Still replies to flirting fans

Alexander Rybak has almost 1 million fans on social media. But he feared that he would lose female admirers when he met his fairytale princess.

I managed to get the most out of single life before I met the one in my heart I have been waiting for.

Text to picture: I don’t want to have to compete with young pop idols when I get older. But as a composer and violinist I keep on till I die, says Alexander Rybak. Photo: Christian Roth Christensen

Alexander Rybak about his girlfriend, the ESC-image and the success in Russia.

Source: plus and the paper issue, published 26.1.17. Text: Tormod Halleraker. Photo: 

Alexander Rybak (30) met his girlfriend Julie Gaarud Holm (22) on an Internet dating service last winter, but the big crowd of female fans and admirers have not been standing in the way of the relationship.

-When we first got together there were many who posted “hate” and “jealous” on Instagram, but she turned it around in a fantastic way. Already after 2-3 weeks the fans understood I had found a girl I am happy with. The number of fans actually increased in stead of going down, when I got a girlfriend.

-And when I reply to the flirting comments on YouTube, Julie knows that this is just a part of my career.

Rybak is sitting at Beach Club, a stone’s throw away from his apartment at Aker Brygge, a bit nervous because he hasn’t given many interviews lately.

-I am more relaxed with the press now than earlier, and I don’t care that much if I get misquoted. But I am afraid that some of what I say can be blown up and told in a way that hurts others. An opinion can easily been seen as criticism.

Alexander Rybak together with his girlfriend Julia Gaarud Holm. From their vacation in Orland USA. Photo: private

«Fairytale» – his signature

Tomorrow Rybak will perform «Fairytale» again on live-TV, this time in the British Eurovision broadcast on BBC Two. After that he goes straight to Germany for club concerts.

-I could have chosen something else, but “Fairytale” is my signature. And I also find it fun to look back, not only look forward.

Even if Rybak has held a low profile in the press lately, he has not been idle. A summer show, “A tribute to Jahn Teigen”, Christmas concert tour, orchestra seminars for children and celebration of his 10 years anniversary as an artist, are only some of what has been on his schedule in 2016.
– BBC Two’s Eurovision broadcast from Hammersmith Apollo is just a little bonus, something to check off on the list. Since the victory in Eurovision in 2009, Rybak has played and performed in a long row of national and international Eurovision finals.

You are not afraid that the ESC–image will set limits on you?

He smiles.
– In 2006 everyone thought I would be remembered for «Kjempesjansen». The press are still putting me in the ESC-box, but I find it cool to be connected to a Norwegian Eurovision victory.  Then I would rather surprise with the other things that I do.
Rybak is more relaxed due to his career now than when he was younger.
 – Earlier I stressed myself in and out of projects, I took part in everything I thought would be fun. Now I try to be more humble and to listen. It is nice to focus on those things I have said yes to, instead of saying yes to everything and not managing to enjoy it.

“I don’t want to compete with the young pop idols when I get older. But as a composer and violinist I can keep on till I die, says Rybak” – Alexander Rybak

Among the milestones of the last years, are the official soundtrack to the DreamWorks movie «How to Train Your Dragon 2» and the 51 million hits on YouTube on the music video of the Russian song «Kotik» (kitten).

He has found his soul mate.

– I focus on YouTube now. People are more interested in watching the music video of the songs than to buy albums. And since I am so lucky to be economically independent, I can make what I feel the song needs.

– You finance your music videos yourself?

– Yes, either if it means that I play and sing in front of a white wall, or go to a Greek island to make a romantic music video, as I did with the song I wrote for Julie. «I Came to Love You» is dedicated to his girlfriend, and it is of course on YouTube.

Rybak has 90.000 followers on Instagram, 330.000 subscribers on YouTube and 860.000 likes on Facebook. He praises the fans, and wants to give them something new regularly.
 – Among the next things I am going to do, will be some humourous stuff. It’s first when you dare to make something  funny people really take you seriously.

There was a lot of attention to you imitations of artists like Elvis, Gloria Gaynor and Enrique Iglesias in the Russian TV-show «One to one»?

– My Network on YouTube, Nordic Screens, actually got an email saying they didn’t have the rights to show Iglesias’ performance of «Hero». So I must have done it well, he smiles.

Big  «Trolle»-plans

Last year he published his first book, the fairytale «Trolle». The book debut has taught him to not give in despite of opposition. When he first launched the idea about a CD and a children’s book, it fell down on a stony ground.  Now «Trolle and the Magic Fiddle», illustrated by Thomas Kirkeberg, is published in three editions. Ravn Studio works with the development of a mobile phone game about «Trolle», and Rybak has found people to collaborate with that makes him believe there will be a musical about the Trolle universe.

– And I am also working on «Trolle»-book number two. It is important to have more than one foot to stand on, he says. Despite the success in Russian speaking countries, it is home in Norway Rybak thrives the best.
 -If I play in Russia, it is still pop concerts for rich moguls. In Norway there is more space to develop as an artist, either I am on my own or together with others. Actually I thrive the best in collaboration with others.

– I don’t want to compete with young pop idols when I get older. But as a composer  and violinist I can keep on till I die, says Rybak.

You can read this article also in Hungarian.

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