STIM interview with Roxette manager Marie Dimberg

As we informed you about it in October, Marie Dimberg was awarded the Swedish Government’s Honorary award for a lifetime achievement of Music Export. Now STIM (Swedish Performing Rights Society) did an interview with Marie, founder of Dimberg Jernberg Management, who besides Roxette, Per Gessle and Gyllene Tider represents several other great Swedish artists.

STIM’s first question to Marie was how she started working with music. Marie tells she has always been interested in music, but when she moved back to Sweden in 1982 after a period in Brighton (where the music scene flourished before), a lot started to happen with Swedish music. She went to a lot of concerts, hung out at the Ritz and bought records at Gamla stan’s record store. Music became a lifestyle and something she wanted to work with. She says her first job in the industry was as CEO secretary for Rolf Nygren at EMI. A year later, she was promoted to PR manager for Swedish and international artists and she started working with, among others, Per Gessle, Marie Fredriksson, Ulf Lundell, Jakob Hellman, Eldkvarn, Wilmer X. On the international side, she worked with artists like David Bowie, Tina Turner, Queen, Diana Ross and Paul McCartney and eventually Blur, Radiohead, Pet Shop Boys and many more.

STIM is curious why Marie moved to London 10 years later. Marie tells it was because of Roxette’s big breakthrough. She was assigned as Vice President International at EMI in London. She went to a lot of trainings and they sent her there to work on Parlophone and Capitol, which meant that she didn’t work with Roxette during that time. When Marie returned to EMI in Sweden, she became marketing director and had 22 people who reported to her, but this way she got further away from the artists.

When Marie came back to Sweden, she started her own management. She wanted to get closer to the music again and her experience from London made her dare. There were hardly any managements in Sweden during that period (1997). Roxette and Peter Jöback were the first ones she signed.

STIM asks Marie what she thinks has contributed to the fact that she has been working with both Roxette and Peter Jöback for so long. Marie thinks it’s because they have more or less grown up in the industry together. Her job has always been like a lifestyle for her that she prioritized. You either grow apart or you grow together, as in all relationships, Marie adds. Being an artist is the world’s loneliest job and therefore you need someone who stands there and applauds when things are going well and is there when things are going badly. In addition, you learn a lot from each other.

STIM is curious about what the biggest difference is between working in the music industry now vs. 20-30 years ago. Marie tells it’s easier to make music today because the technology has developed so much, but at the same time it’s harder to break through because so much music is made. There are greater opportunities for exposure today, but in the past it was easier to break through because the channels were fewer. At that time they toured to promote their record because they sold so many records, today it is the other way around. Today you release music so that you can tour.

STIM asks Marie what makes her a good manager. Ms. Dimberg says she is steady, extremely loyal and takes care of good communication. She thinks it’s important to be able to communicate with and to an artist. You have to be a team when you work together and have both long-term and short-term goals. There will always be steps along the way that you will like differently, but the artist’s vision should always be first. Marie Dimberg will never forget a moment when once Marie Fredriksson left the stage after a gig and Ms. Dimberg burst out in “How good it was! But…” and then Marie F. interrupted Marie D. and said: “You never say BUT immediately when someone leaves the stage.” Since then, Marie D. never gives criticism immediately after someone has performed, but then they have to talk through it later.

STIM asks if their is any magic formula for an artist break-through. Marie usually says that it’s the four T’s [in Swedish all words start with T /PP] – luck, timing, talent and teamwork. It’s very difficult to break through and have a hit, but it’s almost even harder to follow up and create more hits.

STIM is curious about what has been the most instructive period of Marie’s career so far. Ms. Dimberg says she was trained at EMI and the climate there was very good. It was made clear very early that they worked for the artists and not for themselves. Kjell Andersson (EMI) used to say that you must prove that you deserve to have an opinion. Marie thinks it’s a very good saying because many people just say things out without thinking them through.

If Marie had to do something differently in her career, she would have been paid more and insisted more in certain situations. The latter requires that you pursue a case and not fight for that matter: “be confident, not cocky”, that’s a big difference, Marie says.

Regarding future happenings at Dimberg Jernberg Management, Marie tells STIM that they make plans, but they are flexible due to the current situation. Ana Diaz is their latest signing, Molly Hammar just released a smash hit, “Douchebag”, Per Gessle is in the studio and recording in English right now, their Danish pop prince, Christopher comes with hit after hit, Peter Jöback turns 50 this year and they will celebrate it in every possible way. Loney Dear has just released “Trifles”, which Marie thinks is fantastic and his album will be out on 26th March.