What is the big point of alcohol consumption?
Source: Blakors.no Published: October 2011
Thanks to Tessa La and Laila Ulvseth for the great translation!
The Norwegian fiddler, Alexander Rybak says he enjoys the role model status he seems to have achieved among children and adolescents. He regularly looking for good questions when the topic of alcohol and drug use is on the agenda.
It is not easy to get an interview with the famous son of Nesodden, Alexander Rybak. But in the end we got an one-hour talk in Oslo, on a nice sushi restaurant right next to Rybak’s apartment at Aker Brygge. The weather was so summery that we could sit outside – and with that we got a slightly view both of the Oslo Fjord and his childhood home there in the distance.
Alexander Rybak is not so busy with newspaper interview now a days. The media pressure subsided shortly after this year’s ESC in Norway and the launch of the CD “No Bounderies”. But the activity and the projects are many, and within a set range of music genres. Right after our meeting at the Sushi restaurant was Harstad and a charity concert next stop on the schedule.Both Grieg and Alexander’s latest single “Europe Skies” would be performed there.
-What would you say are your musical project ? What do Alexander Rybak represents in the Norwegian music?
Alexander thinks for about 3 seconds.
-I feel the music industry tend to misunderstand what I’m doing. I am actually well educated musically, and I want my audience to see that. What I’m doing now is not just something I accidentally dropped in to. I have after all been doing different forms of music full time in about ten years already.
-There are reports that say that there is a bit of a renaissance of violin playing at the local music schools.
-I think it’s tremendously cool that the number of fiddling playing children is rising. Many children and young people follow what I do, but I also see that my audience consists of almost all age groups. One time I said in an interview that I had fans from zero to a hundred years, and a woman at 102 contacted me and said that I also had to count her in.
Laughter and smiles come easy from Alexander when he talks. The same laughter and the same smile that charmed all of Europe from a Moscow stage last year.
– Where are you heading musically in the years to come?
– I’m going to work on some more classical music in a while, but first I intend to get a little deeper into jazz. I am as a matter of fact schooled in that too!
Alexander reveals some of his strategy as an artist: – It’s important to get a fresh project a couple of times a year. That way you keep up the attention from the audience. They get a reminder that you still exist and has something to contribute. My next project is the release of the single “Europe’s skies” from my second album No Boundaries.
– Is it exhausting always to be on top?
– I feel I have personally dealt with the egosentric nagging of always being supposed to be on top. I have discovered that it’s often more rewarding and exciting to use the “power” I’ve got as a star, to pull forth other musicians and talents.
Suddenly we have a short break in the interview as a young man comes over to our table to have Rybak’s signatur. Alexander is generosity himself and dedicates the autograph to the man’s step daughter. After what we hear, the lucky girl is one of Alexander Rybak’s “biggest fans ever”.
– I really enjoy having achieved some kind of idolic status for children and young people, says Rybak as the happy autograph hunter has thanked and left. I was an outsider among my friends, but an outsider who wanted something. I was in fact sitting alone practicing my autograph. Throughout my life I have the same way prepared myself becoming an idol for children and youngsters. It’s about how you talk with them, using your normal voice and not cuddle around people. I believe that most of all you need to use your head and just being there.
Alexander says that his good friend the actor Dennis Storhøi has taught him a lot. – Dennis has been my model in daring to show ones human sides, he underlines.
– Rolemodel status and the use of alcohol – what thoughts does he have about that? we wonder?
The answer comes once more without hesitation.
– I can see the point in making a decision not to drink alcohol. I see that for many, that is the right thing to do. Many times I choose alcohol free drinks instead of alcoholic. Mozell (apple soda) instead of champagne.
Alexander doesn’t consider himself a teetotaller, but says he consequently chooses the alcohol weak drinks.
– As you get older, you get more aware of your own limits on this area. I think it’s important for parents not to try to teach young people. Listening and guiding is more important. I believe in asking “why” when it comes to using alcohol. That, rather than saying shame on you and ban it completely. And if you have to say no, it’s important to practice how to say it in a nice, not hurting way. More and more often I ask myself: What is really the big deal with using alcohol?
– Is a very active artist often exposed to the pressure of drinking?
– I won’t say so. After a while you learn to know the “way” of alcohol, and when the offer comes, I know what to say. I can get tired of media’s expectations of how artists are supposed to be and how they should act when it comes to alcohol and drugs. I have noticed that the artists who has the most “fringed” reputation in media, the ones that are stamped as bad role models, might be the sturdiest and nicest persons in private. I remember a girl who thought I was stupid not to be smoking or drinking. With a lifestyle like that, of course you loose some friends, but at least you loose the right friends, smiles the 24-year old.
Then we say goodbye. Alexander Rybak has to continue the preparations for the next concert. He is going to be solist with the Divisjonsmusikken (Division music) in Harstad culture house – and the money goes to burn victim children in Ethiopia.
– Sometimes I ask myself if charity concerts really helps, or if the concerts are supporting the artists more. But when that is said, some concerts work – and they work well. I get more easily engaged in closer things. Support work for children in need engage me a lot.
The charity concert September 2. obviously was amont the ones that worked. The local newspaper could report that the concert and surrounding activities raised 1.000.000,- – with good help from a dedicated fiddler named Alexander Rybak.
This post is also available in Norsk.