Friday, 12 September 2008

Veronica, 1984: Frida has found her way

Meanwhile, she’s 39, singer Frida Lyngstad, and with ABBA she has made so much money that she would never have to work again. Still she can’t help but continue. To get better and better. And not lose contact with the youngsters. In her style of music she seems to get younger and younger, in her appearance likewise. How does she manage that?

If it was up to Frida, she would get into the studio tomorrow to start working on new recordings. That’s how enthusiastic she is about her third, recently released solo album ‘Shine’, that we talk about, in between recordings for ‘Countdown’. It turns out that, in spite of everything she has accomplished in her life already, she has remained a friendly and, above all, sweet human being, with a very modest and reserved attitude.
On arrival at Schiphol airport, earlier that day, she would easily stand and sign autographs for half an hour, while knowing she was expected at the studio. Her fans come first at these moments, and the technicians will have to have patience for a while, is Frida’s reasoning. When fans at the studio are saying that they think her new single ‘Shine’ is awesome, Frida smiles. “My new album is very modern and a bit heavier than the previous one as well,” she says. “It’s more rock-oriented and I’m very happy about that. I didn’t worry about the fans’ reactions to that. I will never underestimate them. And I know, they will grow with me.”
Frida recorded her first solo album ‘Frida Ensam’ in 1975, the year after she won the Eurovision Song Contest, together with Agnetha, Björn and Benny, with the song ‘Waterloo’. Her second solo album, that was produced by no other than Phil Collins and was called ‘Something’s Going On’, was released two years ago. Frida’s brand new solo album saw the light of day under supervision of top producer Steve Lillywhite (known of his work for groups like U2, Simple Minds, Big Country, Siouxsie & The Banshees, Joan Armatrading and XTC).

“Actually, I wanted to work with Phil Collins again,” says Frida, “but he couldn’t find the time for me. His schedule was already limited due to his marriage and accompanying honeymoon. And I didn’t want to wait that long. That’s when I approached Steve, who I liked very much as well, and I still do. There may not be a lot of people aware of this, but I have an unbounded admiration for rock-singers like Pat Benatar. I want to follow that path as well. And Steve helped me a great deal. I started to raise a little aversion to the music of ABBA towards the end. The title-track of our last album ‘The Visitors’, for instance, is more to my liking than the rest. I know I don’t have to work anymore, I have often been told, but I like what I do and at the moment I’d rather concentrate on the youngsters than on the whole family. This may have something to do with my children, thanks to them I’m starting to feel younger and younger, the older I get.”
For the past two years, Frida has lived in one of London’s suburbs, together with her two children. Not only because of the not so favourable Swedish tax environment, but also because of the music happening in England, that inspires her a great deal. “That’s why I see very little of my ABBA-colleagues,” according to Frida. “I haven’t spoken to Agnetha for a while. I’ve heard that she’s collecting material for her second solo album, that will be produced by 10CC’s Eric Stewart. And Björn and Benny are very busy with their musical Chess. After the recordings of my new album at the Studio de la Grande Armée in Paris, we had a reception over there and Benny and Björn were there as well. They wrote the song ‘Slowly’ for me, that appears on ‘Shine’. Apart from that, Steve Lillywhite’s wife, Kirsty McColl worked extensively on the album, and to my surprise, Big Country-singer Stuart Adamson came up with a song as well. This way, I get a chance to mingle with totally different musicians.”

Frida leads a rather secluded life. She tries to combine her housekeeping and her career as good as possible and one of the few men that she’s very close to, is her father. Chances are slim that we’ll be able to see her perform the coming months, because Frida will probably not get to that. All collaborators on the album have other engagements. Apart from that, a good upbringing for her children is important to her. She thinks it’s excellent that they are now leading a bilingual life and she wants to be with them as much as possible. And to lead a life with them as normal as possible.
“But we also stimulate each other musically,” Frida concludes. “They’re with me all the way and encourage me to continue, to get even better. For the first time, a song written by myself is on this album, something that should happen more often in the future. And together with my son Hans and Kirsty McColl I’ve written the B-side of the single ‘Shine’. Those are very nice things, that are happening to me all of a sudden. And I enjoy it tremendously... Only now, I feel totally responsible for my work. And quite rightly, I can be proud of that!”

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