Interview with Alexander Rybak and Ingrid Berg Mehus 25.2.2019

She was the best young love
– Alexander Rybak 

An interview with Alexander Rybak and Ingrid Berg Mehus at Barratt Due, where they Saturday 23th February played a concert together. 
Source: paper issue of Dagbladet 26.2.19  and db.no 27.2.19 Text: Amanda Strand Askeland. Photos: Original article photos by Christian Roth Christensen is not use in this post.  Romerikes Blad 25.2.19.
Found by Anastasia Silakova, translated by TessaLa, revised by Anni Jowett. 

Singers, violinists and composers. Ingrid Berg Mehus and Alexander Rybak have a lot in common.

We meet the good friends at the music school Barratt Due, where they both have been students previously. Mehus participates for the first time in the Melodi Grand Prix on Saturday with the song “Feel” which she has written together with her husband Bjørnar Hopland and Anthony Modebe.

– I feel the nerves. It’s really a little uncomfortable. Last night I dreamed that everyone in the concert hall had gone home before it was my turn to go on stage, says Mehus to Dagbladet.

 

Barratt Due: Alexander Rybak and Ingrid Berg Mehus studied together at Barratt Due Music Institute. Photo: Screenshot from DB video

Rybak knows the feeling.

– I often dream that I go out on the stage in front of a big audience, and then I can’t remember what to do. It’s very typical, he says and laughs.

It is ten years since Rybak took us by storm when he won MGP with the song “Fairytale” in 2009. And he again took the victory when he last year participated with the song “That’s How You Write a Song”.

No need for advice

This year his good friend and former youth sweetheart will be in the fire. Mehus says that it has been nice to get advice from Rybak.

He said I should sing a lot when I have a cold, she says.

With that I mean that if you practise a lot when you have a cold and manage to sing the song well in that condition, it will be easier when you are well again, Rybak explains and adds:

– Ingrid has so much integrity on the stage, that she really doesn’t need any advice from other artists, says Rybak.

Like Rybak, Mehus is also a violinist. She has been playing since she was seven years old. Although the combination of violin and song is something Melodi Grand Prix fans quickly associate with Rybak, Mehus says that she wants to make it her own thing.

– I can’t pretend that I am Alexander. Alexander has in some way mixed folk music and funk, while I’m more in the electro genre, she says.

– When we play classical music we are very coordinated. We noticed this when we played together for the first time 15 years ago. The genre of “Fairytale” and “That’s How You Write a Song” and Ingrid’s song, “Feel”, is very different, says Rybak.

 

Violinists: Ingrid Berg Mehus and Alexander Rybak played together for the first time 15 years ago. (Alexander’s mother in the background)

Give of herself

He says that it is important to have good communication when playing with others.

– There are very few who manage to entertain in the way she does. Many musicians are very entangled. Ingrid is the most inclusive I know, and gives a lot of herself on stage, he says.

Alexander was the superhero

They studied music at Barratt Due, where they met for the first time as teenagers.

– I remember especially well when we played in the orchestra together. Ingrid played the first violin and I played second, in the “Nutcracker” of Tchaikovsky. It’s one of the strongest memories I have with Ingrid, he says and smiles. I live and breathe for the music, so often when I have good feelings I connect them to a piece of music or a song. Ingrid is the Nutcracker, he says and smiles.

Mehus says that she was very inspired by Rybak.

Alexander was incredibly clever. He was kind of the superhero at Barratt Due, says Mehus. I practised a lot back then. But so did you, too, Rybak continues.

– Yes, but not even close to what you were doing. It was fun to see the musicality you had. I often feel that you are challenging me and that you always push the music a little further, says Mehus.

Teanage sweethearts: Alexander Rybak and Ingrid Berg Mehus were teenage sweethearts. Today, they are only good friends. 

“Fairytale” to Ingrid

In 2009, the song “Fairytale” became an earworm, not only in Norway, but also throughout Europe after Rybak won Eurovision. He wrote the song about his young love, Ingrid.

– The first love is very strong for most people, and when you are a musician or composer it becomes a natural inspiration to write music. The younger you are, the stronger you adopt things, and Ingrid is no “burugle” (owl in cage. A Norwegian expression that means grumpy woman, bitch, hag), says Rybak and laughs.

– And if you are not a “burugle”, what are you then? Mehus asks.

– A princess? I had the best young love one could wish for, says Rybak and smiles at his friend.

Mehus says she is impressed with how he wrote the song:

– “Fairytale” is primarily an incredibly cool song. It is a huge honour to have been a small part of the inspiration for it.

It was not just “a little bit” about you, it was completely in your spirit. And it was written so that you should understand the small musical details hidden in it, says Rybak.

He says that the song consists of as just as much Belarusian and Norwegian music, although many just think it’s a party song.

It also has some of the Russian sadness and the Norwegian folk tone. It’s super-catchy and I’m pretty impressed with how you wrote it, says Mehus

“Fairytale”: Alexander Rybak wrote the MGP Hit “Fairytale” about his teenage sweetheart Ingrid Berg Mehus. This year she is among the finalists in the MGP final this Saturday. Photo: NRK official MGP 2019
 
Got to know each other again

Ingrid and Alexander were teenage sweethearts. Alexander was in the first year of high school, while Ingrid was still in secondary school.

– 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. If she had been a bad girlfriend, I would also been influenced by it. So I am very happy that it was you, says Rybak and looks at Mehus.

– Thanks, the same to you, she says.

Rybak says that if he had had another first love, “Fairytale” would have sounded completely different.

– I can be a little too comfortable and boring. A very nice thing with Alexander was that he challenged me and got me to speed up, says Mehus.

Today they are just good friends and colleagues.

– We have got to know each other again. It’s something I really appreciate, says Mehus, and I hope we stay friends, says Mehus.

Since Rybak won MGP last year, he will perform in the final.

With something in addition, he says with a foxy smile. He will not reveal more than that.

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