The producer of the album is Eric Stewart from 10cc, also known as a composer and lyric writer. But Agnetha also participates actively in the production with her own ideas, just like she did during the ABBA-years and on the last LP, “Wrap Your Arms Around Me”.
-It’ll be a busy start with almost only new people, says Agnetha. The only Swedish musician is Rutger Gunnarsson on bass. Eric Stewart has handpicked the others. A new sound engineer, “Paris” Edvinsson, has also been hired, since Michael Tretow is busy with Björn and Benny’s musical “Chess”.
-But I think this will work out. Eric Stewart is a big name in showbiz and I have always admired this group 10cc. They stand for quality, good songs, good voices.
Agnetha has worked all summer long finding material for the LP. She has listened to about 500 songs. Out of those, she and Eric have chosen 15, of which there will be a final 11-12. She has also composed two songs of her own for the LP. One of them is intended to be a duet between her and Eric Stewart.
-The only way for me to even get started with working on a song, is that I’m under pressure. And I’ve been that now. And I also need to be completely by myself, because I really need to concentrate. So I put aside some time for this last summer.
-How do I proceed? Well, the lyrics mean quite a lot to me. When I see a line of it in front of me, I “hear” the music to that line inside my head and I write it down. I always come up with a lot of ideas and try it out in various ways. I have high expectations of myself, so I probably make it quite difficult for me. But I don’t compare my music with what Björn and Benny make, if anyone ever thought so. It’s first and foremost I who have to decide what’s good or bad.
Agnetha tries new ways on many different levels. She has formed her own new company which is called “Agnetha Fältskog Produktion AB”. All the paperwork and guidelines have been drawn up and all of her activities will be there. Since it’s so new, she’s still signed with Polar as a recording artist with the new LP. But her company is a part of it and has invested in the production.
-When ABBA worked together as a group it was natural that we also stuck together financially. But now ABBA has disbanded and then I feel that it’s important that I take care of my own business.
-Earlier I wasn’t particularly interested in having my own company. But now’s the time. I want to take care of my interests and do what I can. It’s brand new to me, maybe a part of my development as an independently functioning and thinking businesswoman. My lawyer is in charge. We have elected a board of directors and we have regular meetings where we discuss different projects, current situation and future.
Agnetha’s new LP will be released in January next year. But she has decided to completely restructure the promotion of herself as an artist. When “Wrap Your Arms Around Me” was released last year, she made three big trips that added up to 45 days, among them one to New York, where she was a success. In total there were 150 appearances on radio, TV and media. Now she thinks that by this time she’s done her share of this tough job.
-I began to travel through Germany as a solo singer already in 1969, and even earlier in Sweden. It’s been 15 years of hard work throughout the world. Not in the least during the ABBA-years. At the same time I’ve had a family and given birth to two children. Now I’m going to be more selective when it comes to work. But I will put my heart and soul into the things I choose to do – as a singer, composer, actress and businesswoman. I will also deal with promotion in a new way.
Stockholm will be the base
Agnetha won’t be traveling to all the countries like she did previously. She will work with Stockholm as her base. When the album is released she will invite the world media. Then she’ll make videos for the first and second single that will be released off the LP.
-There will be one big trip, Agnetha says. I will visit the world’s largest music convention, MIDEM (Marché International du Disque et de l’Edition Musical) in France. I have booked one single TV-appearance there. So it will be an important program, which will be broadcast in all of Europe. The decisive reason why I so drastically change the promotional part of my job is because my children need me all the time. Nothing is more important to me than they are.
Agnetha Fältskog has a soft and sensitive way of presenting herself. But there’s also a lion inside her. The tougher the challenge, the more she grows. She is stubborn and tough, using her experiences. They make her stronger. She has a temper. When she gets mad, she really gets mad. The weak and tear-jerking image of her that often is portrayed by the media is clearly misleading. She sets her goals and ideals high. Sometimes she’s maybe a bit too tough on herself. She’s not afraid to get her hands dirty. This summer, out on Ekerö, she has learned to work with everything from horses and stables to boiler-room and pool equipment.
Thoroughly tired of the tabloids
-I have a strong need for freedom, says Agnetha. You can’t tie me down. If you try to corner me, it won’t work. I want freedom of movement on all levels. When it comes to certain tabloids’ articles about me, there is an absurd focus on gossip, which makes people forget about my work output. For example, my last LP has sold 1,2 million copies throughout the world. But who knows that? I am thoroughly tired and ashamed to appear like a cartoon character in two of the worst tabloids I know of! There’s something radically wrong with that! It’s as if these tabloids I talk about have completely lost all feelings of manners and ethics. Earlier there was a certain respect for a family situation crisis, for example where there were children who were able to read were part of the situation. But now they’ve lost all of their inhibitions. Time after time the line for what is allowed is being crossed. They ruthlessly expose children and let people run amok on magazine covers and news bills.
-I realize more than ever how bad these tabloids are when even my children laughs at what’s being written, Agnetha continues. That’s good. My children know all the time how things really are. Furthermore, my children and I have a good and solid relationship. So they aren’t upset. But there could be other fragile cases where the situation could become critical, says Agnetha. Then the tabloids can cause irreversible harm by prying and on news bills anticipate events in families’ inner circles.
Life goes up and down
-For my part, things haven’t always worked out according to the plans in my private life, says Agnetha and smiles. But in whose private life does it? That’s not common these days, is it? Besides, in most relationships I think it depends on the ability to talk honestly with each other. Then it may be possible to find a constructive solution to your problems.
-Life goes up and down. That’s the way it is. But I strive forward and focus on what’s positive. I think that people often put up an all too hard exterior. There’s so much aggression in life. Maybe we need to more consciously try to be kinder towards each other and help to create a more generous world for ourselves and our children.
By Brita Åhman