Natasha and Alexander Rybak about their close relationship, Her og Nå 13.2.2018

Alexander Rybak and his mom have always got along

So glad that you’re my Mom.

Alexander Rybak without his Mom Natasha is like his violin without strings. 

Source: Paper issue of the Norwegan celebritry magazine Her og Nå. Published 13.02.2018. Text: Lise Lotte Winther-Bay. Photo: Morten Bendiksen, Private.
Found and translated by Jorunn Ekre. Revised by Anni Jowett.

– It’s important to me to listen to Mom, asserts Alexander Rybak in his natural charming way.
– She sees who I really am. For instance she can say:  “I know you are good at playing, Sasha (his mom’s pet name for him, editorial remark) but you can be even better. Thanks to her honesty and love I have grown a lot. 
It’s about respect for each other, he thinks. And about having had a good upbringing.

– I am also lucky to have a Mom who has a lot of wise things to say. I enjoy listening more than talking. 

Love: I couldn’t have been luckier, says Alexander and puts his arms affectionately around his Mom. Of course she has received the flower symbol of love, roses as a gift for Mother’s Day  

It turns out that Alexander has the same quality as his Mom when it comes to understanding others. 
It was violinist and pedagogue Dad Igor Rybak (63) who first came to Norway. He was offered a job at the Opera and went here alone to check out the possibilities. The pianist Natalia Valentinovna Rybak joined him later with their five year old son Alexander. 
-Igor and I were very surprised that Norwegian children were allowed to just play throughout the day, remembers Natasha, as she is called. 
-Our son practised the violin on a daily basis, sometimes for several hours. We looked upon it as a possibility for him to develop a talent which appeared at an early stage. 

It has been written that Alexander’s childhood was characterised by strict Belarusian discipline. During our meeting with mother and son we get a better understanding of what his parents were thinking.
– Mom and Dad gave me the opportunity to cultivate my talent, says the versatile musician.

– To me it was natural to practise. Thanks to loving discipline I became motivated. 

He found out early it was fun to perform. 
– Bowing to an audience when the three of us played together at various occasions was great fun to a kid, he remembers. 
He is hereditarily loaded by his parents’ background in classical music. 
– It has given me ballast, Alexander thinks, who has chosen his own entertaining twist within music. 
– At the elementary school, we got the question: “What do you want to become when you’re grown up?”
– To me it was obvious: a violinist.
A friend wanted to become a firefighter. I wanted to be helpful and said he should practise at home, study “books about firefighting” or something similar, he laughs. 

– You didn’t want to practise all the time either, reveals his mother.
– Sometimes we had to bribe you with LEGO, she says and leans her head laughingly against her son. 

Alexander never accepted his parents not allowing him to play basketball. 
– It could ruin his fingers. One who wants to become good at playing the violin, must protect his profession, she points out, also this time with a warm smile. 

– I know that he played secretly with a friend. Then as now Sasha was busy. 

– I guess I was a bit different, reflects her son about his childhood. 

– While the other children were in marching bands, I was the one with the violin. Sometimes I was teased. But I wouldn’t call it bullying. At least not how poor Trolle, who was born without a tail, experiences it in the fairy tale book I have written, he compares mischievously. 

– The fact that I was different is something I have understood later. Perhaps I’m still like that, he asks himself. 

– Rybak is an ordinary Belarusian name, which also sounds good in Norwegian. It “means fisherman”, Natasha informs, but is pronounced “Rybaak” where we come from. The family from Minsk settled down at Nesodden, with a view of the Oslofjord. They were welcomed with open arms. 

Alexander enjoyed walking from cabin to cabin at beautiful, Norwegian mountain paths with his dad during summer vacations. 

– We felt at home right away. But to us adults it was a big change moving to a new country. We didn’t know the language and my English wasn’t very good. Sasha, on the contrary, was ready for first grade within four months. Then he managed to speak the way they do in this area fluently and he was Norwegian. 

His mother noticed early her son’s alertness and his curiosity for life.

– As a child Sasha seldom cried. Not when he fell either. Instead he could remain on the ground and study everything from ants to plants. 
 
His own dog: Even though it was Mom who raised the dog I got as a 12 year old, the dog and I were the world’s best friends, Alexander tells about the standard schnauzer Cindy. 

Her son’s wish for a dog was granted when he was 12 years old. The standard schnauzer Cindy became a new family member.
– She was both stubborn and wire-haired, but boy did we love that dog! He tells with fervency in his voice. 
– The plan was that I should raise it and take it for walks, but of course it ended with that Mom had to do it, he says with a roguish smile. 
– And now you should pay attention, because this describes my Mom very well. She started on a course to understand the dog. In the end the two of them could almost talk to each other. 
Two pairs of brown eyes meet, a mother and son look that is touching.
– I am so happy that YOU are my Mom. There’s no one better!, says Alexander gratefully. 

While his mom dries away a tear, he reveals teasingly another side of her.
– When my Mom in a rare moment gets upset and needs to express this orally, this is her boldest expression: “Gurimalla” – A Norwegian expression that is a rewrite of  the words “God” (Guri)  and “Maria” (malla). Both of them laugh.
– She is a good and nice person right through. 
 
Returns: Alexander Rybak returns to the Melodi Grand Prix circus again. Will he get to the final this time, too?

As we know Alexander Rybak took Europe by storm in 2009 in the Eurovision Song Contest in Moscow with “Fairytale”. This year the musician and composer has a new attempt in the Eurovision circus.

 

– I dreaded telling Mom about the news. Despite of all the fun the previous time, it was also a demanding time. I was young and I hadn’t learned to take care of myself properly. 

The year after he had a nervous breakdown. He posted something himself about it on Facebook. 

– You’re more experienced now and that is a good thing, his mother says.

– I was worried about you. You were under a big pressure with many requests. Of course you became tired! 

– Even if she worries she gave me the thumbs up for another round of Melodi Grand Prix, Alexander tells. 

– I was actually nervous to hear the response. It felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. 

– As a Mom, I just want you to do well, she says caringly. 

Alexander says he has become better at having time for himself. 

– Something my girlfriend Julie (Gaarud Holm, 23) luckily understands. That girl is beautiful both on the outside and on the inside, he adds lovingly about his girlfriend of the last two years. And of course, like with his first girlfriend (Fairytale), he has also written songs for and about Julie. 

-Yes, of course, I am a romantic, he easily admits. 
– But having time to myself is for me about recharging my batteries. And sometimes about dealing with things that bother me. That is best done without an audience, he knows. 

Happy: Alexander values his girlfriend Julie Gaarud Holm, who he thinks is beautiful both on the outside and inside.

He is not afraid of showing his emotions, but Alexander has learned not to show the most turbulent of them together with others. When he, after the first triumph, broke his violin during a show at Liseberg, his fans of all ages became worried about him. 

– Today I am more grown up, he feels. 

On the outside he still has a boyish charm 

– I am proud of what I have done, and also of no longer saying “yes” to everything.

– I often get asked about reality TV, but rather do some fun stuff than appearing in such shows. For example dressing up like a woman on Russian TV, he tells cheerfully. 

– In fact I have never been this happy before! 

Also Mom Natasha is satisfied. Not at least with her son’s choice of girlfriend. 

– She is a very nice girl. They make each other happy, she says.

Alexander who previously has shared that he dreams of having a wife and children, is currently happy with where he is in life.

– One day I of course hope to become a dad, and I hope to give my children the safety I experienced. To me it’s less important whether they become musicians or learn Russian. It should be up to them and their mother, Alexander thinks. 

When Natasha is asked to describe her son with one word, she replies instantly: sensitive. 

– From the beginning he has cared about other people. Sasha has the ability to acknowledge each individual and sincerely enjoys giving. He conveys that through his music, too. It comes from his whole personality! 

An author, too : if you still haven’t read the book about Trolle, a cute story about a troll without a tail who is bullied, it can be highly recommended. It is suitable for everyone.


“Her og Nå”
has been given more than promised. A heart-warming conversation at Aker Brygge where the versatile musician lives, and also a book about Trolle. Against every sensible routine, he has spent more time than his schedule allows, but nonetheless he poses for selfies with fans in the bitter cold of Oslo.

– Sasha has a both young and old soul, says his mother pensively from the side-line. 

Childhood in Minsk : Mom Natasha’s beloved Sasha got great attention also as a child in Belarus with his big brown eyes and at the time light blonde hair 

– During his adolescence he was enriched with his grandmothers living with us taking shifts. They still love doting on him. When they took him for a stroll as a small child, people sometimes stopped and said : “How beautiful she is”. With his big, brown eyes and blonde hair he looked like a girl when he was a baby. Then, as now, he is mischievous, she smiles motherly proudly. 

– In our family we laugh a lot. With a smile the son tears himself away from fans.

– I enjoy making other people happy, says Alexander Rybak, just like my Mom.

Victory hug: AlexanderRybak won the final in Eurovision Song Contest in Moscow in Russia. Here his mother greeting him after the victory

This post is also available in Norsk.

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