Natalia Podolskaya is currently on tour in Belgium to promote her Eurovision Song Contest entry Nobody hurt no one. Today esctoday.com met the red haired beauty together with the composer of her song, Victor Drobysh, at the Metropole Hotel in Brussels. Check out a picture gallery of our meeting via the link under the following interview.
How do you like it here in Belgium, Natalia?
Natalia Podolskaya | It's great here. I have been walking around here in Brussels last night and it is a really beautiful city. The streets are beautiful and so many lights! It's my second time in Belgium. I was here in 1995 when I still was a little girl.
What does your schedule for Belgium include?
Natalia Podolskaya | I'm giving some interviews today for magazines and news websites. Tonight I will be giving a small live concert in the Popi Cafe in Antwerp, which my management arranged. It's just a pitty that we can't do a television appearance in Belgium.
Belgium is only one of the countries you are visiting for promotion. In which countries have you been lately?
Natalia Podolskaya | That's true, I have been to Finland, to Croatia, to Kyiv, to Moldova for a TV show,… Now I am in Belgium and tomorrow I will be visiting Greece for two TV shows. Later on I will also go to Bulgaria. We have started the promotion campaign quite late and we have made little time for it. So most of the promo tours are based on an exchange with the local Eurovision Song Contest representative.
Earlier this week you were in Croatia to perform in a show in which 14 Eurovision Song Contest representative made their appearance. How was it to meet the other contestants?
Natalia Podolskaya | Actually I haven't met anyone in Croatia! I just did my part of the show and it was all recorded separately. But we did good promotion in Croatia! The show will be aired on Saturday on Croatia's first channel and I must say we really received very good reactions on our song in Croatia.
So did you already meet any of your competitors for Kyiv?
Natalia Podolskaya | Yes, I met Helena Paparizou from Greece and also Constantinos Christoforou from Cyprus. The Cypriot singer will be participating for the third time! (Natalia mentions the years he participated and the positions he reached)
Is Natalia Podolskaya ready for the first of three participations too?
Natalia Podolskaya | No! Certainly not. The Eurovision Song Contest is something I'd like to experience only once. I see it as a contest for new and young talents, helping them to get recognized all over Europe and maybe to let them break through.
Do you have any favourite songs among the participating songs this year?
Natalia Podolskaya | I definitely like the song from Israel. And the song from Moldova is really great too.
Why did you participate in the Russian national final?
Natalia Podolskaya | I didn't know about it. We had recorded Nobody hurt no one and Victor sent the song to Channel One for the national selections without me knowing about it. When it was certain that we were selected to participate in the Russian selections, it was just great. I have been watching the Eurovision Song Contest myself for the last five years.
Not everyone was convinced that you were the fair winner. How did you cope with this kind of criticism?
Natalia Podolskaya | It's typical these kind of reactions here in Russia. I just ignore them.
The previous years Channel One internally selected a song for the Eurovision Song Contest. Now there was a national final. How come they changed the concept?
Victor Drobysh | Many people did not agree with the internal selection of Julia Savicheva last year, so it really had to be changed.
Victor, you have composed the song Nobody hurt no one. Do you believe in the chances of the song to win the Eurovision Song Contest?
Victor Drobysh | Well, it's a song full of risk. It's different from the typical Eurovision Song Contest format. But,… look at the songs they play on MTV or look at which singers that are successful. Who can fill a whole concert hall? These kind of songs like Nobody hurt no one are making the Eurovision Song Contest interesting, I believe. It's not an easy dance song. If we win, great! I we don't win, ok.
The lyrics are quite controversial and in a way it is a complaint about the American society. Do you think this can have an influence on the voting?
Natalia Podolskaya | The lyrics have been written by Mary Applegate. I don't think they will influence the voting because people mostly don't realise very well what the song is about when they hear it for the first time. But at least I am singing a song with lyrics! Not like Love me tonight la la la… (Hilarity as we realise that Natalia just offended her Belarusian competitor Angelica Agurbash. For all clarity, it was a joke!)
You know… it is often joked about. I am a Belarusian with Russian citizenship and Angelica Agurbash is a Russian with Belarusian citizenship so they often joke that we are representing the wrong countries.
What can we expect of your act in Kyiv?
Victor Drobysh: Look, immediately after Natalia won the Russian national final, a whole bunch of choreographers addressed to us and all said that they wanted to make the greatest act of it. My god, this is a rock song! You can't be… (Victor sings Nobody hurt no one while doing the most ridiculous choreography).
There has been some confusion lately about the act and the drummer of the Finnish band The Rasmus joining you on stage in Kyiv.
Victor Drobysh | We read about that in the Finnish newspapers! It's all a misunderstanding between us and the management, that occured when we tried to explain the crew of the video clip and so on. Seems like it also appeared on www.npodolskaya.com which is a website we actually didn't ask for since we have no time at the moment to keep a website up to date.
The Finnish media seems to be very interested in the Russian song this year?
Victor Drobysh | True, there is a very high interest in Natalia Podolskaya in Finland. My son, who's playing the guitar in the videoclip and who will also be on stage in Kyiv attracts a lot of attention since he actually is considered to be Finnish, as his mother is Finnish. Natalia has been in the Finnish newspapers quite often lately and radio stations are playing Nobody hurt no one.
How popular is the Eurovision Song Contest in Russia?
Victor Drobysh | It actually is very popular. I think it got more and more attention since Alsou finished second in 2000. We get the full support of Channel One that is regularly airing promotion clips for Nobody hurt no one which can be seen by the whole of Russia and even further.
When will you be leaving for Kyiv and do you have special plans?
Natalia Podolskaya | We're going to Kyiv on 15th May but we are not sure yet from where we will be flying to Kyiv. We will give a Russian party on 18th May, but not at the EuroClub. I will give a small concert and some Russian artists will come to perform. On 20th May it is my birthday and 21st May is my father's birthday. So we thought, 21 minus 20 which is my birthday and start position of Russia in the final, that gives 1. So let's hope that may be our result.
And what after Kyiv? Do you plan to release an album?
Victor Drobysh | Yes, we plan to record more songs and hope to release an album, autumn of 2005. There are record companies who have showed interest in releasing an album with Natalia Podolskaya.
Natalia Podolskaya | The style of the songs will be similar to the rock style we do now. But I certainly don't want heavy metal on it!
Esctoday.com kindly thanks Natalia Podolskaya and Victor Drobysh for this interview!