A number of interviews with artists competing in this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest are currently being set up by the editorial board noting that we already had the pleasure of speaking to Robin Stjernberg courtesy of Lionheart Music Group. He was still competing in the Melodifestivalen at the time but nevertheless, You ended up making it through to the second chance, and then also the final where it topped the international jury vote and came second with the public. In the meantime, our second interview in the build up towards the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest in Sweden is with Despina Olympiou who will be representing Cyprus with An Me Thimase composed by Andreas Giorgalli to the lyrics of Zenon Zindillis.
Cyprus will be participating in this years’ Eurovision Song Contest for the thirty-first time and unfortunately, there has not been a victory despite a number of positive showings with the best results being obtained in 1982 with the track Mono I Agapi performed by Anna Vissi, in 1997 when Hara & Andreas Constantinou sand the song Mana Mou and in 2004 with Lisa Andreas who sang her heart out during her rendition of Stronger Every Minute. All of the aforementioned were fifth place finishes. Why hasn’t Cyprus reached the top three or rather won according to your opinion and how will you try to change that?
Many may be the reasons why Cyprus’ has not achieved one of the first three places. The thing I care about most, is singing for you and reaching out to you with the only way I know. My song is the means and my purpose is not to change anything but keep participating in such a beautiful music event as Eurovision is, with honesty and love.
The track that you will be performing at this years’ edition of the international showcase entitled An Me Thimase is an emotional ballad which translates into If You Remember Me and it is composed by Andreas Giogallis and penned by Zenon Zindillis. Both of your songwriters have previous experience at the competition and not only that but they have managed to reach the top ten as well, in 1996 with Mono Yia Mas performed by Constantinos and in 1998 with Genesis sung by the extremely popular Michalis Hatzigiannis. What advice have they passed on and why did you select this particular song?
They both have faith in me and this is something that makes me content as a professional singer but as a person as well. The suggestion for my participation in this contest made earlier this year, came from their own initiative. My decision to represent my country was positive because I believe in the song and everything that it represents. With my experience on stage and their experience off stage, I believe that we make a good team.
You first entered the music scene back in 1992, which just also happens to be the year in which I was born but nevertheless, your solo debut album came out eight years later in 2000 and bore the name Ton Mation sou i Kalimera. The music was well appreciated and as a matter of fact, you moved to Universal Music Greece, which is still your record label to this day. With this company you have recorded five more albums including Vale Mousiki, Exoume Logo, Auto ine Agapi, Pes to Dinata and Mia Stigni. Does each studio album represent you at that particular point in time and what lies ahead in your future as a vocal artist?
I am very pleased with my career so far and each and every album I have released till now, represents a little piece of my soul , my being, and who I am. I feel that I still have a long way to go and a lot to discover. Music helps me look into my self, helps me express my needs, my concerns and share my feelings. Music is my comfort. I feel blessed for having a profession that makes me feel this way. Till now I had a contract with Universal, but from now on I am free to decide how and with whom I want to work with. My song An me thimase will be released by Sony Music. I already have a new album ready to be released and will do so soon.
Malta is competing in the second semi-final as opposed to Cyprus which is competing in the first semi-final yet nevertheless, could potentially faceoff each other within the final stage. Have you heard the song Tomorrow co-written by Boris Cezek and Dean Muscat with vocals provided by Gianluca and if so, what were your thoughts about it?
I heard all of the songs and I really liked yours! I find it very refreshing in its concept. It’s a smart and fresh music production. I believe in simple things which are made with love and respect.
Last year, Cyprus managed to make it through to the final of the Eurovision Song Contest having earned a lot of exposure in the lead up to the competition because the entry La La Love was being played in clubs all over the continent and ultimately this saw to the success of the track by Ivi Adamou in the Scandinavian charts. An Me Thimase is a considerably different track and therefore the performance has to be appropriately planned before hand. What do you have in store for the public at home when it comes to the live performance on the night of the semi-final?
Surely it’s a totally different song from La La Love. We intent to present it as best possible according to it’s music context. My appearance on stage will match what my song represents, the rest is mr Klitos κlitou job, who is the director of CYBC and have trust in him.
The music video for An Me Thimase was one of the first to be officially presented to the international media and it seems that one could honestly sit back and enjoy the sights. Preview videos have become essential means of promotion over the years but nevertheless, some of the so-called favourites including Denmark and Norway have decided to go for the performance of their national selections rather than recording another clip. What was the aim behind the music video from your end and do you believe that it is important to have such a tool at your disposal?
I am in favour of the live presentation on stage, which is what Denmark and Norway presented in their video clips . My produsers as well as CYBC, desided that is best we proceed in filming a video clip, for a better way to promote the song. You enjoyed the sights as you said and that’s nice to know. We hope you enjoy the song as well when i will be on stage in Malmo, and I hope to take you with me on a trip into the colours of Cyprus for those three minutes.
Greece and Cyprus share a strong bond especially when it comes to ethnicity and as a matter of fact, your entry will be performed in predominant Greek. Last year, Cyprus managed to do better than Greece in the final standings for the first time in years, albeit by a couple of points. This year, Greece are sending a band in the form of Koza Mostra with the addition of Agathon Iakovidis with the song Alcohol Is Free having won a national final which included four entries and which you witnessed having been invited as a special guest. What were your thoughts on the show in general and what is your opinion on the winning track?
Yes, indeed we have a strong bond something that you all realised from the points we give to each other every year. I was invited to the Greeks finals in which I performed as well. It was a very lively show, with many guests and past Eurovision winners. People were there to applaud and support the music. As for the Greek song it appears to be differed from the rest, it combines the old with the new element in Greek music and in lyrics as well as their characteristic presentation.
Would you like to say anything to your fans and our readers at escflashmalta.com?
First of all I would like to thank you for the interview and your support. I wish good luck to all the contestants but most of all I wish for everyone to enjoy the chance of coming together in one place at one time and singing as one. I am glad to see how many people love music, which is the reason we meet and we share our songs. After all memories and strong emotions are all we really possess.
Due to the fact that there have been quite a lot of successful entries in the Eurovision Song Contest in the past couple of years, record labels are finally seeing the competition as a positive stepping stone for talented artists who are hoping to catch a break or ultimately return back to the scene where they have been positive in the past. Universal Music Greece has sent two tracks to the esteemed music competition, the first being Yassou Maria performed by Sarbel in 2007 achieving seventh place and this year with Eleftheria Eleftheriou singing the track Aphrodisiac finishing in seventeenth place. Therefore, they would very much like to redeem their record by virtue of pushing a number of names forward to the Greek broadcaster, in the hope that one of them will accept and do the honours for the debt stricken country.
Just yesterday, there was focus on singer/songwriter Giorgos Sabanis, well known for restarting the career of Helena Paparizou being the main individual behind her recent music before leaving her label. Nevertheless, there seems to be another name in the frame and he is none other than former Cypriot Eurovision Song Contest representative Michalis Hatzigiannis. The song he had performed back in 1998 was entitled Genesis and finished in eleventh position ahead of the Greek entry that year entitled Mia Krifi Evesthisia performed by Thalassa which only managed twentieth place. Michalis is signed to Universal Music Greece and ERT have worked hard to get him in the past but they definitely need to put a good offer on the table especially when the artist has been extremely successful in his native country since his appearance at the Eurovision Song Contest. He brings to the table a very haunting vocal along with great charisma as could be heard in his latest single entitled We Own The World Tonight which has also just been released in Belgium and Luxembourg through the Universal Music Label.