Next stop in our series of Eurovision 2013 participants’ interviews is Baku, Azerbaijan where we meet Farid Mammadov. Farid will perform Hold me at the Eurovision Song Contest semi-final 2 on 16 May. Farid won the golden ticket to Malmö in March when he was selected to represent Azerbaijan in the 2013 Azerbaijani Eurovision national final.
How does it feel to represent Azerbaijan in the forthcoming Eurovision Song Contest?
It feels amazing! Since Azerbaijan’s debut in the contest in 2008 it has been my dream to represent my country on the Eurovision stage. Saying that, I’d never participated in the national selections before. I just didn’t feel the time was right or that I was strong enough. This year was my first time to take part in the national selection for Eurovision and I won on the first try. Surely, it is a huge responsibility to represent my country but the same time I’m very excited as well. Eurovision is huge all around Europe and it’s a unique opportunity to deliver the message of my song Hold Me to millions of people. Sometimes I think about that and can’t believe how lucky I am.
Azerbaijan is a young country in the contest and has always achieved a top 10 placing in the event. Does this put more pressure on you?
Just a little bit to be honest. Yes, as a country we’ve achieved quite impressive results since 2008 but I don’t think about it in terms of TOP 10 or winning. My aim is to present the best performance possible on the Eurovision stage. This entirely depends on me and the result is up to the audience. I do believe if you are honest on the stage, you believe in your song and you work hard on your staging, it will work and draw attention to your performance. A good example is Loreen last year. She was honest, she believed in her song and people believed her.
How is Farid behind the scenes? What are your hobbies? How is Farid in real life?
My passions are music and sports. I’ve always been balancing between these two things. I can easily spend up to 6 hours a daywith a vocal coach or the same amount of time doing capoeira or wrestling practice. For me being fit and good on stage are the most important things. When I’ve got some time I like to go to the cinema to watch some movies. Something with David Statham or Angelina Jolie always works for me. Spending time with my closest friends and family is also very important to me.
Can you tell us about your Eurovision entry Hold me? How did you come across this song and how did the collaboration with Dimitris Kontopoulos start?
It all started at the international music talent show ‘Big Stage’ in Baku. Dimitris saw me performing on stage and later wrote this song especially for my voice. Hold me appears to be very sensual and romantic but it’s a very private story for me. Actually I picked it from three other songs without knowing that Hold me was written especially for me. I love my song and believe in it.
What is your Eurovision Song Contest entry about and what is the message behind your song?
Hold me is about love that knows no boundaries. This love lives in me and I want to share it with all people. I believe one day everyone will meet that special person he or she can hold forever. That’s the message behind the song.
How are you planning to stage your song in Malmö? Describe the staging for us.
I’m really sorry but I don’t want to spoil your excitement when watching it on stage. All I can tell you is that I’m not going to be on stage on my own and there will some props. I do believe it will be a very special performance so let’s just wait until the first dress rehearsal.
Who will be in charge of the choreography?
I am very happy that I get a chance to work with such a Eurovision legend as Fokas Evangelinos. He is the stage director who previously worked with Sakis Rouvas and Ani Lorak. We are working hard on staging but also having a lot of fun in the rehearsals. We are laughing and making jokes but really stay focused when needed.
Have you spoken to any of the former Azerbaijani representatives regarding your Eurovision participation? If so, what have they advised you?
Of course, I did. We are friends with Eldar Gasimov, who won the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest with Nigar Jamal and also with Safura from Eurovision 2010. I’ve met almost all previous Azerbaijani Eurovision artists. However, as we are more like friends, we chat about absolutely different stuff rather than how I should perform on the Eurovision stage. It’s more like catching up and lots of giggles when we see each other.
What are your plans after Eurovision?
All I can think about now is Eurovision. I mean I’m really focused on what I’m doing now and don’t really think about the future. What I know for sure is that I will take a short holiday break just to relax a bit because my schedule now is just hectic. Sometimes I take three flights a day to get to another country for a promotional visit. Maybe I will get back to Malta for holidays after Eurovision. I’ve just visited this country on my promo tour and simply fell in love with it.
Will you be going on a promotional tour in order to promote your Eurovision Song Contest entry? Which countries will you visit?
I’ve already been to Greece, Lithuania, Ukraine, Italy, Malta and Georgia. The last stop before Malmö will be Turkey for a couple of days.
If you were to rule the world for one day, what would you change?
If I ruled the world for one day it would be a day off for everyone! Can you imagine getting 24 hours that you could spend with those you love. It’s crazy now;we are rushing everyday and trying to make everything work while forgetting to spend time with family, friends and the one you’re in love with. Once you stop running and look around, you realize what really matters. I’m sure that would be a lovely day.
Have you listened to any of the other competing entries at the forthcoming Eurovision Song Contest? Which are your favourites?
I’ve probably listened to almost all of them. My favorites include ‘You’ by Robin Stjernberg, ‘Tomorrow’ by Gianluca Bezzina, ‘Gravity’ by Zlata Ognevich and ‘Waterfall’ by Sophie and Nodi. I’m also a huge fan of Andrius Pojavis’ song ‘Something’, especially the chorus. But there are lots of good songs I like this year.
What message would you like to send to our readers at esctoday.com?
I wish you to find your love and hold to it. I know it’s a cliché but isn’t that all we truly want? To love and to be loved at the end of the day is only thing that really matters. But since most of us are just on the way to find it, let’s have fun in the meantime, especially when Eurovision 2013 is so close!
Esctoday.com would like to thank Farid Mammadov for this interview and wish him and Azerbaijan the best of luck at the Eurovision Song Contest.