France: Alma talks about her Eurovision adventure

by Roy Knoops 1,582 views

2017 French Eurovision representative Alma recently talked to L’Express about her upcoming Eurovision participation.

28 year old artist Alma (born: Alexandra Maquet) will represent France at the Eurovision Song Contest 2017 in Kyiv, Ukraine, with the song Requiem. Following in the footsteps of Amir Haddad, who reached a respectable 6th place for France in the Grand Final of Eurovision 2016, expectations for Alma are high. In an interview with L’Express magazine, Alma shared her hopes, plans and preparations for Eurovision 2017.

Alma is aware of the task that lies ahead of her:

I have the honour of France on my shoulders.

How did the Eurovision adventure start for Alma:

It was my managers who proposed my name to France Télévisions without telling me about it. I had not thought of it at all, I was outside of all this. They informed me of their move on 17 November (2016). And then everything went very quickly. I then had an appointment, at the end of November, with Edwardo Grassi, the head of the French delegation for Eurovision. He informed me around December 10 that I was the one that would defend the colours of France in Kyiv. I was stressed the first five seconds and then I had a giggle of relief.

The telephone conversation was very short. When I hung up, I looked at myself in a mirror, I was struggling to realize it, but I was overjoyed.

Alma found it difficult to keep her participation a secret:

Yes, it was very difficult. It’s something that can change your life, so necessarily, I wanted to share the news with everyone. My close family knew, that’s all.

Participating in Eurovision takes a lot of preparation, both physically and mentally. How does Alma manage?:

I have singing, media training classes. This is something new to me, but as time goes by, stress evaporates. I also have sports classes, including boxing, and scenic expression. I do a lot of promotion right now, which gives me the opportunity to practice singing my entry live. Otherwise, I have not changed my diet since I have always used to eat very balanced.

The young French artist also talks about her fears:

It is the advance preparations that scare me the most and especially the ten days on the spot before the contest. Apparently they are very intense with something planned every minute. My performance on stage does not bother me more than that for now. It’s three minutes of performance and after that, it’s over. It will be the culmination of everything.

Does she feel pressure, having to live up to Amir’s 6th place:

It’s really a motivation. Amir dusted off the concept and made people want to follow the contest. It lifts me up.”

“Regarding my position in the ranking, I try not to think too much about it. My song was rather well received by foreign countries who were very anticipating after Amir’s performance last year. There is something positive about my candidacy, for me to pursue what Amir has begun.

What is Alma’s ultimate goal in Eurovision?:

This is my personality, I am very determined, I go to Eurovision to win. There is going to be a lot of work in advance to try to rank well. My dream would be the top 10, even the top 5. All I care is to do the best I can. Then the judgement will come from other countries. I go in warrior mode.

Alma is very calm and confident:

I’m very serene. I think there is nothing better than to arrive in a positive dynamic, to gather the positivity around you. It is a unique opportunity in the life of an artist. I’m looking forward to it.

About the song, if it will stay purely in French or if English lyrics will be added, Alma said:

It’s a risky choice, that’s why a version with the English chorus was recorded. For now, it is under consideration. The reviews we get are pretty good. It would be a shame to cut off potential votes. Because, at Eurovision, the majority of voters do not speak French. The refrains in English are a good solution to reach as many people as possible. It is better to put all the chances on our side.”

Finally, what does Eurovision mean to Alma personally?:

I have always heard of this contest. My two idols, France Gall and Céline Dion, participated (in 1965 and 1988). There is a slightly mystical side to it. It is incredible for me to be able to participate while these two great figures have also done this. I have not watched Eurovision every year, but I closely followed the last edition with Amir. It’s an incredible opportunity for me to have my song listened to by more than 200 million viewers. This contest can be a great jumping board.

You may read the original interview, in French, here.

Alma will perform Requiem in the Grand Final of Eurovision 2017, 13 May 2017, France being one of the Big 5 countries and already placed for the final.

Enjoy the official video for Requiem, performed by Alma:

Stay tuned to for all the latest news on the Eurovision Song Contest!