We head to the land of Godiva chocolates, diamonds and wafers today in our series of the 2014 Eurovision ESCToday Interviews, namely Belgium. We land in the beautiful capital of Europe, Brussels where catch up with the 2014 Belgian Eurovision representative Axel Hirsoux. He speaks to us about his forthcoming Eurovision participation and his entry Mother. We discover the other side of the Belgian hopeful during the interview, Axel the person.
First off, lets start by telling us a bit about your background in music.
I always wanted to be a professional singer , but it took a while to get here. In 2001 I first took part in a singing contest. I met my vocal coach Nell, who took my vocal performance to a higher level and even today I’m still working with her . At the age of 23 I registered for the Star Academy in France where I just missed being selected. In 2007 I sang Vivo per lei to an audience of 1500 people with the French star Hélène Segara. Meanwhile, I regularly performed with an amateur group in a performance of the famous musical “Notre Dame de Paris”.
And then, in 2013, I made my debut in the Walloon version of The Voice. I ended up in the team of Natasha Saint-Pier but had to say goodbye after the battles. And then there were the preselections in Belgium, and the rest is history.
You won Belgium’s Eurosong by a considerable margin (winning with 57% of the public vote), does that give you even more confidence representing Belgium in Eurovision ? How do you feel that you have such a strong support from your home country?
I’m so grateful for the strong support. It feels so good that they have trust in me, in all the parts from Belgium. I will do my best for them and hope they can be proud of me.
Ruslana, the 2004 Ukrainian Eurovision winner was on the special judging panel of Eurosong 2014, has she offered you any advice about what to expect at Eurovision?
I love Ruslana. She knows what she’s talking about. She told me to be true to myself. And that there’s always first the voice.
After your performance in the final Ruslana said that Belgium would win the Eurovision Song Contest 2014 if you were to be selected. Do you think you have what it takes to go all the way, and what are your hopes and expectations from the contest?
My goal is obtaining a ticket for the final. That would be great. And after that, everything can happen.
I hear you’re a big fan of the Eurovision Song Contest; what are you personal favourite entries from the previous editions of the contest?
I have a several favourite songs, but if I had to pick one, I’d say Euphoria from Loreen.
What is your entry Mother about? What is the story behind your song? What message do you want to convey to Europe through your song and performance?
In Belgium we had a new concept. Four music experts selected songs for the participants in Eurosong 2014. I got Mother. I think they made a very good choice. From the start I really felt it was meant to be my song. Together with producer David Poltrock I could really make it my own. With my song I say ‘thank you’ to all the mothers. But I’m not only singing for mothers. Everybody needs somebody he or she can count on, and who will always be there. That person can obviously be your mother, but it can also be a friend, a brother,…
We also saw your mother in the crowd during Eurosong, will she be coming with you to Denmark and what does she make of your entry?
Yes she will be coming with me to Denmark, together with my father. They are very proud of me. I’m happy that they will be at my side at one of the most important moments of my life.
How do you plan to stage your entry in Copenhagen? How will your performance look on stage in Copenhagen?
We will not change that much, it will be like it was at the Belgian final. It will be me and my choreographer Isabelle Beernaert, who will be right behind me to perform. We have a very good connection so it’s great to have her there.
How is Axel the person, the man behind the scenes? What are your hobbies? How do you spend time when you aren’t singing or performing?
I’m just a normal guy. I have a job, I am a secretary in 2 schools. All my free time is going to the preparations for Eurovision. When I’m not singing, I love to go to the cinema or a good restaurant.
Do you have a message for your European fans and our readers at esctoday.com?
Enjoy the Eurovision Song Contest 2014! Hope to see you in Copenhagen!
ESCToday.com would like to thank Axel Hirsoux and VRT for this interview. We would like to wish Axel Hirsoux and Belgium the best of luck at the forthcoming Eurovision Song Contest!