Today we head to Hungary for our next interview in our series of the 2014 Eurovision ESCToday Interviews. We land in the majestic capital city of Budapest where we meet up with the 2014 Hungarian Eurovision representative Kallay Saunders Andras. We come up close and personal with the Hungarian hopeful who speaks to us about his forthcoming Eurovision participation, Eurovision entry Running and himself. We discover the deeper and innermost side of the artist.
You came to Hungary a few years ago, and made your way to the top of the music scene there. Could you tell our readers a bit more about you, your musical influences and your journey.
I was born in New York on January 28, 1985. I spent the first four years of my life in Hungary and then went back to NY. Growing up in New York I was surrounded by all types of music , and cultures, which is why I am so open minded to all types of music and life in general. In 2010 I came back to Hungary to visit my grandmother, because she could no longer travel to Visit me in New York. This visit ended up changing my life. To make a long story short, I entered Megasztar (Hungarian Idol) and ended up fourth and signed a record deal with Universal Hungary right after the show. Since then I have been living my dream. I am so grateful for everything and absolutely love my fans, I will never forget that without them there is no me.
Your dad was a musician and has collaborated with several international and famous artists such as Lou Reed, Tori Amos, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck (…) or Luciano Pavarotti. What influence(s) or impact did this have on you and your career?
I remember being a child and admiring the musician my father was, you can say I was his biggest fan. Traveling with my him and being able to watch him live his dream definitely had a huge impact on my career. It inspired me and made me work hard so I can follow in his footsteps. He always told me stories about how much he had to suffer before making it, which is why I never give up on anything.
What is Running about? What is the message behind your message? What message would you like to convey through your song to Europe when you take the stage in Copenhagen?
Running is based on a true story. I wrote this song about a childhood friend of mine, and people I have met with similar stories, throughout my life. Unfortunately my friend was victim to child abuse, domestic violence. I wrote this song about their experiences and everything that they went though. I would like to raise awareness to this topic. This is not your typical love song, but we must not forget that this is something that happens everyday, all across the world. I would like for children to know that they don’t have to be afraid to ask for help. I am very happy that not only do I get to compete in the Eurovision Song Contest, but my message will reach each and every person that will be watching Eurovision.
How did you select Running for competing in A Dal? How did you come across the melody? Tell us the story behind your song.
Just like any other day I was in the studio coming up with melodies. As soon as I started singing, my producer started playing the piano to the melody I came up with and within minutes we put the song together. I wrote the lyrics shortly after and Szakos Krisztian (my producer) finished the beat, we recorded it and both decided this is the song.
Have you recorded Running in Hungarian as well? Do you prefer singing in English or Hungarian? What do you think about the fact that some acts are being pressurised to sing in their national language?
I have not recorded my song in Hungarian and I dont plan on doing so. I like singing in both English and Hungarian, but I felt I can reach a larger amount of people singing in English, because more people speak it across the world. The beautiful thing about music is that their are no boundaries or rules, you are free to express yourself however you would like, which is why I dont feel it is right to tell a singer what language to sing in.
How does your schedule look like until the Eurovision Song Contest and after?
I have been rehearsing a lot, doing many shows and working on my album but I decided to just relax for the final week before I leave. What happens after Eurovision depends on how I do in the contest.
Have you listened to the other songs in the competion? Any favourites?
There are many good songs in the competition, I don’t have a favourite. I love hearing all the different styles of music from each country
Are you going to keep the same staging you used during the national selection? How are you planning to stage your entry in Copenhagen?
It will be pretty much the same as in A Dal with a few changes in the choreography and a lot more movement due to the size of the stage.
What are your projects after the Eurovision Song Contest? You have had some hit singles in Hungary, any album scheduled?
I would like to release my album, which is basically ready. Im not sure when but hopefully by the end of the summer. I haven’t decided which song will be my next single, but I have a large selection to choose from
Have you spoken to any of the former Hungarian Eurovision representatives? If so what advice have they given you?
I spoke with Bye Alex and Compact disco. They just told me to have fun and enjoy it ,because it is an experience like no other.
What message would you like to give to our readers at Esctoday.com?
I want to say thank you to everyone who supports my dream and believes in me. I will never forget that without you guys I would not be living my dream. I am very greatful and thankful for all of you. I LOVE YOU ALL! And Esctoday thank you for everything!
ESCToday.com would like to thank Kallay Saunders Andras, his management and MTVA for this interview. We would like to wish Kallay Saunders Andras the best of luck at the fortchoming Eurovision Song Contest.