Interview in Upsala Nya Tidning, 2013-01-05:
Maria Sörgjerd from Uppsala has written a book about fans. The whole thing started when she met people from Argentina, who had travelled to Halmstad to see Roxette.
At a Roxette concert in Halmstad in 2010 Maria Sörgjerd from Uppsala met some fans who had travelled far to see Marie Fredriksson and Per Gessle on stage. Argentina, The Netherlands, Rumania, Brazil. This was the starting shot for her book “In a wonderful balloon”, which is about Roxette’s fans.
In Sweden most people think that Roxette is a group of the past, connected with nostalgia, who make loads of money based on old merits. In some other countries they are still as great as when they topped the Billboard chart, still selling out arena gig after arena gig. To be able to do that as a pop group you need faithful fans and there seems to be plenty of them.
- It’s hard to tell if Roxette has more loyal fans than other artists, but they definitely have many, Maria Sörgjerd says.
The book talks of fans who let Roxette control major parts of their lives. They travel all over the world to visit concerts, learn Swedish or move to Sweden because it’s Per’s and Marie’s home country, they do anything to meet their idols and collect stuff with Roxette’s logotype on, or things that the artists have had their hands on. The fans are divided into different categories. There are those who are most interested in collecting Roxette related items, those most interested in meeting the artists personally and those who collect concert experiences. Fans are also divided into Marie fans and Per fans, based on which of the two artists they sympathize the most with.
Maria Sörgjerd sees herself as a fan, although she is not as devoted as some of those she has meet and describes in the book. And she did not fall for Roxette during their heydays in the late 1980s and the early 1990s but got hooked in the 2000s.
-For many people a special event makes them choose a certain artist. For me personally, this was when I thought I had a brain tumour. When I was pregnant I had a high level of a certain hormone, which could indicate that you have a tumour. Thankfully this wasn’t the case for me, but when I waited for the results, I was read about Marie Fredriksson’s brain tumour and I could relate to her.
The reason why Maria Sörgjerd prefers Roxette to other artists is that they have great melodies combined with authenticity. Unlike many other artists Roxette makes their own music and they are good singers and instrumentalists. In the book, Maria is quite critical to artists without substance, like the Swedish artist “Sean Banan”.
- Besides Roxette I listen to artists like Laleh, Veronica Maggio and Pernilla Andersson. I like female singers the most.
So you are a Marie-fan?
Maria Sörgjerd is working as a high school teacher, teaching Swedish and Psychology. In the process of writing the book her knowledge in Psychology has been particularly useful. When she was a student one of her main subjects was music psychology. The first half of ”In a wonderful balloon” is written in a journalistic style, whereas the other goes deeper into the phenomenon of fan culture, taking into account different psychological theories.
From the beginning the idea was to write the book in one year and release it at the same time as Roxette finished their world tour in 2011, but her full time job as a teacher prolonged the project. However, Roxette’s tour was extended, so the timing turned out to be good.
Maria Sörgjerd started her own publishing company, Fenomena, which of course has been a time consuming project. Now, however, the project is finished. Since Roxette has more fans abroad than in Sweden there is a vague idea to translate the book into another language. English or perhaps Spanish since Roxette has many fans in Spain and South America.
- But that lies in the future. Now it’s available in Swedish and that will have to do for now, Maria Sörgjerd says.
Av: Andreas Jakobsson
Three great Roxette moments according to Maria Sörgjerd.
1. Per Gessle solo concert at Cirkus in Stockholm (2009).
Per Gessle said: “I would like to introduce a good old friend of ours, Marie Fredriksson” and so the other half of Roxette was back after the brain tumour that most people didn’t think she would survive. – Rumour has it that that everyone in the audience and the band were crying, Maria Sörgjerd says.
2. Roxette concert in Globen (1991).
In 1991, when Maria Sörgjerd was 16 years old, she visited her first concert ever. It is easy to imagine who was on stage. Per Gessle and Marie Fredriksson were on their first huge tour –Join the Joyride – and many fans saw their idols for the very first time.
3. Autograph session with Marie Fredriksson (2006).
Maria Sörgjerd’s first and only personal encounter (so far) with Marie Fredriksson was when she signed records in 2006. – My camera was (- But it is in this case in the future. Now available in Swedish and it will last as long, says Maria Sörgjerd. sig) My camera didn’t work so Marie had to smile for a long time before the photo was finally taken, but she was patient.
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