Interview with Alexander Rybak in the Ukrainian magazine “Telegid”, 23.04.2018

Alexander Rybak found his love on the net

Source: Тelegid.com. Published: 23.04.2018., Text:  Yegor Yelkin;
Photos provided by the press-service of Alexander Rybak

Translated by Mónika Menyhért, revised by Evghenia Skripnik

Never say never — it’s about our hero. He himself could not imagine that after winning the Eurovision Song Contest in 2009 he would again enter the stage as a contestant. But fate gave him yet another chance — the singer again represents Norway.

Alexander Rybak — winner of the Eurovision-2009

 Alexander, does the song “That’s How You Write a Song” really reflect your approach to writing tracks?

 Sometimes, in order to convey the meaning and message, you need to simplify the text. Writing a song is actually just a metaphor of faith in your ideas, whether it’s about sports, business, music or something completely different! I give people confidence in themselves and their strength! 

 Do you hope that this track can inspire young people to write songs?

 I received a lot of letters from fans, people write that they are stuck in their ideas, and ask me for help. I realized that it would be nice to answer them all at once.

It is important to understand that one should not follow the “modern tendencies” of writing songs, if that doesn’t fit you. It would be great, for example, to create the perfect hit for some radio, but young authors should not get hung up and only think about the format. I hope my song can serve as an impetus they need.

Alexander Rybak with his mum, Natalia Valentinovna

— Your parents are classical musicians. How do they relate to your work in the world of show business? Obviously, they are proud of your success, but they also make fun of you sometimes?

— They are just happy that I did not leave the violin several years ago. As you know, children have periods of rebellion and protest against the desires of their parents. My “insurgent” period was to experiment with new genres (pop / rock), and my dad and mom secretly loved it all! (Laughs.)

— Several years ago, you said that you will never return to the Eurovision Song Contest. But you didn’ not keep your word. Is it because you have a really strong song for the contest?

Alexander Rybak with his dad Igor Alexandrovich

— Thanks for the absolutely correct question on this topic! Because, obviously, when I said “never more”, I didn’t think that I would have such an important message for the fans. In 2009, the song was about me, this time it’s about everything else.

— What are your earliest memories of ESC?

— I was five years old when I first heard the song “Save All Your Kisses For Me” by Brotherhood of Man, with which they won ESC in 1976.

— Many people relate to ESC with irony. What do you think, why?

Can the High school graduation party be taken seriously? For someone it’s just another opportunity to make fun of teachers, for others, it is the most romantic evening in their life. Some people hate the dance part, others the official one. The same with Eurovision, it’s a beautiful scene and new songs, and everyone is free to choose whether to watch or not.

— When you are backstage of Eurovision, do you attend parties? Do you like flirting with contestants from other countries?

— I have a beautiful girlfriend, Julie, so I can easily resist flirting and alcohol. (Laughs.) But I’m sure that many need this. Incidentally, the celebrating events on the eve of ESC help to get in the mood pretty quickly before the show. At least it should be like this…

— Do you have any special rituals of preparation before the performance?

— Usually, I just try to stay away from people, focusing on the task. Social moments should take place after the show. But, of course, I will smile and make selfies if someone wants to talk. Oh, and I’m boiling some water to inhale the steam. It’s very good for the voice!

Alexander Rybak with his girlfriend Julie

— Who is your girlfriend, and how did you meet?

 Julie, or Yulia in Russian, she is a graphic designer. She draws excellently, does great works! We met on “Tinder” (an application for mobile phones intended for romantic acquaintances in accordance with given parameters. – Ed.). She was the only girl who did not forget to remind me about herself in a very cute way, she was not afraid to write to me … After we started dating, I immediately withdrew from the “Tinder”!

— Will Julie accompany you to Eurovision in Portugal?

— She will arrive the day before my semifinals. And we have already agreed that I can spend 10-15 minutes time with her a day. She understands well that I will be busy with preparing, completely focused on the performance in Lisbon.

— Have you already dedicated a song to her?

 Last year, I gave Julie a whole video. It was a surprise for her birthday! I prepared everything in advance and secretly. I recorded a song, made a video and presented it to her! She was pleasantly surprised and happy. (Smiling.)

— Does your girlfriend have a musical ear? Are you singing at home together?

— Julie sings incredibly clean! And I like that she does not brag about it. But everyone who heard her voice make her compliments. Sometimes we arrange duets at home. At other times, we go to karaoke bar with friends.

— How do you spend time with your beloved one?

Alexander Rybak at the parents’ home
— We with Julie have similar characters and hobbies: we adore watching movies, we love roller coasters, traveling …

— You can sing in three languages. Why do not you make variants of one song in Belarusian, Norwegian and Russian?

— Integrity is important for me, when the concept, rhythm, language, and emotions are intertwined in one whole. Usually, the translation can be just fun, nothing more. That’s why “Kotik”, which has reached 85 million views on YouTube by now, remains in Russian, and “That’s How You Write A Song” in English.

— What is the difference between the life of the composer Alexander Rybak and the life of the pop star Alexander Rybak?

 Haha! Every time I write a song for someone, customers eventually ask: “But you’ll sing it with me, right?”. So now I’m grateful for the privilege of being on different projects in any one role.

— If you decide to leave the show business after Eurovision-2018, what do you think, which moments from the life of a pop star you will miss most?

— I can’t do this. Even if I say “All right! I’m leaving”, people will still write me letters asking to return. That’s why I’ll never be able simply to leave.

Alexander Rybak again represents Norway at Eurovision

 How are your meetings with fans?

— I can not tell you about this, I keep this information for my secret diary. (Laughs.) But I can share one case. Somehow in a grocery store, an old man, seeing me, dropped all his bags, just to hug me. Really! I wish that day lasted forever for him. Music opens hearts!

— You’re touring a lot, how do you manage to take care of your health?

— I’m learning on my mistakes, at least on some of them. Now it’s much easier for me to say “no” to things I used to say an unconditional “yes” earlier. I have weak immunity, so I always leave a few days off in my schedule after each show, in order to recover and make up for strength. Otherwise, I will get sick. This is life, and I have to try my best!

— Your cover of the Portuguese song sounds awesome, which brought the victory at Eurovision to the performer last year. Is doing a cover as much fun as composing your own song?

 Sometimes it’s much more interesting to cover songs of other artists than to create your own. But “That’s How You Write a Song” is composed solely for my voice and my violin, so it’s a big fun to perform it!

— You met with many celebrities. Who do you remember the most?

— There were a lot of amazing meetings in my life  from Will Smith to Morten Harket (soloist of the Norwegian group A-ha – Ed.). And during the preparation for the international competition, also a meeting with Johnny Logan took place. He is an amazing person and the only artist who won the Eurovision Song Contest twice! By the way, he has his birthday the same day, on May 13, like me. But no, I’m not superstitious. (Smiling.)

Read more articles about Alexander HERE

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