2017 Portuguese Eurovision representative Salvador Sobral gave a frank interview to Spanish newspaper ABC.es, talking about his health, Eurovision and musical aspirations.
ABC.es talked to Salvador Sobral on the set where RTVE is shooting a Eurovision special about Manel Navarro, the Spanish Eurovision 2017 participant. Salvador Sobral has been a fan favourite since he won the Portuguese national selection with his endearing song Amor pelos dois, yet the enigmatic singer is reportedly struggling with health issues as well. Concerning his health, Salvador is very clear:
People do not have to know what’s wrong with me.
Due to medical conditions, Salvador Sobral has not done any international promotion, with the exception of appearing in RTVE’s Eurovision special. During the first rehearsals for the ESC in Kyiv, the artist will be replaced by his sister, Luisa Sobral.
Portugal has not been very lucky in the Eurovision Song Contest over the past years. Salvador Sobral could change that, as his song Amor pelos dois has quickly become a fan favourite and is doing well in various polls. What are his thoughts about the Portuguese entries, and Eurovision in general?:
Perhaps, simply, we have not brought good songs (laughs). I dont know. I’ve never seen anything about Eurovision. Nothing at all. Now that I have gotten into this adventure, I inquired a little to know what our best position had been. And I learned that it was a sixth place (Lúcia Moniz in 1996 with the song O Meu Coração Não Tem Cor). This is all I know.
Does Salvador feel he could replace Lúcia Moniz‘ Portuguese Eurovision record?:
To tell you the truth, I already feel proud to see people admire my song. I did not know that the public of this festival would have, without wanting to be malicious or arrogant, enough sensitivity to hear something as raw and naked as my song’s theme. Eurovision seems more focused on the show and, interestingly, people liked the simplicity of my proposal.
Salvador is also confident in the strength of the Portuguese language:
Music is the language, Portuguese is only part of the song. If I sang Amor pelos dois in English, it would lose charm. That there are so many themes in this language is just one more example of the globalized world in which we live. The interesting thing for me is to be able to transmit your culture and your language, which is each one’s personal heritage.
Although Salvador Sobral is tagged as a potential winner, he does not see himself that way:
I do not feel favourite. The victory will go, so I’m told, to Italy or Belgium. I do not see myself winning the festival and it’s not something that worries me. I go to Kyiv to sing, which is what I know how to do.
Music comes first for Salvador Sobral. Why did he take part in the Portuguese national selection for Eurovision, the Festival da Cançao?:
I have done it because the concept of the Festival da Cançao has changed and, for the first time, has put the focus on renowned composers and because the song was beautiful. I feel artistically ready to show myself to a large audience and I am very happy with the result so far.
Salvador Sobral admits that Eurovision is perhaps not his ideal stage, yet he does not think the show is boring, as some reports have stated:
I did not say boring. It is true that this world is not mine, but I take it as a sociological study.
Salvador comes from a musical family, talking lovingly about his father and sister:
My father is a musician. He kept playing, when I was a child, songs by The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Simon & Garfunkel… Everything from the sixties and seventies he loved. Now he likes jazz, but that has been thanks to me. My family is living Eurovision very calmly. For everyone, it’s like going to Eurodisney.
And about his sister, Luisa:
We are very similar in some things and very different in others. We both love music, for example. But she is very organized and methodical and I live life day by day. Luisa is a person whom I greatly admire, personally and professionally. And I pay close attention to all the advice she gives me. Notice that at my age she already had three records.
Luisa is satisfied that her brother will perform Amor pelos dois at Eurovision:
When she wrote Amor pelos dois she said that she had to be born with my voice. She also felt that my music was not reaching the public and that it could be a good way to reach it. And look, she was right…
Salvador Sobral also has fond ties to Spain, as he recounts:
I came to study psychology like Erasmus on Majorca. I stayed six months and then I started to work in hotels and restaurants singing and playing music. Imagine, with that rhythm of life I did not wake up in the mornings to go to classes (laughs) and I ended up leaving that career. Then I wanted to study music and I went to Barcelona, where I spent two years. And I’ve also played a lot in Andalusia. Spain has always been present in my life. My favourite artist, for example, is Silvia Pérez Cruz.
The Portuguese artist furthermore spoke about how the media has reported about his health:
It makes me sad to see how sometimes the press ‘sensationalizes’ everything. It really does not matter to know what happens to you and all they want is to make headlines to sell more. I am dealing with my health problems as I dealt with everyone else. I never want to specify what problem I have, because people do not have to know what happens to me. It’s as if I ask the interviewer, ‘and does your wife have orgasms when you make love to her?’ (Laughs) I’m not going to ask questions about the personal lives of people, and I expect the same thing.
Salvador Sobral is proud to be representing his country at Eurovision 2017, yet winning is not his primary goal:
I hope it can help me to be known outside of Portugal. In Spain, in Latin America… This is my dream to be honest: to be able to play my music all over the world. Much more than Eurovision. Eurovision is not a dream.
Salvador Sobral will perform Amor pelos dois in the first half of Semi-Final 1 on Tuesday 9 May 2017.
Enjoy the video of Amor pelos dois by Salvador Sobral: