|Anni-Frid Synni Lyngstad, better known
simply as Frida, was born November 15, 1945 in Ballangen outside of
Narvik, Norway. Her father was Alfred Haase, a German soldier, and her
mother, Synni Lyngstad, was a Norwegian teenage girl. Frida’s father
left Norway before Frida was born, and was thought to have vanished when
his ship was sunk on the way back to Germany.
18 months after Frida’s birth she moved to Sweden with her grandmother, Agny. Synni soon joined them, but tragically, less than two years after Frida was born, her mother died. Frida grew up with her grandmother in Torshälla, just outside of the town of Eskilstuna.
At the age of 11 she made her stage debut at a Red Cross charity event. Two years later, she started working as an underage vocalist in a dance band, and performed with different bands for a decade. She met her first husband, Ragnar Fredriksson, in 1961. Together they had two children: Hans, born in 1963, and Lise-Lotte, born in 1967.
On September 3, 1967, Frida won a talent contest in Stockholm. Immediately after her victory she appeared on national television singing her winning song. Soon afterwards Frida signed to EMI records.
Frida didn’t have much commercial success as a recording artist up to the early Seventies, but she was a fairly well-known stage artist. In 1970 she was part of a cabaret show together with her fiancé, Benny Andersson, along with Björn Ulvaeus and his fiancée, Agnetha Fältskog.
From 1972 and for the next decade Frida was mainly occupied by her work with ABBA, although she released the Swedish-language solo album Frida ensam (”Frida Alone”) in 1975. During the ABBA years, Frida was also reunited with her father, Alfred Haase, with whom she got in touch through the German pop magazine Bravo.
In February 1982 Frida started recording her first English language solo album ’Something’s Going On’, produced by Phil Collins. This was followed by the 1984 album ’Shine’, produced by Steve Lillywhite. But then Frida withdrew from the public for a number of years.
In the early 1990s Frida devoted most of her time to environmental issues, but in 1996 she made a comeback with the Swedish language album ’Djupa andetag’ (”Deep Breaths”). This remains Frida’s latest solo album so far.
Today she leads a fairly low-key life, devoting herself to environmental issues and charity work. Recently, however, she has guested on records by other artists. In 2002 Frida duetted with Filippa Giordano on La Barcarolle, a recording only released in Japan. The following year she appeared on a CD single released by singer Dan Daniell for charity purposes. Frida’s most recent recording was her lead vocal performance of the song ‘The Sun Will Shine Again’, included on former Deep Purple keyboard player Jon Lord’s album Beyond The Notes (released in 2004).
Written by Carl Magnus Palm for ABBA - The Site 2002.
She’s tall, slim and, most decidedly, a smart dresser.
She’s very much into clothes, but prefers books before shopping.
Occasionally, when her duties within the ABBA group takes her down to Italy to find just the right materials for suitably flashy stage outfits, she just might forget her mission and almost submerge herself in anything from Leon Uris to Heinrich Böll.
That’s Frida – Norway’s gift to Sweden.
Or to the world of pop music, for that matter. As things have developed over the past few years, ABBA seems to spend more time outside Sweden than in.
Frida – or Anni-Frid Lyngstad, according to her Swedish passport – saw the light of day in post-war Norway. More specifically, she stems from Narvik, a tiny iron export town way up in the North, well above Midnight Sun latitudes.
Not that Frida stayed long enough to remember much of that very Scandinavian phenomenon. Soon, she moved to Eskilstuna, also an iron-and-steel town, but south-west of Stockholm, Sweden. At the tender age of two, Frida didn’t know the difference.
Of the four ABBA members, Frida may well be the one with the broadest knowledge of popular music in all its shapes and forms.
As a kid she was forever miming to every record played on the radio. At 10, she made her first stage appearance in a local amateur contest. In her teens, Frida was supporting herself nicely, fronting a dance band of her own.
Not that the band was exactly successful. But Frida was able to fulfill her one and only dream: she was singing.
Today, that remains her biggest ambition.
– Live singing – boy, that’s such a different kick. Over the years, we’ve spent so much time in the studios that a live tour like this one is s breath of fresh air.
– Of course, in live situations you have to really fight to keep your nerves under control. No re-takes, just straight ahead. But that’s really all I ever wanted to do. You know, stand up there on stage and try to make people feel good…
She’s eminently able to do just that. Her hair a deep copper hue, he body in perfect control, executing that loose ABBA choreography in tandem with Agnetha, hers is a commanding stage presence.
These days, Frida knows that hard work is all-important. When at home in Stockholm, she takes daily ballet lessons. Not for any show-off purposes, but “it feels sooo good to be in physical shape”. And the ABBA stage show benefits from it.
Some years ago, claims Frida, she was more a typical “vocalist”. Motionless. By the time she moved to Stockholm and met Benny, she was “promising” – but still a “vocalist”.
– At the time, I was probably most of all into singers like Ella Fitzgerald and Peggy Lee, she remembers.
– Benny was responsible for molding my musical taste towards more “today” sounds.
ABBA was still an unknown entity. Frida worked in cabaret, television, even touring with occasional summer packages. She gained self-assurance, her voice maturing with natural ease. She made records on her own.
She even participated in some international song contests, in Japan, Venezuela. Places where she was a complete stranger then, but where her good looks and mesmerizing vocal quality now are instantly recognized by millions of ABBA fans.
Today, Frida still remembers that breakthrough occasion at the Eurovision Song Contest in Brighton, England in -74 with an almost dazed look:
– Naturally, we knew that the group had something special going for it, what with Benny’s and Bjorn’s extraordinary talents getting those songs togehter.
– But still – it was just unbelievable! There I was – former band vocalist from Eskistuna, Sweden, getting mobbed, almost, by the BBC and by reporters from all the major newspapers of Europe… whew!
Since then, of course, the ABBA outfit has proven their extraordinary staying power, coming up with a couple of dozen songs just as strong and memorable as that winning Brighton theme, “Waterloo”. As Eurovision Song Contest victors go, that’s quite a feat in itself.
To Frida, the kind of almost unparallelled success she is experiencing now with cohorts Bjorn and Agnetha and husband Benny is not all a song-and-dance existence. Driving her cherry red Maserati in Stockholm, she causes traffic jams when fans move in to get a closer look. In the summertime, she and Benny and their kids from earlier marriages do not always succeed in finding a little privacy on their gorgeous island retreat in the Stockholm archipelago.
Last Winter, Frida especially enjoyed breaking loose from the heavy ABBA schedule, accepting a minor part, “small, but interesting”, as “the other woman” in a Swedish movie production dealing with “the eternal triangle”. The film was shot in Seville, Spain.
– Any artist/singer has to re-load her creative batteries now and then. Now, I’m really looking forward to our first real tour of the US with renewed anticipation. It’s another exciting dream come true!