November 20, 2019

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Baku, the capital city of Azerbaijan was hosting the Eurovision Song Contest this time last year in a setting which was relatively different as the event was organised on a bigger scale. The idea of giving the international spectacle a more intimate feel commenced as of this year and seems to be working wonders. Nevertheless, Azerbaijan is a nation which has always used the necessary means possible to success and this is definitely seen within the results achieved by the nation across the years. Their worst result thus far is eighth place achieving during their debut with the song Day After Day performed by Elnur & Samir. 

This year, they are being represented by Farid Mammadov and his entry Hold Me which is a co-write between Dimitris Kontopoulos, John Ballard & Ralph Charlie Al Fahel. Farid had the opportunity to visit Malta this year, and as a matter of fact, an appearance on Xarabank aired on Television Malta, the main organ of the Public Broadcasting Services will be shown tomorrow evening. Following his first technical rehearsal, it seems that almost everything is going his way except for the attire but then again, that is just personal opinion. The whole setup looks impressive and the idea to have a dancer in a boxer who mimics his moves is just stunning. Juergen Boernig and his team in Sweden had the opportunity to chat with him following his rehearsal yesterday. Stay tuned to for more interviews. 


Published in Interviews
Wednesday, 24 April 2013 05:51

Azerbaijan: Reviewing the track 'Hold Me' has enlisted three individuals from different music industries to help analyse and classify the tracks competing in the second semi-final of this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest noting that they come from the United Kingdom, United States and the Czech Republic respectively. In the earlier section of the draw comes Azerbaijan, which has been drawn by the producers in slot number four (4) following the performance of the FYR Macedonia. The idea of the producers is to have as many different genres as possible spread out in order to keep the competition flowing both for the public and the jury alike. Ictimai Television, broadcaster for Azerbaijan will be represent by Farid Mammadov whose entry Hold Me is composed by Dimitrios Kontopoulos with lyrics by John Ballard and Ralph Charlie Al Fahel.

Farid, age 21, has effortlessly proven that he is one of the finest vocalists in Azerbaijan. To win the national final Farid provided a touching performance of the song Hold Me a very strong romantic ballad. The song is composed by Dimitrios Kontopoulos, who previously produced Eurovision songs for Ani Lorak, Sakis Rouvas and had 27 number one hits in Greek national airplay charts. The main source of inspiration to Farid has been Azerbaijani music as well soul, jazz, and pop. He was raised on Mugham, a form of traditional Azerbaijani folk music and very complex vocal art. Meanwhile, since the age of eight Farid got engaged to the soul and jazz music, in particular Stevie Wonder. At his very first concert he performed Wonder's all-time-hit I Just Called to Say I Love You. He is also a talented songwriter. At the semi-final of the national selection Farid performed his own song Gel Yanima (Come to Me).

His competitive spirit is also shown in Farid's strong passion for sports. He enjoys participating in freestyle wrestling, which is regarded as the Azerbaijan's national sport, and Brazilian martial art capoeira. There is no doubt that he inherited sporting abilities from his parents. Farids mother was a silver medalist for the Soviet Union in gymnastics. Not to mention both parents are also into music with Farid's mum playing piano and his father used to sing and play keyboards in a rock band. Farid was honoured to work with such outstanding mentors in his country as Vagif Gerayzade and Aybeniz Hashimova before he became a mature solo singer. Although it was his dream to sing for Azerbaijan, he previously had never participated in national selections to the Eurovision Song Contest, as he felt like the time was not right for him.

Over the last few years he has developed his singing ability to the point where he was ready to succeed. Farid managed to win not only the jury vote in the final, he also gained the highest number of televotes from the audience during the qualifying rounds. In autumn 2012, as many other finalists of the Azerbaijani national selection, Farid took part in the casting process for the new international music talent show The Big Stage (Böyük Səhnə). In the show top-rated songwriters, producers, choreographers and vocal coaches from Azerbaijan, USA, the UK, Greece, Sweden and Ukraine worked closely together to create a very special artistic environment for young performers with the only aim to polish their skills and help the emerging talents. There at the creative campus of the show Farid came to the Dimitrios Kontopoulos' attention - the composer of Hold Me.

In 2008, Azerbaijan entered the Eurovision Song Contest for the very first time and managed to finish in a respectable eighth place with the song Day After Day performed by Elnur & Samir but things have only got better and that remains to be their worst result thus far noting that they managed a second runner-up finish in 2009 with Always sung by another duet, this time being Aysel and Arash and then ultimately finishing on top of the leaderboard in 2011 with the song Running Scared sung by Ell & Nikki. They will be hoping that their success within the top ten will continue this year and it has no reason not too considering that Farid is an extremely competent performer with the song being relatively strong. Malta and Azerbaijan have built a strong bond over the past couple of years and therefore, it is not surprising that Farid will be stopping by Malta this coming weekend.

Professional Critics Voice their Opinion

Rating: 87%

Martin Isherwood: Very strong chorus. Lyrics works well. Very strong voice. Not sure about the key change - feels a little bit forced. Love the production once the track is in fully. Hints of 'Glorious' Andreas Johnson or Robbie Williams Millennium in the chorus. Great song!

Sharon Vaughn: There are not a lot of words to describe this song except that it is pretty much Eurovision by numbers but nevertheless, done in extremely well, bliss!

Stano Simor: Azerbaijan gives you traditionally depends on a strong representation and promotion. Hold Me has a strong melody, simple text that will be easily understood by the audience including countries of the far east, which is a strong demographic when it comes to this competition. The song has been seemingly written for Farid's vocals as it fits him perfectly. This should get Azerbaijan a very strong result, not in the semi-final but in the final!


Published in Editorials

Sabina Babayeva is the representative of the host country in this years' Eurovision Song Contest and she will be performing the song When The Music Dies. She is preparing to go out on stage for her first rehearsal later at the moment but she will be one of the few who has everything prepared for the final directly by showcasing how traditions, art and technology are fused together within the Azerbaijani context.

Sabina is reheasing in her full attire for the final and is one of a handful to reveal it and the only reason why she will ultimately reveal her outfit is because it includes a number of special technological effects which will be used for the very first time, noting that the project on the backdrop will also be on the dress. The task at hand for the production team is to make the performance tell a story in the best possible way. Testing of the equipment is mandatory and of course, that is why she will be in the outfit today and tomorrow. 

The director of the stage, Lars Bethke states 'This is something on the edge of technology and art. We use Sabina’s dress, and the whole room, as huge canvas where the flare draws the story of song When the Music Dies'. Sabina will be joined on stage by none other than the legendary singer Alim Qasmiov as well as another three backing vocalists, presumably women. Stay tuned for more news on which is covering the rehearsals live from Baku, Azerbaijan.

Source: Euromedia