Dagens Nyheter published a fantastic new interview with Frida yesterday conducted by Georg Cederskog who visited Frida in Zermatt.
Thanks to Maria Nehro for helping me complete the translation.
After six years of silence, Anni-Frid Lyngstad sings again on the guitarist Jojje Wadenius’ new album. Dagens Nyheter’s Georg Cederskog asks the ABBA singer about her new recording, her future plans and whether she will sing together with Agnetha again.
It has been twenty-nine years since ABBA released a studio album, fourteen years ago solo album “Djupa Andetag” and six years since she sang at all on disc. But the voice is intact.
– Frida has a clean, clear, very special, almost unique voice with edge, a large range and a fine sound at the lower register. She sang in unison with Agnetha a great deal and had to make efforts to reach Agnetha’s pitch. There was the metallic element significantly, and there, I think, created a lot of Abba sound, ” says Bjorn Ulvaeus when DN ask him to describe her vocal assets.
Anni-Frid Lyngstads glossy mezzo-soprano has darkened, of course, but not slowed. She begins Jojje Wadenius new album “Reconnection” with a particularly brilliant shot in the four sections of “Morning Has Broken”. It takes a real pop queen – her formal name is now Anni-Frid Prinzessin Reuss von Plauen Gräfin – to revive Cat Stevens worn campfire song.
– The origins of this project is that Jojje and I are are very good friends, I’ve known his wife Brit since the 1970s, she is definitely one of my closest friends, explains Lyngstad when DN reaches her home in Zermatt, Switzerland.
– We have long talked about doing something together, and in this context, when you don’t carry it all on your own shoulders as a solo singer, feels great to be involved in.
She praises the musical outcome. In addition Wadenius characteristically smooth jazz guitar plays scat style singing “Reconnection” with guest appearances by Helen Sjöholm, Nicolai Dunger, Peter Jöback, two Kleerup songs and Nina Persson breathes new life into Dire Straits anthem “Brothers in Arms”.
Anni-Frid Lyngstads decision to participate was not without anguish. The decision was preceded by an active spirit: – Brit came and visited me here. We sat at night and drunk some wine and I played an album by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. I began to sing along a bit to it and she said: “But you can’t just turn that voice off! Your voice sings to the angels, you must continue” (big laugh).
So, she inspired me to take the first step. You always need to hear that reassurance that it is good enough. Recording the song, however, was simple. Not just because she always liked Cat Stevens.
– When I married my husband Russo, who passed away ten years ago, we had “Morning Has Broken” as our ‘wish song’ in the church. So it represents a fine memory for me, not just a Cat Stevens song.
ABBA may be a distant chapter of Anni-Frid Lyngstad’s life. It is twenty-six years ago she moved to Switzerland. But she’s still alive with music.
– My musical taste is very wide, but I do not listen to the likes of Lady Gaga and that sort of music much, I’m still playing music based on my past tastes: I love soul and R & B and at the moment I’m very much in a Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young phase, they are my absolute favourites, and Chicago – and TLC, they are phenomenally good.
Are there other musicians and songwriters that you would like to work with?
– I do not dream that way anymore, but I have many international friends and musicians it is clear when we’re talking about music that it would be fun to do something together.
Mick Hucknall (lead singer of the British soul band Simply Red) is a close friend and sometimes we have joked about doing something jazzy together.
Can fans of Anni-Frid Lyngstad expect live performances or can they stop hoping?
– No, no I will not do it any longer, I can say.
It would be too stressful and I would be too nervous. It’s like with any job, you lose the routine, and in music this creates stage fright – and that would not be a happy experience (laughs). Then I would rather let it be.
How would you describe your voice today? How has it evolved?
– What is happening is well known, the voice drops a few notes, and it is less full than when I was younger, but of course it happens to all the singers. But at the same time it has a different depth and maturity that might be attractive.
When asked if there is one singer with a quality she wished she’d had, Frida immediately selects Agnetha Fältskog.
– It is the same with all singers, that when you listen to each other there is always someone else who you think is fantastic. I can only select Agnetha’s voice. Since I am a mezzo-soprano, I’d never be able to sing like that.
Mine is much lower and that is why we balanced each other so well. Our voice was very successful combination, it is hard to find elsewhere.
Have you ever spoken about singing together again?
– We talk and laugh about it sometimes, but life is changing, we’re getting older and there are so many other things that may be more important and which take up our time. It is clear that it would be great to do something with Agnetha. It is difficult though. If we would do something it would be so hard to avoid all the incredibly pretentious context that it would bring and all the associated pressure. There is such a fascination and curiosity that we could never do something simple and low-key, just because of that I do not think it will come off.
She is aware that there have been long gaps between her public singing efforts. Though it does not mean that she has no desire or will to sing.
– There is always a light that burns within, that you would like to do something more. Jojje and I have actually talked further about things after this, so you never know.
The title of Wadenius’s disc “Reconnection” speaks especially to her and her relationship to music.
– A consequence of age is that you go back to the music that you’ve loved all these years and might want to make your own somehow. There are more opportunities around that theme I think and Jojje and I have talked about it a little bit. But we shall see, a decision has not been taken yet, but it is close at hand.
How do you view the ‘Abba Fever’ which prevailed in recent years? Your discs have been hailed by the critics and new generations of listeners find your music.
– When everything is truthful and falls into place in the way that our music did, even though we were not really aware of it then – then that music will have a power and energy that will not expire but which will live on in many different ways.
It is a quality that is difficult to pin down and difficult to imitate. Sometimes the music rests for a while, but then something happens, like Mamma Mia!, which I love, and then the music is brought back to life. It is now taking off among the younger generations. The music becomes a legacy. I have a strong feeling that there will always be ABBA music.