By Mats Olsson
Agnetha speaks out for the last time
AF : I've done my part, it's very difficult to be a career woman and raise two children at the same time
MONTREUX. Read this in a devotional spirit, because this is Agnetha Fältskog's last interview.
At the age of 35 she puts the lid on and takes a vacation. After that she becomes a fulltime mom for good.
AF : I've been busy with my career since 1968 and now I need peace and calm, I feel that I'm running out of energy, she says to Expressen.
But you should never say never because even if Agnetha Fältskog now looks forward to only spend time with her children, it is possible that she'll make another movie with Gunnar Hellström (director of "Raskenstam" and he also played the part of Gustav Raskenstam) next summer. But except for that, it's over.
"Eyes Of A Woman" would probably have been an even greater success for Agnetha if she had worked harder.
AF : I've done my part now. I would probably make it in the US as well but that would mean that I'd have to move there and work hard and purposeful for at least six months. I don't want to do that, she says.
The reasons for it are two and their names are Linda and Christian. Just like so many career women, and men for that matter, Agnetha Fältskog suffers constantly from The Guilty Conscience, which says that she's not spending enough time with her children.
AF : Time has passed by so quickly, Christian is seven years old and Linda is twelve, next time she becomes a teenager. It's very difficult to be a career woman and at the same time raise two children.
AF : Still I'm privileged compared to other single mothers. I am financially independent and can say no thanks to a career in order to be a mom.
Calm and self-confident
Maybe it's her best choice. I've met Agnetha Fältskog the past ten years and she's never seemed as mellow as she is now. She exudes calm and self-confidence, walks with pride and dignity and can slightly amused watch the new pop gods who fight for the attention of the audience and the photographers.
After a rehearsal we sit in a shabby hallway at the casino in Montreux. TV-producers run by probably with bleeding ulcers, Sting passes by, wearing a flapping coat, along with three beefy bodyguards, Howard Jones is being escorted in and the police are protecting Duran Duran from young girls. Agnetha has experienced all of this and says:
AF : Do you really think that I will miss this, the stress, the pressure and this waiting? Never!
But Agnetha Fältskog wouldn't be Agnetha Fältskog without contradictions. She exudes calm, but after an agonizing flight, she takes a Fernet Branca for upset stomach but she doesn't feel sorry for herself or she wouldn't want to have missed out on the hectic and hysterical ABBA-years.
AF : ABBA was ten years of all that was difficult for me. Ten years of being away from home, staying in hotels, plane flights, leaving my children, being on stage and having my private life exposed.
AF : But at the same time it was also a lot of fun. I'm incredibly grateful and humble that we made it as far as we did, that we were so successful. It's still an honor to sign autographs and it feels nice when new pop stars, who I barely know who they are, approach me and say that they liked ABBA.
A bloody running all over the place
AF : But ABBA was stressful, a bloody running all over the place. We traveled around the world but we never had the time to see or enjoy anything.
AF : When I started my solo career everything got calmer. I was only responsible for myself and I could work in my own pace. I am very critical of myself and I know that I'm not very good on stage, so why be on stage then? I know that I can sing and that I'm good in the studio, possibly I can act, so I concentrate on what I'm good at.
AF : But do you know how difficult it is to compose? It is so b o r i n g! It might be easier if there are two of you but I struggled by myself with "I Won't Let You Go" all of last summer. It's just hard work, no glamour at all.
Otherwise it was the glamour's optical illusion that enticed her to sing.
AF : I knew early that I wanted to sing. I listened to singers like Connie Francis and that redheaded one... Rita Pavone, I played them over and over again and mimed to their voices in front of the mirror.
When I ask her about her ambition and what her goal was, she says:
AF : I didn't think that far ahead, I don't think anyone does. I "just" wanted to become a star. Celebrity. And I wanted to be on TV, why I don't know, but it seemed to be a lot of fun to be on TV.
These are dreams that most young people have but for most of them, they're just dreams. Agnetha says:
AF : I think I continued because I felt that I had something, that I had talent.
AF : But of course it's about luck, the luck to be in the right place at the right time, as it was for me when Lille Gerhard listened to my demo tape and heard something in my voice. I thought it was a joke when he called and wanted me to come to Stockholm.
AF : When I walked into the Philips-studio and the orchestra was playing m y song ("Jag var så kär"), which I had written, I didn't know what to do - it is still an enormous highlight.
AF : When I met Björn (Ulvaeus) and we got married and began to sing together, that was the foundation of ABBA. And later when we won in Brighton in 1974 of course.
Not the same feeling
She stops to think and then says:
AF : Later things became different, and then I never experienced that giddy sense of happiness again. We didn't get jaded by success but maybe spoilt. It became a habit that every single went to number one in England. It just was that way. Of course it was just as fun each time, that things always went so well, but as I said before, it became a habit.
What becomes a habit can become a routine. The human being needs challenges and there and then Gunnar Hellström came into Agnetha's life.
AF : I had always been interested in film and had somewhere felt that I would be able to do it, that I would be able to act. Right away when I read the script for "Raskenstam" I knew that I would be able to play Lisa and it was fantastic to make the movie, so much fun to do something brand new and also manage to do it.
AF : I have seldom felt as satisfied as I did then. Gunnar is a good director, he is levelheaded, calm and experienced, but I think that most of it had to do with that I wasn't myself, I was somebody else. In everything else that I've done I've been Agnetha from ABBA but when I saw the movie, I saw a different person, I saw Lisa.
AF : I have never been really good on TV either but now I'm a guest at Hagge Geigert's in June ("Gäst hos Hagge"). I am very satisfied with the program because he made me relax, he even made me be funny and that's a side of me you rarely see.
ABBA made their breakthrough at Eurovision Song Contest and I ask her if she watched this year's contest.
AF : Of course, it's fun that Norway won, but isn't that song another? Listen. (She hums Susanne Alfvengren's "När vi rör varann" i.e. Dan Hill's "Sometimes When We Touch"). If you sing it a bit faster it becomes "La det swinge". But it was fun that they won, even though I liked Cyprus the best. I always like the ones who finish last. Last year I loved Spain's song. And fact is that I remember this year's Swedish contest better. There were many good songs like Dan Tillberg's. To be honest maybe we should have selected Pernilla Wahlgren. Kikki Danielsson is good and very loved by the people in Sweden, but there's something special about Pernilla.
Isn't allowed to say anything
Agnetha won't, can't or isn't allowed to say what project it is that Hellström is working on but says that if he gets enough money, she'll take part in it.
So her career isn't completely over. However she's through with interviews and Agnetha gets worked up over what she hates: the tabloids.
AF : They cut a word from here and one word from over there, take an old statement that fits their purpose and then apply their dirty amateur psychology and come up with that I'm either bitter, sad, in love, sick or pregnant.
AF : Not a word of it is true and to be exposed to lies week after week is more than I can handle.
What about ABBA, Björn Ulvaeus has said in English tabloids that he wants the group to reunite.
AF : Has he really said that? Well, you know, English tabloids...
AF : But seriously, that can't happen. We don't have much in common and we rarely see each other, the guys have "Chess" and Frida and I have our own lives. Since we have children together, I meet Björn the most, sometimes I run into Benny at the office. I never see Frida.
AF : I have no desire for ABBA again. Things are good enough the way they are now.
By Mats Olsson