Loreen back in her mother’s homeland. [Interview Translated]

Nöjesbladet was exclusively invited to join Loreen on her journey to Morocco.

Persecuted, wired and threatened.
Loreen has taken big risks to stand up against dictatorships.
- I was scared for my life, she says.
Nöjesbladet’s Helena Trus and Robin Lorentz-Allard had the exclusive opportunity to join Loreen Talhaouis journey back to her Moroccan roots.

The questions are many. And everyone wants to talk about the same thing, her involvment in human rights.
Loreen, 29, is sitting all dressed in black and sky-high heels, in a mustard colored armchair and calmly answers the questions at the preess conference for domestic and international press.
- It’s hard for me to not get involved when I see poverty and the lack of human rights, she answers with a mix of English and Arabic. Some people didn’t like what I was saying, but I keep on fighting.

Turned down by the president
Loreen was the first artist in Euovision Song Contest in Azerbaijan’s capital city Baku who dared to dissociate from the totalitarian regime, and openly criticize it.
Something she’s also become known for in Morocco.
- 90 % av all the questions were about that particular part, incredible, Loreen says.
But, as she describes it herself, her position was not appreciated by everyone.
She received tough critique from the Azeri government for her statements and meeting with human rights organisations and women’s groups.
- The president invited all the delegations to a party, except for us. We went out celebrating that fact since it means that teeny-tiny Sweden opened up for a discussion and it reached all the way up to the country’s highest level.


Nöjesbladet had the exclusive opportunity to join the singer’s journey back to her roots.
To Morocco, her mother’s, Choumicha Talhaoui Hansson, homecountry.
Her village is in Nador in Northern Morocco, where Loreen has spent many summers.

“We all have the power”
Last night she played in Morocco for the first time at the annual festival Mawazine Rythmes du Monde in Rabat.
Worldknown artists as Whitney Houston, Alicia Keys, Stevie Wonder, Rihanna and David Guetta have also performed here.
Except for “Euphoria” Loreen performed the new single ”We got the power”, which also has a political message.
- It’s about the fact that we all have the power within us, the people have the power. It’s also an important message to women, Loreen says.
That’s one of the reasons she was nervous about this evening.
- I’m very nervous. As an artist I have an intense need of connecting with the audience. The Swedish audience knows who I am. I’m mostly nervous about not being able to communicate. You can feel it right away when you’re on stage. I’m worried about how they’ll receive me, as a woman, taking space. There’s a difference if Bob Marley stands and sings “we got the power”… We’ll see how it’ll be received, she says before the concert.
After the show she was praised by Enrique Iglesias, whom she was a supporting act for.
- Good job. Nice to meet you, the Spaniard says and extends his hand.


Loreen steps into the dilapidated terracotta coloured castle.
On her nose tip there are round, bluish John Lennon sunglasses and she wears rough, black boots in the morning heat.
Today the old castle is a building with notched towers and dilapidated walls.
We’ve come to Amesip, an association who works with supporting street children and youngsters who come from rough paths in Morocco.
The school is in Northern Rabat, in Salé, and is one of several schools and supported housings that the association runs in the roughest parts of Morocco. The center in Salé is also one of two receptions in the entire country to help youngsters with drog problems and rehab. Inside there are lessons in circus arts. The youngsters get to learn everything from acrobatics to cooking, which is combined with regular classes.
- We help children and youngsters that come from rough paths to have a livable everyday-life. It means a lot to have Loreen here, says one of the founders of Amesip, Touraya Jaidi Bouabid.

“Many strong women”
Loreen sat down and spoke to several of the youngsters after class.
- They’ve been through so much and this is a sanctuary to them. They are so strong and they have such discipline. There are many strong women in this male-dominated society.
- I get very emotional when I get here, I can feel frustration. But there’s been such a development here, people want to see change and it makes me so happy, says Loreen.


Loreen’s commitment to exposed people has been praised all over Europe. During an interview with Nöjesbladet at the singer’s hotel restaurant in Rabat, she talks about the negative sides of her commitment. Like that one time in July last year, where Loreen performed for the controversial Belarussian president Aleksander Lukasjenko at a broadcasted opening ceremony for the Belarussian art festival Slavianski Bazaar in the city of Vitebsk. She was criticized because her participation could be perceived as propaganda for the regime.
- We found out two days before we were going, that it was Lukasjenko’s own festival. I felt completely scammed. They hid it from us and I was so f*ing mad. Obviously it became a poblem and I always have to think about what signals I send out when doing the things I do. We put a lot of thought into it, how we could work our way around it.
- So I did a turnover, and found a way I could have my payback.
During the visit she met the human rights organisation Civil Rights Defenders, and for everyone’s safety Loreen had to, initially, keep the meeting a secret. Loreen also donated 75 000 SEK of her fee to support that work in the country.

“I felt threatened”
Her revolt resulted in several risks, like having her phone bugged and that she and her team were persecuted.
- I felt threatened. That situationen was so madly pressured, it was chaos and they were so angry and and provoked since I refused to follow their lead. They had no amount of respect. The situation became unsustainable.
- It’s one of the worst experiences in my life and where I was scared for my life. I was scared something was going to happen.
- Sure, sometimes I act stpid upon my aggression. But I refuse to let people have power over me.

It’s not easy as a woman to tell your parents you want to be ac circus artist.
It’s one of the worst experiences in my life and where I was scared for my life.

Loreen’s days in Morocco

Landed in the evening

3 PM Press conference with domestic and international press. She mostly received questions about her Moroccan heritage and human rights. Journalists from Sky news Arabia, the Tunisian radio station Jawhara FM, Le economist and also domestic press and press from Algeria were on site.
6 PM Party at the Swedish embassador Anna Hammargren’s residence in Rabat. There Loreen met Moroccan musicians and embassy people.

10 AM Visited the association Amesip that works with supporting street children and youngsters that come from exposed parts in Morocco.
2 PM Interview with Nöjesbladet at the hotel
17.45 Soundcheck on the festival scene, where supposedly Enrique’s entire team have been listening and jamming
21.45 Showtime. Performed for 30 minutes as support act for Enrique Iglesias.

Journey back home.

This is Loreen
Name: Lorine Zineb Nora ”Loreen” Talhaoui.
Age: 29.
Lives in: Stockholm
Family: Single.
Up to date: The new single ”We go the power”.
This is where Loreen’s heading this summer:
In the middle of june she’s going to Los Angeles to meet song writers and write for the new album.
She will also perform in countries like Finland, Denmark, Norway, Poland, Estonia, Lebanon, Moscow and Latvia.

[Interview by Aftonbladet. Thank you to Rania for translating]

Posted on Show all posts made on this day.June 2, 2013 by thelovesphere with 6 notes.
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