recorded the album in her studio home, and now that Spring and Summer are finally here, she is often out in her garden. Sometimes she gets busy with her flowers, and she likes to see how seasons change. "Everything changes in the garden.. I love to live, I don't want to die. I want to go on living, my way, and that's for sure not like I lived before. It is nice to take things easy," states Marie stressing out the words of the last sentence.

  Marie's career has been successful both with Per Gessle and solo. Roxette sold 45 million albums, and they have toured around the world and been number 1 in USA four times. Marie explains that she definitely misses to be on stage in front of thousands of people. Of course it's hard. "What we did with Roxette was great and I'm very proud of it. We celebrate our 20th anniversary in Autumn, can you believe it? We got to see many places, even if we traveled fast, we always tried to see little here and there of all the cities we visited. But everything went so fast. Then I met Micke and things changed, and when Josefin was born we totally calmed down. Per also got a child." Roxette will release a greatest hits in Autumn, which will feature two new songs and a bunch of unreleased demos.

  After all the hectic traveling, Sweden was always a place to come home to. "It is nice to sing in Swedish, it is different. I had both. It's like with this album, I chose my Swedish favourite songs. I liked Pugh, Holm and.. Hoola Bandoola very much."
  Marie listens to music from time to time, she likes a lot of Swedish music and Hugo Alfvén, but she doesn't feel home with current new music, she hardly ever finds something she really likes, but it might be because she rarely listens to new music. "And there was a moment when everything was silent.."

  Marie thinks before she speaks and answers shortly to the reporter's questions. Sometimes she has to look for the words, sometimes they come fast and spontaneous.

  She rarely travels to Skåne nowadays, she is mostly in touch with her siblings via telephone. She grew up happy in Östra Ljungby in a family with five children and parents who encouraged and sang a lot, "my dad's voice sounded like Jussi Björling," she tells. Young Marie was full of energy, she run, jumped and sang, sang, sang. The atmosphere in the family changed when the oldest daughter died in a car accident. "It was time to have eachother, and we were many," she says.

  Marie's the only of the siblings who has devoted herself to art in a full-time basis. "I knew what I wanted to be very early. And there was just that." She doubted if she should maybe better enrol at the Drama School instead, but she chose to bet it all on music. When she was 18 she started music studies at Svalöv folk high school.

  The album booklet features a black and white picture of a young Marie wearing torn jeans and with both hands holding the microphone strongly. "We had so much fun. My mum gave me 100 crowns pocket money. 100 crowns!" she explains. Then somewhen started Marie's first class trip - the one that took her to Halmstad, Stockholm and around the world.

  In the last years music has got a companion, even if Marie has always painted and drawn, art has increasingly got more space in Marie's life. Last Autumn Marie had an exhibition in Stockholm and most likely there will be more. "The exhibition went very well. It was great. I was shocked when I saw all drawings had been sold. I think I only have one frame left. I feel very happy when I sit and draw. I use charcoal and chalk, and I have started with a bit of colours. Last year it was the smallest papers, now they are a lot bigger!" says Marie gesturing a sheet of some square meters in the air. "Everything changed after the illness, I take a step a day. It is hard for me to write, but art.. that part of the brain was not damaged. There's something very big, there I am free, really free." Marie lost the ability to write and read with the operation, "totally. But it goes better and better, I am glad of that. It is worse when it comes to counting, but I don't need that, others can do that for me."

  The interview is over and Marie feels a little bit tired now, but the reason is not the interview, "I got home a bit late yesterday, we went to the Polar Prize gala. It was great, Led Zeppelin were my idols when I was 14, 15. I sat there and enjoyed when they played. There was a lot of good music done in the 70ies, a lot of rock. And I met them the day before. Imagine, they knew who I was!"

This article was written for an earlier version of The Daily Roxette.
Technical errors may occur.

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June 4th, 2006

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