Written by Alec Parkin
Tonight Norway will pick who their entrant will be for Eurovision 2013. One of their hopefuls is Annsofi, who will perform a song written by none other than Alexander Rybak. escXtra.com was lucky enough to catch up with both of them.
escXtra.com: Has Alexander’s past success encouraged you, or is it a lot to live up to?
Annsofi: Alexander is very encouraging, and has never put pressure on me to feel like I have to live up to his success. However, I feel both honored and humbled (and a bit terrified!) to be allowed to participate in the MGP with a song composed by the guy who wrote “Fairytale”.
X: How did you feel, performing in Florø, in front of a huge audience in the arena and watching on TV?
A: I got used to performing on TV during Last Choir Standing and the X Factor, but I never get used to watching it after. In fact I prefer not to, and I am yet to see any of the X Factor videos on YouTube. However, I decided to watch the MGP semi-final in Florø, to see if I could make any improvements before the final.
X: Do you feel that MGP is an important way for developing artists like yourself to gain exposure?
X: How have you been preparing for the grand final, since your success in Florø? Will you be making any changes for your performance in Oslo?
A: Like I said, I have been watching the videos from the semi-final, but I have also watched Karate Kid and Les Miserables with Alex! I don’t quite know why, but he’s my mentor so I have to trust him, I guess…
X: Why does 2013 feel like the right time to return to MGP and, potentially, ESC?
Alexander Rybak: I did not want to return to the MGP with a song unless I found someone special to sing it. Annsofi is the reason 2013 feels right!
X: We are used to seeing you on the MGP stage playing a violin. There’s a violin solo in your song this year. Were you tempted to perform this yourself? Might this change if you reach the ESC in Malmö?
AR: Not really, I wanted this to be about Annsofi. I think she carries the song perfectly alone. About Malmö: She hasn’t popped the question yet…
X: Are you focusing more on writing, or performing? Do you prefer one over the other?
AR: I still love to perform! However, if I ever get to help someone else succeed, I think that’s a greater achievement than succeeding myself…
X: You are arguably best-known, of course, for ‘Fairytale’. Would you be happy if, in years to come, it defined your career?
AR: I would be perfectly happy if it did! I mean, most artists work their way to the top. I was lucky to kind of start at the top. So I’ve been there, done that, and now enjoy the freedom to do absolutely what I want to – without necesserily aiming for the top.
X: Would you consider submitting a song for another country, or is it important to you that you represent Norway?
AR: I don’t have a plan except doing what I feel like. So… I’ll just have to wait and see what I feel like in the future…
Alexander Rybak & Annsofi
X: How did you both come together for your MGP 13 entry?
Annsofi & Alexander: We came together during the X Factor in 2010, and have collaborated since then. Christmas concerts, the “Christmas Tales” album, and now the MGP, which came out of a studio project, where we recorded two songs, of which “I’m With You” is one of them.
X: In Norway, do you think that MGP is viewed mainly as a competition to select the Norwegian ESC entry, or as a ‘showcase’ for Norwegian musical talent?
A&A: We have to say both. Participating is valuable; winning is priceless.
X: The Scandinavian selection shows have a huge following throughout Europe and indeed worldwide. Why do you think that is? What is the appeal?
A&A: American music is very popular worldwide, so… maybe it’s because Scandinavian music is a bit “americanized”? A little while ago, of the top 10 songs on the Billboard, seven of them was produced by Scandinavian producers. But then again, two out of three Norwegian ESC winners, had a violin and a touch of folk music in their acts. I think the answer is: We simply don’t know.
X: Are you happy with your position in the running order of the final?
Annsofi: Four is my lucky number, and now I got two times four!
X: ‘Lucky Lips’ have taken the ‘wildcard’ ticket for Saturday’s final. If there was a second ‘wildcard’, which other act/artist would you personally have liked it to have gone to?
A&A: We’ve grown so fond on many of the artists behind the songs, it’s really hard to pick only one!
X: Would you have preferred not to know your individual ranking from your semi-final?
A&A: No, that means we just have to work harder…
escXtra.com would like to thank Annsofi and Alexander Rybak for giving this interview. We would also like to wish them the best of luck in Melodi Grand Prix tonight! Watch the performance of ‘I’m With You’ in the semifinal below!