Montenegro: The Sergej Ćetković Interview

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We head to the Balkans today for our next interview in our series of the 2014 Eurovision ESCToday Interviews, to one of the youngest countries in the contest, namely Montenegro. We land in the beautiful capital city of Podgorica where we meet up with the 2014 Montenegrin Eurovision representative Sergej Ćetković who spoke to us about his forthcoming Eurovision participation, Eurovision entry Moj Svijet and himself. We discover the other side of Sergej during our encounter with the Montenegrin artist.

Hello Sergej, welcome to esctoday.com and congratulations on being selected as the Montenegrin representative for Copenhagen! Being a big name in your home country and in the Balkans, how did you come up with the idea of representing Montenegro in the Eurovision Song Contest?

Eurovision is a demanding and serious festival. For several years I have been busy touring promoting my latest CD “2 minutes” and I did not have time to devote myself and to prepare for the Eurovision Song Contest. Six months ago I came to an agreement with the directors of RTCG regarding my participation at the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest. We both had the same mission!

How are you preparing for Copenhagen?

Currently I am very busy preparing for my stage performance in Copenhagen. It is a huge commitment that must be prepared earnestly and carefully in order to showcase our performance in the best possible way. These days I believe that your readers have had the opportunity to listen to my Eurovision entry Moj Svijet .

Tell us more about the official videoclip of your entry?

The reactions of the audience throughout the region and the messages coming from different parts of the world have been  overwhelmingly positive . We recorded the official videoclip featuring few exotic locations – the Skadar Lake, Ulcinj, Bar, and Zabljak – the biggest praise came just a few of the people in these places where we were shooting. We got the chance to showcase a beautiful love story and at the same time show the world the beauty of  Montenegro through the videoclip.

Many well-known singers are afraid of taking part in the contest because of the final outcome and the results they might achieve. Do you have any advise for them?

You are right! Many are afraid. I do not like formal competitions. However, ESC is something more than just a festival. To tell you the truth I’m not a typical example of the festival singers and authors. Nevertheless I support these kind of  festivals because it’s an opportunity for young singers composers and singers to make a public appearance.  Frankly speaking I don’t like direct competition . I do not see the festival as a competition , but as a mechanism to promote  your own music and showcase yourself.

What is the story behind your Eurovision entry Moj Svijet? What is the mesage behind the song? What message would you like to send to your European audience through your song?

My songs are about love. Hence my Eurovision entry Moj Svijet carries a strong emotion that each one of us sends to a loved one. It will be another love story, something I have  already experienced  many times. I hope that the audience will recognize my personal touch and find part of his/her personal story in the lyrics of the new song.

Have you met any of the former Montenegrin Eurovision representatives? What advice have they given you regarding the contest?

I talked to my colleagues who have had the opportunity to be at the Eurovision Song Contest and they have given me a lot of  support and advice. I am taking into account their experiences and preparation in order to be prepared for what I shall expect in Copenhagen. I’ve had a chance to watch the Eurovision Song Contest live  in Baku in 2012, so I have already experienced the Eurovision Song Contest, but this time I will be on the stage, not in the audience.

You are bringing the classic and usually successful Balkan ballad to the contest, do you see this as an advantage?

I agree with you that my song is a  classic Balkan ballad. My music and my musical formation was mostly influenced by Italian pop music. I was not influenced by the the European pop scene. In Montenegro, we grew up listening to the music and the songs from the Sanremo Song Festival. the festival .My song My world has some ethnic influences.

You are a pop rock singer, why did you choose to sing  a Balkan ballad in Copenhagen?

My producers and me were thinking and evaluating for a long time, the type of song and presentation we would opt for in order to compete at  the Eurovision Song Contest. We studied various different options. There were many different ideas, but they always ended with my emotions and what I carry inside myself. A melody with ethnic influences, a pop song etc. In the end we came up with Moj Svijet  a song that was made for the ESC and I hope it will appeal to the Eurovision fans.

If you had to choose a song from your previous albums to compete in Eurovision instead of Moj svijet, which one would choose and why?

A difficult question! By emotion and if I had no other option  I would  choose for the song “Walnut shells” from my CD “2 minutes”. However, I can’t  decide and choose a specific song from my album for the  Eurovision Song Contest. Each of the songs has its own special niche and stamp on it and there are many different musical genres in the album.

You have a great experience in taking part in song contests and musical festivals, having competed in musical events throughout the Balkans and former Yugoslavian states. How different is the Eurovision Song Contest to these?

I have participated in a few festivals . I ‘ve taken part at the  Herceg Novi Music Festival in 1998. I grew up with the most important festival in the world – San Remo . I have been following both the Eurovision Song Contest and the Italian Sanremo Song Festival every years since I was young.

2  years ago I had the opportunity to be in the audience at the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest in Baku. Something that I really enjoyed and cherish. The whole staging, organization, presentation and songs in the competition were amazing. I feel there have been many good songs competing in the Eurovision in the rencet years.  A good staging and performance can’t last longer than the song itself, specially if the song carries a strong message. Besides Loreen which in my opinion was the greatest refreshment to the ESC, I must mention Zeljko Joksimovic from Serbia, who showcased a great performance beautifully in Baku. I’ve often thought about whether I will be able to take up this challenge. I don’t  doubt myself  when it comes to music but with all what comes with taking part in the contest.

How are you planning to stage your song in Copenhagen? What surprises shall we expect? How will the staging look? Will there be a choreography?

It will not be something blatant with  fireworks etc, on the contrary  it will be discreet because I want the music and the song itself to be at the forefront. Hence focusing more on the music and the song during the staging. I will be accompanied on stage with my backing vocalists and a ballerina.

Have you listened to any of the competing songs in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest? Which are your favourites?

I have listened to most of the entries from this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. I like Aram MP3 from Armenia, and the songs from Hungary, Sweden … etc..But I believe there will be many high quality songs in the competition. At one one time there was a lack of good songs in the contest many years back, but this has improved throughout the past years. The situation began to improve. I liked Loreen from Sweden who won the competition in 2012.

How do you plan to promote your Eurovision entry in Europe? Do you have a tour planned? Which countries will you be travelling to?

After the Eurovision Song Contest I have a scheduled concert tour in our region and my band is getting ready for the concerts. When it comes to Europe, we have a call, but we will work on that after Copenhagen. My career is over fifteen years long. So far I have released five albums and several Best of compilation albums. My first album was released 14 years ago and I am currently working on my sixth studio album. I’ve already released two songs  (“I still love you” and “Because of us “) and  I am planning to release  a new CD  next year. At the moment, I am busy with my concert tour in the Balkans and in some European countries, where I will promote my lastest CD album “2 Minutes” which was released four years ago.

Do you have a message for your European fans and our readers on ESCToday.com?

I greet all of your readers and all people of good will. See you in Copenhagen at the Eurovision Song Contest.

ESCToday would like to thank Sergej Ćetković, his management and RTCG for this interview. We would like to wish Sergej and Montenegro the best of luck at the forthcoming Eurovision Song Contest!

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