Agnetha Fältskog by Alberto Tolot
Soon we'll see a new Agnetha Fältskog on album covers, posters and in magazines. She has been to Los Angeles and recorded a new album, you see. At the same time she was photographed by the world famous Alberto Tolot.
Written by Peter Blom
It's been quiet around Agnetha Fältskog for a while. But this fall suddenly quite a lot is happening. First an album with children's songs was released and soon it's time for a new solo-LP. This album is a product of the collaboration between Agnetha and another one of the biggest idols from the 70s - the rock group Chicago's former singer Peter Cetera. We had the privilege to sit down for a chat with Agnetha about the music and her new style, signed Alberto Tolot, Italian "star photographer".
It's been more than two years since your last LP was released. Now there are suddenly two at the same time, why this sudden activity?
-It just happened that way. I'm not the kind of person who stresses myself to death in order to release a new album at regular intervals. There are some who release new albums quite often, but then I think there's a great chance that you get tired of that artist. I know there are always opportunities appearing. The children's album had been planned for long time and then this possibility to record this album with Peter Cetera just happened.
What do you do in between the albums?
-To record an album takes a long time, especially if you're helping to produce it. It can take a year from when the idea was hatched until the album is finished. Then there are also other things to do, especially if you, just like I do, have two children. So it's not as if I'm idle.
How was the idea for this album with Peter Cetera hatched?
-It all began when we met at UN's big children's gala here in Stockholm, where I sang a song with Ola Håkansson. Performing there was also Peter Cetera, who I already earlier had respected much, both as a songwriter and as a singer. And he liked a lot of what we (ABBA) had done earlier. Immediately we hit it off and loosely talked about doing something together in the future.
And it happened a lot faster than what you had expected it to, huh...?
-Yes, we kept in touch through the record company and during the spring Peter became more and more interested and began to collect songs that he thought would fit me. Then when we met this summer, he had about 50 suggestions that we listened through.
Who has written the songs?
-When we finally began to work on the album last summer, we tried out many songs. When the album was finished, we had ended up with ten other songs, instead of the 15 songs we initially began with. Peter has written one of them together with Bruce Gaitsch and then there are a number of other American songwriters.
What was it like to record an album in the US?
-It was an incredible experience. Everybody - Peter, the co-producer Bruce Gaitsch, the engineer and the studio musicians were really fantastic to work with. I didn't know them before but soon I realized that we were working with the best ones there were. And they praised me which was fun. We really connected with each other.
So does this mean that you will concentrate on a new international career?
-No, not more than earlier.
Will you still call yourself Agnetha Fältskog, even in the US?
-Yes, there have been some heated discussions about it but I really fought for it, that it should say Fältskog on the album even though it might be a bit difficult for some people to pronounce.
Will you make any videos for the album?
-Yes, I want to make at least two or three, mainly for the American market. Plus right now we're planning a TV-special which eventually will be broadcast in Europe sometime after New Year's or soon thereafter.
Both the music and the image seem to be a bit tougher than earlier...?
-Well, I don't know... But yes, I guess you could say that. I don't like to compare albums, but I myself think that this one is better than my previous ones. The whole album feels very strong.
-The duet "I Wasn't The One Who Said Goodbye", then there's also a very positive song that is called "Let It Shine", but I really like all of them.
The lyrics are quite romantic as usual. Who are the people listening to your music, who do you want to listen to it?
-When it comes to music, about 90 % is about love and emotions. I don't have a certain group of people in mind when I record a song. There are probably both young and old ones listening to my music.
Is the music as important to you today as it was ten years ago?
-Yes, I listen to a lot of music. I might not buy many records, but I listen to the radio and check out the charts and so on. I think there's a lot of very good music. Especially Swedish music. Swedish recordings by groups and artists sound very fresh and international today. I think that's exciting.
When you say exciting... these new photos of you also look new and exciting.
-Yes, the photo session was also quite an experience. We arrived at the studio at lunchtime and they weren't ready to start taking pictures until around 4 PM, after make up, styling etc.. When I first looked at myself in the mirror I thought I looked horrible and almost walked out of there. But once they started taking the photos, I saw that the result was good.
And once again you worked with the best, right?
-Yes, the photographer was calm and nice and the hairdresser had many interesting ideas. He has cut Madonna's hair and I had a hard time convincing him not to cut my hair down to a one-centimeter crew cut.
So you're satisfied with the result?
-Yes, mostly because they've managed to take pictures that are in harmony with the music on the album.
Footnote: The Italian Alberto Tolot is one of the hottest photographers in Los Angeles right now. Earlier he has photographed fashion for international magazines and album covers for Madonna, Duran Duran, Jody Watley etc.. About ten (or so) persons participated in the photo session with Agnetha Fältskog: photographer, stylists, make up artists and assistants. Photographer: Alberto Tolot. Clothes from Arjan, Los Angeles. Stylist: Cesare Zucca. Hair: Peter Savic. Make up: Gary Berkowitz for Cloutier, Los Angeles.