Marie Fredriksson of Swedish pop duo Roxette dies at 61

Marie Fredriksson of Swedish band Roxette performing during a concert in Oberursel near Frankfurt am Main, western Germany, in 2011. (AFP)
Updated 10 December 2019

Marie Fredriksson of Swedish pop duo Roxette dies at 61

  • Per Gessle: You were an outstanding musician, a master of the voice, an amazing performer
  • Fredriksson formed Roxette with Per Gessle in 1986, and in 1989, the pair had their international breakthrough with The Look

STOCKHOLM: Marie Fredriksson, the female half of the Swedish pop duo Roxette, has died at age 61, her management agency said Tuesday.
Fredriksson formed Roxette with Per Gessle in 1986. The two released their first album the same year and went on to achieve international success in the late 1980s and 1990s with hits including “The Look” and “It Must Have Been Love.”
The Dimberg Jernberg agency said Fredriksson died Monday “of the consequences of a long illness.”
It “is with great sorrow that we must inform you that one of greatest and most-loved artists is gone,” the firm said.
On his Facebook profile, Gessle wrote: “You were an outstanding musician, a master of the voice, an amazing performer.”
“I’m proud, honored and happy to have been able to share so much of your time, talent, warmth, generosity and your sense of humor,” he wrote in English, adding “Things will never be the same.”
Fredriksson was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2002. She underwent aggressive treatment that took its toll but ultimately was successful, her management agency said. However, she was left blind in one eye, with limited hearing and mobility, and was unable to read or write. She was also unable to speak for a considerable period of time after her treatment. Over the years she was able to make a gradual return to the world stage
Fredriksson was born in southern Sweden on May 30, 1958, and had her artistic breakthrough in 1984 in Sweden. Two years later, she formed the duo Roxette with Gessle, and in 1989, the pair had their international breakthrough with “The Look.”
They achieved international success with their albums “Look Sharp!” in 1988 and “Joyride” in 1991, and had six top two hits on the Billboard Hot 100. The pair sold 80 million records worldwide and embarked on world tours.
They were Sweden’s best-known band since ABBA in the 1970s and 1980s, and in 2003, Sweden’s Carl Gustaf XVI awarded the duo a royal award. Fredriksson made her first public appearance after her brain tumor operation to receive the honor with Gessle.
Fredriksson is survived by her husband, Mikael Bolyos, and their two children, Josefin and Oscar.


Saudi music producer fuses Arabic melodies with hip-hop

Updated 16 January 2020

Saudi music producer fuses Arabic melodies with hip-hop

  • Saud Al-Turki: My parents played a major role in shaping my musical taste which encouraged me to discover different genres from different parts of the world
  • Saud Al-Turki: Growing up in Saudi and watching the news with my father, people like Baker Bakhaider and other legendary news anchors were a big part of my upbringing

JEDDAH: Khobar-based producer Saud Al-Turki had been making music since 2010, but never had the confidence to turn his beats into songs. “Then fate happens when you least expect it,” he told Arab News.

He stepped into a store in Newport Beach, California, in 2017 and struck up a conversation with a Detroit native who went by the name of PLUS and was working in the store at the time. 

“We spoke about life and music and he mentioned that he was an artist, but never mentioned how good of an artist he was. One thing led to the other and we met up about a week later and made ‘Feeling High,’ which was my first official single released on SoundCloud.”

Al-Turki blended his parents’ taste in music into his work. His father had a love for jazz and golden oldies, while his mother appreciated Arabic music.

“My parents played a major role in shaping my musical taste which encouraged me to discover different genres from different parts of the world. At that time, my love for hip-hop and urban music grew. I connected with it. I connected with the culture, the music and the honesty behind the messages conveyed. My process really depends on the atmosphere that I am in, the artists I’m surrounded by and even my geographical location. But what does not change is my approach. I go into the studio with the confidence that I will create something unique and at the same time relatable,” he said.

Two distinct and wildly different genres can be heard in Al-Turki’s music: Arab Tarab music and hip-hop.

“I am definitely not the first or last producer to tap into sampling Arabic sounds. Many international greats have also sampled Arabic music and made hit records. But, in my opinion, the context was missing. So it is crucial that someone from the region is able to make that voice heard while representing the culture in a way that will resonate with a global audience.”

He uses the voice of Saudi news presenter Baker Bakhaider — whose career took off in the early 1970s — as a beat tag to let his audience know who is responsible for the music.

“Growing up in Saudi and watching the news with my father, people like Baker Bakhaider and other legendary news anchors were a big part of my upbringing. In our religion, we use ‘Assalamu Alaykum Wa Rahmat Allah Wa Barakatu’ as a form of greeting. And what better message would I present to the world than wishing peace to be bestowed upon my audience? It is a global message that is relatable and significant.”

He released his latest single “Want Me” on Dec. 25, 2019 featuring Egyptian sensation pre kai ro and Atlanta’s Quentin Miller.

“The true message behind this record is to showcase real independent talent from this part of the world together with a recognizable name in the music industry. Moreover, I wanted to highlight that the level of independent talent in our region is at an all-time high.”