Alexander Rybak

Alexander Rybak – Interview in God Kveld Norge 01.01.2021

Alexander Rybak chose the worst year for detox.

Source: Interview publish on 01.01.2020
Translated by Jorunn Ekre, revised by Anni Jowett

Text to featured picture:
POSITIVE: Despite the fact that the year has been marked by many challenges and trials, Alexander Rybak feels that he has become himself again. Now he has entered the master’s program at Colombia College and will focus exclusively on this. Photo: Berit Roald/NTB scanpix

It has been a busy year for Alexander Rybak (34), with studies, detox and the corona pandemic. Now the musician wants to focus solely on his master studies.

The year that has passed has been different and challenging to many people, including artist and composer Alexander Rybak. Last summer he shared with the fans that he has kept a secret for almost 11 years.
The sleeping pills and antidepressants had become a dependency that almost ruined his life. Now he is back to school with only A’s on his grade card.

– A year full of trials, but also full of support and solidarity, this is how Rybak sums up 2020 for God kveld Norge.

No one should do self medication. That’s the dumbest thing you can do, especially when you have some money to spare.

– Alexander Rybak

A happy student

Rybak had his breakthrough in 2009 when he charmed the whole of Europe with his own song “Fairytale”, and took the victory in the Eurovision Song Contest. Later he became very famous in Eastern Europe and won Melodi Grand Prix, the Norwegian ESC selection, with the song “That’s How You Write a Song”.

EUROVISION: Alexander Rybak has twice participated in the Eurovision Song Contest. Here he celebrated reaching the final in Lisbon, Portugal in 2018. Photo: Armando Franca

Since then he’s dreamt of writing soundtracks, which has now become a reality. He is now taking a 2 year master’s degree in film music in Chicago, USA.

– Yes, I have just recently received my report card for the autumn, where I have been given A’s in all subjects, so today I’m a happy student at Columbia College! He tells God Kveld Norge.

He has let out his apartment, but because of the coronavirus the songwriter couldn’t move to the USA, which was the original plan. Therefore he is studying online at his parent’s place.

– I’m letting my apartment while I’m studying, and nowadays I’m living with the world’s greatest mom and dad! Elaborates a satisfied Rybak.

No room for work

When it comes to the virus, he hasn’t felt it up close, but the fear that something would happen has still been there.

– Above all I have been a bit nervous for all the elderly people in the family, and also the health of my friends, the 34-year old tells.

The pandemic has led many in the culture business to have lost jobs and income. Amongst other things Rybak was supposed to have performed during this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, together with several other Eurovision-legends, but like many other big events, it got cancelled.

Despite of cancelled concerts the artist has a bright view of the future, where he can spend time on other things.

– Since I have been accepted into one of the top three most prestigious composer schools in the world, I have decided to dedicate a 100% of my everyday life to my master studies. Then there isn’t room for any work, other than the coolest TV-shows, like Skavlan last autumn. That was fun! Rybak tells.

A daily life without pills

The pandemic couldn’t have happened at a worse time for the master student. In the middle of the fear of illness among the inhabitants, cancelled events and an addiction to pills that he wanted to get rid of, the virus made life extra difficult.

– After ten years of addiction to antidepressants and sleeping pills, it’s extremely difficult to get rid of it. In that sense I chose he worst year for detox. There was extra stress with covid, but I don’t regret it, asserts Rybak and continues :
People say it’s much easier to be around me now that I’m no longer addicted, and I feel I have gone back to the real me. I should also add that I was done with the worst cold sweats and pains before the corona broke out.

He says he will be careful with talking about what made him change his situation after 10 years of addiction.
He mentions that Martine Røsten’s blog was a great inspiration and help along the way to recovery.

– I want to be careful recommending something. Mental health is very individual, and pills that turned out to be unnecessary to me, can be vital to someone else.
He does have advice he wants to share with others who are in the same situation.
– The only thing I can say is that no one should self medicate, that’s the dumbest thing you can do, and specially if you have some money to spare.

Hope for a brighter 2021

Despite of the past year that has brought along challenges, Rybak thinks he has grown a lot during 2020. He looks forward to a more sociable daily life and hopes 2021 will be a good year.

-I really hope so. I have realised that most people need to be a lot more sociable than me, so I hope it won’t be too long before people can socialise again! says Rybak and adds :
– I will also say that this isolation has made me more grown up. The hunger and the competitive instinct is still there, but now I have finally opened my eyes for togetherness and living in the moment. Not everything is about accomplishments anymore.

Even if the 34-year old has returned back to his real self again, he wants to continue to work at becoming a better person.
– I’m moved by seeing how good people are to each other during this difficult time. It has had an impact on me, and I try to become a more inclusive person myself! Even if it’s not always easy, says the musician laughing.

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