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26 June 2005
Marlin's hot Rome
Source : VG
A VG profile article: Earlier, they were traveling around with an uncertain teenage girl. Now the band bring with them a grown up Lene Marlin.

'You have autographed our hearts', it says on one hand-painted banner. The Romans love Lene Marlin. And Lene loves the Romans.

ROME: Outside, the fans are crying. Inside the car, Lene Marlin is laughing. It is too unreal. Even for her.

- Oyoyoy, is this possible?, she exclaims.

Lene does not know what she should say or think. She has written autographs for several hundred fans for a couple of hours. Let her picture be taken together with each and every one of them. A guy was lifting his football scarf from Tromsø IL. On a huge poster, somebody had painted 'You have autographed our hearts'.

- Oh, my God - this is insane! It is totally absurd...

Lene Marlin is in Rome. The unreality has caught up with her again. This is the same unreality that put her out of the game seven years ago.

Now she is taking it all in like a grateful child in her first larger birthday party.

- I cannot remember it being this wildly before, she later says.

Then again, there is a lot Lene doesn't remember from the breakthrough.

- Back then I didn't understand the scope of what this was. I became overwhelmed. Now I experience that many of these people have been living with me for many years, and I understand that they actually are here for me.

First evening in Italy, she is singing 'How Would It Be' (first single from the new album) twice at Festivalbar, a huge TV-broadcasted pop show.

Mel C from Spice Girls is hanging out with her musicians up there on the stairs, tubby and smirking. Coldplay have sent their cancellation. They have become too great. It's all about Lene Marlin.

- Let us take a gloss-session, she says to stylist Linda, ten minutes before she is to go on.

Lene wears sandals with half-high heels, black top with an open back, and her favourite jeans on.

- You looking good!, somebody reports.

- Poor audience! Many of them have been there long before the sound check, says Lene.

Immediately after, she is standing in front of them anew. She is waving. They are waving back.

- It was insanely cool! Did you see the Norwegian flags, or what?

- You are looking forward being more on stage?

- Yes, but it depends on how it is done. I need a bit of energy for going on stage. And to have that, I must combine music with a life outside of it.

Music is very important, but it is not the whole life. I don't want it to take over my life. This it did before.

- You are taking care to keep the excess energy?

- It is an advantage knowing where the boundaries are for yourself. However, I'm not walking about thinking that now I must not tire myself. But I am indeed afraid of losing the joy in music again, like I did with the first album. Therefore, it is more important taking it slowly, and be keeping the control. I get a lot out of doing it in periods - be working and taking it easy in intervals.

We are stopping on a gas station in the night. Taking a beer. Lene is drinking from the bottle.

- Travelling with Lene before and now is like two different worlds, says guitarist Bernt Rune Stray. He has been traveling with her since the beginning.

- At that time, she was a teenage girl with all the uncertainty. Now I'm traveling with a grown lady. It is incredible that she pulled through it in the way she did.

The following day, she is playing four songs live at a record store at Via del Corso, just by the spanish steps and Fontana di Trevi. The atmosphere is ecstatic. Boys and girls screaming and yelling.

- You get so much energy from this that you just don't know!, says Lene. She can't manage to stand still.

- To be a solo artist can be insanely lonely. This is why it's so cool having somebody to share it with - all the journeys up and down. When we're playing live, everybody has an incredible nerve that we share. I'm hoping we could be gone for a while, with the whole band. Perhaps fourteen days, she is telling us in the back room.

- I have been playing at home with putting together songs for a full concert, which ones we should have played, and the order of them.

A little roundtrip with music, food- and wine-tour in Italy would have been something!, she says.

When we knocked on her door just before 11 O'clock in the morning, she still hadn't been outside of the hotel room, but was hairdressed, made-up, styled, and ready. Two empty cups of coffee and an unmade bed bore witness of that there actually was somebody living in the room.

On the way to a radio station, manager Alistair got an SMS from the record company. In her first week, the album is in a fourth place on the VG chart - behind Coldplay, Foo Fighters and something he can't manage to pronounce: 'deLillos'?

- This is good, Alistair meant, and was telling elatedly about the single having gone quickly from top 150 to 120, 90, and 50 in Germany; her most difficult market.

'How Would It Be' is out in all of Europe. Over the summer it will be released in 11 countries in Asia. And thereafter in Argentina, Mexico, and Brazil.

- Not the USA?

- USA wants to, but I don't, Lene answered.

- Why not?

- It's a different thing going into the American market. You have to go for it over there for seven-eight months consecutively. I have never had any greater need for that. I have lost the joy in this once before, and I will not let it happen again. If the most important thing to me was to sell one million records, I would have been on the first plane to the USA. However, I want to have a good time and be enjoying it.

She is, still, talking more American than English on Italian radio.

- I have just met you for five minutes, and I'm already in love, says the radio lady, and asks:

- So Italian boys have a chance with you?

- He he...I don't know, Lene answers.

- If they take me to the right place - yeah.

She is laughing. Lene is laughing a lot. She is laughing, and then she is sighing. Pulling her breath, and blowing out. And is trampling with her feet - keeping the heels on the ground and is beating the toes against the floor, restless and uneasy. Alternatively, she is drumming with her fingers on the handbag. But she is pleased. Always pleased.

- I'm so relaxed in regards to everything. I'm writing a lot of new songs, and I feel that I'm very inspired these days.

- You are very happy and is writing new sad songs?

- He he. Yes, they are not happy, I can promise you!

She is eating half a coconut filled with fruit and berries on a sidewalk café. Drinks a coffe latte. Tells stories from the trip to Milan and Genoa, when they almost didn't catch the plane because of all the fans.

- I would want to be on top all the time, she says, from when I wake up, until I go to bed - and then I need to have some fun as well. That I have had lately.

When we are getting seated in the car, 'How Would It Be' is roaring from the radio. The driver is turning it up.

- What a great timing! Lene radiates.

So, it is like the song's long road from the apartment at Frogner to this radio in Rome slowly gets clear to her.

- This is so cool! It is so very cool to hear!

Later she says that it was an insane kick hearing her own song on radio in a different country.

- And I'm so happy that this feeling isn't gone.

While we are eating pizza and pasta, Lene is telling about how she has taken pictures of photographers waiting outside her apartment. At one time, she ran on high-heeled shoes to 7-Eleven, and bought a disposable camera for taking the photo of the 'Se og Hør' photographer who wanted to take pictures of her birthday party.

- They disappear when I'm taking pictures of them. I have my own little photographer gallery at home.

- Do you want to become an even greater international pop star?

- That depends on in regards to what. What I'm doing now, is giving an incredible lot of spontanous joy. I'm sort of doing some interviews here and is playing a bit there, and is feeling that this I could do for a very long time. I'm having it very enjoyable in a relaxed way.

- And if you get bigger, many more will make their claims on you, and you have to live up to the myth of Marlin?

- Yes, and that is mortally dangerous.

When she is about to check-in in Rome for flying home, the counter ladies are coming with autograph notepads and are creating chaos in the line. Then they are sending her bag to the wrong country.

- I'm traveling home with a strange feeling, says Lene.

- Not a feeling of emptiness, but I cannot fully understand it. My music has travelled and become greater, in a way.

- You've become greater yourself, too?

- I have become more comfortable with it, she says.


SAFE AND HAPPY: - I notice that I get flash-backs. First time this happened, I was so young. I was probably scared to let things get to me. I imagine that I'm more safe now, says Lene Marlin.

HERE LIVES LENE: - To be a female solo artist... - I do think many perceives me as difficult. If I had been a boy, they would've said that he knows what he wants, and where he is to go. And I quite know very well what I want, says Lene. In her hotel room, she gets breathing space from all the commotion.

WANTS TO GO ON TOUR: Lene Marlin is looking forward to performing more. In Italy, she first sang with singback, thereafter live. She has the wish to go on tour with a band, but is not quite ready yet.

STAR: Lene Marlin was the greatest star at 'Festivalbar' - Italy's largest pop show.

Translated by Tef Johs


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