Alexander Rybak: Had a nervous breakdown and reached the end of his limits: I have changed.
MGP WINNER: Alexander Rybak won the Norwegian MGP finale, and will represent Norway in Lisbon in May. The former Eurovision winner received a text message from a very special person after the triumph. Reporter: Linn-Christin Marthinussen / Video / clip: Ørjan Ryland
Alexander Rybak thinks he is better equipped for Eurovision now than he probably was nine years ago.
– It has sunk in now. The victory feels good, says a quiet but obviously satisfied Alexander Rybak (31) when Dagbladet meets him on top of Oslo Plaza on Sunday afternoon.
The artist made history when he won the Eurovision final in 2009. Nine years later the 31 year old could once again rejoice when he won the Norwegian Melodi Grand Prix on Saturday.
WON AGAIN: See the winning interview with the fresh MGP winner. Video: Anita Arntzen Reporter: Henriette Eilertsen
This means that Rybak will represent Norway once again in the international final in Lisbon in May-this time with the song “That’s How You Write a Song”.
– Sometimes it’s difficult to think positively, but if there is one time you should do it, it’s after having won a competition. I got good feedback and wonderful reviews. I’m very happy.
Rybak says he was surprised about the positive response. The guy who normally “can’t avoid reading negative statements in articles”, could however exhale.
– I’ve become a rather complex guy.
In what way?
– I may have used the word ‘racing-mind’, but that’s what I experience. An artistic mind is often very positive or very negative, he says.
Reached the end of his limits
There’s no point hiding that the period after the victory in 2009, was hard on Rybak. In 2010 the 31 year old told about having a nervous breakdown. During the summer of 2011 he spoke openly about how massive stress had made him reach the end of his limits. During his difficult period the artist sought help and advice from a number of psychologists.
– Are you afraid it will happen again?
– It has happened several times without me telling the press. However I don’t fear having problems ahead of Eurovision, apart from being too enthusiastic again. The artist explains that he has worked much with himself. Rybak is convinced he has learned a lot from former experiences.
– I feel I have changed a lot the past few years. And I’m very proud of that. I have become better at paying attention to people. It’s important to have good people around you and give yourself praise. My most important goal this year is to stay a good fellow human being.
The world’s best companion
The 31 year old explains that he has several supporters to lean on during hard times, including his girlfriend Julie Gaarud Holm, who he found happiness with in 2016.
– Julie is the world’s best companion in everyday life. When I’m at work I have the world’s best companion in my manager Mari.
Even with lots of thoughts in his head at the same time, Rybak emphasises that he is proud and grateful for the victory. There’s no doubt he will give it all when meeting the other entries. He himself freely praises the MGP audience and those who have supported him all along.
– It’s because of them we do this. We do it for the fans who really love each of the ten songs. Those who dance, and light torches during the ballads. It’s a very unique atmosphere.
Will be disappointed
There’s no secret that there is a certain pressure on Rybak in the international final. With “Fairytale” he got the highest score ever. At the same time there’s only one artist that has won Eurovision twice- Johnny Logan.
-How will you react if you don’t win?
– It depends on the performance itself. It will almost be more embarrassing winning with a lukewarm performance, than losing with a really good performance. I really do hope I can make Norway proud and qualify for the final. If not, I will be disappointed, admits the 31 year old.
– And if you win?
– I will anyway try to keep my feet a bit more on the ground than last time. First of all I will take better care of those around me. Not think that “now I will conquer even more hearts”, but really appreciate what I’ve got.
Secondly I will appreciate my own health, and value the art of saying no now and again. It’s a very negatively charged word, but it’s a very important word. Sometimes you have to turn down requests, so that the ones you actually accept become good.