English version of the interview provided by Alexander Rybak, with previously unpublished questions, omitted due to lack of space.
The Turkish version of the interview was published in the April issue of the Turkish magazine “Go Girl”.
-How did life change for you after your Eurovision victory in 2009?
AR: It was the biggest privilege for an artist: To be heard. Now, if I want to cooperate with another artist or producer, I just call them. And then they do everything they can to arrange something nice. But I never take anything for granted, so when I don´t write music I sit down with my computer and send mails to people around the world. Non-stop. I´m hungry as a wolf.
– You still have the highest tally any contestant has achieved in Eurovision history. How do you feel about it? Do you think it’s only a result of the fact that “Fairytale” is a great song, or it’s also something to do with all the love and respect you’re getting from people?
AR: Of course I am very happy to have that record, but it´s not that important for me. Music should not be measured by voting records or single charts. I find happiness in making music, not bragging about it. And no matter how nice the feeling was when I won, nothing can top the feeling of when I composed the song on the mountain.
-We know that you began playing both violin and piano at the age of 5. How did this all start? Can you give us details on how you decided that your path would be music? By the way, it would be great if you’d give us a little information about your parents, as they’re highly respected musicians?
AR: My family wanted to check out my musical talents. First people said I had a very promising future as a solo pianist, but my parents knew that anyone can play the piano. Not everyone can play violin.
– This question is a bit bitter. According to Wikipedia, you have anger management problems. What can you tell us about it? Would you like to clear up all the gossip? Or can we say this is not really gossip but true life which can happen to any young adult, which is normal?
AR: I had a time when I really could explode. And I never wanted to hide that side of me. It was a self-therapy to show my real self to the audience. Today I have over 560.000 fans on Facebook. That is 560.000 people who don´t mind that I am human like everybody else. But this year I feel much more controlled. I will never break a violin on a stage again, I promise you that.
–What do you think about your generation in general? They’re often criticized for being so into technology and the internet. What is your opinion?
AR: I don´t think we should be criticized for being into technology. If people say that, they´re just being stupid and jealous. However, I think it´s important that we start using that technology for something more rewarding than just writing to each other about what we had for dinner, and “liking” and “following” each other. I would rather have one friend to sit and have dinner with, than 10.000 “friends” on Facebook.
– Unlike years ago when you have to wait for your 30’s to be a star, now the whole entertainment world is ruled by young people? Do you agree? And how do you feel about your generation’s leading musicians? What do you think about the names like Justin Bieber and One Direction? Do you listen to their music?
AR: It´s not ruled by young people, but the managers behind those people. I have nothing against Justin Bieber or Rihanna, I think they are great performers, but I don´t like how other people are trying to create copies of those artists instead of creating something new. The radio format is stronger now than ever. Me myself, I never cared for radio format. I remember before ESC, I presented “Fairytale” to all of the radio stations, and all of them said that they will never play that kind of song.
– What are your favorite bands/musicians? Besides popular names, can you also recommend to us some names we might have not heard before? – Are you into movies? What kind of movies do you like best, and what are your favorite films?
AR: I like everything that is real. Where people understand WHY they do the things they do. I have grown up with classical music, so for me each note and chord has a unique meaning. I hate it when I hear people singing “Don´t break my heart again” while they sound like they are just having a great party and look like they are mafia bosses. No, instead I like to see real feelings. Humor, feel good factor, and excellence like Gene Kelly in “Singing in the Rain”, or the joy of intense pain like in the new “Les Miserables”. But also I love songs like “Gangnam Style”, because they are true to their concept, being just amazing.
– When should we expect your new album? What kind of details can you give us now about your future works?
AR: I have realized that I will never be a pop artist. I like to explore different concepts, different worlds. Last year I did a Christmas album filled with sounds from the 60’s. Now I´m working with my biggest project to date: A children’s musical in Norwegian. It´s about a troll who doesn’t trust anybody, and plays the violin. But in the meantime I want to please my fans all over the world, so I try to release a single with a YouTube video, maybe 2-3 times a year.
-Do you have a celebrity crush?
AR: I was in love with myself, but that was last year. Now it´s back to Natalie Portman. But actually, I have always loved TURKISH WOMEN!!! For instance, Hadise, who is the number one female entertainer in my life (would be a dream come true to perform with her). And of course the insanely beautiful Fatoş Kabasakal. I am really getting jealous of her man, because a date with that girl must be heaven.
– Girls would like to know more about you. Especially, about your favorites like your…
Favorite food/drink: Thai Food and McDonalds. And tonic water, without alcohol. 😉
Favorite dream: I don´t think I can write that in a magazine.
Least-favorite nightmare: That my ex-girlfriend gets married (although that has to happen soon, probably)
Hobbies: Wind-surfing, skiing, sleeping, and video games.
Phobias: Anything that can hurt my fingers. But if my manhood is at stake: Screw the fingers!
Your best friends: Thomas, Didrik, Karl, and Playstation 3
Pets: My (very old) dog, Cindy. She´s the cutest Middlescnautzer in the world. And the girl next door.
Favorite present from a fan: A drawing from a boy in the Netherlands. And, an underwear photo session from a girl in Norway. 😀
What is life’s greatest gift for you? My violin, I guess… And the best parents in the world.
– This question is from a Turkish fan of yours, a die hard fan 🙂 Do your fans send you lyrics/words, and ask you whether you can consider them for your songs? Are you open to these kinds of collaborations, like composing a song with lyrics from a fan?
AR: I never make rules like that. If I have time to listen to a song, I´ll do it. And to people who want to show their music to the world: Please don´t panic! Everybody has a talent, whether it is for baking, gardening, or singing. And your talent will always eventually reach out to the people who need it. It´s a good day to have a great day.
These are previously unpublished questions from the interview, now published in Turkish at GoGirl’s Facebook page.
– Can you talk about a bit about your childhood in Belarus and Norway? How do you remember your childhood? A tough one?
AR: I guess I´m supposed to say that I had a rough childhood, but that would be lying. My mom and dad gave me the best imaginable mix of love and discipline. They didn´t want to take away my talent, but also they never took away my childhood. They even let me celebrate Norwegian (protestant church) Christmas eve on the 24th of December! 😀
-You co-starred in Yohan. Can you talk about your role and character a little? Do you have any future plans which will give us a chance to see your greatness in movies?
AR: That was just an experiment. I´m always grateful when people let me experiment. Yohan is a great children’s movie, but I have only one movie dream now, and that is to play the Norwegian violin virtuoso “Ole Bull” on stage or on film. He had the best performances, and the best women. Those are often tied together.
-What is your biggest inspiration and motivation for your music, and for your life in general?
AR: To be prepared, and to have a logical explanation behind every note. I know it sounds boring, but for me it always starts with math and ends up in art. However, it always starts with a simple melody, and a melody should never start with math. It starts from the heart. And my heart always opens up when I´m at home. Like the mountains, a plane, or a suitcase. Actually, wherever there is love, I feel at home. And then the music and math can start.
-Do you have a girlfriend? What things do you like and dislike about a girl? What kind of girls interest you most?
I can only talk for myself, but unfortunately I think the only way to get the girl of your dreams, is to not care about her.