Product Management Lesson From The Life Of Roxette’s Marie Fredriksson
Marie Fredriksson, the female lead singer of Swedish pop rock group Roxette, died this week at age 61 after a 17-year battle with cancer.
Roxette achieved four No. 1 singles on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100: “The Look”, “Listen to Your Heart”, “It Must Have Been Love”, and “Joyride”. Other hits included “Dangerous”, “Fading Like a Flower”, and “Dressed for Success”, which I am humming along to right now.
I’ve loved Roxette for a long time – everything from their sound to their look to the fun they always seemed to be having on stage. I loved the story of their accidental breakthrough into the US market. But the thing I love most, now, is Marie’s tenacity.
As reported by CBS News:
In 2002, Fredriksson was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. The cancerous tumor was surgically removed, but months of chemotherapy and radiation treatments left her physically weak, unable to read, and nearly blind in one eye. She withdrew from public life and turned to painting as she underwent extensive rehabilitation.
However, by the end of 2012, Roxette — with Marie back in her lead vocalist role — had wrapped up their first U.S. tour in 20 years — a 19-month, 140-city world tour — and also released a new album.
When something bad happens at work — a meeting goes south, your product doesn’t hit its revenue goal, a webinar you’re conducting doesn’t translate into new leads — it’s easy to grow discouraged because you pour so much of yourself into these activities and you just don’t see the expected results.
Clearly, none of those business disappointments compares even remotely to the scourge of cancer. But Marie’s life, I think, provides perspective about the ability we all have to marshal the resources we’ve been blessed with to bring something positive out of those dark times.
As her musical partner Per Gessle said of Marie upon her passing:
Thanks for painting my black and white songs in the most beautiful colors. You were the most wonderful friend for over 40 years. I’m proud, honored and happy to have been able to share so much of your time, talent, warmth, generosity and sense of humor.
One Closing Thought
Death is terrible, and this pain and suffering isn’t how it’s supposed to be. Marie was a talented vocalist. I didn’t know her or what she believed about God, but I know Jesus loved us enough to live and die for us so we could be reconciled with God and adopted into his family. I hope she’s singing her heart out to him right now, on the most unimaginably happy joyride ever.
Enjoy some of Roxette’s music videos…
The Look (1986)
Listen To Your Heart (1988)