Everyone wants a piece of Alexander Rybak, Aftenposten 11.03.2018

Alexander Rybak looks forward to the stress that awaits him.

The MGP winner Alexander Rybak’s management is making a plan towards the final in Portugal. It’s about saying no more often than yes when it comes to requests.

Text to the picture:  As long as I’m prepared for what awaits me tomorrow, it often goes well says Alexander Rybak.

Source: Aftenposten.no, published 11.03.2018. Text og photo: Arve Henriksen. Translated by Jorunn Ekre, revised by Anni Jowett.

Smiling and fresh, with a half rusty voice, Alexander Rybak met a selection of the press for a conversation the day after the victory in the MGP final on Saturday night. His song “That’s How You Write a Song” went to the top in the Melodi Grand Prix final at Oslo Spektrum.
– I know that the demand will be big. But I think as an artist it would’ve been worse if you didn’t have the media and the fans. It’s really all about being prepared. And if you’re prepared for what will happen tomorrow, and that’s more or less what happens, it’s OK, says Rybak.
Since he won the final in the Eurovision Song Contest in Moscow in 2009, he has been very much in demand in big parts of Europe, perhaps predominantly in the Eastern European countries. It won’t be any less after the victory on Saturday.

Many people from the media wanted to talk to Alexander Rybak after the victory in MGP on Saturday night.

Everyone wants a piece of Rybak

-There’s a lot of requests from all over Europe. Alexander is more in demand out in Europe than the people in Norway may realise. He plays everywhere, he still has more days travelling than he is at home in Oslo, says manager Mari Rustøy of Artistpartner.

Together with NRK the management will create a plan that won’t wear Rybak out satisfying fans and the media both before and during the final in May. 2000 people from the media will be waiting in Lisbon, including fan media, and everyone wants a piece of the former Eurovision winner, who still holds the official points record in the Eurovision Song Contest.

-Things have to be convenient. At the same time it’s important to make sure it won’t get too much for Alex, in any case when it also includes many days travelling. We bring along the experiences he made after the final in Moscow. It got a bit too much back then, says Rustøy.

Alexander Rybak was a popular winner of this year’s MGP 2018. Photo: Audun Braastad, NTB scanpix

His own mistake

During the Eurovision Song Contest final in Dusseldorf in 2011 Rybak worked as an expert for NRK. That didn’t go unnoticed among the fans.
-It wasn’t very thought out, but it was in fact myself who asked for the job. I almost didn’t get to work, more and more people wanted photos. It was the result of a typical young artist’s way of thinking, one who wanted to try out every possible profession. I know my limits now, he chuckles.

Rybak isn’t the first Eurovision winner who as another attempt.

-When you return as a former winner, there’s a huge expectation pressure. Many will be happy to see Alexander again, so I’m pretty sure there will be lots of attention when he comes to Portugal, says Jon Ola Sand, the head of the Eurovision Song Contest in the European Broadcasting Union (EBU).

EBU leaves it to NRK and Rybak to make a plan that makes sure the artist is taken care of in the best possible way.

-He has to participate at all the official events, at press conferences, opening ceremony and the likes. In addition to that the management around Rybak must make sure it won’t get too much. There may be endless requests from various media about interviews outside of the planned schedules that we operate, says Sand.

Photo: Tor G. Stenersen

Struggles with a racing mindset

In an interview in A-magasinet at the beginning of March, Rybak talked about his problems connected to what he calls the racing mindset, a consequence of feeling inadequate.

Therefore he is conscience of getting better at taking care of his own health also in the months before the final.

-There were about 200 newspapers who wanted an interview with me the week before the final, but we narrowed it down to only four-five. It is something about not exaggerating. So during the final in Lisbon I will use the official press conferences. That is something I look forward to, I can create a lot of fun he says.

That’s why he won’t spend time and energy travelling around Europe to promote this year’s song, like many have done before.

-When it comes to this song, all PR isn’t good PR. The song isn’t the same without the show onstage. It’s seldom you hear “Singin in the Rain” on the radio. It’s not as cool without Gene Kelly and the lamp post. That’s why I have spent quite a lot of resources on the music video, says Rybak talking about his winning song “That’s How You Write a Song”.

This autumn he is touring with Trondheimsolistene. They don’t have to be nervous about him dropping out if he wins the final in Lisbon in May.
-They should rather hope I will do well, then the ticket sales will be better. Regardless of how much success I get, I’ll never forget that it’s the classical music that is my roots, says Rybak.


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