I don’t challenge myself when I write pop songs

Alexander Rybak: I don’t challenge myself when I write pop songs

He beat the points record when he won the Eurovision Song Contest for Norway in 2009, now Alexander Rybak is dreaming about something more challenging,  and hopes that his debut work as an author will become a musical. In addition he is a guest in this week’s “På resande not”.

Source: svenske.yle.fi Text by: Daniel Nylund and Tobias Larsson. Photo: Parad Media.
Translated by Jorunn Ekre, revised by Anni Jowett.

Europe fell for the charming, young violin player with roots in Belarus and the points hailed down. The winning song “Fairytale” became a huge commercial success and Alexander Rybak conquered a large international audience.

– It was great and nice to win the Eurovision Song Contest. It was a privilege to get such a calling card. Now I can experiment with other types of music, with rock’n’roll and classical music, I can compose new material and in addition I also get to be a voice actor.

– The contest gave me the confidence to experiment with other things, but what mattered the most to me in the end was to be part of the experience. Eurovision is like a big party where everyone’s a winner, except that there’s one extra big winner who wins the whole thing. If you feel that you love your country and you get to represent it, you’ve already won.

You spent a lot of time on classical music before Eurovision. How much time do you have for classical music today?

– It’s a bit embarrassing to think about that I’m actually a classical musician. To become that I have practised four-five hours every day since I was eight years old. Nowadays I still travel around the world and do pop music, every week in a new country. It’s a huge privilege to live like this, but at the same time I don’t challenge myself by doing pop songs, but it’s really about commercialisation.

– It would be really great to live like this but instead to play Tchaikovskyand Mozart, but I know I wouldn’t have a career from doing that. Almost everyone who performs classical music has a job in addition or they have a rich partner.

– To me classical music is much more sophisticated and challenging, but I like my fans a lot and I know that they want both things from me, they want both pop songs and classical on violin. I feel I have the best audience in the world, and therefore I want to continue with both music styles and give them what they want.

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Alexander Rybak performs with the house band in På resande not. Photo: Parad Media

Russia and a new “child”

Alexander has got a huge audience in Eastern Europe, not least in Russia where he releases pop songs and is a frequent guest on TV. There’s still big differences between being a star in Russia and at home in Norway.

– As an artist in Norway you’re a part of a huge family where you help each other. The country is small and when new artists pop up, we take care of each other. Music awards for instance, are split between new and more experienced artists, it’s very democratic.

– In Russia we’re instead a very small family. Russia is a big country, in total there’s maybe 15 artists that always appear in all of the TV- shows. I am one of them, but it would be fun if we were more. Now it is the same people who win “Artist of the year”. They are good artists, but I would appreciate it if there were new ones too.

As if Alexander Rybak didn’t have enough strings on his violin, he got himself yet another title last year when he made his debut as an author.

– I really hope the book would be translated into Swedish (Finnish maybe? 🙂 ) so that my Finnish fans could read it too. The book has been a huge success in Norway. It’s about a troll called Trolle who finds a magic violin that turns out to be a bit evil, a bit like the “Ring” in “The Lord of the Rings”, and when you play on it everyone does what you want them to do. In the end, Trolle becomes friends with the girl Alva who lives in a house close to the forest.

– It became a very classic story, and I hope to create its own little world around the story. Now we’re negotiating about one more book and about TV games and perhaps a musical, which would be my huge dream.

– If you count the amount of viewers, Eurovision Song Contest will continue to be the biggest thing I have done, but the children’s book about Trolle is special to me. It’s my “child”.

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Alexander Rybak together with the house band, Toon Verheyen, Annsi Växby, John Grönvall and Niklas Mansner. Photo: Parad Media

You can read this article also in Hungarian.

This post is also available in Norsk.

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