A month after her triumph for Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest, two local gay radio hosts were thrilled to get the chance to speak with Loreen.
As JOY94.9FM listeners heard last week, the line from Scandinavia was scratchy, but the station’s biggest Eurovision fans Hikaru Freeman and Andy Bell were thrilled to chat to the demure singer.
Though the conversation was brief, the 28-year-old’s warm spirit shone through, in an interview touching on her reaction to her Eurovision triumph, her notable and outspoken condemnation of Azerbaijan’s human rights record, and her heartfelt debt to the gay and lesbian community.
JOY94.9’s chat with Loreen is transcribed below, but first, relive her triumphant, euphoric Eurovision 2012-winning performance.
Hello Loreen! How’s life been in the past month since winning in Baku?
Very special! (laughs) In a positive way. So many things are so new to me. For instance, I’m used to being alone a lot of the time, but now there’s a lot of people around me. Which feels OK, just different. I’m finding out a lot about myself. Good things.
How did it feel being at Eurovision in Azerbaijan? You were one of very few contestants to speak out about human rights abuses. Did that put you in an uncomfortable position?
Not at all. To me, it was so natural to do that. When human rights get abused, questioning it was so important to me. I can’t not react, you know what I mean? I have to. And it doesn’t matter if people don’t like it, or there are certain rulers or leaders who think it’s uncomfortable. To me it’s important.
I had the people of Azerbaijan on my side. I met a lot of them, and reading between the lines, they showed their appreciation. That gave me energy because I’m a people’s person. I stand on the people’s side. I did this basically for them, because they are abused in many ways.
So what’s next for you? What can we expect from your upcoming album? We know you’re a fan of (Melbourne musician) Lisa Gerrard.
Yeah, you know what I like about Lisa Gerrard? She’s very spiritual in her way of singing. It comes from within. She has a lot of songs without lyrics – just noise and shouts that come out. It’s not any particular language.
And when it comes to my album, it’s a fusion between the organic world – the acoustic live world – and the programmed house clubbing world. It has bits and pieces of the same thing as Lisa Gerrard, where you sing spiritually, like there are certain melodies and certain tones you take, where you can actually hear that this is something tribal, something old.
Is that a call back to your background as a Moroccan Berber? You grew up in Sweden but your background is far far away.
Yeah, my parents are from the north part of Morocco, from a tribe. Even though I was brought up in Sweden and half of me is Swedish… when I’m in Sweden I feel Moroccan, and when I’m in Morocco I feel Swedish. It’s crazy. But yeah, their way of seeing music is what I’ve taken with me from there.
So do you have a special message for your LGBT fans here?
Oooh, I actually do have! I have so many things I want to say, but I can narrow it down to a couple of sentences. I have so much love for all of you out there. Because to me completely honest, I wouldn’t be sitting here if it wasn’t for them. They were the early adopters! The gays and lesbians were the first people to really get my music and I’m so grateful for that.