24.hu in Hungary did an e-mail interview with Helena von Zweigbergk in connection with the Hungarian edition of Marie Fredriksson’s biography (Listen To My Heart – Hallgass a szívemre) and published it yesterday, on Marie’s birthday.
The interview has a nice intro. Referring to the book, it says that the positive attitude to life and the spiritual power shines through the biography. By reading it, we can understand how Marie was able to defeat cancer and win almost two decades so she could see her children grow up and even be on stage again, even though years ago it seemed utterly unlikely.
Journalist Bence Inkei’s first question to Helena is if she stayed in touch with Maire after finishing the book in 2015. Helena says she visited Marie many times in her home. They had coffee and ate her favourite cinnamon rolls while they were talking and laughing a lot. And of course they were crying too. They became very good friends while they were working on the book. Afterwards, unfortunately, they couldn’t meet as often as they would have liked, as Helena had to work and Marie lived far away from her. But they stayed in a very good relationship.
According to 24.hu, the end of the book seemed pretty optimistic: it was spring, Marie was preparing for Roxette’s summer tour, but from the epilogue it turns out that the band stopped touring not long after, because of Marie’s condition. They ask Helena if it was unexpected that Marie’s condition got worse. Helena doesn’t really know. She says that for Marie, touring was a huge effort already back then. All the stress, the tight tour schedule, the travelling would have worn out anyone who was in a condition like her. She had constant problems with her legs, she could only perform while sitting. Everyone knew how hard it was. She loved her fans and being on stage, but it was too exhausting for her by then.
24.hu is curious about how Marie spent her life after publishing the book. Helena tells she spent it at rest. She loved being at home and living by her own rules. So whenever she could, she was at home. She loved her garden and spending her time with her family. She could hardly walk and that caused her a lot of sadness. On the other hand, it was a relief that she was no longer under any pressure.
To the question if Marie had any unfinished plans Helena replies that Marie was a very creative person who could express herself in many ways. She talked about writing a book of poems and writing even more new music. She also wanted to write something about her mother’s life, to express her love for her and tell her story.
24.hu asks if Marie’s traumatic childhood due to the tragedy that happened in her family helped her to fight against cancer for so long. According to Helena it probably helped. She has never met anyone who has had the strength of Marie. She seemed very shy in a way, but she was as stubborn as a mule and had the power of a tiger. Neither as a child nor as an adult was she pampered. She always knew she had to fight for what she wanted to achieve.
Based on the book, it’s not entirely clear for 24.hu whether Per and Marie were real friends or just co-workers. Helena thinks they were good friends. They made this incredible journey together and had known each other for a very long time. As Helena saw it, their relationship was pretty close, but it’s also true that outside of working together, they didn’t meet too often. They lived far away from each other and Marie had to live a very calm life to be able to go on tour and get enough rest.
One of the most shocking part of the book for Bence Inkei was that a tabloid provided false info about Marie’s condition, but they could get out of it without any consequences. Helena confirms that there were no legal consequences. Marie might have been able to get them punished, but then they would have had to go through that hell again and that would have occupied their thoughts. That would have placed a heavy burden on the family when they were going through a difficult period anyway.
24.hu asks if it is a coincidence that ABBA appears only once in the book. If there was any rivalry between Roxette and them. Helena doesn’t think so. They were popular in different times and in different styles. They respected each other.
According to 24.hu, Roxette still has a very strong and active fan base in Hungary. They ask Helena where she sees the band has the most fans. Helena many times wondered how much love Marie and Roxette had received from all over the world. For example, when Helena and Marie had a book signing session together in a store in Stockholm, a South African family was the first in line. They travelled just to meet Marie and ask her for an autograph. Helena knows Roxette has a big fan base in South America and of course in Hungary too.
Marie described herself as a kind of “rock and roll personality”. As a last question, 24.hu asks how Helena saw it. Helena tells Marie loved this attitude. She didn’t want to look kind and harmless. She loved wearing black leather stuff and partied a lot before her illness in real rock and roll style. There was some kind of raw power in her voice through which she could express her true self.
You can order the Hungarian edition of Marie’s biography HERE.