Moroccan Swede wins Eurovision. But who is she?

Moroccan Swede wins Eurovision. But who is she?

Who is Loreen, the Swedish singer with Moroccan roots who won Eurovision twice?


Loreen’s real name is Lorine Zineb Nora Talhaoui. She was born in Stockholm in 1983 to Moroccan parents. At 20, she became a household name in Sweden after taking part in the first season of Idol in 2004. She came in at fourth place, and sang covers of songs by Celine Dion, Pink, Stevie Wonder and The Police.

After competing in Idol, Loreen released the single The Snake with Swedish music duo Rob’n’Raz. She presented the TV show Lyssna in 2005 before becoming a segment producer for several Swedish reality shows.

It would be six years before Loreen would return to the public eye, taking part in Melodifestivalen 2011 with My Heart Is Refusing Me, a song she co-wrote with Moh Denebi and Bjorn Djupstrom. The song became a hit on the Swedish Singles Chart, peaking at number nine.

After Loreen’s win at the Eurovision Song Contest in 2012, the song re-entered the charts.

Her winning Eurovision song, Euphoria, meanwhile was number three on the UK Official Singles Chart. It remained in the top 20 for weeks after the competition, a rare feat for a Eurovision song.

Loreen also uses her platform for activism. While competing in Eurovision 2012 in Baku, Azerbaijan, she was the only participant to meet with local human rights activists, telling reporters: “Human rights are violated in Azerbaijan every day. One should not be silent about such things.”

The Azerbaijani government responded by saying the competition should not be politicised and asked the European Broadcasting Union — the organising body of the Eurovision contest ­— to prevent such meetings.

In July 2012, while on a visit to Belarus for her Slavianski Bazaar performance, she met with the wife of pro-democracy activist and political prisoner Ales Bialiatski alongside journalists. In the meeting she expressed her support for political prisoners and signed the petition to ban the death penalty in the country.

Loreen has become one of two people who have won Eurovision twice. Photo: Getty Images

Later in 2012, Loreen released her debut studio album Heal. With a mix of synth-driven ballads and dance songs, the album was a critical and commercial success, topping the charts in Sweden and earning a platinum record status.

A year later, Loreen was appointed as the ambassador of the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan. She would travel to the village Yaskin Bala in Warsaj Valley, overseeing the construction of a primary school. She won the Crystal Globe at the World’s Children’s Prize twice for her humanitarian work.

Over the next few years, Loreen released a number of singles, most of which received mixed reviews. In 2016, she returned to the Eurovision stage, performing at the Eurovision The Party event on the night of the final.

In 2020, she appeared alongside other Eurovision winners in the David Dobkin’s comedy Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga, which was released on Netflix.

The National


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