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01 June 2005
The reluctant pop star
Source : Dagsavisen
- I never get fully comfortable with being a pop star, says Lene Marlin (24). This time she sneaked away from all the noise, and made a record in secrecy.

On June 13 comes Lene Marlin's third album, 'Lost In A Moment'. After two million sold albums, Norway's greatest pop star made a new album in hiding, to get away from the pressure of expectations that was weighing her down during the work on the previous album, 'Another Day' (2003).

- This came abruptly on quite many. However, it was totally right to do it in this way. I don't regret it for a second, says Lene Marlin.

One day in January, she popped up at the office of record company manager Per Eirik Johansen, with a finished album, recorded during the autumn at the Trondheim studio Stargate.

- He was overjoyed. Nobody had expected a new album from me in 2005, they had perhaps hoped for one in 2006. It was good to be able to surprise them a little, says Marlin.

More rock

'Lost In A Moment' contains 11 new songs, many of them with a more rock type mark than the gentle 'Another Day'.

The single 'How Would It Be' is already out, the album is coming to record stores in Norway and several Asian countries on June 13. Then follows Sweden, Italy, France and Germany throughout the summer, and in September the record will be launched in Great Britain. Marlin herself is not fully updated:

- If you're wondering what is happening with the record launch internationally, you're asking the wrong person. Since the album came so surprisingly, I'm not sure what is planned. It changes from day to day. However, I'm excited about how it will turn out, says Marlin.

Throughout June, she will be promoting the record in both Italy, Switzerland, and France, and in July she will be plaing for international record industry leaders in Brussels. Lene Marlin has become one of Norwegian music's strongest international cards.

However, following her breakthrough as a 17-year-old, with 'Playing My Game' (1999), the pressure became too much for her. She withdrew from the public for closer to three years before she released album number two, 'Another Day', in 2003. And now she has made an album almost on the fly.

- Do you feel more comfortable with the position as Norway's greatest pop star?

- No! No! Lene Marlin is laughing, frightened.

- Pop star is such a weird word! But you got to try to get used to it. I don't know whether I'll be fully comfortable with it, ever. However, I'm comfortable with what I'm doing, and very satisfied with how this album came to be. It was done because I wanted it myself, not because others expected something from me. It was liberating, says Marlin.

- It was such a hustle and bustle with the previous album: The first day I was to do promotion for 'Another Day', there were 25 journalists and photographers lined up ready to take my picture while I was walking in the door at the record company. Then it's not that easy to be releasing an album as you wish it was. It gets to be so serious. I wanted to get away from that this time around, says Marlin.

Kept secret

In September 2004, she was in Trondheim, and was in touch with producer Tor Erik Hermansen at the studio Stargate, who had previously been working with international pop stars like Cher and Mariah Carey.

- I know Tor Erik Hermansen from social encounters, and was just thinking I should come and take a look at their studio. Then they had a little free time in the studio, and we just started to record the same day. Nobody had any expectations about what it would turn out to be, but we had so much fun in the studio, and the songs came so easily, and so it just went by, until we realized that 'OK, fine, this will be a record', Marlin tells us.

- It wasn't the intention that it should be going on in secrecy either, but then it was so comfortable working under such conditions, that we decided on keeping silent about it as long as possible. And this we managed to do, incredibly enough, she smiles.

Even though Marlin felt free, and had fun in the studio, the result is not exactly a fun-filled album.

- It's not a typical vorspiel record, no, says Lene Marlin.

- However, you don't get to be sad from it either? Those who've heard the record, says it's more positive than the last album, people think it's more upbeat. But not so upbeat, then. When I'm very happy, I don't get to write songs easily, says Marlin.

Several of the lyrics on the album deal with break-up and regret - songs like 'Hope You're Happy', 'When You Were Around', and 'Leave My Mind'. It could seem it's been written to an ex-boyfriend, Dagsavisen suggests, and is welcomed with laughter.

- He he he. No no. I never say what or whom my songs are about. I'm writing both about myself and my own experiences, and I'm writing stories from other people's lives. What is what, nobody gets to know. It's too private, says Marlin.

- I do want people to be putting their own experiences into the songs. It can be a downtrip getting to know what a song really is about. When I'm listening to music myself, I don't want to know who the songwriter has written the song to, or what the thing was. I want to connect the song with my life, says Marlin.

- However, it's fun to see which lyrics people think is about me, and which ones they think is about others. Usually, other's interpretations are totally wrong, she chuckles.

Tour fiasco

She says that she has several songs lying around from the 'Another Day' recordings, that never got to be used, and that she all the time finds notebooks containing lyrics she had forgotten she had written.

- Writing block I don't have. I love writing songs. I will be a songwriter much longer than I will be an artist. However, there is something special about being able to meet the audience with your own songs.

Before Christmas, Marlin did her first concerts ever on the tour with Morten Abel and Bertine Zetlitz. However, failing ticket sales made the tour into an economical fiasco for the booking company Megafon, who got laid down after the tour.

- I cannot take the blame for that, Marlin comments.

- I had it totally fantastic on the tour. It was two of the best weeks in my life. I went into the project just because I wanted to be playing, and it felt right. Ahead, I have no concrete touring plans, says Lene Marlin.

Translated by Tef Johs


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