Ivan represented Belarus at the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest with Help You Fly. He performed at the ‘We Can’ charity anniversary festival held in St Petersburg, Russia on 7 October. Eliana Goncharova interviewed Ivan for ESC Covers.
Giulia Falcone is a rising young star from Italy and she has just released her first official single called Underwater. Giulia took time out to talk to ESC Covers about her new song and about her singing career so far –
Sofia Feskova will soon represent Russia at the 2020 Junior Eurovision Song Contest with her song My New Day (Moy novyy den). Sofia has just done an interview for the children’s Teledetki tv channel based in St Petersburg, Russia.
Two correspondents from Teledetki tv, Darya Marchenko and Adele Fattakhova, interviewed Sofia and talked about her rehearsals and her plans for Junior Eurovision.
Sofia told how she starts each day and how she prepares for school. Then she goes to the rehearsal studio every day to prepare for Junior Eurovision. The school of Igor Krutov is helping with all the preparations for Sofia, and they put her through difficult but important rehearsal procedures each day to make a Junior Eurovision performance as perfect as it can be.
The 2020 Junior Eurovision Song Contest will take place on 29 November. We wish Sofia lots of luck for the competition.
Thank you to Teledetki tv and their reporters – Darya Marchenko and Adele Fattakhova.
You can see the Teledetki tv video interview, in Russian, with Sofia below and also the official music video for My New Day (Moy novyy den) below.
Uzari & Maimuna represented Belarus at the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest with Time. ESC Covers talked with Uzari about his new album, ‘Say Wow’ and his experience at Eurovision and about his career.
1. Hello Uzari. Congratulations on the release of your new album, ‘Say Wow’. Can you tell us about the album and inspirations you had with the songs?
Hi, thank you very much! Talking about the main concept of the album, I would say that it reflects the colours and tones of our lives. Every day we fall in love, we feel like heroes, we feel joy, we get inspired or sad, even angry sometimes. This is where I find inspiration: in emotions and feelings. I think everyone may find something in these songs that will touch something inside. Because the lyrics are filled with meaning, some of the thoughts are really deep.
2. Is there a lead single from the album? Can you tell us about this and if there will be a video clip?
Yes, definitely. It is the song ‘Say Wow’. I think it’s a nice and original name of the album. We’re thinking about a music video, maybe a little bit later we’ll do it.
3. Are there any collaborations on the new album?
Yes, we had an interesting collaboration with American hip-hop artist Toure Masters. Imagine, we’ve created a song while being located on different continents, this is crazy!!
4. Where can readers purchase or stream the new album ‘Say Wow’?
The new album ‘Say Wow’ is available at all streaming platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, etc. If you follow this link you will see all of them and may choose what you prefer: https://band.link/SayWow
5. It was back in 2015 that you represented Belarus at the Eurovision Song Contest together with Maimuna with ‘Time’. What were your memories and experience of that journey?
Eurovision gave me so many impressions and friends I didn’t have before, I have very warm memories of that time. It was a great experience despite the fact that I didn’t qualify for the final. I am always open for collaborations and anyone can reach out for me in social media: @uzarinawrocki.
6. Do you still keep in touch with Maimuna? Have you worked with her since Eurovision?
I don’t have anything common with Maimuna in a creative sense. We are very different from each other and only such a powerful song as ‘Time’ might connect us. After Eurovision we are back in our areas of self-sufficient activity and projects.
7. Do you have any plans to participate in Eurovision again either as a performer or composer?
First of all, UZARI haven’t been on Eurovision as solo artist!! I took part as back-vocalist, composer and as part of a duet. And I am grateful to everyone who worked with me. It was very cool. I can say that Eurovision is a family and if you’ve been there once, you want to come back again. It’s true! I am open for collaboration and of course I have my own ideas.
8. Please tell us a little about your previous song releases.
The goal of my previous most significant works was to update the musical trends of my country and to spread Belarusian culture abroad. Especially the album ‘Padziaka Serca’.
9. Have you participated in any music festivals in Belarus and other countries? If so, please tell us about this.
Yes, there were different festivals, but I would notice Laima Rendez Vous festival in Latvia. Because it has a special atmosphere and a high level of artists. My performances there have become a tradition for me.
10. Who are your musical inspirations?
Talking about those who inspire me, there are some artists who took part in Eurovision: Waylon, Jamala, Loreen, Guy Sebastian.
Thank you, Uzari. Good luck with the new album and keep safe.
Eriona Rushiti composed Ktheju Tokës, which is the song that Jonida Maliqi will sing for Albania at the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv, Israel in May.
Eriona took time out to speak to ESC Covers –
1. Congratulations on your composition, “Ktheju tokës”, being chosen to represent Albania at the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest. How did you feel when Jonida won Festivali i Këngës #57?
Of course full of joy. Thank you Ian for the interview. But immediately I felt a great responsibility at that moment. It was not simply the victory of a prize, but it was the feeling that “Ktheju tokes” (Return to the land) was not just a song created by myself, but a song of all Albanians representing a small and dignified country in a grand contest.
2. Have you ever worked with Jonida Maliqi before, and how is she feeling that she will be on the Eurovision stage in Tel Aviv?
No, I’ve never collaborated with Jonida. For me it’s the first time I write a song for Jonida’s vocals. Despite having known her for years as a singer, Jonida was also my student at the time when I just started my first teaching at the University of Arts. This song sounded perfect for Jonida. So, as soon as she heard the song, she fell in love with it. And so it continues today. Jonida tells me that in the Tel Aviv scene she will sing with the same passion that she gave to the song from the first moment. When she sings the song she feels it, and feels it with every bit of her soul. She said it fills her full of emotions, something that she has not felt with songs before.
3. Can you tell us something about “Ktheju tokës” and what it is about?
“Ktheju tokes” -music and lyrics are written by me, arrangement and music production by Enis Mullaj. It is a song-message for anyone who has to return to their identity, to their originality, to their land, to search deep in their roots for the best and to return to the human feelings, where life gets a meaning. Many Albanians from more than 25 years left Albania massively for a better life. Despite this message being current to Albanians, the world has recognised it as a phenomenon since the history of humanity. “Ktheju tokes” is a genre of mixed styles: ethnic, folkloric, r’n’b, symphonic and details of trap music. The melodic line is a combination of eolian modes and minor harmonic modes. The rhythmic section is a combination of ethnic rhythms from the south and the north of Albania. From the dark atmosphere in the intro of the song later goes to be a big , glorious and a big sensation. All the song transmits emotionally the energy of the “land”.
4. Do you plan any changes to “Ktheju tokës” for Eurovision?
The song will not change. In addition to the duration of the song, from 3:13 sec will be in 3: 00min. In the revamp, more ethnic elements will be evaded and will be strengthened more in the refrain, through orchestration. Just a few days ago I got back from Sweden where the song was given a final mix at the prestigious Svenska Grammofonstudion. Jonida will sing in Albanian, will sing it in the language with which the song was created and believe that it is best to convey the message this way. Also, in my personal opinion, I would like each country to be represented with it’s language and culture in the Eurosong, because only in this way can it be created more cultural diversity, in a European competition.
5. Will Jonida record any other language versions of “Ktheju tokës”?
No, just in Albanian language.
6. What are you most looking forward to when you visit Israel?
I do not think I will have enough time to visit different places, as the working time in Tel Aviv will be compressed, but my desire is to see the Red Sea and to get time to know a little bit more about traditional Israeli music.
7. Please tell us about some of the songs you have composed for other artists and any festivals you have competed with your compositions.
Yes. I have some preferred songs of mine, as “Atje lart” -Festina Mejzini (Festivali i 55 i Kenges), “Vec lotet” – Semi Jaupaj ( Best Tendence Award in Kenga Magjike 2015”).
8. You had a beautiful song in the Albanian Junior Fest called “Prindër ju lutem” in 2018 for Ana Kodra. Could you tell us about this song, and what it was like to work with Ana?
Ah, I was so happy to work with Ana Kodra. She is such a talented little girl that sings with the power of a womans voice. This song has another message. It is a ballad about a families with divorce problems. It is a nowadays a message for everyone who thinks that family must be created to build on and on, day by day, and to not destroy it for some egoist feelings. Ana was the best choice for me, because she is the best choice for every composer who wants to fulfil the questions of music creativity.
9. Are you working on any other music projects at this time?
Yes, I do have some. But the recent one was a song “Vendi im” (music and lyrics by me,and Enis Mullaj- music production) that I wrote for a big and well known Festival “Vina del Mar” in Chile. This song will be performed by Mirud, a very good Albanian singer, full of ambitions for being a new name in the American playlists music of our days. It’s again an ethnic powerful song.
10. Do you have a favourite Eurovision song from the past?
I have two songs that I still listen to them and get emotions. The are Jamala “1944” and Salvador Sobral (“Amar Pelos”). As you see I am focused on the special songs, not the ordinary ones. Because I think that every song must leave a big impression and emotion.
11. What is your favourite Albanian Eurovision song since the first participation in 2004?
Rona Nishliu with “Suus “and Eugent Bushpepa with “Mall”, last year. They are also the best vocals that represented Albania.
Thank you, Eriona. ESC Covers wishes you lots of good luck.
Thank you very much.
You can see Jonida Maliqi perform Ktheju Tokës below.