Here is the interview I made with Zlata Ognevich, who will represent Ukraine at the Eurovision Song Contest in Malmö.
At first, I’d like to say thank you for taking your time for this interview. When did your singer carrier start? How did you become a professional singer?
Since I was little I would go out to the beach, sit on the rocks and listen to the wind. Then I learnt to imitate the sounds of nature. I would sing after my favourite artists. It was very natural for me and always a part of being me. There wasn’t a day when I woke up and realized that I wanted to become a singer.
This year you were selected to represent Ukraine at Eurovision Song Contest 2013 in Malmö. What were your first impressions when you heard your name as a winner?
This time was my third bid for the win in the National Selection. Me and my team had been working hard on my entry song and I felt confident about it. Of course, the feelings after the win are amazing. At some point it even felt unbearable to experience so many happy feelings inside.
Who was the first person you talked with after the final, expect press and fans?
The first person to talk to is always my producer Mikhail Nekrasov. Mikhail is a very talented composer and I feel blessed to have met him and to work with him.
We all know that you took part in the national selection in 2010 and again in 2011, but you didn’t win. Why did you decide to give one more chance and try it again?
In Ukraine Eurovision is very big and popular. Especially after Ruslana won in 2004, the contest has gained huge importance for Ukrainian people. For a singer it means a lot of responsibility but at the same time an international competition gives a very strong experience. For the last several years I have been regularly asked by my fans to participate. And I decided to make my third bid.
How was your song (Gravity) created?
Gravity is not one of those songs created in one night. It’s been a long and hard process of working on the masterpiece. Mikhail wrote the music and I made up my own lyrics in a nonexistent language. The song was called Nakatonka and had a very magical sound. Later Karen Kavaleryan wrote the English version of the lyrics and it was presented at the National Final. Me and my team want to keep the magic in the stage performance. I promise you will plunge in a fairytale!
Your song (Gravity) got a new look. I realised that the chorus was changed and also the beginning and the ending of the song. Who decided to do these changes?
It was a joint decision of me and Mikhail. We wanted Gravity to have a hook. I think we managed to make the song easy to remember.
What’s the message of your song, Gravity?
The song encourages to throw off the shackles, believe in wonders and let them happen. Gravity is a metaphor which means our everyday routine.
Do you follow Eurovision Song Contest?
Yes, I am a big Eurovision fan! I’ve been following it since Ukraine joined it in 2003. Of course, after the victory of Ruslana, the country watches closely what happens around the contest. Also last year Nastya Petryk from Ukraine won the Junior Eurovision and in the fall of 2013 Ukraine will host the Junior contest. So it’s a big thing for us.
Who are your favourite singers? (In the world and at Eurovision)
Whitney Houston, Celine Dion… Celine Dion became famous after her win in Eurovision. So it’s exciting to be part of the same contest! As for Eurovision again Celine Dion I’ve discovered Loreen last year and would love to attend her live show. I thought Lena Meyer-Landrut was a great entry from Germany.
This year there will be 39 countries in the contest. Have you listened any of the songs? Which songs are your favoruite?
Yes, I have listened to some other songs. I very much like the Italian entry, Anouk from Netherlands and Bonnie Tyler.
Can you tell us a little bit about the video?
The video reflects the main idea of the song and creates a special world around the main character (which is me). The girl meets unicorns, dragonflies etc, all those characters from the world of fantasy. We wanted to create a special atmosphere in the video, a little bit Avatary-like. It adds value to the song and synchronizes with its message.
What are your main aims at Eurovision?
Right now my main goal is to give the best performance which I am capable of doing. It’s an exam in its kind, for me and for Ukraine as well. I am not going to Sweden as Zlata Ognevich – I am going to Sweden as Zlata Ognevich from Ukraine.
Where from do you get your inspirations?
The place where I grew up – Crimea – is a great source of inspiration. Beautiful nature, the Black sea, mountains – all this can’t help inspiring.
What are your plans after Eurovision? Will you relax somehow?
No time for rest – I have further career plans. Now is only the beginning, there is a long road to go. I hope to be able to share my plans with you very soon! Follow my updates on Facebook or on Twitter and you will be the first to know!
What would you like to send to the Hungarian readers and fans of Zlata Ognevich?
I hope to see you in Malmo, take many pictures together and enjoy the show!
Thank you for the interview. I wish all the best for you in Malmö!