After six years of silence Anni-Frid Lyngstad sings again, on guitarist Jojje Wadenius album. The ABBA-singer tells Dagens Nyheter's reporter Georg Cederskog about new recording plans and wheter she will record together with Agnetha Fältskog again.
It's twentynine years ago since ABBA released an album, fourteen years since her soloalbum "Djupa Andetag" and six years ago since she sang on a recording. But the voice is still there, shiny and straightforward.
- Frida has a clean, clear, very special, almost unique voice with sharp edges, a large range and a great sound to it. She sang alot in unison with Agnetha and had to reach higher to keep up with her soprano voice. It was there the "metallic" sound was born and that is, I believe, what created much of the ABBA sound, says Björn Ulvaeus when Dagens Nyheteter asks him to describe her vocal assets.
Anni-Frid Lyngstad's shiny mezzo soprano has mellowed, naturally, but it hasn't lost its force,. She opens Jojje Wadenius' new album "Reconnection" with an exceptionally sparkling take on "Morning Has Broken". It takes a real pop queen - her formal name nowadays is Anni-Frid Prinzessin Reuss Gräfin von Plauen - to revive Cat Steven's old camp fire worn out old camp fire song.
- This project started with me being good friends with Jojje, I have known his wife Britt since the 70's, she is one of my absolute closest friends, Lyngstad explains when Dagens Nyheter reaches her in her home in Zermatt, Switzerland.
- We have talked about doing something together for a long time and this sort of thing when I don't have to carry the whole project as a singer felt as the right thing to do.
She praises the musical result. Apart from Wadenius' characteristic guitarplaying "Reconnection" has room for guest vocals from Helen Sjöholm, Nicolai Dunger, Peter Jöback, two songs by Kleerup and on top of that Nina Persson (The Cardigans) blows new life in Dire Straits' hymn like song "Brothers in Arms".
Anni-Frid Lyngstad's decision to participate didn't come without hesitation. The decisions was taken after an active pep talk:
- Brit came and visited me here. We sat together in the evening and had been drinking a little wine and I played an album by Stills, Nash & Young, I started singing along a little and she said: "But you can't just quit! Your voice sings to the angels, you have to go on" (big laugh)! So she inspired me to dare to take the step. You always need to hear that you are good enough.
The choice of song was, on the other hand, an easy one. Not just because she always has like Cat Stevens.
- When I and my husband Russo, who passed away ten years ago, got married we had "Morning Has Broken" as our wish song in the church. So it's a very nice memory for me than just a Cat Stevens song.
ABBA may be chapter that closed long ago in Anni-Frid Lyngstad's life. It's twentysix years ago since she moved to Switzerland. But she "still lives with the music".
- My musical appetite is big, but I don't listen very much to Lady GaGa and that kind of music. I love soul and r&b and now at the moment I listen alot to Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, they belong to my absolute favourites just like Chicago - and TLC, they are phenomenally good.
Are there any other musicians you dream of working with?
- I don't dream like that anymore, but I have many international music friends and naturally you talk about it sometimes. Mick Hucknall (singer in the British soul band Simply Red) is a close friend and we have sometimes joked about doing something jazzy together.
The fans can stop hoping for any more live performances from the singer.
- No, I don't do that anymore. It would be way to stressfull. It's like with every job, if you haven't done it in a long time you lose your routine and that creates stagefright - and that's something I definitively don't want to have to deal with (laugh). So I'd rather not do it.
How would you describe your voice today? How has it evolved?
- What happens, of course, is that your voice becomes lower and the range isn't as big as it used to be when I was younger, but that is something that happens to every singer. But at the same time it might have gotten a new maturity that also can be attractive.
When asked which other singer's she wishes she had she immediately choses her ABBA colleague Agnetha Fältskog.
- It think it's like that for all singers, that you listen to each other there's always someone you think is exceptional. I can only say Agnetha's voice. Since I'm a mezzo soprano I could never sing the way she sings. My voice is much lower and that was why our voices supported each other so well. Our voice combination was very successfull, it's hard to find it anywhere else.
Have you ever talked about singing together again?
- We have talked and laughed about it, but life changes, you get older and there are so many other things that become important and takes up your time. But of course, it would be great to do something with Agnetha. But I think it would be very hard, it would have to be under so incredibly pretentious context with all the expectations and demands and all the pressure. There is such an overwhelming expectation so we could never do anything casual, that's why I don't think it will ever happen.
She is aware that there have been long breaks between her public singing appearances. But that doesn't necessarily mean that she lacks the will or desire to sing.
- There's always a little light burning inside you, something that makes you want to do more. Jojje and I have discussed further after this recording, so you never know.
The title of the Wadenius album "Reconnections" is something that appeals to her and her relationship with music.
- What one does at our age is that you go back to the music that you have loved for all these years and you might want to make it your own way. It's in terms like that we have discussed to do something more. But we will have to wait and see, no decisions have been made yet, but it sounds like something that could come naturally.
How do you feel about the ABBA-fever that has been around for years now. Your albums have been praised by your former critics and new generations of listeners keep finding your music.
- When everything falls into place - like it did in our music, even though we weren''t totally aware of it at the time - then a force and an energy is created that can't go away, it lives on in many ways. It's a quality that is difficult to pinpoint and it's hard to recreate. Sometimes that music will have a rest for a while, but then something happens again, like the project with the ABBA-musical and the movie, which I love, and then the music is back again and finds a new generation. Music become a legacy. I have a strong feeling that will always be the way with ABBA's music.