Laleh gets Ulla Billquist award
Singer Laleh Pourkarim was selected as this year's Ulla Billquist scholar, and at a recent ceremony at the movie theater Bio Rio in Stockholm, she received 25,000 SEK ($3,716) from Folkets hus och parker (People’s Houses and Parks). “It’s cool,” the singer said. “To be an artist or a musician in those days must have been harder.” Ulla Billquist’s life ended in tragedy as she committed suicide in 1946. Laleh has no relationship with Billquist’s music but keeps returning to the popular singer’s strength and sad destiny. “Laleh makes us laugh, but she also challenges us in what’s difficult and unjust. Her willful songs are unpredictable and inviting,” the jury’s verdict says. When read at the ceremony, it made Laleh a bit embarrassed, but she was also happy. “It was beautifully said. I didn’t think they’d read that there. It makes you happy to hear things like that.” Laleh feels she’s become a better producer and songwriter with her album “Sjung” (Sing). She points out that even though she’s an artist, her artistry is just a small part of her life. “Most of what happens, happens in the studio. That’s where I must develop, and that’s where I am developing.” To be free to produce her own album is something Laleh values a lot. She also plays most of the instruments herself. “I wanted ‘Some die young’ to sound in a certain way, and if you want it that way, you have to work on it technically, too. Since I am my own producer, I am also my own boss and have to keep track of myself.” Laleh has spent the spring touring Sweden, and is also scheduled for festivals during the summer. What’s to happen after that, she doesn’t yet know, but she has many ideas and dreams. One is to direct a movie. “I want to try things now that I’m alive. But if the next album will be a challenge, I will do it.”
Laleh Pourkari—this year’s Ulla Billquist scholar. Laleh is an Iranian born Swedish singer-songwriter and former actress. Following a short acting career, she entered the music industry in 2005 with a self-titled album, which peaked at number one in Sweden and became the highest selling album of the year.