After staying out of the public eye, Lena Meyer-Landrut has now decided to open up her heart; to reconcile with herself and to restore her confidence. She started dreaming again, just as she did when she was 18. Now, the singer is 28, and in her album Only Love, L, which was released in April this year, Lena talks about love, strength and self-knowledge. In her interview with Discover Germany, she reveals the story behind her process of transformation and talks about the ability to say ‘no’.
TEXT: HANNA KROLLE | MAIN PHOTO © HENDRIK SCHNEIDER / UNIVERSAL MUSIC GMBH
A young woman receives a WhatsApp message. ‘Come by, now’, the message reads. The young woman promptly takes her e-scooter and races through Berlin. The sender has waited for her. Five hours later, she drives back, hyper and inspired. That’s how Lena Meyer-Landrut describes that crazy moment in mid-July when Nico Santos asked her to produce a song with him. The result is the duet Better, which was released only four weeks later. She remembers the day very well: “We wrote that song within five hours. It all worked out super well. I think I arrived at 4pm at Nico’s and left at 9pm. The same night, I met my manager at a showcase and told him: ‘You won’t believe this, but Nico and I have just written an incredible song. The whole night we were so hyper and overwhelmed, and about four weeks later, the song was released.”
Lena’s early success at the Eurovision Song Contest
Lena was 19 when she won the Eurovision Song Contest with Satellite in 2010. On this night, the German broadcaster ARD measured almost 15 million viewers and suddenly, everyone was speaking about the young girl from Hannover. Without vocal training, she had succeeded against 39 other candidates and carried home a victory which only Nicole had achieved before her, 28 years previous. At the time, Lena was still attending high school.
Since that victory in Oslo, a lot of time has passed. She did her A-levels, participated in the contest again, released three albums, and was showered with prizes. After her fourth album, Crystal Sky in 2015, the young musician took a creative break to retreat from the media noise and to find her true self again . “It was a clever idea to restore calm and to sort out my thoughts and emotions. Back then, it felt foggy around me, I didn’t have the courage to have ambitions, to dream and to think big anymore,” Lena remembers today. “Now, I have gained a completely new appreciation of life,” she says.
Photo © Magdalena aka Sirius.Film / Universal Music GmbH
A letter to herself
With Only love, L, Lena rewards her fans with a very personal album about falling down and getting back on your feet again, about self-knowledge and strength, and about the different facades of love, however romantic or platonic. In the opener, Dear L, the singer wrote her younger self a letter and turned it into a song. ‘Dear L, I hope this letter finds you well, this is a letter from yourself, (…) I know you are afraid of the mistakes you gonna make’, she sings, and continues: ‘I know it’s hard to ask for help, When you can’t seem to help yourself. Ooh, dear L, you got the right to be wrong, You won’t fall short for so long’.
“When I started to make music I tried to do too much and just followed my schedule. I didn’t realise that I could have said ‘sorry, I have given 30 interviews today, I’m exhausted. I didn’t know that it’s alright to say ‘no’ to things and to show my emotions. Dear L is about not being afraid of making mistakes and to take life as it is,” Lena states.
Rumours and inner strength
During her almost ten-year career, Lena was often confronted with rumours about herself in the tabloid media. Pondering whether she was anorexic, or if she’d had an affair, were only a few of these gossip pieces. In her earlier days, Lena took this negative attention to heart – and suffered as a result. Today, she has gained strength from her experiences and denounces any violations of her privacy, as the song Boundaries tackles. “Meanwhile, I have the power and strength to let bad feedback bounce off of me. It has nothing to do with me as a person but with me as a projection of society and social media,” Lena confirms.
At the same time, however, the singer provides great insight into her private life: for example, when she announced her album via six emotional video clips, where she talks about the ups and downs of the production of the album. A flashback shows how she sits on a window seat and cries about the breakup from her ex-boyfriend. She therefore toes a narrow line between satisfying the public with information about her, and distancing herself from their feedback: however, she now does so on her own terms. “Although I have become more relaxed during recent years, boundaries are still critical for me. I don’t want to close myself to the public, but there are some statements that simply go below the belt.”
Her family and friends have always been at her side and helped her to come to the point she is at now. “To be close to my loved ones is important to me. I share my thoughts and feelings easily and appreciate if my friends reflect me in an honest way, too. That’s why I refuse to have any superficial relationships.”
Left to right: Photo © Magdalena aka Sirius.Film / Universal Music GmbH | Photo © Universal Music GmbH
On mental wellbeing… and new songs
With her busy schedule, Lena now consciously takes care of her mental and physical wellbeing. “I read biographies, books about mindfulness and about meditation. There are many inspirational sources in my life,” Lena says, smiling. “Doing good to myself sometimes includes being confronted with my own fears. The most comfortable way is not always the healthiest,” she concludes.
For the future, Lena wishes to carry on just as she has. To be authentic, to be surrounded with people that are good to her and to themselves, and to have the privilege to do what she loves: to make music. Any fans who can’t wait for even more new songs from Lena will be pleased: after her tour this spring, she immediately got back into making more music, and some new songs will follow soon in a re-edition of the recent album.
2020 Tour Dates:
— 29 April: Leipzig, Haus Auensee
— 30 April: Munich, Tonhalle
— 1 May: Düsseldorf, Mitsubishi Electric Halle
— 3 May: Frankfurt, Batschkapp
— 4 May: Stuttgart, Beethovensaal
— 6 May: Berlin, Tempodrom
— 7 May: Hamburg, Sporthalle