Author: Sándor Mádi
Belarus is an active member of the Eurovision Song Contest since 2004, their best result is a 6th place from 2007, thanks to Koldun. Since the introduction of the 2 semifinal system they qualified to the grand final on 3 occasions, but unfortunately they were not able to finish in the top 10 here. This year the Time has come, Uzari and Maimuna will represent the country with the song Time. Read and enjoy the interview I made with them!
What was your first step in your music career?
Maimuna: “I loved playing the violin, and graduated from the Belarusian State Academy of Music, before working as first violin in the Presidential orchestra for seven years. I then wanted to play other kinds of music, so I made my first album, ‘Queen of Africa,’ and most recently released my second studio album, ‘Showtime,’ as a modern classical crossover. The incredible Vitaly Sudin was invaluable during the making of my second álbum. Eurovision has always interested me, and when I met Uzari, it was one of the many things we had in common.”
Uzari: “I too studied; first attending the Republican College of Music and then the St. Petersburg University of Culture, and participating in the ‘New Wave’ contest gave me a lot of experience and lessons to learn. Being one of the backing singers for Anastasia Vinnikova at Eurovision in 2011 gave me an insight into the whole Eurovision world, and I wanted more of it.”
This year you were selected to represent Belarus at Eurovision Song Contest 2015 in Vienna. What does it mean for you?
Uzari: Winning the national final was such an incredible – and rather eventful! – experience and it’s hard to imagine what it’s going to be like walking out on stage in Vienna. I hope that we do Belarus proud.
Maimuna: It’s still something that is hard to describe. To be part of Eurovision is a huge honour and I am still amazed that I’ll be part of it in less than a months’ time!
Uzari, you tried to represent your country 2 times before and as far as I know you were behind Anastasia Vinnikova as a backing singer. What memories do you have from this period of time?
Uzari: My Eurovision connection began in 2011 when I enjoyed the chance to sing backing vocals for Anastasia Vinnikova before later participating in the Eurofest national finals in 2012 and 2013. In 2014, I co-wrote the Junior Eurovision song ‘Sokol’ sung by Nadezdha Misyakova whilst also busy finalising ‘Time’ with Maimuna, so Eurovision has been a big part of my life for years now.
If you could pick up only one word which word describes your life best and why (Uzari and Maimuna 1-1)?
Uzari: Fortunate. Representing Belarus for Eurovision 2015 has been a dream come true and sharing it alongside Maimuna has made it even better.
Maimuna: Why only one word? Busy. Happy. Amazed. The road to Eurovision has already been a thrilling one and the crazy fortnight in Vienna hasn’t even started yet!
Who are your favourite singers? (In the world, not only Eurovision singers.)
Uzari: Can I say bands instead, like 30 Seconds to Mars and Maroon 5?
Maimuna: Beyonce: she’s the full package.
This year there will be 39 other contestants in the contest. Do you have your favourites?
Uzari: All of them. The other 39 are very different to ours, and they all have elements that I admire and show why they were chosen to represent their own country.
Maimuna: It is a bit daunting to hear the variety and quality and creativity of all of the other songs. I like them all too – each of them show the talents of Europe. Oh, and Australia too.
What would you like to achieve in the contest?
Uzari: We caught up with Teo a couple of weeks ago. He sang ‘Cheesecake’ for Belarus last year and his advice to us was to enjoy every single moment of the crazy two-week-long Eurovision experience. So, I think we’ll do that AND try to do our very best on stage.
Maimuna: I know that Eurovision rules say that I can’t play my violin ‘live’ but I’ll be air-playing it with all of my heart, doing what I can to ‘sing’ back to Uzari. No doubt we’ll both be nervous, but we’ve been waiting for this chance for so long, it’ll be hard not to stop smiling at each other!
What inspires you?
Uzari: My family, my friends, other musicians (folk, modern, movie soundtracks), what’s happening in my life at any particular time. Ideas for future songs can happen during a workout, a meal with loved ones, long car rides….
Maimuna: My husband – who is also very musical, but doesn’t work in the industry – and my children, Diana (five) and Philip (eighteen months). They give me energy, enthusiasm and the drive to keep doing my best.
Would you like to leave a message for the readers of this interview at ESCHungary?
Uzari: We hope to see you in Vienna and are looking forward to meeting Boggie!
Maimuna: Thanks for interviewing us and we hope that Hungary and we reach the finals!
Thanks to Uzari and Maimuna for this interview and special thanks to Kath Lockett.
The whole team of ESCHungary wish all the best in Vienna!
If you would like to follow what’s happening with Uzari and Maimuna:
Facebook: Uzari & Maimuna – Time – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Uzari-Maimuna-Time
Film clip for ‘Time’ – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDl8dtU_7kc