Interview with Per Gessle and Lena Philipsson in Aftonbladet

Aftonbladet joined Per Gessle and Lena Philipsson on their promo day and Anna & Hans Shimoda did an interview with them about their upcoming adventures. HERE you can read the original article in Swedish.

The other week the news hit like a bomb; Per Gessle, 65, brings new life to Roxette with Lena Philipsson, 58, at the microphone. The tour starts in Cape Town in South Africa on 25th February and Aftonbladet is the only newspaper to have met both an excited Per Gessle and a somewhat surprised Lena Philipsson.

Per says smiling:

It happened when we made the duet “Sällskapssjuk” for my new album that I thought that “Lena is not that bad”.

Brain tumor

Pop icon Gessle has long considered what to do with Roxette’s impressive song catalogue. Classics such as Fading Like A Flower, The Look, It Must Have Been Love and Joyride had to be put in the dustbin when Per Gessle’s friend and bandmate Marie Fredriksson passed away in 2019 in the aftermath of the brain tumor she was diagnosed with in 2002.

Per says:

In recent years, I’ve been thinking about whether I should do anything at all with Roxette. I’ve been thinking about how to best manage the legacy and Roxette’s song catalogue live. There were two ways, not to do anything with it at all or to try to find a way that fits as well as possible. It was not an easy decision.

Gessle continues:

When I worked with Lena, I felt that she is very talented as a frontwoman, she has a lot of experience, comes from the same era as me and is a fantastic singer. We also have a history together, I was involved in writing her breakthrough song “Kärleken är evig”.

I gathered all my courage and asked her, thinking that she would probably fall off her chair, and she almost did.

‘Only way to do it’

Stepping into Marie Fredriksson’s shoes is of course not easy, but Per points out that it is about managing Roxette’s music.

The only way for Lena to do it is to do it her own way.

Lena Philipsson is sitting on the couch next to Per Gessle and looks sometimes at Per, sometimes at the floor.

When I was asked to do “Sällskapssjuk”, I of course said yes and Per wondered if I would sing it in Stockholm or if I would come down to Halmstad. I went down to be in Pers hoods. A few days later, a message arrived in which Per wrote that he wanted to meet and that he would ask a crazy question.

Aftonbladet is curious about what Lena thought then.

I felt that “Yes, it worked”. But I thought that maybe there could be another song together or a tour, but I didn’t expect this.

She continues:

I was about to fall off my chair, but I immediately started thinking about what the fans would think about it and how it might turn out. I’m good at identifying the problems, but of course I feel incredibly honoured.

Will it sound familiar?

I feel like I’m an invited guest here, I’ll let Per decide. I won’t get into the artistic side that much. But my feeling is that I want to sing the Roxette songs as they should be.

Per turns to Lena:

Stick to your own way.

Lena says:

Yes, I do have my voice, but I don’t feel that I should do my thing and screw up everything. I want it to feel like the original.

Have a favourite song

Lena Philipsson says there is one Roxette song she is particularly looking forward to singing – a favourite:

There are so many good songs, but I have to say “Dressed For Success”, it’s so much Roxette for me and it’s really Marie’s song.

Lena Philipsson points out that she is not afraid of being compared to Marie Fredriksson.

No, then I would never have said yes. The comparison will of course be made anyway. But I have to dare to take it, otherwise I would have had to say no. I care about doing a good job and want the Roxette fans to feel satisfied.

The tour takes place in South Africa and Australia, but if all goes well, it could be any size, according to Gessle.

What we are doing now as a pilot thing. We will see how it feels and if it turns out as I believe and hope, there are no limits to what we can do.

Interview by Anna & Hans Shimoda, photos by Andreas Bardell for Aftonbladet

Per Gessle on RIX MorronZoo

Per was a guest on RIX FM’s morning show RIX MorronZoo on 7th May. You can listen to the podcast HERE!

PG enters the studio at 8:06 am and program leaders Laila Bagge and Roger Nordin feel honoured to have him on the show. They introduce Per as the superstar, the car collector, the podcaster, the summer boy, the hitmaker, Sweden’s sharpest songwriter. Per thanks for the warm welcome. Roger wants to know what Per thinks about early mornings. PG says he can hear it from his voice (he has this hoarse morning voice). Roger thinks Per looks lively and fresh.

The hosts say it’s starting to be Per’s season, summer soon, but they are wondering what he is doing during winter. Writing songs, Laila says. Roger asks PG if people spontaneously sing to him when they pass him in town. Per replies, „no, thank God.”

Laila mentions that she was at Per’s house when he was very, very young and asks Per to tell about it. It was more than 20 years ago. Mr. G tells the story that Laila’s ex husband, Anders Bagge got in touch and wondered if they could write a song together. Per almost never does that, writing a song together with someone else, because he likes to work by himself. But then he said of course and invited Anders to his home and he came to say hello with Laila. Then either Anders and Laila ended up at some party in the evening, so Anders cancelled the job the day after. Laila is still wondering how one can book time with Per to write a song and then cancel it. PG says Anders was a little tired. Roger asks Per if it isn’t good to write music when you are a little hungover. Per says it can be good. Laila says that instead of writing a song, they went to see all of Per’s cars and that was nice.

Regarding writing music with others, Roger is curious if it is hard to tell the others if you feel that it didn’t turn out well. He asks PG if he is afraid of conflicts. Per says he doesn’t think so. Writing songs for him is kind of a private process. He wants to do it for 30 seconds and then he wants to do something else. Then he goes back to it. He is not sitting like they are sitting here now. So Roger says it’s not like Per goes to an office and writes three hits. Haha.

Laila says Per is about to release a new album. Roger asks PG what he is up to now. Per says there is a lot of stuff going on. Last Friday he released a single in Swedish with Lena Philipsson. It’s the title track of his upcoming LP, Sällskapssjuk. It’s out this fall. It consists of many duets with various Swedish artists. Roger is curious what those artists said when Per called them and asked if they wanted to join. If there was anyone who said no. PG says he didn’t call them, he sent emails. Haha. He says it has been a very cool process. This song was actually recorded a year ago, so some time has passed. It was very cool. For every duet he has done, the style of the album has changed a little. It’s a really cool album, he thinks. It’s among the coolest records he has been a part of.

Then there will be a tour as well, in a year. That’s a completely different thing. Roxette is going on a tour together with Lena Philipsson. Laila asks Per what made him feel that Lena should join them on this tour. Per says he has been thinking for many years how he should manage the Roxette songs. He came to the conclusion that there are really only two ways to go. Either you leave it at that or you continue in some way. And it’s not so easy to continue, of course. If Marie had existed, they would certainly have been out on tour. When Per worked with Lena and recorded Sällskapssjuk, he thought shit, she ticks all the boxes. She is a great singer, she is great on stage. She is experienced and they come somewhat from the same generation. So Per asked her and of course she was terrified. Per invited her to his home and they sat by the piano and tested some Roxette songs. It was magical, he thinks.

Roger asks Per if he discovered Lena’s greatness already in the ’80s when he wrote Dansa i neon for her. Per says it wasn’t him, he wrote Kärleken är evig. Roger says sorry and asks if they will perform Kärleken är evig on tour. PG says no, they will perform only old Roxette songs.

Here they listen to Sällskapssjuk.

Roger says Per is a living legend. He explains how to say living legend in Swedish. Roger says Per works more than ever. There is a musical in progress with Roxette music and it premieres on 6th September and then there is a film about Gyllene Tider that premieres this summer. And then there is the duet album. And then there is this Roxette project together with Lena Philipsson. Laila says one would think you take it easier and do things calmly when you get a little older and just enjoy it. Roger wants to know if Per will ever stop working. Per says this is really a bit much that is happening now.

Roger says there is a big trend right now that artists and bands want to live forever with the help of avatars. There is ABBA, there is Kiss. They will be on stage forever with the help of this new technology. Roger asks Per what his plans are with Gyllene Tider, if he is working on something like that. PG says, no. Then maybe Roxette, Laila asks. Per says, no, he doesn’t know. It feels a bit far-fetched, he thinks.

Roger says they thought to check how much Per knows about his own music. He says the intro quiz is very cool, but now they thought to run an outro quiz with PG. So he gets to hear the last second of some fantastic Gessle songs and he gets a Cosmopolitan for every correct answer. Because it’s Cosmopolitan day today. Here comes outro number one. Laila says it wasn’t easy, but Per knows the answer, it’s Flickan i en Cole Porter-sång. Roger finds it cool that Per wrote a song about Cole Porter. PG says he saw a movie with Jack Lemmon called Save The Tiger, a fantastic film. Per thinks Jack Lemmon won an Oscar for his role. There is a scene where someone asks him if there is something he missed that hasn’t happened in his life and he looks into eternity and says, I want that girl in a Cole Porter song. PG thought shit, that sounds good.

Here comes outro number two. Per doesn’t really have that, but he says it sounded like a good guitar sound. Roger shows what song it was, Här kommer alla känslorna (på en och samma gång). Roger loves how Per sings „här kommer alla känslorna på en och samma gång”. Per doesn’t really know why it became like this, it just happened. He even heard that Bert Karlsson thought it was elaborate, but it wasn’t.

So Per has one Cosmo so far and here comes outro number three. PG immediately says it’s Leva livet. Roger says maybe we will hear this song in the GT movie. Per says, absolutely.

There is one last outro, a guitar ending again. PG says it’s Tycker om när du tar på mej. So Per has three Cosmopolitans. He says that’s enough, it’s only Monday. Roger says they will drink it in Tylösand in summer.

Roger asks PG some quick questions too. Per has to choose between two things.

Listen To Your Heart or The Look? Per says, „shit pommes frites”. He likes The Look.

Halmstad or Stockholm? He says that’s hard too. He likes Halmstad. But he likes Stockholm too.

Ferrari Testarossa or Ferrari 212 Inter? Per takes the Testarossa. It’s his childhood. The other one is so very old, even he is not that old. Per loves Ferrari, Roger says.

Grit your teeth or break up? Grit your teeth, Per says. Laila says you see a clear difference in the answers of different artists or actors. There is an age limit where people start saying break up, because nowadays you have to break up. Laila’s whole generation is grit your teeth.

Per Gessle competes as an artist in Melodifestivalen or Per Gessle competes in Hela kändis-Sverige bakar? PG says his wife would have loved to see him bake, but both are totally unlikely. But he is absolutely in love with the baking show. Roger says they will sign Per up for that then. Haha.

Speed camera or speed bump? Per hates both equally. Roger says there is this rumor about the speed bumps in Tylösand and asks PG if it’s true. Per says no. Laila doesn’t know about this rumor, so Roger explains it’s about these speed bumps that Per demanded to be removed in Tylösand, because the cars were damaged. But that wasn’t true.

Champagne or beer? PG picks champagne.

Halmia or Halmstad BK? Per picks Halmia.

Roger thanks Per for stopping by the studio this morning. PG says it’s always a pleasure. Roger plays a morning applause on the computer and tells Per to make sure he takes some time off this summer too. Laila will possibly come by and check out Per’s cars. Per says welcome and Laila promises she won’t be hungover this time.

Stills are from RIX MorronZoo’s instastory.

Per Gessle talks about Roxette In Concert 2025 on Efter fem

TV4 invited Per Gessle on Efter fem to ask him about the world tour, Roxette In Concert 2025. Watch it HERE! The program starts with showing a short part of the video to Sällskapssjuk, the duet single of Per and Lena Philipsson.

Program leader Tilde de Paula Eby likes the song very much, she says it’s a new collaboration between two giant artists that she really likes and it is released today. Tilde adds there is something else happening to Per and Lena, they are also going on a world tour. Per confirms and says at least they are going to South Africa and Australia. Tilde says it’s a world tour then. Per laughs and says it’s a big world out there. They were thinking of doing that at the beginning of next year and it’s quite exciting, under the name Roxette.

Tilde says it must be pretty emotional for Per to do this tour with someone other than Marie. PG says it is, of course. He has been toying with this idea for years, how to manage the Roxette catalogue in a good way. The great thing about the Roxette songs is that they still live on and there will be new people who like them. When you start thinking about it, there are really only two ways to go. Either you leave it at that or you move on. Per needed time to himself and also needed to find the right voice. When he recorded Sällskapssjuk with Lena – it’s a song from the duet album that will come out in the fall – then he realized that „shit, there it is”. He thought Lena would fit the Roxette songs perfectly. Per knows Lena is a big Roxette fan. Besides that, he has worked with her. Per has co-written her breakthrough song, Kärleken är evig in 1986. PG contacted Lena after the recordings of Sällskapssjuk and asked if she was interested. She was a little shocked, of course.

Tilde says she can imagine that one can react to such a question both with total jubilation and also a little panic. She says they will talk further about how it was, but before that, she asks her colleague, Henrik Alsterdal to tell a little background info about Roxette.

Henrik shows pictures from the good old days and talks about the numbers: 80 million albums sold, 4 Billboard No. 1 hits, 19 songs on the UK Top 40 and over 600 concerts. Henrik also talks a bit about PG Roxette and the upcoming Swedish album and finishes by stating that Per goes on tour with Lena under the name Roxette and the first gig is planned to be in Cape Town next February. In Cape Town, where Per played his last Roxette concert with Marie in 2016.

Tilde says, when you listen to these songs, it’s like decades are flowing through your whole body. She can’t even imagine what it’s like for Per. PG says they had a fantastic journey with Roxette. The eight years between 1988 and 1995 were fantastic. They were on the US charts for almost four years without falling off. They just changed the song. It was simply an amazing time. He still has to pinch his arm. Tilde says it’s funny that Per, who has done so incredibly much, can still appreciate these things and feel that he has to pinch his arm. It’s unreal. Per says it’s unreal indeed. Their whole journey, coming from such a small country like Sweden at the time. Their record company marketed them as an American band in England, because they couldn’t say they were from Sweden. To succeed was incredibly difficult.

Tilde asks Per if it is on purpose that he and Lena will play the first concert in Cape Town. Per says it was not intentional, it just happened that way and it’s actually strange that it turned out that way. Maybe that’s a sign, PG says.

Tilde is curious if Per has mixed feelings about doing this. PG says, not at all. If Marie would still be here, they would have been out on tour all the time for sure. But she is no longer there. Like Mr. G said before, you either leave it at that or you move on and start a new chapter in the book.

Tilde wants to know how he asked Lena Philipsson. She realized that it must have been mixed feelings for Lena, wonderful and scary at the same time. Per says it was absolutely like that. She asked how she could replace Marie, but Per said it’s not the idea that she should replace Marie, but Lena should do it her way. This is about managing the song catalogue. Per understands that Lena was stressed about it. At the same time, he thinks she has a lot to gain from this. She is a superstar in Sweden, but she has never played in Australia, in South Africa, in South America or in the USA. For her, it’s also a big challenge. Per is sure that if you have never seen Lena Philipsson and don’t know who she is and see her on stage for the first time, you will be shocked. According to Tilde, Lena is incredible on stage. It’s like a persona stepping out of her. She has body language and an absolutely phenomenal voice.

Per says they tested some Roxette songs at home at his grand piano and it sounds magical when she sings Queen Of Rain, Spending My Time and Listen To Your Heart. Per thinks this could be amazing.

Tilde says Per talked about South America, Australia, South Africa, but what about Sweden. PG says, oh, he forgot about Sweden. Haha. There are no plans for Sweden yet, but it will surely come, if it works. They see the Australia and South Africa tour as a small pilot tour. They see how it feels and how it works. PG brings the old classic Roxette band with him. If it works, it would of course be a lot of fun to play in Sweden too.

Tilde is incredibly impressed by Per’s driving force and is wondering where it comes from. Per says he loves his work. He loves to write, to be in the studio, to be on stage. He loves to play his songs and to feel the positive energy that comes from the audience. You get so much back, he says. PG thinks he has the best job in the world, after Tilde. Tilde smiles and says they probably share the first place.

According to Tilde, besides being a lot of fun, it’s a lot of work and it’s quite tough to travel around. Per agrees, touring is a lot of waiting at airports and in traffic jams and all that. But the reward is when you are on stage. It’s fantastic. That one minute, 30 seconds before you go on stage and 30 seconds into the first song, it’s the magic minute. You travel to another universe then. It’s a great charge up and a fantastic blast. That’s wonderful. When Tilde hears how Per describes it, she wants to experience it.

Tilde finishes the interview by mentioning Per’s upcoming album, Sällskapssjuk that is released in fall and the title song that has been released today with Lena Philipsson. She thanks Per for coming on the show and Per thanks for the invitation.

 

 

 

Stills are from the interview.

Per Gessle’s new single, a duet with Lena Philipsson is out!

Per Gessle has released the title song, Sällskapssjuk from his upcoming album as the second single. The single contains two songs:

Side A             Sällskapssjuk
Side B             Hjärta av glas

Sällskapssjuk is a duet with Lena Philipsson. Per and Lena’s paths already crossed in the mid ’80s when Per, among other things, wrote the lyrics to Lena’s breakthrough song Kärleken är evig. Now it’s time again.

Listen to the single on any streaming platform HERE and don’t forget to order the physical copy, 7″ vinyl that is released also on 3rd May at Bengans!

A video to Sällskapssjuk is also out!

Sällskapssjuk

Om du var här
Så skulle dagen vara spektakulär
Och hela natten ungefär
Likadan

Om du var här
Så skulle inget vara något besvär
Din speciella atmosfär
Tog över stan

Ring någon gång när du känner dig sällskapssjuk
Jag har inget viktigt för mig alls
Jag finns för dig
Ring till mig om du känner dig sällskapssjuk
Jag kan vara nära där du är
Jag väntar här

Din doft är klar
På din kudde som fint ligger kvar
En souvenir från de dagar
När allt var bra

Ring någon gång när du känner dig sällskapssjuk
Jag har inget viktigt för mig alls
Jag finns för dig
Ring till mig om du känner dig sällskapssjuk
Jag vill vara nära där du är
Jag längtar här

Ring någon gång när du känner dig sällskapssjuk
Jag har inget viktigt för mig alls
Jag finns för dig
Ring till mig om du känner dig sällskapssjuk
Jag kan vara nära där du är
Jag väntar här

Words & music: Per Gessle
Published by Jimmy Fun Music

Produced by Per Gessle + Andreas Broberger + Anton Ekström

Recorded at Tits & Ass, Halmstad December 2022 + January + April 2023 and Lost Boy Studios, Umeå January + February 2023

Engineers: Mats Persson (T&A) + Andreas Broberger + Anton Ekström (LBS)
Mixed at T&A, Halmstad by Mats Persson + Per Gessle April 2023

Per Gessle: acoustic guitar + keyboards + vocals
Lena Philipsson: vocals
Andreas Broberger: electric guitar + keyboards + programming
Anton Ekström: keyboards + programming
Ola Gustafsson: electric guitar
Fredrik ”Gicken” Johansson: electric bass + lap steel
Helena Josefsson: backing vocals

 

Hjärta av glas

Du,
Jag tog med mig allt jag sa
Jag lämnade nästan inget kvar
Jag tog ditt hjärta av glas
Jag har det här, du får det tillbaks

Och jag står kvar när taxin far
Och jag blundar med allt som jag har
När du långsamt ger dig av
När du långsamt ger dig av

Du,
Jag har trott på allt jag sa
Jag har trott på allt som var
Du har ett hjärta gjort av glas
Jag har det här, du får det tillbaks

Ingen början vill ta slut
Men ingenting här är som förut
Jag är ledsen det gick itu
Jag är ledsen att vi gick itu

Hjärta av glas
Hjärta av glas

Jag tog med mig allt jag sa
Jag lämnade nästan inget kvar
Du har ett hjärta gjort av glas
Hjärta gjort av glas

Words & music: Per Gessle
Published by Jimmy Fun Music

Produced by Per Gessle

Recorded at Tits & Ass, Halmstad November 2022 and Sweetspot, Harplinge December 2022 + February 2023

Engineers: Mats Persson (T&A) + Staffan Karlsson (Sweetspot)
Mixed at T&A, Halmstad by Mats Persson + Per Gessle March 2023

Per Gessle: acoustic guitar + electric guitar + Hammond organ + mellotron + organ + piano + pedal organ + Wurlitzer piano + vocals
Magnus Helgesson: drums + percussion
Fredrik ”Gicken” Johansson: electric bass + lap steel
Helena Josefsson: backing vocals
Mats Persson: electric guitar + 12-string electric guitar
Malin-My Wall: backing vocals

 

Photo by Fredrik Etoall

Hjärta av glas won’t be on the album. The reason this song gets its own digital sleeve is because otherwise it will pop up on the duet partner’s page as well.

Per Gessle and Lena Philipsson release a single and embark on a tour together

Per Gessle and Lena Philipsson release the title track on Per’s upcoming album on 3rd May. And there is more to come…

It all began with Per starting to write and record a new album in Swedish. His first in eight years of new material. Early on, the idea crystallized to focus on duets, to sing together with some of Per’s absolute favourites.

A first taste came in February when Beredd with Molly Hammar was released and now it’s time for the second single, Sällskapssjuk. This time together with Lena Philipsson. The album, which is also called Sällskapssjuk, will be released this fall.

Per and Lena’s paths already crossed in the mid ’80s when Per, among other things, wrote the lyrics to Lena’s breakthrough song Kärleken är evig. Now it’s time again.

Sällskapssjuk suited Lena like a glove, and during the recording in Halmstad both thought it would be fun to work even more together. A thought was born.

In 2016 Roxette did what we believed was to be the last ever concerts. Now, the duo’s frontman, songwriter and founder Per Gessle picks up the torch and takes this bundle of worldwide hits on the road again.

It’s almost five years ago since Roxette lost Marie Fredriksson to cancer. A devastating loss that left both family, friends and fans in grief.

Their legacy of songs has continued to thrive, being constantly streamed, played and enjoyed by old and new supporters around the world.

2025 will see a live revival of this massive catalogue, all penned by Per Gessle, when he takes the Roxette band back on stage to do what he loves the most; perform his songs live in front of a dedicated audience.

Per and the Roxette band will be joined on stage by Swedish singer and megastar Ms Lena Philipsson.

Per says:

This is all about my Roxette songs, this huge bundle of music and lyrics I’ve been writing for well over three decades. I’m not starting a new duo. Marie will always be irreplaceable. However, I’m really lucky to have found an amazing voice and a brilliant performer in Lena Philipsson.

I co-wrote Lena’s first major hit back in 1986 and she’s one of the brightest shining stars Sweden has ever known. I’m extremely proud she wants to join me in my trek to keep the Roxette legacy alive.

Lena says:

I’m both excited and thrilled about embarking on this tour. I really look forward to working with Per – he is a phenomenal songwriter and a neverending musical force.

The Roxette band will consist of Christoffer Lundquist, Magnus Börjeson, Magnus “Norpan” Eriksson, Dea Norberg as well as original Roxette icons Clarence Öfwerman and Jonas Isacsson. Nine years since the last tour, “Roxette in Concert” will kick off in Cape Town, South Africa.

Tour dates – 2025

February 26       Cape Town, Grand Arena GrandWest, South Africa
February 28       Pretoria, SunBet Arena Time Square, South Africa

March 5              Perth, Kings Park, Australia
March 7              Melbourne, Margaret Court Arena, Australia
March 8              Sydney, ICC Sydney Theatre, Australia
March 9              Wollongong, WIN Entertainment Centre, Australia
March 11            Adelaide, Adelaide Entertainment Centre, Australia
March 13            Hobart, Mystate Bank Arena, Tasmania
March 15            Hunter Valley, Bimbadgen, Australia
March 16            Mount Cotton, Sirromet Wines, Australia

Photo by Fredrik Etoall