Elena Gheorghe, this year's Eurovision Song Contest entry from Romania, kindly answered to our questions about her musical career and preparations for Moscow.
How did your musical career start?
"I started to sing at the age of 3. Two years after I made my debout on stage singing with my mother Romanian ethno music. When I was 12 years old I was part of the "Armonia" choir where I studied canto and piano.I took part in many festivals and I followed the classes of the Dinu Lipatti College at the section of classical-thether. At the age of 16 I was singing with a latino music band : salsa, merengue, cha-cha. The Latino music is very popular in Romania at the moment, and I'm verry happy that I somehow promoted it. Now, I'm performing with 6 musicians and 2 dancers and I'm still promoting Latino music. I adore David Bisbal and Mark Anthony and I really like Beyonce and Celine Dion."
Did you expect to win the Romanian final? How do you feel representing your country in the Eurovision Song Contest?
"I started this thinking that I'm going to win. Otherwise I wouldn't have participated… I'm a very ambitious girl and I like to do everything with professionaalism and with a certain goal… and my goal was to go to Moscow… I feel honoured to represent my country and with God's help everything will be just fine."
What's your opinion about the new voting method with 50% televoting and 50% jury?
"I totally agree with this new voting method… The opinion of the juries has the same importance as people's choice."
How are preparations going for Moscow? Have you made any plans for the staging of the song? Who will be on your team? (on stage and off stage)?
"I already started the preparations and we are far away with the show. I'm very optimistic. My team is aswell. On stage there will be 4 dancers, 1 backing vocalist and me. Together we are The Balkan Girls…From the staff I also mention the TVR team, the manager, the music label, the choregraph and my family who will accompany me in every moment."
It seems that the change of dresses was quite a hit with the Romanian audience. Can we expect to see something similar in Moscow?
"The change of dresses was a show thought by me in a very small period of time.But, in Moscow there will be something totally different. You'll have a surprise!"
Have you heard the songs your are competing against? Any favourites?
"I didn't listen to the songs because all my attention is concentrated on my show. I can say that I was surprised by the Norwegian entry."
Your music style used to be latino as the lead vocalist of Mandinga. The Balkan Girls marks a completely new music pattern for you. Are you going to change your style after this Eurovision experience?
"I love music and I always performed different music styles because of what I feel, like this I can express myself, like this I can evolve. I sing latino, ethno, aromanian music (because I'm half Macedonian) and also dance, R & B and ballade. The latino music characterizes me the best. It is energic, colorful, very optimistic and danceful. Dancing is one of my passions. I don't think that I'll quit the music genre that made me famous but I'm still going to perform other styles."
Back in 2004, after she won the Eurovision Song Contest, Ruslana grabbed a piece of Ukrainian land and kissed it. Would you follow her example? What would be the first thing you will do when you arrive back home in Romania if you'll win this year's Eurovision Song Contest?
"Very beautiful gesture of Ruslana to kiss the ground of her motherland… I don't know what will be the first thing that I'll do, probablly what my heart will dictate… But we should better wait for the grand final…"
Do you have a message for the readers of esctoday.com?
"I'm happy to see the messages of my fans, the nice words and the tips for the show. I wish everybody receive with his soul-opened music. To be happy with the show because we, as the participants only try to entertain our viewers and make them forget about their daily worries.
I'm Elena from Romania and I'm very glad to know you. I wish that you'll enjoy "The Balkan Girls" moment. God bless you!"
Elena Gheorghe will represent Romania at the Eurovision Song Contest 2009 in the first semi final on 12th may. Her starting position is 14.