Евровидение 2009 - Москва, Россия

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Artist Interviews

Check out the songs here

24 April 2009

Mr. Douwe Reveler, in conjunction with eurosong.be interviewed some of the Eurovision stars of 2009 during their promotional activities in Belgium earlier in April. Douwe kindly shares these interviews here - with Chiara from Malta, Soraya from Spain, Andrea of Montenegro and Nelly from Moldova...

Check out the interviews and some of Douwe's pictures below.

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Last weekend (18th and 19th April 2009) several artists participating in this years Eurovision Song Contest visited Belgium as part of their promotional tours in preparation for Moscow. Eurosong.be  / euro-music vzw offered journalists the chance to speak to the artists in Antwerp during their busy schedules which also included a performance in Amsterdam on the Saturday night before returning to Brussels for an open air concert as part of the celebrations for the Orthodox Easter.

We spoke to Soraya, Nelly Ciobanu, Chiara and Andrea Demirovic about their careers, plans for the future and what the Eurovision means to them

Grateful thanks to Eurosong.be / euro-music vzw

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Soraya

Soraya, welcome to Belgium – How are you ?

Soraya: I’m very well and thank you so much ! This is my first time here and it feels great ! I have already visited Amsterdam and Antwerp feels a bit like Amsterdam …

Let’s go back to 2005 and the start of the adventure Operación Triunfo – What were your expectations ?

I was working in the airline industry that wasn’t going so well at that time and I really wanted to work in a place where I felt happy. You have to believe me when I say I had never ever received any form of training or musical guidance although music had always played an important part in my family life. I come from Extremadura from a normal family where I was taught the real values of life. I used to sing at home with the music turned up really loud (to drown out my voice) I entered the academy under the guidance of famous producer Kike Santander who described me as a ‘rough diamond’. 

..How did your time in the academy help to prepare you for your future career ?

The thing I learned the most was not to be scared in front of an audience and the public. I felt very alone in the academy (being away from my family and loved ones for such a long time was very tough) but it was the opportunity I had been waiting for and I really wanted to follow my dream. I learned such a lot whilst I was there and my first album ‘Corazon de fuego’ was produced by the head of the academy Kike Santander.

Are you still in contact with your colleagues from OT ? In particular the departure of Edurne was a very emotional moment for you ?

You know – I’m still in contact with one or two but you are there in an academy to become a star not to make friends. 16 people are all there for the same reason. Friendship is something that has to be looked after – like a plant – Give it water and take care of it and you see it grow – well this is how it is with my friendship – If friendships are not looked after they will not flourish. When Edurne left the academy it is true, it was a very emotional time. Now though we are not really in contact anymore.

Sandra – (El Secreto de Alex) was also in the academy with you and she was also in this year’s Spanish selection El Retorno.

Sandrita – yes – she was ! You know, she was so young – she was only 16 when she entered the academy. I was the oldest and I felt quite protective toward her – more like her mother than her big sister (laughs …) Now though she doesn’t need looking after – she’s doing just great and has grown a lot !

You have a very successful career. Can you talk us through your four albums to date ?

‘Corazon de fuego’ was my first disc – at that time I was still very new to the world of music – I finished in second place in the competition and Kike Santander gave me this wonderful opportunity. The second two discs ‘Ochenta’s and ‘Dolce Vita’ are covers – songs from the 80’s and 90’s. I see them more as two halves of one entirety as opposed to two totally separate discs. As an artist recording covers isn’t really what you want to be doing but you have to do things sometimes that are what your public wants you to do. Both discs were very popular and successful. The fourth album ‘Sin Miedo’ is the place where I really want at be at the moment and is the most authentic. The electronic dance market is the direction I want to go and this selection of songs shows this clearly.

In all honesty gospel and soul music is what I really, really love … at the moment this is not what the public wants from me. I’m still young (26) so I can sing and dance and jump on stage – perhaps when I’m older things will change …

Can you describe your feelings on the night of the final of El Retorno – how did you feel ?

Oh – when the jury gave 12 points to Melody I felt really bad in one way as I thought – ok that’s it … it’s over. In my heart though I still believed that the public would support me and when Alaska announced my name as the winner I was so emotional and happy ! It’s such an honour to represent Spain in this contest !

Let’s talk about Kate Ryan – you have co-operated with each other – How did this come about ?

Kate and I are a bit like sisters, we even look a bit alike (both short blond hair) – our paths have also taken similar routes – starting by covering other songs and now moving onto the electronic dance market !  Our record company initiated the co-operation.

Kate represented Belgium in 2006 with ‘Je t’adore’ – since winning the Spanish ticket for Moscow have you been in contact with her and if yes, did she give you some tips ?

Yes I have been in contact with Kate through Facebook and yes she has given me two really valuable pieces of advice – first of all to do my very best and secondly to enjoy every moment ! It’s a once in a lifetime experience so make the most of it which I intend to do. This year there are so many great artists taking part like Patricia Kaas so for me it will be another step in the learning process.

Do you have some favourites amongs Spain’s Eurovision songs ?

Yes, I do but mainly from the more recent years – for example Rosa’s song and also D’Nash and ‘I love you mi vida’ with whom I am in very close contact. I hope to see them very soon and then for sure they will give me some more information following their experiences in the Eurovision

Have you had the opportunity to listen to the songs for this years contest and if so do you have a favourite ?

I have and yes I do – I like very much the songs from Turkey, Azerbaijan and Norway

You will sing song n° 25 – the last song of the night, a position chosen by your Head of Delegation – Do you feel this is an advantage ?

I’m not sure – Song Contest experts tell me it is a good thing as your song and performance will be fresh in people’s minds. For me it doesn’t really make a great deal of difference.

Can you tell us something about your performance in Moscow ? Is everything ready ?

Yes it is and I promise you something very special that you will not have seen before at the Eurovision !  I will have dancers and backing vocalists with me on stage. My outfit will be a jumpsuit  in a vibrant colour to match my song and country with diamonds on it – I don’t want to promote the name but famous diamonds !

What is the next stop for you in the promotional tour ?

Romania, Portugal and Sweden are next …

Every success in the contest and many thanks for your time !

You are very welcome and great to speak to you too !

     

Chiara

Chiara is representing Malta for the third time in the Eurovision Song Contest and is hoping it will be third time lucky following a 3rd place and 2nd place … the only way is up …

Chiara – welcome back to Belgium – It must feel like a second home for you ?

Thank you and yes it does – I have very strong links with Belgium and this has been the case for a long time now. I have family living in Oostende which is a really beautiful place. This year my song has a Belgian composer and author (Marc Paelinck and Gregory Bilsen), it was recorded in Antwerp so yes there are a lot of ties with the country.

How have your first two adventures into Eurovision land helped prepare you for this third participation ?

The first time I competed back in 1998 with ‘The one that I love’ I was very inexperienced – I came very close to winning and ended up in 3rd place but it was a wonderful learning experience for me. In 2005 with ‘Angel’ I was more aware of what was going on and I managed to take 2nd place. This time I really hope it will be third time lucky with my favourite song of the 3.

Yes, let’s talk about ‘What if we’ for a moment – What is the story behind this song ?

Well the song was written specifically for me – and I’m dedicating it to the memory of my dear father who passed away a few months ago. You know he was such an inspiration – he was always there for me so this song really does mean a lot and I’m singing it for him and his memory … and for Malta of course ! The first time I heard ‘What if we’ was in October 2008 and I immediately fell in love with it. My father also heard the song at that time so we started this journey together …

Malta in the last few contests hasn’t done too well – why do you think you were chosen by the Maltese public ?

It is true – the last years Malta hasn’t done so well. I think the Maltese people voted for me because they have faith in me and are confident that I can bring them back to the final (hopefully !) They know what I can do and believe in me which is wonderful and a great honour !

A 3rd place, A 2nd place … there isn’t much room for improvement …

 (Laughs) Yes – there is a lot of pressure but that’s fine – adrenaline can work miracles you know ! I believe in this song so much and trust that all will go well.

Angel – the song you presented in 2005 – can you tell us something more about it ?

Yes - it’s a simple love story – again with influences of my father who was already ill at that time – he was with me in Kiev (unfortunately in hospital) so I have very strong feelings when I perform this song.

We have heard that the Eurovision is very big in Malta – Is this true ?

Oh absolutely – On the night of the final everyone is in front of a tv screen somewhere ! Maltese people really love the Eurovision !

Have any of the singers that have represented Malta in the past offered you some words of advice or support ?

Yes they have – in particular Ludwig (who represented Malta in 2004 together with Julie) He has really been a great support – a true friend who is there not only in good times but also in bad times. Also Glenn Vella must be mentioned who has been fantastic !

This year the televoting results will be combined with the results of a professional jury – Are you happy with this new system ?

Yes, I am – I understand that neighbor/block voting etc was becoming a problem – This system will help that situation hopefully but there will always be an element of national pride (for the diaspora voting for their own country wherever in Europe they might be) or a sense of voting for what is familiar and well known. You know in 2005 with ‘Angel’ I didn’t get many 12 points or 10 points for that matter – It is possible to still win with getting 7s or 8s from everybody. Therefore even if a country gives it’s neighbours the top scores everything is still wide open.

You are performing in position n° 17 – Do you feel that this is an advantage for you performing a big ballad ?

I’m happy with this place but I’m not sure if it makes that much difference – In 2005 I sang 3rd and came 2nd. In 1998 I performed as 10th and came 3rd so we’ll see what happens in Moscow.

Your famous wink during a Eurovision performance – Will it also be incorporated into the performance of ‘What if we’ ?

(Smiles) THE wink – of course – well, I couldn’t do Eurovision without it could I !? It will be there for sure !

Chiara, all that remains for us to do is to wish you every success in the contest and many thanks for your time.

Thank you !

Andrea

Andrea Demirovic will be the first woman to represent Montenegro in the Eurovision Song Contest and is hoping to make it 3rd time lucky and become the first entrant from the country to make it to the Saturday night. We spoke to her during her promotional visit to Belgium about her career so far and her hopes for the future.

Andrea, hello – how are you ?

I’m very well – thank you – It’s wonderful to be here !

You will be (just like last year) the first person to take to the stage – How do you feel about opening the contest ?

I feel a little bit nervous about it I have to be honest – it is a huge responsibility but I think everything will go very well. I believe in my song which is very catchy and I think that it deserves a place in the final … I hope it deserves a place in the final … however it is all in the hands of the public so we will see but it would be so, so good to make it to the final …

Your career started in 2002 ?

That’s right – I participated in the music festival Suncane Skale. In the next years I took part in a number of contests leading up to the participation in 2005 for the Eurovision selection where I finished in 5th place. 2006 was a big year as my first album called Andrea came out – 1 of the songs I wrote myself and the others were all written by the famous singer Vesna Pisarovic who represented Croatia in 2002. In 2008 I tried again to represent Montenegro but finished in 2nd place. This time though I was lucky – Around 28 songs were presented to Montenegrin television and I was chosen out of those.

‘Just get out of my life’ has a very international song writing team behind it – Can you explain how the collaboration with Ralph Siegel, Bernd Meinunger and Jose Juan Santana came about ?

Jose contacted me after having seen me perform the song ‘Sta ce mi dani’ during the Montenegrin semi final and ultimately the Serbian-Montenegrin final for the Eurovision in 2005. He really loved that song and that brought me to his attention.  We sent demo’s to Mr Siegel who was impressed with my vocals and that’s how it all started – Ralph Siegel actually said – I was an angel to work with – so easy and if someone of his experience says this I feel very happy ! I have already recorded the single ‘The Queen of the night’ – the English version of ‘La reina de la noche’ from the Spanish Eurovision selection of 2007 (also written by Jose Juan Santana) Later this year my second album will be released.

Can you tell us something about the staging of your song in Moscow ?

Yes sure, we will be with 6 people – 4 backing vocalists and a boy dancer who is the person I want out of my life … (laughs)

Andrea can you tell us something about your country Montenegro ?

Montenegro is a very small country but it is very beautiful. It is possible to travel from one side to the other in one day. I like to think it is untouched … wild and very beautiful ! People from Montenegro are very nice and welcoming !

Andrea, you have performed your song at various national finals – have you heard all of the songs taking part in this year’s contest and if so do you have some favourites ?

Yes I have had the opportunity to perform on several stages and I really like the songs from Turkey, Greece and the United Kingdom. Jade in particular has made a great impression on me - such a beautiful song and singer.

How do you cope with pressures like for example performing at festivals ?

I like to be alone or perhaps with a few people who are very important to me such as my father or my producer.

Do you have any rituals or superstitions before going on stage ?

Yes, I do (touches a necklace with an angel on) – I kiss this angel and hope that everything will be fine. It goes everywhere with me, in fact I have angels all over my house !

Andrea, thank you so much for your time and for this interview – good luck in the contest !

Thank you so much – really nice to speak to you and see you in Moscow !

Nelly

Nelly Ciobanu representing Moldova in the second semi final of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest was a surprise but very welcome guest on Sunday afternoon in Brussels during the Orthodox Easter celebrations where she performed a set of 4 songs including of course ‘Hora din Moldova’. We spoke to Nelly after her performance about her preparations for Moscow.

Nelly, welcome to Brussels – this is an unexpected pleasure

Nelly - Thank you very much – well yes, I was invited to perform here by the organizers (www.arthis.org in cooperation with www.eurosong.be) Last night I was in Amsterdam along with many other artists for this year’s contest performing our Eurovision songs and today here in Brussels. I am here as part of my promotional tour which has only just started.

Were you satisfied with your performance in Amsterdam ?

Oh yes, everything went really well.

Most artists are now coming to the end of their respective promo tours – Do you think that by starting later it will perhaps be more effective ?

Possibly – perhaps in this way I stay in people’s minds …

Moldova is a relative newcomer to the contest – What does the Eurovision mean to Moldovan’s ?

Eurovision is a big thing in Moldova – We are very happy that each year our national selection is becoming more and more professional. We are learning new skills and new ways of competing in this contest.

Have the four artists who have already represented Moldova given you some advice in preparation for Moscow ?

Of course – they told me to perform with confidence, to have good visions and I must not be too emotional

Tell us a little about the song you will sing - ‘Hora din Moldova’

This song is very dynamic – It is very traditional Moldovan music that is closely connected to the entire Balkan area. 61% of the televote was for my song during the national final which gave me a great deal of confidence knowing that my people are really behind me ! The song has beautiful words and captures a nostalgic feeling with drive, a great mood and a lot of joy. The Hora is a Moldovan folk dance  which is very energetic. Hora means ‘circle’ .Our planet is in the form of a circle – if we all held hands and danced the Moldovan Hora no one would doubt we are all one family. Unity and love a key words.

Moldova is a country that many people know very little about – Can you tell us what we really should know about Moldova ?

Oh – Moldova is a very beautiful, sunny country with very kind and hospitable people

Have you listened to this year’s songs and if yes, do you have a favourite ?

This year’s contest will be a very colourful contest – of that I am sure ! It will also be very difficult as some artists already have very long careers and therefore have a wealth of experience whilst others are total newcomers – in this respect it will be tough to judge.

Do you have any favourite songs from past Eurovision contests ?

Yes,  ABBA’s song and also Celine Dion who I greatly admire.

Nelly, thank you so much for your time and good luck in the contest next month.

Thank you !

Grateful thanks to Inga Milosavljevic for her assistance with this interview

 

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