Interview with Alexander Rybak in the Norwegian magazine “Norsk Ukeblad” 25.03.2009

Alexander Rybak does strange things

Alexander Rybak is full of charm, but you wouldn’t want him as your neighbor.

Source: Norwegian magazine Norsk Ukeblad, published 25.3.09. Text Tommy Larsen.  Translated by Jorunn Ekre, revision by Katie Anderson.

His brown eyes charm through the screen and into the TV-living rooms in the country. He has truckloads of the “x factor”. He has taken the nation by storm and is our big international hope in the Eurovision Song Contest.

With parents from Belarus, the road was planned at an early age for Alexander.

Over there the upbringing is stricter than what we’re used to here in Norway. The culture is totally different. My parents had big ambitions on my behalf, and they probably pushed me at an early age. I’m happy about that. Research has shown that after a certain time it’s too late to learn certain things. Things are happening continuously in the brain,  so “time gates” become closed, he explains eagerly.

– After you’ve turned four for instance, there are things that will be too late to learn.

Fiddler

It wasn’t just joy when Alexander started to flirt with other musical genres than classical.

In the beginning there was some discontent, but after a while we became friends again, he says laughing.

– I am glad they gave me room to explore other forms of music. I really want to be a fiddler to the people, the 22 year old asserts.

Cried together

The story behind “Fairytale” is as fascinating as the artist himself.

– I traveled around in Giske community (Norway) the whole summer. I knocked on doors and played for people to get room and board. While I was at Vigra , the biggest island in the community, I started to hum the melody. Then I added the violin play and after a while the lyrics.

The result is this year’s Eurovision favorite. The song is known as being inspired by Alexander’s first, great love. This is how he remembers the breakup:

It’s five years ago now. We stayed at a hotel the night I broke up. We cried together till we fell asleep, and I woke up seeing her crying. It’s the most painful thing I have experienced.

Since she was my first love, I guess I wondered a bit what my second love would be like. We were so young, says Alexander about why it ended.

The princess will have to wait

The charmer already has a huge fan base, and many wonder if he is still single.

– Yes, I am single, and I want to be believable when I sing this song. I can’t travel around singing about my first love, while I have a wife and kids at home. Right now it’s perfect being single, he says, before adding that he of course hopes to find love later.

Family hug: Alexander kisses his mother on her check after the victory in Oslo Spektrum. Photo: Sara Johannessen

Alexander oozes energy and joy on stage, but what’s he like when the stage lights go off?
– As you can see, there’s not much glamour here, says Alexander and points at his regular white and black striped sweater.

Blue-grey jeans and a black jacket emphasizes the impression of a young man who doesn’t exactly scream for attention, clothes-wise.

– On stage I am filled with energy. Almost too much. You can say I talk from the stage. In private I’m different. There I don’t have the need to be in the center. I enjoy much more to be the one listening, rather than the one talking, he says.

Bangs on walls

Many creative people have big swings in their mood and emotional life. How do you see yourself?

– I get happy and sad like everyone else, but I always pull myself together among other people. I am so happy and grateful when I get to be with other people, that I would never burst among others. When I am home by myself, it’s different. Then I can do some strange things.

Alexander laughs.

– For instance, if I can’t sleep, I get out of bed and bang the wall till I’m exhausted.
Let’s hope Alexander will get to sleep in the days ahead. He has a whole continent to conquer. Europe is already awake.

 

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