With thanks to Zoë and Mirella Maiolo


Interview by Douwe Reveler for

Published by Gary Speirs for


ZOË, many congratulations on winning the Austrian ticket to the Eurovision Song Contest. How are you feeling and can you describe how you felt when you were announced as the winner of the competition Wer singt für Österreich ?


I was so happy! Indescribebly happy and grateful. It was a dream come true! You know, it was the second attempt and I could not believe took some time until I realized it!


Of the other songs in Wer singt für Österreich which did you feel was your closest rival ?


All artists had amazing songs with strong performances. At the end I was on stage with Elly V and Bella Wagner. Then Elly V and I have been chosen for  the really last round and I made it..


We will talk about 'Loin d'ici' in more detail later but can you first introduce yourself ? Where were you born and are you still living there ? Can you describe the place ?


Hi, my name is ZOË, I am 19 years old and I am a singer, songwriter and actress from Austria . I was born in Vienna and I still live in Vienna . The city has a beautiful city center where you can relive its history, You can find a huge cultural offer. The thing that I love most from Vienna is the Danube that you can sit around the river and enjoy the sun.


I started my professional career as a singer right after my school leaving exam. Last year I released my first album „debut“ and played roles in two popular TV-series in Austria, and I started to get some international attention through a website called


Can you outline the highlights of your career so far ?


I would like to mention this five points:

• The collaboration with my father: writing and creating music with him

• The first concert I played at the Global Rockstar event 2014

• The release of my first album debut

• Representing Austria at the Eurovision Song Contest

• The extremely affectionate reception of the Eurovision fans at „Eurovision in Concert” in Amsterdam J That was the most moving moment for me so far


When and where did you start singing ?


Music always played a particular role in my life.My parents told me that  when I was born that instead of crying I made some noises...I was almost singing ;) But besides that I was always interested of what my father was doing in the I start singing very early and my first live performance was at an event of the company of my father, Global Rockstar. This is when my father and I wrote our first song together. This is the clip. I was 16 years old I think :



Do you come from a musical family and if so can you tell us more about them?


In my family, music was always around me. My mum is a singer, my father is a songwriter and producer and used to have his studio at home. I spent a lot of time with him in the studio when I was very small and was always interested in what he was doing. We always played music to have fun...Also my grandfather is really addicted to music. When I was a small kid he introduced me to the French Chanson.


Who are your main musical influences ?


I love to listen to differents music styles, but I think I got influenced  a lot by The Beatles and ABBA.


If you were not a singer what would be your dream occupation ?


I always loved to be creative so I never thought about anything else. Singing and acting are a way to express myself. Being a singer or an actress was my dream


You are also a tv personality and actress. Can you tell us more about these two aspects of your career?


Well yes, at school I already took part in small theaters groups and I liked it and it was fun so that I continued this passion. In 2014 & 2015 I played a small role in an Austrian TV sitcom and last year I also played in Pregau a bit part.


You participated in Wer singt für Österreich last year and came 3rd. Can you tell us more about 'Quel filou', the song you participated with ?


Quel filou was released on my album debut. It is also in French and it is about a man who plays a little  bit and flirts  with woman but in a charming way. Filou means rascal ;) and also this song is menat to put a smile on the faces of the people and to create a good mood.


Your song last year and the song you are taking to Stockholm are in the French language. Can you tell us more about why you chose to sing in French and not in English or German for example ?


Well, we are really francophil at home. My grandparents live in Paris since two decades. My dad and I attended the French school in Vienna so I really grew up addicted to the French culture and French is kind of second mother tongue  and it’s a part of me. I love to sing in French: it’s melodic and also a way to express my emotions.


What made you decide to participate again this year ?


I already participated last year in the National preliminaries for the Austrian Entry 2015, but didn’t make it. Then the ORF (the national broadcaster) asked me if I wanna try it again and as it was always my dream I’d say yes and I made it!


Can you tell us more about 'Loin d'ici' and the meaning of the lyrics?


Loin d’ici“ is a song about a journey to an imaginary paradise – a place where everyone is happy singing and dancing. It’s not a physical place, more a state of mind. „Loin d’ici“ is meant to radiate positive vibes to put a smile on the faces of those who listen to it. J


What are the strengths of this composition in your opinion that will hopefully persuade people from Moscow to Rome and from Paris to Sydney to vote for it ?


The song is neither in English nor in my countrys language German which is already something non-typical , I think that singing in a different language opens a door for every other language and culture. Loin d’ici is meant to radiate positive vibes to those who listen to it. I thing my song shows a positive European spirit


You have written and composed the song together with your father. How is it working with a close family member ?


We both share the love for music and it was such a beautiful process working on the music and lyrics together! We had the best time of our life. And we felt very close. For exemple: When we first listened to the recording of Loin d’ici, we both felt that there was something special about it. Maybe just because we did not put any pressure in the writing and recording of this track. We just let it flow. Maybe that’s the reason why working together is so great!


Interview continues below images

Photos Credit : ORF / Milenko Badzic

Can you tell us about the staging of the song in Stockholm ? Will it be similar to when you won in Austria ? Will you have backing vocalists on stage with you ?


I’ll be alone on stage. There will be 3 backing vocalists on the B-Stage. The performance will be accompanied by visuals of a fantasy land and a road that I walk on. I continue my way on this path from arid landscapes to the most colorful flower meadows. And I will have the power of magic, transforming a winter landscape into a flower meadow


The team is currently working on these visuals and I’m very excited to see the first drafts soon!


What will you be wearing and can you tell us who will design your dress ?


We are still searching for the perfect dress but I’m sure we’ll find it in the next days. We already have found great dresses for the other events, like the red carpet at the mayors reception, from great designers such as Lena Hoschek and Michel Mayer and many more.


Can you tell us more about the video clip. When and where was it filmed and what is he story behind it ?


The shooting was great since I know the whole team for a long time. They shot all my videos and they are so professional and relaxed at the same time. It was shot 2 weeks after Wer singt für Österreich? outside from Vienna .The visuals shimmers in pastel shades and are in the style of yellow submarine. The story is this journey through places and time: you can see different seasons, the weather changes, the places changes but I continue my way...


Let me tell you that a little story: I was wearing a dress that was pretty tight around my knees. At one point, I fell from the treadmill and realised that I could not get up, because the dress was so tight. Two people from the team had to lift me up, and I was laughing so much.


Have you followed the Eurovision Song Contest closely over the years ?


Since I was a little kid, I have always been fascinated by this great event! The stage, the lights, the amazing singers and the staging . We always watched the Eurovision at home.


Do you have a favourite winning song and perhaps a favourite Austrian entry ?


Well I liked a lot Loreen and Euphoria. I love Waterloo ! And my favorite Austrian entry is Conchita – she sent out such a strong message and her perfomance was stunning!


Last year Austria and more specifically Vienna played host to the contest. How was the vibe in the city ? Were you in Vienna at that time and what did you enjoy most when you watched the shows ?


It was a big melting pot of different languages, people came from everywhere to party. It was a huge party. I performed at the town hall square which was a meeting point for every ESC fan, a great and positive atmosphere. During the final show I was in Salzburg for an ESC concert and we watched it there.  


How important is the Eurovision Song Contest in Austria ?


I think it is very important. Austria won with Udo Jürgens and Conchita brought back the Eurovision to Vienna . It became a special event and young artists during the national preliminaries aim to qualify as it is also an important platform.


Can you describe the Austrian music scene in more detail ?


Austria is a small country but we have lots of talented musicians. Then every year we have the Danube festival which is the biggest open air festival in Europe . Austrian and foreign musicians and singer get the chance to perform on different stages. Great bands and singer like Wanda, Conchita or Christina Stürmer are successful also outside Austria which is great sign.


Have you received any words of advice or congratulations from any previous Austrian representatives and if yes what did they say to you ?


The Makemakes supported me and wished me good luck and Conchita congratulated me also and gave me the advice to leave the threadmill at home


Conchita put Austria firmly back on the Eurovision map in 2014. Did you enjoy 'Rise Like a Phoenix ' ?


Definitly! I mean she brought back Eurovision to Austria and who knows if today I would represent Austria if she would had not win. Besides, Conchita is an amazing artist and this performance was so great, every detail oft he show so perfect.


Unfortunately last year Austria failed to score with The Makemakes and 'I Am Yours'. Was it a big shock for you to see your country go from first place in 2014 to joint last in 2015 ?


Yes it was. I never imagined that and I appreciated how the Makemakes dealed with it. Of course I feel a bit the pressure but I will do my best and hope that people like my song.


A promotional tour in the lead up to the contest has become popular in recent years. You were in Amsterdam recently. Can you tell us more about that experience ? Do you have further plans to promote 'Loin d'ici' internationally and if so where will you travel to ?


I will be in London to promote my song...and as the Eurovision is very close we have to start to finalize everything for the show. I would love to travel more, but I have a busy time schedule, so I think I will really focus on the performance.


Do you plan any different versions of the song for promotional purposes ?


Well, we made some remixes of Loin d’ici that will be on my upcoming album Debut Deluxe. The release is on 29 April (2016)


The contest this year will take place in Stockholm . Will it be your first time there or do you already know the city ?


I have never been there – but everyone tells me that it is a beautiful city – I am so excited and May is so close.


Sweden is one of the most successful countries in the Eurovision Song Contest. What is the key to their success in your opinion ?


Good question! They are creative and they  kept always pace with the times. And I think their passion to music is unique.


Did you enjoy the winning song last year ('Heroes') ?


Yes I did.The song is catchy and Måns had an stunning show.


Would you consider yourself a fan of the group ABBA and which of their songs is your favourite ?


Yes, I love ABBA and Waterloo is my favorite song of them.


What are you most looking forward to and what do you hope to gain from participating in the contest ?


The Eurovision 2016 is the biggest event in my career so far , and I am living an amazing experience that I will always keep in my heart. For the rest of my life. Even if I don't end up getting very far in the contest. I hope meeting wonderful interesting, music loving people whith whom I'll be able to share my passion for music . And I can’t hardly wait to get on stage


Since 2015 Australia has joined the contest. What is your reaction to this development ?


I think it’s great! The Eurovision Song Contest is followed by millions of people around the world. This shows that music has no borderlines. It would be amazing if other Non European countries would participate, too.


Have you listened to any of the other competing songs this year and if so do you have any favourites ?


I listened to all of them but I could not tell yet since they are many great songs and so many great artists. In fact, the Eurovision is all about these 3 min on stage and one can only tell if it was a great performance after seeing the live performance. If you don’t manage to connect with the audience in these 3 min, it won’t work, I think.


That’s why, in my opinion, it is very very difficult to name favorites now according to videoclips or previous performances...


You will be the musical ambassador for Austria in Stockholm . Can you tell us some interesting things about your country you feel people really need to know ? What makes you proud to be Austrian ?


Austria is a beautiful and safe country and has a great musical history. I’m proud that the greatest musicians in classical music (like Mozart) were austrians. I’m also proud that Austria decided to let a french song represent the country in the Eurovision 2016 J It shows that Austrians are real Europeans, living the European idea from their heart.


Do you enjoy cooking ?


Yes I do enjoy, but I am not a good cook ;)


What is your favourite Austrian food ?


I love to eat a good Wiener Schnitzel.


Do you have any time for hobbies and if so what do you enjoy doing ? 


At the moment I am pretty busy – but, you know this is my passion... I love to meet friends and hang out with them, reading a good book and I love sleeping…if my schedule allows it I can sleep over 12  hours


If you could sing with any artist or artists (dead or alive) who would you choose and why ?


I would like to sing with Freddie Mercury, he is an idol for me I grew up with his music. I just imagine to sit next to him and look over the shoulder  while he is composing music, while he is creative.


Do you perform any rituals before you go on stage ?


Yes .. sometimes I make a superman pose ;)


What are your plans immediately after the contest in May ?


My current album will be released in a special edition called „Debut Deluxe“. It will feature „Loin d’ici“ + 4 Bonus tracks. Then, I will be touring a lot. I love playing live with my band.


I would love to start working on a new album, but the focus is currently on the Eurovision. Anyways I'm getting inspired to write new songs everyday by all the amazingly exciting things that are happening to me for the moment :)


Do you have a message for the readers of this interview ?


Dear Readers! I'm really looking forward to the Eurovision 2016 and I can’t wait to be on stage and sing Loin d'ici for you! If you like my song and feel happy after listening to it, then of course I'd be honored if you vote for me ! Bisous from Austria  


ZOË, thank you very much for taking the time to speak with us ! Bonne chance in the contest and enjoy the experience !

Merci beaucoup