Alexander Rybak – moved back home to his childhood room.
Source: Paper issue of Se og Hør, published 16.7.2021. Text by Harald Gautner, photos: Espen Solli. English translation: Tessa La, revision by Anni Jowett.
Text to the featured picture: Playfulness: A lot is about music in the Rybak family’s home. Dad Igor gives private lessons in violin, Mom accompanies on piano, while Alexander creates new and fantastic music.
Welcome, says Alexander Rybak, who now lives at home with his mum and dad.
Not many know that the musical genius from Nesoddtangen set deep in the Oslo Fjord was asked to write the Melodi Grand Prix song for the “Queen of Austria”, Conchita Wurst . This was in 2014 and about four years after he himself won the competition with “Fairytale”.
“Se og Hør” met an openhearted Alexander Rybak (35) in his childhood home, which he left 17 years ago. There he has “corona-lived” the last 1,5 years.
Ups and downs
I got a downer after the MGP -victory, when lack of confidence made me insecure. It didn’t become any better when Norwegian music reviewers mostly talked me down. That was the reason why I said no to compose a song for “the Queen of Austria”, Rybak says.
Little did he know by then that it would be the bearded artist who won the international final with the song “Raise Like a Phoenix”.
– I still regret that I said no, says Alexander Rybak, who doesn’t hide that he is a sensitive person.
Music for all the money
Otherwise most goes the right way for the popular artist. He has just finished a bigger tour with Hanne Krogh. The joy of music he has inherited from his mother Natalia Valentinovna Rybak (62) and Igor Alexandrovitsj Rybak (67) who raised their son with classical piano and violin.
Every Christmas the family plays at services in Nesodden Church, which is a nice gesture and good tradition with the locals. And sometimes you can hear happy music from the villa when the trio play, just a stone’s throw from the edge of Bunnefjord.
On the third floor of the house Alexander has moved back into his childhood room, and organised an advanced music room with all the digital support needed. This is where he makes new and existing music.
He has started a new life as a student at Columbia College in Chicago.
– Think I got in without an audition, Alexander shines when he talks about the school.
– A dream has come true, and finally I can work full time with what I like the best.
But the road to the prestigious composition study has been tortuous, he admits.
Read more about his study in the article below published in The Colombia Chronical
A view to Oslo
From the veranda Alexander has a panoramic view directly towards Oslo and Aker brygge where he owns an apartment.
– I rented it out when I was accepted onto the course. Right after everything was closed down because of corona and I couldn’t move to Chicago. Luckily Mum and Dad opened their arms when I asked to move back home, Alexander tells , who is still single after the break up with his girlfriend Julie Gaarud Holm (26) two years ago.
His parents don’t know what good they can do for the returned son. They organise, clean and make food.
– Mum is in control, Alexander smiles and looks loving on his mother who doesn’t hide how proud she is of “Sasha”, as she calls her boy.
In a safe and homely environment Alexander has bloomed after he stopped using sleeping pills and antidepressants after 11 years of misuse.
Last summer he surprised the whole of by writing very personal messages on Instagram and Facebook. There he told about his dark secret.
In hindsight, Alexander Rybak is in no doubt that it has been important to be open about his intoxication problems.
– It was very important. It was like something heavy disappeared from my shoulders. Everything became easier after having shared the story, he told back then.
– Now I have become myself again in my head, he states today.
In the top floor of the house Alexander has taken full control. As a master student at one of the world’s most prestigious universities, there is no room for sloppiness. With 700 applications and only 14 study places the list is high.
– That all the lessons have been digital was strange in the beginning. Now I have learned how distance learning works, and it goes very well, he says, knowing that he gets the best grades.
From the speakers sounds music in all genres. Simple and playful Alexander handles the most of the genres. He let us hear new and exciting recordings that deserve a bigger audience. A catchy version of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony, is just one of the goodies.
– My dream is to write popular music for both national and international artists. Slowly but surely I will build up a file specifically with this in mind, he reveals.
– In a few weeks I’ll pack my suitcase and get on a plane to Chicago. Finally I will meet my fellow students physically. To stay and live in Chicago will be incredibly creative and social. I’m really looking forward to it, Alexander says excitedly.
In 10 months he and his fellow students will leave for Hollywood. Then he will be challenged on what he likes the best. The main composition he will write will be performed by the Los Angeles Symphony Orchestra itself.
– In addition I will compose film music and make sound images for computer games. It is both exciting and demanding. I like to challenge myself. Now I have found the greatest joy of them all, and am confident in the choices I have made.