Original article published in Norwegian magazine “Fredag”, 18.12.2009.
Translated by Laila Ulvseth
English revision by Anni Jowett
Alexander Rybak has a very special theory about love:
1) He wants to say “Yes, please” to all the girl affairs he gets.
2) At the same time he wants to fall asleep with a girl he is already in love with.
It’s no wonder Alexander Rybak says things like “It’s stupid to say no with dinner with a cute face just because I might have something going on with some girl in Norway” or “I have a responsibility. A responsibility for all of Europe.
Because a night in May this year four million Norwegians raised their arms and lifted “Rybakken” on a national throne. He is still sitting on it. 2009 was Alexanders year.
Grown men with neckties make “lion’s claws” towards him and try to be funny. Elderly ladies giggle and ask for a cell phone picture.
– Hey, I really need such a blue pen, can I have it? Alexander asks. He is standing in the post office in Bærum to mail 50 letters to fans all over Europe.
– I have sent you messages on Facebook, but you never reply, a Swedish girl said in the new DVD about his life after the victory.
Well, that is because he is answering letters from tightly filled carrier bags along the walls at home with mom and dad at Nesodden.
– I have spent 40.000,- just on stamps.
– Tihi, says the curly headed lady behind the desk before her colleagues come crawling asking for autographs for their grandchildren, after which they received a “eh, yes, okay”, says “poor boy”.
His energy level drops to zero. You can see it in his eyes, they go dim and opaque. Later Alexander says that he “slept” the 10 seconds it took him to write five times Alex (smiley). That is why he asks for the pen. Fair enough, he don’t mind standing signing autographs for three hours after a gig, but when grown people asks “isn’t it wonderful to be a celebrity”, then he starts to look around. – I have started to think like this, what’s in it for me? Then you might ask: Isn’t the guy a millionaire? Yes, but there is a but. But before that: Girls.
– I am the luckiest guy in the world because I am so honest. Sometimes I hurt people with my honesty, but in the long run they’ll be happy.
And this is when Alexander says that he “likes one girl in particular right now”. But also that girlfriend is a dangerous word. – I told her “honestly, we see each other only once a month, I think about you a lot, but don’t think I am the most faithful guy… yet.”
– Perhaps not, but then I have been honest.
He has a theory. – If I said no when four girls want to touch my butt and I find it great fun, I would after a while become bitter with my wife back home and said “have you any idea how much I sacrifice for you!” It would build up to a huge fight and then perhaps divorce and infidelity. I want as little midlife-crisis as possible. Because even if I am a Don Juan, and those genes will probably follow me the rest of my life, I search for monogamy. Cheers. Alexander has two criteria for his love life.
1. That I in the end have said yes to all the offers I have got and
2. that I have got one lady who follows me my entire life. Yes, you look strangely at me right now, but I want to combine this somehow.
Alexander has been very much in love many times. But he doesn’t want to marry.
– I will never marry. Because the power in everyone’s life should be asking oneself if you want to be together the next day too. When you are married, you already promised that. It’s like getting a bunch of basketball cards, these trade cards, or, what is popular now? Pokemon? And then mom says “but you have to promise to play with these the rest of your life.” You see?
He doesn’t know if it because his plan always will require gambling, but twice he has ended up with a broken heart. – First I thought “Damn that I didn’t took the chance! She was right there, and I was fooling around with others! But two minutes later and the rest of my life I’d rather think: How great that I flirt with others, she would still have found that other guy.
– She would rather have been hanging around with you, eating candy and watching TV?
– No, because I would have been around the world playing fiddle. That’s the point.
He prefers turbulent relationships now than later, even if most girls he meets says “fuck off” to his “both having the cake and eat it”-suggestion.
– I’m not an oracle. Either I am very wrong, or I am right, and then have the best life ever.
– You have never had more girls on speed dial than now?
– No, but there are no deep feelings with the girls further south in Europe. It pleases me that the Russian model is having fun and that my mates don’t find me under the heel.
To him it’s fun this way: – Woohoo, loud music at the disco and we’re making out. I have the choice – either that, or a boring hotel room.
– What do you feel for the one in Norway?
– She is the only girl I want to fall asleep with, to put it that way. The only one I call if something is fun or if I’m sad, he says and looks down at his plate of dim sum before he pulls his hair. Then he looks up, while smiling as the New York Times-journalist referred to as “having sipped to granny’s brandy”. – Do you think I’m a bad person?
He is in the mayfly-genre. With this he means that any musical phenomenon that comes violently and suddenly to Norway will disappear just as quickly. People get tired. People will threaten to kill him if they hear “Fairytale” just once more on radio. They will sit next to him on the plane and say “hey, we’re going to the same place, can you play a few songs for my wife, it’s her birthday?” and he will answer “guess what, I don’t have the energy to smile because I’m so tired”. And they will say: “I knew it! You’re just as I imagined. You’re off, dude!”
– I take it very calmly and know that this is about the product Alexander Rybak. I’m actually happy that I have a song that half of Norway is tired of!
– Are you tired?
– Of hearing it, yes, but not performing it.
He probably has max two years left of this touring life. Later he wants to move to the countryside and have children. Compose music for others. Right now he wants to spend all his spare time on her. But Alexanders minutes are precious.
– I haven’t been alone since I won ESC. The only two days off was when I was ill. My managers think they give me some time off and say: “Here, Alex, we rented a car, you can sit in it, but on the outside are four bodyguards. Ready, steady, go.”
Last week Alexander wrote on Facebook: “Sorry for being so quiet these days, but I have many problems. Big problems”. Soon he can hit the wall. At least with his fist. Alexander says that he often has meetings with the organizations around him to get some relaxation. He don’t find it fair, but he don’t want to fight with the “boss” even if he really should be his own boss.
– All those I work with are great people, but I think most young people who experience success at one point feels a little used.
– You might ask for a raise of salary?
– No, they have me by the balls. They know that the only way I can achieve that is to strike on my own concerts, and I’m just not that kind of guy. They can squeeze money out of me, but they can’s squeeze my time.
Earlier he was barely allowed to sleep until 08.00. – I never raise my voice, but I play dirty sometimes, because I had to fight hard for that.
He tells about a night this summer when he landed at Gardermoen and was told not to speak to TV2 because he looked extremely tired. – Then I said “yes!” I went over to them and said “I’m not sure how much more I can take of this. ” It was all over the news. Journalists and celebrities yelled at my managers. Then things got better.
– Are they milking you for all you’re worth?
– When the management has got their 20%, and the people in production, lights and stash has taken their part of the compensation an average concert gives, then I’m left with zero. Sometimes I pay to give concerts. So yeah, I guess they do, but instead of sueing it’s better to look at the bright side of life. Be happy for three millions, even if I could have made ten.
More than 2500 newspaper articles has been printed about the 2009-Ashlad (fairy tale hero in folk tales) this year. Rumours have claimed everything from him being gay to demanding 200.000 for playing for a sick boy. Something he did for free.
– I heard you celebrated the victory with three Russian ladies?
– Haha, a third of that is true… you think I have all this action in the bedroom! It’s not true. Part of my business is creating rumours in different countries by dating a well known model there. Then I can’t bring along the girl I really like. Because – hehe – you can’t mix business and pleasure!
– You are a little cynical now?
– Yes, to achieve pure pleasure.
– To yourself?
– If you’re not happy yourself, you cannot make others happy.
Now even the Japanese waiter laughs.”Mr Rajbak” has had a busy day. Soon he’ll have tacos at mom’s, and take his girlfriend to the cinema. He should be allowed to draw the breath deep down in his lungs now, because Alexander has already done what he considers the most important in his life. He won in Moscow.
– My next big step is a Norwegian film musical where I am actor and make the manuscript.
– What will it be about?
– A girl and a boy. Perhaps my girl. That’s the only thing I know so far. But I try to give people what they want, I don’t want to surprise too much, Alexander says as he pulls the hood on his all weather-jacket over the head and waves from the Nesodden ferry.