Interview with Alexander Rybak in Azeri magazine “Your Passage”

Interview was made during Alexander’s visit to Baku in May 2012

Article published in the paper-issue of  “Your Passage”, №36, 2012

English translation by Sonya Luzina. English revision by Lillian Llewellyn

Alexander Rybak: I grew up on the symbiosis of classical and folk music

Charming, talented, cute, emotional, and a little shy – that’s how I remembered Alexander Rybak. He didn’t get a star fever, he can admire, enjoy and love. The most important people in his life are his parents. And he was infinitely glad to meet Will Smith, he was marvelled by his simplicity and sense of humour, at the reception in honour of awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to Barack Obama. He appreciates honesty and loyalty in people, because he is like that himself . And in addition he is interested in psychology, dogs and sushi. … Although he is extremely busy, Alexander Rybak took time for “PASSAGE” and revealed his little secrets in an exclusive interview. By the way, we had agreed that we’ll mention “ESC” only in passing – since there are too many other interesting topics.

– What do holidays mean in your life – for example, your birthday?

– It’s more my mom’s holiday, than mine. She prepares, she knows that I’ll come for sure. For example, I really managed to relax and rest on my birthday this year. In the morning I’ve gone to my parents in Oslo, and we celebrated within the family circle. No partying, dancing. Best birthday.

– And what was the most touching gift to you?

– This year, I got a bit of an unusual gift, and as you said, touching one, – my fans had collected a certain amount of money and invested it to charity. On my behalf. It’s insanely nice.

– Let’s talk about the most important thing: did you feel that you would win the “Eurovision Song Contest 2009”? 

– You know, yes. And it’s not about me being overly ambitious, I just believed and knew that people liked my song.

– Your song “Fairytale” has been dedicated to your ex-girlfriend, only the lazy one didn’t ask about it. However, how was it?

– It’s been a long time, about seven years ago. We dated, loved and broke up, but I was hooked. Memories came flooding back, the song was born. She didn’t even know that I still had feelings for her, she understood that only when I went on stage.

– Did she call you?

– Yes. She wanted to see me.

– And you?

– She is married and I have my own personal life, a beloved girlfriend. I’m not going back to the past, we must move forward. Memories and reality are different things.

– Will you tell more details about your girlfriend?

– To you – yes. She’s a doctor, a very responsible and talented person. She lives in Denmark, but travels around the world a lot, she is doing charity work. She is a kind of idol for me, because of her unselfishness and incredible soul. She’s a very strong person and incredibly beautiful. Unfortunately, we don’t see each other as often as we would like – we have a lot of work.

– And how did you meet each other?

– She was a student of my dad, she was studying to play the violin, it is her hobby, and, by the way, she is managing it great.

– Who laid  the foundations of love to music in you?

– My grandmothers – my father’s and my mother’s, both my favourite ones, I really miss them. They live in Belarus. And, of course, my parents. I come from a family of musicians: my mom is a pianist, my father is a violinist. Since my childhood I grew up on the symbiosis of classical and folk music, and that’s how I grew up (laughs).

– You promised to sing a song in Russian after the “ESC”, the promise was kept, thank you for that, and how is it to work with Timur Bekmambetov? Is it difficult?

– Yes, I have recorded the Russian soundtrack to the movie “Black Lightning” by Timur Bekmambetov. Pretty hard work, but the constant presence of a sense of trust and respect to the director saved me. However, because of busy schedules – his and mine – we had to communicate on Skype.

-You recently presented a new video – “Strela Amura”, tell me more about it.

– This is one of my favourite works, it ended up very sensual and professional. We shot it in the heart of Kiev, on Podol, on the roof of the hotel “Riviera”. By the way, all the characters of the video are real couples, whom I chose on my own. The director of the video is the Ukrainian movie maker Alexander Filatovich. It was a pleasure to work with him. He is an expert in his business.

– Tell me about your usual day.

– Unfortunately, I can’t be somewhere for more than a week, I mean the country. Constant concerts, flights, private events. For example, I’m very happy now, I’m in Baku for almost a week. No planes, changing climate, time zones. And if I manage to be at home in Norway, then I certainly visit my parents, meet with my friends. But to be honest, it’s more rarely now, I’m studying as a violinist, preparing for exams. I love to eat, especially the sushi. I have an apartment in Oslo on the fifth floor and there is a Japanese restaurant on the ground, so I try to have dinner there, it’s tasty and healthy. In general, I prefer light food.

– What kind of sushi do you prefer?

– These ones. “Dragon.” It’s very tasty, by the way, like at home.

– Do you like Baku? 

– I really like it. I have heard from many people that they like it too. It’s a very stylish city, I’d say. It’s a pity, I couldn’t visit museums, theatres, but I see historic architecture and feel how strongly the culture was developed here. I’ll come to you again for sure.

– Tell me, is the “Eurovision Song Contest” as popular in Norway as it is in Baku?

– Yes, it’s really popular. However, we don’t follow as much the creativity of other artists, except ours. It’s different here, many people recognize me on the street, they are smiling to me, as well as in Moscow.

– How do you prefer to relax?

– Honestly? At home, playing on the Playstation in my apartment for the whole day

– What about something extreme?

– It’s not for me. I have my own extreme – I always tell the truth to people. Though, I ski in winter, and I go sailing on a sailboat in summer

– Do you know how to fight?

– I don’t fight, but I’m able to protect myself and my close ones. I was taught by a Norwegian who is a General in the Army.

– What does help you in your life?

– My parents. They are my everything. Love, support, care. I am the only child in the family, so I got complete  parental warmth. And I have my favourite dog, she is a member of our family, Cindy, who is a Giant Schnauzer.

– What is your zodiac sign?

– Taurus.

– What are you interested in except music?

– In psychology, I’m really interested in the topic of relationships between men and women.

– Did you understand a lot?

– The main thing for women is attention, for men – freedom of choice. And in addition, the one, who keeps silent and introspects more, wins. But this is not about me … (laughs)

The magazine “Passage” thanks the restaurant “Chio Chio San” for their help in organizing the shooting.


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