Aleksandar Belov, known for his participation in Operacija Trijumf, the same show in which this year's Eurovision Song Contest representative of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Vukasin Brajic, participated as well, will be performing Ostani, his bid for Oslo, in tonight's first semi final of Skopje Fest, the Macedonian pre-selection to determine their representative at the Eurovision Song Contest. Find out more about Aleksandar, his song, his experiences in Operajica Triumj, as well as his views on Eurovision in the interview he has kindly given to esctoday.com.
You rose to fame due to your participation in the regional music talent TV reality show Operacija Triumf (2008-2009), where you had been one of the favourites throughout the whole running of the show and gained third place in the end. How did you experience this adventure and what effects did it have on your life after the end of the competition? In which ways did it change your life? Are there also some downsides of the sudden fame?
The participation in the television reality show Operacija Trijumf literally changed my life. It was a great opportunity for me because I was introduced to a huge TV audience in several countries through this show. I had thousands of votes from all the countries and I am very happy that now I have a lot of fans. It wasn’t easy to get used to the cameras 24/7. I had to deal with a lot of awkward situations and I learned to always believe in myself.… I was surprised how popular I became the day the show was over! I didn’t expect that everybody would recognize me not only in Macedonia, but in all the other countries where the show was aired as well! It was very flattering…
During your time on Operacija Triumf you had the amazing opportunity of sharing the stage with some major stars of the Balkan music scene, including a duet with Karolina (2002 and 2007 Macedonian Eurovision representative), interpreting Se lazam sebe, one of her biggest hits, as well as performing the ever-green Tamara (Kuda idu izgubljene djevojke) together with Boris Novkovic (2005 Croatian Eurovision representative). Out of all your performances on the show, what was your personal highlight? Which encounter with which of the stars did you cherish and learn from the most?
I was really lucky to have the chance to perform with many talented and famous singers, like Karolina and Boris as you mentioned, but with Dado Topic, Goran Karan, YU Grupa, Sakis Rouvas, Emina Jahovic, Marina Perazic as well. All of them are great professionals and I learned a lot from them during the rehearsals and the performances. It was a dream come true for me, especially the first show when I performed with Karolina.
Your participation in the star academy has opened a lot of doors for you, with your magnificent timbre you can rightfully aspire to become a household name in the regional music business. Do you have any role models in terms of music? Who would you like to be as successful as? How do you feel about so many people from all over the Balkans complimenting your singing?
I feel very happy and blessed because I have always wanted to have a long and successful music career. Now I have the chance for it! There are a lot of musicians and singers who I have respect for, but I’d like to develop my own music style.
Let’s talk about your endeavour for this year’s Skopje Fest: You made your first attempt in the national final last year with Zastani, solzi izbrisi, composed by the famous Grigor Koprov, resulting in 7th place. This time, you are competing with Ostani, a song by classical Macedonian pianist Simon Trpceski. Judging from the available snippet of your song, Ostani sounds like a very emotional, melancholic and dramatic Balkan ballad. How would you describe the song in your own words? What message does it convey and what does it mean to you personally?
This song is not a typical ballad, it will surprise you, believe me… The song and the rhythm are very specific. There is a storm of emotions and I hope that the audience will feel it. In short, it tells the story of a boy who is asking his sweetheart to stay with him. I am proud that I will sing a song written by one of the best young classical pianists in the world, Simon Trpceski who has also made the arrangement together with Darko Tasev.
According to some sources, you were not entirely happy with your 2009 participation at Skopje Fest, one of the reasons being the lack of time you had been given to prepare yourself for it. Do you feel more confident this year with Ostani? Is it the right song to win the festival and therefore also the ticket to the Eurovision Song Contest?
It’s true that I didn’t have enough time to prepare for Skopje Fest 2009. But this year everything was ready and on time. I do feel more confident since I had time for rehearsing the song and I am truly enjoying singing this song although it’s a very demanding one. The audience and the jury will decide whether it’s the right song to win. You never know what kind of song will win at Eurovision, but I know that the audience always cherish true emotions and performance from the heart. I believe in my song and in my team.
Can you already tell us something concrete about how your performance in Skopje Fest is going to look like?
I wouldn’t like to say much about it, let it be a surprise. I’ll just say that there will be four people on stage, me, a ballerina and mummers. The idea is the audience to stay focused on the song and the lyrics and that is why there won’t be many dancers or anything else that would draw attention unnecessarily.
What is your main goal regarding Skopje Fest? Are you determined to win it? If you were to win the competition, what would it mean to you to have the honour of representing your country at the Eurovision Song Contest?
I would love to win Skopje Fest just like everybody else who is competing! It would be a great honor for me and I would be very proud! But I won’t be very disappointed if I don’t because my song gets a festival promotion in the best possible way. I am young, so I’ll keep competing at the national Eurovision final.
Are you personally a fan of the Eurovision Song Contest? Have you been following the competition over the years, do you perhaps even have some favourite Eurovision songs?
Of course, I am a big Eurovision fan! You can ask my family 🙂 I have watched the festival since I was a kid. I love many different ESC hits like Tell me (Iceland – August and Telma), Everyway That I Can, Hold Me Now, For Real, Wild Dances, Mama, Fairytale…
Vukasin Brajic, who came second in Operacija Triumf, has been selected to represent Bosnia and Herzegovina at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest with the song Munja i grom. How do you feel about the possibility of you two participating in the same competition again, this time even on an international level?
Why not? It would be great! For the viewers in many European countries both of us are completely anonymous, so everything would depend on the performance of the song…
To conclude this interview, would you like to send a message to the readers of esctoday.com?
Thank you very much for voting for me a couple of months ago. It was a big and pleasant surprise for me!
I hope I’ll have the chance to be a part of this amazing music show called Eurovision Song Contest!
Esctoday.com would like to thank Aleksandar Belov for taking the time to do this interview in wish him the best of luck for tonight's first semi final of Skopje Fest.
Snippet of Ostani, Aleksandar's bid for Eurovision:
Aleksandar at the draw for the running order of Skopje Fest 2010:
Aleksandar performing Tamara together with Boris Novkovic (Croatia 2005), the song's original artist:
Aleksandar performing Tamara in the final of Operacija triumf:
Aleksandar performing Se lazam sebe together Karolina (Macedonia 2002 and 2007), the songs's original artist:
Aleksandar performing Ti si mi u krvi:
Aleksandar performing Krasiva:
Aleksandar performing Shake it together with Sakis Rouvas (Greece 2004 and 2009), the song's original artist:
Aleksandar performing Vertigo by U2:
Aleksandar performing Jos ti se nadam together with Emina Jahovic, the song's original artist:
Aleksandar performing Ljubavnik together with Zeljko Samardzic, the song's original artist:
Aleksandar performing Ostani, Croatia's Eurovsion entry of 2000, together with Goran Karan, the song's original artist:
Aleksandar performing Igri bez granici, a song by Tose Proeski (FYR Macedonia 2004):
Aleksandar performing Tajno moja by Tose Proeski:
Aleksandar performing Cija si by Tose Proeski:
Aleksandar performing Zastani, solzi izbrisi at Skopje Fest 2009, coming 7th