Felt guilty because of “Fairytale”-Ingrid
Text to photo: Ten years: It is 10 years since Alexander Rybak brought the victory home in Eurovision Song Contest. Here he celebrates the victory. Photo: Henning Lillegård
Source: Db.no Pluss, published 17.05.2019. Text by Mathilde Lea. Translation by Jorunn Ekre, revision by Anni Jowett.
It’s been unresolved for ten years, tells Alexander Rybak. This week it’s the ten year anniversary of the “Fairytale” adventure in Moscow.
It’s the biggest thing that has happened, and probably will happen, in my life, says Alexander Rybak to Dagbladet. This week it’s exactly ten years since he won the Eurovision Song Contest in Moscow with the song “Fairytale”.
“I’m in love with a fairytale, even though it hurts. Cause I don’t care if I lose my mind. I’m already cursed.”
Rybak shared his own, genuine feelings with the audience, and it worked. With 387 points the boy from Nesodden broke all previous records, and secured at the same time Norway’s third historical Eurovision victory.
The “Fairytale girl
The mysterious “Fairytale”- girl from the song turned out to be Ingrid Berg Mehus, Rybak’s teenage love. She said so herself to Dagbladet in 2009. The two of them had a relationship when they were both violin students at Barratt Due Music Institute.
-I was 16-17 years old, and Ingrid was the closest person in my life for over a year. At that age it means everything, Rybak has explained in a former interview with Dagbladet.
The relationship lasted for a year before Mehus left the Eurovision star. That was the beginning of a lengthy heartbreak.
The process of creating “Fairytale” began when Rybak decided to turn weakness into strength. That happened when he was wandering in the Norwegian mountains, without a phone or a camera.
-My weakness was a heartbreak for six years. It’s that kind of luxury problems we have in Norway, but it got pretty tiring after a while. When I wandered in the mountains I felt an enormous relief, and suddenly it wasn’t so bad longing anymore.
Inspired by Asbjørnsen and Moe Rybak decided to tell his own fairy tale, with his own weakness as a basis. That’s how “Fairytale” became a song about the girl he lost and never managed to find again.
It was a relationship that really meant a lot to my whole adolescence. That says something about how much of a perfectionist I am. I think I was almost a bit obsessed. I was in fact singing that, “I am already cursed”, he says.
Ten years has gone by, and the ambitious violinist is no longer bothered by heartbreak after his first big love. This week Rybak turns 33. Through the years he has got more insight into himself and his relationships.
-I realised it’s not healthy to be heartbroken for six years. I have very big ambitions. When I have an idea, I want it to stay as it is. That’s why it’s very difficult for me to live with someone and with relationships. It’s been like this throughout my life, because I transfer those visions to my personal relationships, he says forthrightly.
Today he manages to a greater extent to separate between relationships and his life as an artist.
-It’s not a good thing to have visions on behalf of another person. After a while I have become very fond of giving people freedom to live their own lives. That may be the biggest change, that I have become much less dependent on people. Even those I look up to, and are very fond of.
Throughout all these years there has still been something unresolved, concerning his ex -girlfriend. He in fact never told her beforehand, before he participated in Melodi Grand Prix with a song about her.
-In 2009 I had at times a guilty conscience because it wasn’t something I had planned with Ingrid. It was something I went for by myself. It’s been unresolved till this year, Rybak explains.
This year Ingrid Berg Mehus herself participated in Melodi Grand Prix with the song “Feel” that she wrote together with her husband Bjørnar Hopland and Anthony Modebe. Rybak was among her supporters.
-I think she did great as an artist, but in addition I’m very happy we could sort things out, and that I’m friends with her husband. I feel much lighter now.
Turned down “The Bachelor”
The period after the victory he describes as a big chaos. Many may remember an over-joyous Alexander Rybak who in a state of ecstasy invited everyone who wanted to meet him at Gardermoen.
-At first it was a lovely chaos with people who showed up at Gardermoen. It was very nice, but after a while I started to think about everything I missed and everyone I was suppose to satisfy. .
If there is anything Rybak would want to change, it’s to let go earlier, not hold on to his perfectionism. The first year he seldom turned down interviews, concerts or TV-shows. He has explained earlier that he got a nervous breakdown after the victory, because of among other things stress.
-I often showed up pretty uninspired for the shows and concerts. I shouldn’t have done that. If I had said no to more things, I would’ve had fewer of those days where it was difficult. Now I have learned to say no.
Today the “violin” has a different tune. If it feels too much to do an interview, he chooses to say no. . During Eurovision last year he withdrew from the press to shield himself. Rybak himself thinks it was a big turning point when he turned down participating in “The Bachelor” on TV.
–I was supposed to get 900 000 euros to frolic with women for four weeks.I would’ve been much richer if I had said yes, or maybe not. This was in 2011. I may not have gotten all those jobs performing in the years after, if I had become known as bachelor, he says, laughing.
Throughout the years Rybak has established himself as much more than just the “Fairytale”-singer. Last year he won Melodi Grand Prix again and represented Norway in the Eurovision final in Lisbon with “That’s How You Write a Song”. That ended with a 15th place. Nowadays he is working on a musical, based on the children’s book he released in 2015.
On Sunday he released the single “I’m Still Here”, a tribute to the fans who have followed him ever since Moscow. The music video had over 300 000 views in two days.
On Monday Alexander celebrated his birthday. That marked the beginning of a week filled with a wonderful mixture of “Fairytale”-anniversary, the release of music, Eurovision-party and birthday celebrations for both of his parents.
–I don’t know if it’s the spring air, or whatever it is. If I had my violin in my hands and been asked to play “Fairytale” now, I would’ve done it with just much joy. It may has to do with feeling safe. It’s always easy to repeat something, but it’s difficult to do something new.