This article comes from Christian magazine "Svenska Journalen" issue 42, 1978. A little different interview with Frida at that time.
She describes herself as a stubborn person.
- But, she adds, I have always been very insecure. Until the success with ABBA came along. I was always on a chase to find myself, and for security.
- Today I think I have found myself, that I know who I am. And I have learned to like myself. It gives a great feeling of security. What is even better is to have that security in yourself. Not having to have that feeling depending on someone else.
We have set up a meeting at the Polar Music-building. The magnificent house on Östermalm in Stockholm where the whole ABBA-empire is run. With everything that includes. An empire that has grown enormously, and today has more [financial] interests than the vocal group ABBA. And she came. Not to talk about make up, eating habits or other insignificant things. She made sure of that before the interview. She says:
- I'm very careful to sort out the insignificants things. I don't want to spend my energy on things like that.
After all, that's not what being a world famous celebrity is about when it comes to Anni-Frid Lyngstad - or Frida as most people call her. To be one of the four reasons of the world success of ABBA means a lot of work, constantly being prepared to sell your product, to develop and always feel like new.
- But I love my job, Frida says. It's hard work, maybe harder than a lot of other jobs. Still, I feel very privileged to be able to do what I enjoy most. Everything I ever dreamed has come true.
SINGING WAS INEVITABLE
Frida had dreams early on.
- Dreams isn't the right word, she corrects me. There never really was any doubt about what I was going to do. It was inevitable from the beginning. Singing was a necessity. When I was seven years old I knew that I was going to be a singer.
And she started early. She became a dance band singer when she was 12. Went to school during the weeks and sang on the weekends.
- I was three years too young, Frida admits. You had to be 15 to do what I was doing. But I don't think anyone ever asked me how old I was, and I probably looked 15.
- A year later I got an offer from Sörmland's Big Band in Eskilstuna, which is where I'm from, to sing with them. And I did for a while, until they disbanded due to lack of engagements. After that some of the guys and I started a smaller group. We sang mostly in restaurants and did so for ten years. I also met my ex-husband there. We got married and I had my first kid when I was awfully young, just 17.
- The ten years with the dance band might have been educational, but they were tideous. What could I do? I had the urge to sing, to perform in front of an audience. And besides, we had to make a living.
THE CHILDREN - MOST IMPORTANT TO ME
In 1967 it happend, what turned Anni-Frid into Frida. She had applied to participate in the talent contest "Nya Ansikten" ("New Faces"). She made it to the finals, won and ended up on the TV-show "Hylands Hörna" the same night. The merry-go-round was spinning. It has been spinning ever since.
Lots of new experiences was waiting for her. Frida toured alone, with Lasse Lönndahl, with Charlie Norman... And then she met Benny. Benny Andersson, one of the Bs in ABBA.
- I had separated from my husband in 1968. I thought I needed to be on my own for a while. I had gotten married and had children so early in life. Now I wanted to live alone, sort out my feelings and find myself.
That didn't happen. Frida met and Benny and:
- We had this instant connection, we simply liked each other a lot.
And today Frida and Benny and Frida's two children, who are 12 and 16 years old, live together in a house on Lidingö. And Frida says:
- I'm so happy about Benny and the children. They are what's most important to me. For a long while I was suffering from not seing my children often enough. But I have realised that I see my children as often as most full time working mothers do. The kids don't like that I work, but they have accepted ABBA and that this is how it has to be for some years.
- Nowadays we have a girl who helps us at home, so there's always someone there when the kids come home from school. It's working incredible well, because it's someone who we all like a lot.
THE FIRST SUCCESS WAS FANTASTIC
Frida and Benny became an item. Benny and Björn Ulvaeus already knew each other. Agnetha Fältskog entered the picture so it was just natural to do something together.
- But, says Frida, all we had here in Sweden was Svensktoppen, Kvällstoppen and the folk parks. And we wanted to try something new. Find a new way. So we decided to go for the English speaking market.
- The really early successes were fantastic. Something we will never forget, that spontaneous feeling of joy.
DIFFICULT TO SUDDENLY GET A FATHER
During her 32 year long life Frida has experienced more success than she ever could have dreamed of. Most of what she has tried has worked, and she is very aware of that. She feels privileged in many ways. But the story of Anni-Frid didn't start as a success. She was a Norwegian war child. Her mother died early, she grew up with her grandmother. And everyone thought her father, who was a German soldier, had died during the war. Until a year ago.
- A German pop music magazine, called Bravo which writes alot about ABBA, published our biographies. Someone, who thought the story was familiar, contacted dad and he contacted me. We met, the press wrote a lot about it, and, of course, we were happy!
- But it isn't easy to, in the middle of your grown up life, discover that you have a father. I have lived without him for so long and believed that he was dead. But now we are staying in close contact and I like him. Maybe not so much because he is my father, rather because he is a nice gentleman. Noone can force us to have any feelings. It's something that has to develop over time.
Frida and Benny - they are half of ABBA. One half of this million industry. What does it mean to live with ABBA in your private life?
- That is completely wrong, Frida corrects me. I don't live with ABBA at all in my private life. ABBA is our job, but when we are at home we relax. Just like everyone else. When we're in the middle of a production there can be a lot of shop talk at home of course. We listen to backgrounds etc. We do so much ourselves on our records. Writing, arranging, backing vocals...
- But at home I'm Frida - not a member of ABBA. I don't believe that my friends see me that way either. There's another part of life where you learn to sort out people who only want to be friends with you beacuse you are a member of ABBA.
- We in ABBA don't socialise that much either. We are all very different people. We enjoy working together, but we need to get a break from each other after work.
Different kind of people, what does that mean to ABBA?
- Compromises, Frida answers. I, myself, prefer to work on stage with an audience. I'm a bit of an exhibitionist. But since there are others in the group who wants to ration our stage appearances we need to compromise.
- In the beginning it was hard to be one of four. But not anymore. It has been educational in many ways. You learn about tolerance and consideration and to respect each other. What I personally feel I have to give up now, with ABBA, is something I can make up for later on in life. ABBA will not last forever. By the way, I'm quite surprised we have lasted five years...
- We don't have any plans to quit, but it's something we have to be prepared for.
A STUBBORN PERSON
She describes herself as a stubborn person. That means, she knows what she wants and she is willing to work for it. For example her singing and her dancing. She wants to dance and she wants to sing. So, of course, she takes singing and dancing lessons three times a week.
- Singing and dancing is the best way I know to relax, but it's also very usefull for my job. It keeps me fit. It has always been a dream for me to dance, and now I think I'm becoming reasonably good at it. And in singing class I have started singing opera.
- I really love my artistic life and I hope I can do it forever. Not as a pop star perhaps, but in some form.
- But it's nothing I'm in a hurry about. I believe that experiences leads to development. When it's time to do something different there will also be an opportunity to do so.
ALL KIND OF GROUPS ARE NEEDED
Frida is one those warm, spontaneous kind of people so it's hard to place her in the plastic, glittering and artifical world which ABBA is associated with. The groups is also often accused of being to commercial.
- But, says Frida, those criticising us for being too commercial just don't know any better. They don't know how much work there is behind an album or a tour. They don't know that we rehearse for six months before going on tour or that it takes about a week per song when we record an album. The reasons for us being popular has nothing to do with us being commercial. I think there are other reasons. We know now, after so many years in the business, what's popular. We have developed a feeling for what is contemporary. And about all the glitter and glamour surrounding the group, I think it's important that all kinds of groups are given a place on stage. Jeans groups and groups like ABBA.
- By the way, I really like most of the music we make. There are a couple of things that really isn't in my musical taste, but I won't tell what it is. I have the highest respect for Björn and Benny as song writers. Noone could do it better than them. Their imagination and their strength in writing and producing ABBA's music.
SPOILED WITH SUCCESS
Frida talked about the first successes, the joy of them. Has she become used to it, spoiled. She says:
- Of course you can get spoiled with success. The success in itself isn't as important as it was earlier. But still you go on working. Sometimes the motive for working is - working. That's what keep ABBA going and ABBA is employing 40 people right now.
The group are recording a new album right now. It will be out next Christmas. Half of the songs are not finished yet, but Frida says anyway:
- That album will be good. The songs, the once that are finished, are way to good not to sell. But you never know. It's always a little nervous to get the audience's reactions to something new. But I believe in this LP.
So, hopefully, another success. And Frida lives for success. Both psychologically and materially. She feels very privileged.
- I have received so much through ABBA. So many experiences, I've gotten the chance to travel to have international contacts.
- And I was very insecure before ABBA became successfull. Very unsure of who I was. Thanks to ABBA I have found myself and learned to like myself. It gives me a nice feeling of security, something I was searching for for many years. What is even better is to have that security in yourself. Not having to have that feeling depending on someone else. The success has simply given me the selfconfidence to be who I am. The goal with ABBA is no longer to be successfull. Frida says:
- The personal goal for me now, what inspires me to keep on working is my personal development. It's important to continue to develop. To be prepared for new phases in your artistic life.
Frida and the other members of ABBA have a busy fall and winter ahead of them. First the new album. Later on work abroad in London, Paris, Los Angeles and Tokyo. All of them is about appearing on TV-shows. And to keep in touch with their audiences. Because without audience there is no ABBA.
Before we say goodbye, Frida is on her way to her singing coach to practise opera, she says:
- You work for a Christian magazine, are you a Christian yourself?
- One of my best friends is a member of the Pentacostal Movement. She says that I probably will be saved one day. And I don't think that's impossible, I know that. I'm an open person, so why shouldn't it happen to me?