On 18 December 2004, to everyone's surprise, Agnetha agreed to give an interview to TV4's anchorman Lasse Bengtsson. I personally think that this interview was a way for Agnetha to, once again, change the public image of her. Brita Åhman, her co-author of her book "Som Jag Är" ("As I Am") 1996 has said that she will sell her working material to a TV-production company. By giving this interview things that might turn up from Brita's material will seem more untrue. Anyway, here's the transcript of the interview.
(Playing part of "Om tårar vore guld")
- Well, Agnetha, as I was driving the other day and listened to this song and your other old songs. Hi by the way.
- Hi Lasse!
- Then I thought, what good songs you wrote.
- Yes, I did.
- Where are they nowadays?
- Somewhere in here, inside me and up here. (Points to her head)
- But you don't compose anything nowadays?
- No, I don't compose much these days.
- Why not?
- It's as if I got it all out of me during that time. I was very
productive then, with my own music and lyrics. So there was a lot to
get inspiration from then.
- But they're all so sad. Why are they so sad?
- Well, I don't know. Later on somebody else wrote the lyrics. I became too self critical.
- Oh, you did?
- Yes, I was very critical.
- Have you always been critical of yourself?
- Yes, I have. Very much. Especially when it comes to my lyrics I think.
There are very many that I'm not so fond of, lyrics that I think are
- But then last spring you released your first album in a long time.
(Playing a snippet from the video of "If I Thought You'd Ever Change Your Mind")
- What do you think of this one when you
hear it now?
- It's good.
- How did you reason when you chose to make a come back with an album?
- Well, it was quite a long process, it took two, three, four years from
me getting the idea until we began recording. I felt that I didn't
think I was all done yet, that I had to make some more music and record
another album. I'm very fond of these 60's songs and it was a lot of
fun, it was a nostalgic trip for me. And old songs that I had forgotten
came back to me. These songs had made such an impression on me, it was
like taking them out again. And of course you remember things that took
place around that period in your life.
- What is it that makes a song make an impression on you?
- I think that these songs, they came along when I was in my teens and
that is a very sensitive period when you're very open to impressions of
- What were you like as a teenager?
- Well, I think I was like most teens. There were guys, there were dreams
and by then I already worked a lot. I began to sing and tour with a dance
orchestra as a 15 year old.
(Playing part of "Utan dig")
- Do you remember that time, what dreams and thoughts did you have about
music then? What were your goals with your music in those days?
- In those days I probably just wanted to perform because I felt I had a
voice and it was fun to see that people liked dancing to our music. But
my ambition later was to eventually get to make a record, to become a
singer, it was my dream.
- Why did you want that?
- Well, it was probably in connection with feeling that I had a voice,
many others told me that. And then I knew how to compose and write
songs and even lyrics sometimes, so I felt that this was probably the job for me.
- But you weren't shy in those days, were you?
- I was very shy.
- You were?
- Yes, I still am today. It's probably a lot because of that I feel a bit
anxious about doing an interview like this. It's not exactly at the top of my
- Yeah, I've figured that out.
- Yes, exactly.
- But still you do it?
- Yes, still I do it. Because I don't want to seem strange when
I have something new to present, then I also want to talk about it.
It's when you get too close to my private life that it starts getting
- But what was it like to break this isolation, you could say, or that
you had retired and then step back into the limelight again. How did
you think that was?
- I was a bit concerned in a way since it had been so many years so I
didn't know if my voice would still be there, and it was difficult with
my voice at the beginning and it's easy to build up a fear of the
microphone as well, because you're so close to it when you sing that
every noise and every breath can be heard. So there's a certain
technique and a certain obstacle to overcome.
- And I guess it was demanded that you had to appear in public a bit in connection with this.
- No, there were never any demands. Instead I made it very clear by
saying that I can do this and this, and I want to do this and that but
I can't travel and appear on TV and work the same way I did in the
past, because it simply wears me out. It's too hard for me. And I
think everyone has understood that.
- So that is why you didn't give
a lot of public interviews and hold a press conference and so on?
- Yes. Because it easily gets too much and I can't handle it these days.
- What is it that wears you out, in what way does it wear you out?
- I don't know really. There are too many nerves in a way. It's anxiety
and I also want to present a good image of myself and so on. And then
it doesn't always work out that way. And then media is still in charge
of the image of myself and many times it can be rough since that
image isn't correct. And then I feel like "God, now I have to try to
correct it and show how I really am", and that's really hard.
- Do you think that you are treated badly by the media?
- Yes, I think so, now and then. And there has also been a lot of fact that has been incorrect and it gets exaggerated.
- Do you have an example?
- Well, what can I say. I've been through alot I think.
- What is the worst one?
- I don't really know which one is the worst. But one thing was when we
were on our way home, from England and I was travelling in a bus because
I didn't want to fly . Then we got into an
accident with the bus and the bus tipped over and I flew out through a
window and it became a big story in the papers. At the
time I was making a film with Gunnar Hellström, "Raskenstam", and it
said that I was pregnant and then they interviewed some doctor and they
wrote "Can an unborn child be injured if you're in an accident like this?". But
it was in the movie that I played a pregnant woman. But this was turned
into reality so people were made to believe I was pregnant in real
life. And it's incorrect stories like this which make people believe it
if they're time after time presented with an image of someone. It's
been written about me for example that I've locked myself in, isolated
myself out on Ekerö, but I haven't. Instead they've created this image
of me locking myself in since I'm not visible that often. But that is
not the way it is.
- But since you think you're misunderstood, how would you describe yourself?
- Well, it's very difficult for me to say, but I think I'm
very much the same person I've always been. Very down to earth. Of
course I also have my flaws, but I'm a very nice person. Down to earth.
Normal. Curious about life and I don't like stress. I try to keep it
very quiet around me, as good as I can. It's not so easy nowadays. But
I easily get stressed and I'm also a very anxious person.
- What worries you?
- Everything! No, not everything, but I easily get anxious
in various situations. I'm afraid that something may happen to someone
or something. I easily take things personally. I'm a huge animal lover.
It's difficult for me to look at pictures of animals and children being
mistreated, I can't deal with that emotionally.
- Well, Vilma (the reporter's dog who is relaxing on the floor) notices that you are a real animal lover.
- Yes, she's very calm as she lies there on
- She likes you. But this talk about Garbo, you don't like that either from what I understand.
- No, it's not something I have said, but once again it's something that
the media has created because, well, why they have, I don't know. But
it's probably a punishment because I don't show myself in public enough. And
then I usually say that I'm rather an original than a bad imitation.
- I wonder what happens when you agree to
an interview, because from what I've understood, it's not completely uncomplicated for you.
- Tell me what happens!
- Well, I've tried to be very consistent and I receive a lot of requests,
not only from Sweden but from abroad as well. And I think it's even
more uncomfortable to give an interview in English and not have a good
command of the language. But that is my own fault.
- Do you feel that the English language is a problem?
- Yes, it really is. My tongue really gets tied then. So I rather
decline. And what happens is if I accept doing an interview during the
years that have passed, then immediately 9-10 others want me too.
- What is an average day in your life like?
- Well, these days it's pretty calm. I enjoy being outdoors, going for a
lot of walks and I try to spend a lot of time with my children, I also
have a grandchild and it's an incredible experience.
- She will soon be four years old. So it's an incredible joy. Really. Then I read a bit and watch TV.
- What do you read?
- I don't read as many books as I used to, but I read newspapers and I
like watching news programs and stuff you can learn something from.
- Do you watch movies and what kind of music do you listen to?
- I don't watch TV very much, but once in a while I enjoy going to the
movies. It's very, very rare that I go to the movies. It's been
quite a while since last time actually.
- Have you seen a movie you remember and
that you liked?
- No, but there are many that I would like to see, but I'm a bit behind.
- For example?
- For example "Moulin Rouge" with Nicole Kidman, I would like to see that one, I still haven't.
- But what happens, do you ever go in to Stockholm,
can you walk around freely I wonder. Do you walk around among other people?
- Oh yes, I do. Absolutely. But of course
I have to be observant sometimes.
- What happens when you appear in public?
- Not that much really. I notice that people react and recognize me but
often it's very calm. Sometimes someone approaches me if I'm in a
restaurant to ask for an autograph. But there are no problems. There's
- But do you think it's uncomfortable to be out in public in a big city for example?
- No, not really. But it's nothing I long for either, but it can be
fun to go shopping sometimes and meet some people. And I also do that.
But like I said earlier, I think it's nice when it's quiet and I think
there's too much noise (in the city).
- Are you sensitive to sounds?
- Yes, I'm very sensitive. Especially if there's a lot of noise at the same time. Then I get incredibly stressed.
- Where does that come from? Has it always been like that?
- No, it's something that's been happening more and more. I can listen to
music at quite a high volume, but I can't deal with a lot of sounds
mixing together. I'm very sensitive towards that.
- What do animals mean to you?
- Animals? Animals mean a lot. They mean calmness and harmony and nice to be with.
- Do you have a special relation with animals? Can you talk with them?
- Yes, in a way I think I can. You have some kind of understanding for
each other, because I live with a lot of horses in my surroundings.
- Can you hear what they say?
- Well, that would be saying too much. I probably shouldn't say I can speak with horses too because then there may be problems.
- But almost?
- But almost, yes. And if I'm in a certain kind of mood, it can be nice to go and talk a little with the horses.
- I wonder, making friends for Agnetha Fältskog
and creating new contacts, new friends, is that difficult?
- Difficult? That's a tough question. It might be. You never really know
what people think about you and maybe they have preconceived notions
about you. I don't really have a great need for having a large, large
group of friends, instead I'm probably a bit of a loner in a way. I
actually use to compare myself with the bull Ferdinand sometimes, who
sits under the oak tree. So it's probably a bit like that.
- Are you subjected now to strange people? We've read in the papers that it has happened to you.
- Well, that's also an unpleasant aspect of this occupation and this fame,
that you have to put up with a lot, not only I, I know I share this
problem with many different categories of work. So I receive very many
letters and strange things from people who are a bit unwell.
- From all around the world?
- Yes. You have to screen them, you can't take it personally. Not all
letters I receive are nice. But it's important to not take it
personally, but that you understand that this is a person who is not well.
- This man who stalked you, are you still subjected to him?
- I don't know if I can talk too much about that, I don't think I will. I can't due to security reasons.
- Is this something that's bothering you?
- Yes, it is. But it's like this, if you've been around for this long,
then you get quite hardened in various situations, so you can take very
much, you have to take a lot too. And it feels very unfair sometimes,
that there's so much that comes along with success.
- Have your children been affected?
- No, I think that things have gone well. But of course, they've been
small once, it was a bit rough for them then, it was for all of us since we
became a divorced family. They were very young, they were only 5 and
1 year old. But that was a long time ago.
- But when you look back in the rearview mirror, do you think that you
should have done things in another way? That you shouldn't have
withdrawn as much? Do you know what I mean? To not have this hysteria
that's surrounding Agnetha Fältskog after all. That it's such a big
thing that you're not visible very often.
- Well, at least it's not something that I have created deliberately or
calculated, that I would have made myself very mysterious, instead it's
an image which has been created due to, as you say, me not being very
visible. But it's because it's actually not my thing to sit like this
and talk. But then, the older you get, the more you let go/give of
yourself in a way.
- In what way do you mean?
- Well, you may be able to talk about things that you couldn't before.
Because it feels as if you also must be able to share your experiences
in life. That maybe you can show that I'm really not as mysterious or
strange, but I'm a completely normal person.
- Are we supposed to interpret this as some kind of return of a more public Agnetha?
- No, things aren't that well.
- How do you explain the phenomenon ABBA
today? What do you think of the phenomenon ABBA?
- It has meant incredibly much to us all of course. And there I also feel
an enormous gratitude for having been a part of it because things only
went like this (very high). And there was incredibly much
work during the 10-12 years that we kept going. And it went very fast,
so if I could have slowed it down a bit and continued for 5 more years,
I would rather have done it that way.
- To take things a bit slower and stretched it out a bit longer?
- Yes, exactly.
- Was it that everything became too intense?
- Yes, it was very intense.
- What do you think was most difficult?
- It was the travelling.
- Because you were afraid of flying.
- Are you still?
- Yes, I'm still very afraid of flying. It is also something you've read
a lot in the press, that I'm afraid of flying. And it's this inherent
fear that I have, which I told you about earlier, that a catastrophe
will happen or something like that. That's what I feel. It's not that I
don't have the ability to understand how safe it is flying, but it's
the insecurity within myself when I finally sit there. That there's
nothing I can do about it. And maybe it's because I'm a bit of a
- You are, you want to be in control of things?
- Yes. And it's difficult to let go of it. But I think that I'm in some
way trying to learn to become a little bit different. Maybe I will fly
one fine day, you never know.
- When did you fly last?
- It was probably 15 years ago, I think.
- Yes. Maybe 10.
- So you never travel abroad?
- No. But you can also travel by car.
- But what was the most fun thing about ABBA? Which is your single
greatest memory? Because it wasn't just hard work, there was joy as
- There was lots of joy. We all shared the heavy tension before going
onto stage, and there were lots of nerves involved. It felt good that
all four of us were sharing this, helping to bear the burden. And if
one of us felt a bit ill the other one was pushing and doing more on
stage. Frida and I had different registers, and concerning singing we
helped each other, although we at the same time were competitors on
- There were sometimes talk of a differences and rivalry between you and Frida. Was that right?
- No, that's another media thing. Most of the time we were very much
in agreement. But, being different personalities, of course it happened
that we got annoyed with each others qualities. And we were
- Is there a particular moment, Agnetha,
with ABBA that you feel like "this was really fun"?
- Yes, then I'll probably have to say that it was when we won with "Waterloo". It was really incredible.
- But you don't miss getting that kick today?
- No, I don't.
- That was a definite answer.
- Yes. No, I don't. But it's really nice to look back upon
it and sometimes I can't really comprehend it. It feels like another
life, in a way a different part of my life and it really is.
- But explain, what was the reason for ABBA breaking up?
- It was because we didn't think it was as fun anymore. I know that we
were recording an LP then. It didn't feel like it had in the past,
instead it was quite tough. And we were divorced, both couples,
so it wasn't the same thing, but we continued even after our divorces.
- But it wasn't as good after the divorces you mean?
- No, it wasn't.
- What is the best song that ABBA made?
- The best song? I think "The Winner Takes
- It is so complete, it has a good flow, from beginning to
end. And then I think the song is very good. I think the lyrics are
- It has quite a tough message.
- Yes, it does. But I like to sing about that.
- You do?
- Yes, I like to interpret lyrics like that.
- But, I understand, you thought ABBA were better in the recording studio than on
that's right. But that is, once again, the self criticism. I don't like to see
us perform on stage. I think it's much more fun to hear us than to see us.
- Do you
keep in touch with the others nowadays?
- Yes, we
do, a little. But we don't socialize.
- With Björn?
- Yes, of
course since he's the father of my children.
often do you see each other?
- Us in
the group you mean?
- Well, I
don't know, I don't really keep track of it. But it happens every now
and then since we have a little grandchild.
money... Do you still make money from ABBA?
- Yes, I
- A lot
enough for me to live on. Of course.
- Even if
it's Björn and Benny who makes the big money as songwriters of course, but there
is a steady income for the rest of you?
And we have also done other things. Frida has also made singles, what am I
saying, solo albums, and I have as well, so you make a little bit of money off
that as well.
does money mean to you?
such a sensitive issue. So it's almost as if I would like to say that I don't
want to talk about money, I don't want to talk about politics and I don't want
to talk about religion. So I'll say that.
- Why is
it so sensitive?
have to give such a good answer that people believe in what you say. Because
it's one thing to be in a position where you have money and another to be in a
position where you don't. So you have to position yourself on a good level with
the money so you don't, well, so it doesn't. what am I trying to say?
beginning to approach this subject anyway.
- Yes. But I'm glad that everything has gone so well. And then if I were
to say that the money doesn't matter, then everybody would realize that she is
lying because of course it does. I'd rather live a life where I can buy the
things I want instead of being a poor person. But you can be rich and poor in so
many different ways. It doesn't always have to be about money either. But you
can be rich because you have a rich life (a lot of experiences). And I'm
probably such a person. I think that I as a person am the same today as I was
when I was young. And I grew up under smaller living conditions with my mother
and father. I didn't have my own room when I was young. So I know what it feels
like growing up and not to be poor, but maybe not have what you want.
about the future? What will happen with Agnetha Fältskog in the future?
who knows? I don't know. Sometimes I feel that this was probably the last album
I made. But then I know how I can be, and can get a new idea. And I know that
there are many who think it would be great if I wrote my own songs again.
- Yes, I
think so too. Can't you do that?
- No, I can't promise anything. I'm not going to make any more promises.
book, "Som Jag Är", came out in 1996. The author of this book has now said that
she's considering auctioning material from your conversations and meetings that
haven't been published before. What do you think about that?
would be terrible if she did, but I currently don't know what's going on. But would be a terrible crime if she did, because when you work on a book together,
you tell things in confidence. And then the two of us really worked on this
book, having meaningful conversations about various subjects. And then I wanted
to be a part of the editing, so I deleted lots that I didn't think should be a part
of it. And that's probably what will come out now.
you been in touch with her regarding this?
- No, and
I don't want to either. My advisors will be. Unfortunately. That's how it
- Are you
a happy person nowadays?
aren't easy questions.
all shouldn't be easy.
I'm happy with a lot of things. That's how I can formulate myself. Is that
you're going to read something before the new year, something you have chosen
yourself. Tell me why you chose it.
- Well, I
found a little book, so I thought that since I won't be singing anything. I will
read something instead and then I found a poem by Dan Andersson. It's called
"Nyår" ("New Year"). This is how it goes.
different. We also had different lives because we had recently
separated. Björn and I separated during the years with ABBA and we even
continued afterwards. Then we had our small children who only were 5
and 1 year old, so the whole time I had a guilty conscience that they
were home. And it was quite tough and still having to do what we did.
But, we were not away all of the time. We were at home quite long
periods as well, to spend time with the children, which really made a
contrast situation - to go from the luxury hotel suites and the
fabulous touring life back home to the washing-up and the children.
Du nyår som susar med vingar av glänsande snö,
som blandar med glittrande solljus den bittraste vind
och tänder mer flammande rosor på jungfrulig kind
och kramar än hårdare bröstet på den som skall dö -
jag hälsar dig nyår med glänsande vingar av snö!
O giv att all världen till slut måtte bliva som då
när Herren ej ännu befallt någon gräns mellan vatten och land,
när ännu ej djurögat stirrat mot rymdernas blå
och ännu en svagling ej rivits av tass eller hand,
och kärleken ännu ej kommit att locka och slå -
O giv att all världen till slut måtte bliva som då!
will you spend Christmas?
going to relax. Spend time with those nearest and dearest to me and probably eat
some Christmas food.
Christmas, Agnetha, and thanks for agreeing to this interview.
same to you. Thanks for having me.