Interview: Melodifestivalen 2021’s The Mamas Talk ‘In the Middle’, “Glam and Extra” Staging, and Fellow Anticipated Melo Acts

We had the utter joy of talking to The Mamas about their return to Melodifestivalen with new track In the Middle, pre-show rituals, their secretive “glam and extra” staging for Melo 2021, and the acts that they are most excited about watching. Thanks to Dinah, Ash and Loulou for taking the time to chat in the run up their performance in Melodifestivalen’s fourth semi-final on the 27th of February 2021. You can connect with the ladies below. You can read the full interview below the video.

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Culture Fix: You’re back at Melfest! That’s so exciting. What is it about Melodifestivalen that appeals to you as artists?

: Of course it’s the music, the performance, the staging, the lighting all of that is just wow. It’s something to look forward to.

Loulou: Also the rehearsals, trying out the clothes and everything you do around the competition. It’s so much fun. We’ve looked forward to this for six months.

CF: Obviously you guys have experienced all of this before. Does that make you less nervous or does it feel like you are experiencing it all for the first time again?

: You don’t get tired of Christmas though it is every year!

Ash: I know that people are expecting us to do a great job – and I hope according to them we do. Just for ourselves that we do as well.

Loulou: Live up to those expectations.

CF: Thinking back to last year’s winner Move, I wondered if there was a lot of pressure behind that single? Your first original track as a group after all of Europe had fallen in love with you after Eurovision 2019?

: I think we always said that we would apply to Melo if we had the right song, so the song kind of decided it for us. We had been listening to songs just to put out outside of Melo. Then that song came along and we were like “We need to do this one.”

Loulou: Last year, Move was perfect for us. Now a year later and we know each other better. This song is a little more personal, so for this year it’s another song altogether.

CF: Obviously things are top secret regarding In the Middle at the moment, but can you give us any indication of its sound and the inspiration behind it?

: The message behind In the Middle? This world has different groups of people with different beliefs and different everything but in order for the world to be better we all have to meet in the middle – that is the core of the song.

Dinah: If Move was a song how we can move together, in the middle is more how other people will meet you, will still feel some type of connection with you even though you are different. They will show you how you are by being yourself.

CF: I need to take a moment to tell you how much I love your EP ‘Tomorrow is Waiting’ – it’s been my lockdown music of choice. Is there any other new music in the pipeline after In the Middle?

: We’ve been working on new music, so yeah.

Dinah: Hopefully this spring/summer. We’re in the process in-between Melo rehearsals writing music, recording music, re-writing music, re-recording music and just trying to find songs that are right for us individually, right for us as a group, that touch people.

How do you cope with nerves? Do you have any pre-show rituals that prepare you for huge scale performances like Melfest?

: We have this thing where we drop the mic and put our hands in. *check the video for a demonstration*

Dinah: Drop everything, all the anxieties, stuff happening at home, stuff happening in the world.

Loulou: Just drop it before we go entering the stage.

Ash: I pray all the time.

Dinah: We have our little prayer circle and feel connected in our spirituality and each other.

CF: Can you give us any indication of the production style of In the Middle? Would you say it is similar to Move?

Ash: I think it depends on who is listening to it because for me it is completely different from Move. But for someone else it may be similar to Move.

Dinah: It’s got that Mamas sound.

Ash: Exactly, we’re The Mamas. We have a sound now, Move said it all. I think that musically, production wise and with our voices it is more mature in sound. Also it’s melodic. There are some harmonies there, but there is also some strong belting there. It’s different to me.

Loulou: I think it’s a little bit heavier also.

Dinah: I feel like we’re more one voice and that reflects in how we sing it and what you hear.

Ash: It’s very personal.

CF: Can you give me any hints about the staging?

: Wouldn’t you like to know! You’re all in our business. [laughing]

Dinah: I think we can say we done grew up.

Ash: It’s going to be elevated.

Dinah: Glam and extra.

CF: Have you thought about your outfits for the performance?

: Yup *lips sealed motion*

Dinah: [laughs] There will be light

CF: Are there any acts from last year’s contest in 2020

: I really liked the Switzerland, Gjon’s Tears. I really liked his voice.

Dinah & Ash: And Malta! Destiny from Malta. She was amazing.

Ash: And of course Iceland.

*Check the video to hear the ladies sing Daði og Gagnamagnið’s Think About Things

I think there will be so much collective excitement for this year built up from last year. Obviously last year was a great show, but it wasn’t the show we wanted – you guys will know that more than most people. I think Melo 2021 and Eurovision 2021, excitement levels will be sky high.

: I know that several people have said they are going to have Zoom parties and watch together.

Loulou: With masks on!

Dinah: This is something that will brighten up people’s days.

CF; Your performance of In the Middle is semi-final four, will you be tuning into the three other semi-finals?

Loulou: I want to see everything and everyone!

We are big fans of music.

Also we want to see our competition!

CF: Is there that sense of competition?

: It’s friendly! We’re not rivals, it’s just the music that competes. It’s just fun to see what other people do. We were really rooting for some of the people last year. We were standing up and dancing. The whole thing is just fun, we want to see everything.

CF: Do you think it will be strange this year with no live studio audience?

: It’s gonna be different. We won’t get the same adrenaline from the audience that we normally get. We are gonna be okay, we will rise to the occasion and just have a good time. Even though there is this barrier between us and the audience we are hoping that we still reach some people.

Loulou: Make love to the camera!

Dinah: We’ve kind of been practising that throughout 2020. All of our gigs have been on TV or online, so we are used to that.

Loulou: We know now that people are actually watching

Dinah: They will comment and send you love or even record themselves as they’re watching or their kids are dancing.

CF: In terms of your Melodifestivalen colleagues this year, is there anyone that you are particularly excited about seeing?

: I’m really excited about everybody, but I’m really excited to see Patrik [Jean]. I’m so excited to see everybody – I know there are some amazing writers so it is gonna be crazy. Tess of Alcazar. There are some heavy hitters!

Loulou: I want to see Arvingarna. *puts hand on heart* Ash sings their song all the time.

Ash: *Sings Arvingarna’s I Do.* One time I was singing it and they were sitting near me and I didn’t know!

Watch the full interview below.