The Swedish singer was behind ‘Euphoria’, one of the biggest Eurovision songs of the 21st century.
Loreen triumphed with the title in 2012. The song went to the top of the charts across Europe and peaked at number 3 in the UK, the highest chart position for a non-British Eurovision entry since 1987.
This year Loreen will be represented Sweden again with the equally catchy and predictably euphoric ballad “Tattoo”.
With its powerful vocals and rousing melody, the title has a good chance of achieving the same success as its predecessor.
At the start of the competition, Loreen is the bookies’ clear favorite to win. You can The current winning odds can be found here.
The Stockholm-born singer – real name Lorine Zineb Nora Talhaoui – rose to fame after placing fourth in the Sweden competition idol singing competition in 2004. The following year she released her first single “The Snake”.
Before Loreen’s appearance in Liverpool This week we spoke to the musician about returning to competition, finding nature and writing love songs.
Hello Loreen! It’s so exciting to see you back at the Eurovision Song Contest – how did the rehearsals go?
It’s going well, but it’s definitely intense, haha. It’s a very physical performance. To do this properly, you must be in harmony with your mind, body and spirit. It requires discipline and a lot of hard work. You have to be strong both physically and mentally and have a lot of focus… Everything has to be pure and for that I have to be focused. You cannot divide your energies everywhere. So my days are filled with lots of training, lots of eating, lots of communication and lots of sleeping. There’s no scope for anything else, but I love it.
They won the competition in 2012. Did you expect this experience to be so transformative?
It changed my whole life and also taught me a lot about intuition. Before Euphoria I was struggling, compromising and doing things I shouldn’t do… Euphoria was the first time I decided to do what I wanted to do. And yes, I was scared and worried that it might not even work, but I had to rely on my gut and intuition. And my intuition told me that the performance had to look like it was. I don’t know why, but my intuition told me that this song had to have that siren at the beginning. My intuition also told me that I had to be barefoot, that it should snow and that you shouldn’t be able to see anything on stage. People said, “This will never work.” But it happened.
“Euphoria” pushed the boundaries of what Eurovision music could achieve in terms of post-competition international success. In recent years we have seen Maäneskin become well known around the world as well. Why is the rest of the world catching up with the Eurovision Song Contest now?
I think that’s because this community stands for certain things and has certain values that the majority of people agree with. This is a space where you are accepted and your differences are valued, which is very special. All of us who belong to this community and those who support the community, we all rally around creativity too. That’s one thing, diversity is another. I think that’s why it’s such a big deal. Everyone is in!
What made you decide to return to competition in 2023?
I never thought that Eurovision would be my path again. But when the song was sent to me, just the embryo, the demo, I immediately had an intuitive feeling that I would do something with this song. The whole reason I’m doing this again is because I really, deeply believe that I have something to give. So for me it’s not about success, it’s about communication. We are all creators with a purpose. We all have creativity within us and we are meant to send it out. And now here I am at the Eurovision Song Contest feeling happier than ever which is crazy because I never thought I would be here again.
Where did your inspiration for this song come from?
I’m in love with tattoos. I just feel like it has a nice purpose. This song creates a certain energy movement that resonates with people. It’s beautiful and I get to be a part of it. The process of making a “tattoo” was pretty simple. It’s funny because when you’re in the right place, it’s easy. I’ve worked with the songwriters many times…so they know that when they want something really good to happen, they just sit back and relax and allow it all to happen. So I went into the studio and the relationship between me and the song grew even stronger. It just flowed. An hour or two later it was done. And it’s pretty magical. You know, if you don’t let the mind interrupt, you just sing and all of a sudden you see images and everything. It’s pretty amazing.
“Tattoo” is a song about eternal, overwhelming love. What love songs have you turned to during emotional times?
There are many of them, but the first that comes to mind is Björk’s “All is Full of Love”. It’s a beautiful song that says all love is what the truth is! So when I really want to connect deeply with this loving feeling for everything, I reach for this song. It’s a very intelligent song.
This year’s final will take place in Liverpool. What local culture would you like to explore?
I’m a nature person and therefore always curious about what the landscape looks like. The question is if I have time for that, but at least I’m dying to see the Liverpool countryside.
You enter the competition as the bookmakers’ favourite. How tuned in to Eurovision gossip are you? How do you deal with this pressure?
I see this space as a safe haven for creators to fully create and express their true selves. The competition is a play – a beautiful play because it involves people – so I honestly don’t want to discount that. This is an important part because we stand up for those we love. My pressure, or what I call my discipline, is to serve creativity and create something that I hope is authentic to you. And I love that.
How can Eurovision 2023 personally top the ‘euphoria’ you felt at the 2012 final?
The difference between then and now is that I’m more present now. It’s like I’m more one with the people than ever, you know? It’s like I can feel everything in the room and it’s a beautiful feeling. I am also very aware of the love I feel in my body and that I send out! When I did it in 2012 everything was new but I had a lot of love but didn’t know how to navigate it. Now I know exactly what I’m doing when I’m sending it out and also receiving and absorbing it.
Liverpool are hosting Ukraine this year, who are unable to host due to the war with Russia. Therefore, the Eurovision 2023 is of particular importance. Have you and your competitors talked about it or are you feeling behind the scenes?
I didn’t talk about supporting Ukraine with my colleagues, but I thought about it myself. It’s a beautiful thing we do, it says something about all of us. We find ways to support Ukraine through this community and through creativity. If you ask me, they do it beautifully by doing what they do best – warm, inclusive and welcoming. Which I think they’ve done extremely well so far.
Which performances are you looking forward to the most? Who have been your favorite Eurovision Song Contest entries over the years?
All of them! I’ll keep my fingers crossed for everyone and hope they too can enjoy this experience while it lasts. But I really like Blanca Paloma from Spain, Alessandra from Norway and Käärijä from Finland. One of my favorite songs from the Eurovision Song Contest is “Arcade” by Duncan Laurence
If you win at Liverpool will you celebrate with a Eurovision tattoo?
Believe me, a win won’t stop me from getting a tattoo – I’ve already covered my body, so why stop now?