Alexander Rybak about Eurovision and his musical “Trolle” – Dagbladet 17.1.2019

Alexander Rybak about:

The Eurovison criticism
New musical
His celebrity status
His need for time alone

That’s why Alexander Rybak was protected

Alexander is happy that he avoids the Eurovision stress in 2019. Now the 32 year old works with his own musical, but doesn’t exclude new “wriggling” in Melodi Grand Prix.

WANT TO RETURN:  Alexander Rybak has won MGP twice, and doesn’t exclude more participation. But he doesn’t have any winning recipe. The artist will anyway take part in the MGP final later this year, where he will perform with last year’s winning song. Photo: John T. Pedersen / Dagbladet

Source: Dagbladet pluss 17.1.19 and the paper issue 18.1.19. Text: Sofie Braseth  Photo:John Terje Pedersen . Translation by TessaLa

– When I was backstage before the MGP  final last year, I was thinking: “Whether I win or don’t even reach the Golden Final, I will participate in Melodi Grand Prix again. As soon as I have a song that is worthy.

Alexander Rybak’s eyes lighten up below the fuzzy-troll hairstyle.

– You still stand for that?

– Oh, yes!

Protected from the media

It’s almost a year since Rybak for the second time won the Norwegian final in MGP.  With “That’s How You Write a Song”, got the ticket to the final in Lisbon, and blew life in the hope of a Norwegian Eurovision victory. 

The Norwegian delegation didn’t hide that they hoped for gold, but it ended with a 15th place for Rybak and his 3 minutes long song writing lesson. 

In the final week Rybak was protected from the media in the Portuguese capital, something that triggered Dagbladet’s Anders Grønneberg to make a post with the title “NRK has to stop treating Alexander Rybak as a porcelain doll”. 

– It’s more than enough to absorb all the positive energy from the people around me. I can’t start looking for criticism that actually doesn’t exist, says Rybak about the “porcelain doll” post.

– You can’t see things from everyone’s angles.

“STEP ONE …”: Rybak and the dancers on stage in Lisbon in May 2018. Photo: Henning Lillegård / Dagbladet

Is a loner

When Rybak shows up for the interview, it is with his hoodie well covering his head. With a backpack and a bit bent forward attitude he is almost impossible to recognise. And that is not a coincidence. 

– How do you live with being a famous person?

– I can handle it by being alone a lot. Before being together with many people who grab your shirt collar and ask for an autograph and such, I need to have spent many hours by myself first. 

Going from an anonymous student life to the pop star life after MGP in 2009 was a big change for Rybak.

– I am a loner. I like to be alone a lot, really. Then it was strange to be a person who can’t follow what’s going on around you, but the surroundings follow you. 

RELAXING: Alexander Rybak needs a lot of time by himself. The 32-year-old relaxes with, among other things, video games such as “Red Dead Redemption”. – That’s my vacation. Photo: John T. Pedersen / Dagbladet

Needs time outs

The need to withdraw was also the main reason that Rybak was mostly protected in Lisbon.

– I have to portion my time. Two – three hours, that’s how much I can give without feeling it becomes superficial and I become exhausted in my head.

He is happy he is not in front of a new year with Eurovision stress

–  I think that one goes into spirals where one is very much on “output”, and welcomes all people’s energies. Then you  need a few years where you “return” to yourself. My New Year’s resolution for 2019 is to feel a little more about what I need and want in the present.

Inspired by his own life

In 2015 Alexander debuted as an author with the children’s book “Trolle og den magiske fela”, which got a five on the dice in this paper (Dagbladet). In November the book will get a new life when the story becomes a musical at Kilden Theatre and Concert hall in Kristiansand. 

– The story is about a girl, Alva, who dares to defy all prejudices. She becomes friends with a lonely troll in the forest, who everyone thinks is very bad, because he has a violin that can bewitch.

– Is the story is autobiographical?

– “Trolle” is a mix of me and other persons I know. I don’t live in a forest you know, says Rybak and smiles.

And that’s for sure. Rybak meets Dagbladet in a restaurant at Aker Brygge, a stone’s throw from the 32 years old apartment. An area  where cobblestones, commercial buildings and glass facades have long ago displaced any green areas that may have been there earlier.

POPULAR: During the few minutes Dagbladet photographed Rybak, several fans greeted the artist. Here, Rybak is taking a picture with Denis from Ukraine. Photo: John T. Pedersen / Dagbladet

If not geographically, the story is inspired by Rybak on a personal level.

– My friends were outsiders in elementary school. I’m so glad we found each other, says the artist.

– We humans are very afraid of what is different from ourselves. Before being properly educated, you often bully those who are different.

Seeks for actress

Rybak himself will play the role of Trolle, and these days he is looking for a girl or young woman who can play the role of Alva. The application deadline expires Monday, and audition is held in Oslo on Monday 28 and Tuesday 29 January.

– She must sing very well, and be very gentle. She must be an inspiring person on stage, says Rybak about his “dream Alva”.

– You have previously said that you are very perfectionist. How is it for another actor to work with you?

Rybak smiles crookedly.

– She will work with me and many others, but first and foremost with a very skilled director, Jostein Kirkeby-Garstad. He has pulled this project up to new dimensions.

The artist says that he has had the dream of making “Trolle” a musical.

– It is not so easy when you are not a multi-millionaire or named Tolkien to get a “yes” on such a project. But Jostein has believed in it. I am very happy to get to know him.

Rybak describes “Trolle” as his “close to his heart child”,  and is quickly taking the book out of the backpack to show Dagbladet’s journalists.

– I hope people are inspired to continue with ideas that they are alone with. In the start phase, you are often alone with something big.

Great confidence

This year it’ s ten years since Rybak won a superior victory during the Eurovision final in Moscow, with the violin party “Fairytale”.

The Eurovision triumph was followed by massive attention, extensive touring and album release. In retrospect, there is one thing Rybak regrets:

– With great confidence comes also very big statements. I don’t know if anyone has been offended by things I’ve said, I can’t think of any examples. I don’t hope so. With great confidence, there comes a big mouth. The trick is to try to keep the confidence due to the right things.

– Have you made any big mistakes due to that?

– I know I’ve stepped on people’s toes. I wouldn’t have done that again.

Jubilee: This year, it is ten years since “Fairytale” spellbound Europe. And because of the anniversary, Rybak will have a tour in Norway. Photo: Henning Lillegård / Dagbladet

– I have become a person who listens more, for better or worse.

Speaking about being big-mouthed
: Rybak becomes taciturn when Dagbladet asks about the relationship with Julie Gaarud Holm, who has been his girlfriend since 2016.

– I feel that I know very little about relationships, and I know very little about love after 32 years. But I feel I know a lot about violin and composition. That’s what I want to talk about.

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