The Mamas were due to represent Sweden at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam with their song “Move”. It’s gospel, it’s soulful, and it’s already hit the top spot in the Swedish charts.
The Mamas – that’s Loulou Lamotte, Ashley Haynes and Dinah Yonas Manna – were chosen to represent Sweden by winning Melodifestivalen 2020, the country’s national selection show. It was a tight finish, they beat Dotter’s “Bulletproof” by just one point.
Now, we’ve compiled 10 facts you need to know about The Mamas. Let’s do this!
Sweden at Eurovision 2020: Facts about The Mamas
1. They are an international trio
Not only Sweden can claim The Mamas as its own, so can two other countries: the USA and Eritrea. Ashley (32) is a Washington D.C. native, while Malmö born Loulou (38) is of American descent. Meanwhile, Stockholm’s Dinah (37) is proud of her Eritrean background.
2. There was a fourth Mama
The eagle-eyed among you will know that there were originally four Mamas. The group’s founding member Paris Renita left in August 2019 to focus on her solo work. Speaking to wiwibloggs at Melodifestivalen, the three ladies confirmed that upon Paris’ departure, their management asked if they wanted to find a replacement. But all three responded in unison — “no, we’re good”! Loulou explains: “Because we’ve been working so intensely together, we got to know each other. And having a new member, after being [so close-knit] for six months, I think it would be hard for the new member and it would be hard for us”. There are no plans for Paris to return — “she is doing her thing”.
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The Mamas' Mama Paris Renita! ??? Our founder, sister and fellow Mama has chosen to step down from the group after the upcoming fall tour with John, due to her own solo assignments colliding with The Mamas’ calendar. We will always cherish the wonderful memories, experiences and shenanigans the four of us have had!??? We’re so grateful to have one last adventure together as we tour Scandinavia in October. Then The Mamas will continue on in the spirit of Mama P and we are very much looking forward to our next chapter as a threesome! Much Love, The Mamas .?????????
3. They came fifth at Eurovision 2019
Well, sort of. The Mamas were the backing singers for the 2019 Swedish act, John Lundvik. They were extremely popular, so much so that the act was often referred to as “John Lundvik and the Mamas”. They played a key role in both the music and the staging of the song “Too Late for Love”, which achieved a top five finish on the scoreboard in Tel Aviv.
Ashley explains how it all happened — “We were just doing a gig. We’re all professional singers and singing background was something that I know I did professionally for a long time. And for us it wasn’t in the plan for us to be a group”. However, they worked so well together that they decided to continue as a group. “It was a match made in heaven”, says Dinah.
4. Loulou is no stranger to Melodifestivalen
Loulou appeared as a backing vocalist, alongside fellow Swedish star Oscar Zia, for rapper Behrang Miri’s “Jalla Dansa Sawa” (Come On And Dance Together) at Melodifestivalen 2013. Unfortunately for the dynamic trio, Behrang failed to qualify for the grand final, losing out to Anton Ewald’s “Begging” in the Andra Chansen battles. Nonetheless, the track was a chart hit, peaking at four and staying inside the top 100 for 14 weeks.
5. Ashley knows when to take a gamble
During Melodifestivalen 2019, Ashley worked at a call centre in Washington D.C. However, when her company refused to grant her time off to perform at the grand final, she took a gamble, and quit her job! She told Aftonbladet: “I refused to miss this opportunity”. The gamble certainly paid off, as Ashley now lives in Sweden, working full-time as a singer.
6. They love Disney
So much so, that The Mamas’ first single as a group was a cover of “When You Wish Upon A Star” from Disney’s “Pinocchio”. The song was part of a compilation album entitled We Love Disney. Don’t we all! Reviewing the release, our William wrote — “Their vocal prowess really comes to the fore with this intimate and soft Christmas number, and it already has us dreaming of laying out cookies for Santa and his reindeer”.
7. Rylan Clark-Neal won’t be giving them a lift again
At Eurovision 2020 in Tel Aviv, British TV presenter and UK commentator Rylan Clark-Neal started a pop-up taxi service, inviting The Mamas along for a ride to the arena. Their short taxi ride ended rather unexpectedly, with Rylan kicking them out of his taxi!
8. The Mamas are mamas
Their name rings true, as both Loulou and Dinah are proud parents. They state so in their Instagram bios, and all three of the Mamas regularly keep us updated on their family lives via social media.
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“I believe the children are our are future Teach them well and let them lead the way Show them all the beauty they possess inside Give them a sense of pride to make it easier Let the children's laughter remind us how we used to be” ??? ?: @stinastjernkvist ?: @thevoiceofdinah
9. Loulou is a Swedish Idol
Back in 2008, Loulou competed on Swedish Idol, making the live shows and finishing in ninth place overall. Two other Melfest 2020 acts are part of Idol’s class of ’08, with Robin Bengtsson finishing third, and Anna Bergendahl in fifth place. Other known names from the season include Linda Pritchard, Kevin Borg and Alice Svensson.
10. Loulou knows how to embrace her curves
No stranger to TV competitions, Loulou also appeared on Celebrity Biggest Loser in Sweden back in 2017. Loulou finished runner-up in the weight-loss competition, which was won by the infamous Melfest star Anna Book. Since the show, Loulou has embraced her figure and worked her curves to the max at Melfest.
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Vilken kärleksresa!! Jag har fått såååå många fina, underbara kommentarer och hälsningar. Helt FANTASTISKT att ni tar er tid att skriva till mig ???? Ska försöka svara men om jag missar något så ska ni veta att jag har läser ALLT och blir supermotiverad att fortsätta kämpa!! STOR KRAM TILL ER ALLA VERKLIGEN!!! Jag är så rörd, stolt och tacksam att det knappt finns ord ?? ????
Eurovision 2021 update
Sweden confirmed the return of its national final within hours of the cancellation news breaking. However, unlike some other countries, Sweden has yet to comment on whether The Mamas will get a free pass to compete in Melodifestivalen 2021.
What do you think of The Mamas? Do you hope to see them back at Melodifestivalen? Let us know in the comments.