Lenii, the performer of Take off your mask that won the first Latvian semi-final, experiences the Eurovision magic for the first time. Lauris Reiniks, the author of the song has already bags of Eurovision experience. Lenii and Lauris expressed their thoughts and impressions about Eurovision Song Contest and Eirodziesma, Latvian National Selection in an interview to esctoday.com Latvian editor Aija Medinika.
How did you get involved with the selection process? What made you decide to participate in Eirodziesma this year?
Lauris: “Writing a song for Eurovision National selection is like my hobby and part of my job. Because I am not just a singer, I am also a songwriter. Ever since we won the National selection in Latvia with F.L.Y and Hello from Mars in 2003, I haven�t been singing anymore in this contest like all musicians who have represented Latvia in Eurovision before and after us. Now I write songs for other performers. It is fun and a big publicity for them. In the previous years I wrote songs for my sisters� band 4.elements (now VIA Meitenes), but this year when I wrote Take off your mask I already knew that this song must be performed by a female soloist. As I had noticed Lenii in a reality TV show Talantu Fabrika (alias Pop Idols etc) couple of years ago and now singing schlager music, I offered her to sing my song. And she immediately said �yes�, because she always wanted to sing either pop or rock music and now I am very satisfied with the result as I am a managing this whole thing. And actually this song in Latvian language in duet with me will be one of the tracks in my forthcoming album that I am about to finish and release quite soon!”
How was the preparation process for the semi-final?
Lenii: “Well, we rehearsed singing, made costumes and the choreography. Like everyone else I guess. It took quite a lot of our time, sometimes we finished after midnight, but we will work even harder for the final and improve lots of things.”
What were your expectations for the semi-final?
Lenii: “I just wanted to show a good performance, so that everything sounds and looks ok. And I hoped to get in top3, but I was surprised about winning this semifinal. That was much better than we expected. And I am very happy about it.”
Lenii, how does it feel to compete for the ticket to Helsinki?
Lenii: A: “It feels amazing. This is a new and exciting experience for me and now that the first semifinal is over and we did so well I feel we have to work even harder and fight till the end, as the ticket to Helsinki is so tempting and serious. But on the other hand, like I said, I am very happy to be in the final and experience this whole Eurovision fever for the first time. I will not cry if I don�t win.”
Please, tell us more about your song? Inspiration? Message?
Lauris: “Well, I am popular in Latvia mostly because of my love songs and ballads, but once in a while I write songs that are not particularly about love, but more about social aspects. This is the case although there is a small piece of love thing in it as well J Take off your mask is a song saying that we all live only once and that there's no use of living our lives with masks and pretending to be someone else. We all are very special for who we are and only being ourselves will make our lives and us happier.”
Lauris, your songs have been in Eirodziesma finals for 4 times so far. In 2003 Hello from Mars won the Latvian final in 2003. You have been Latvian vote presenter for 2 times. It seems Eirodziesma/Eurovision easily becomes like an addiction. Once you pop, you can�t stop?
Lauris: “Ha, ha! You bet! I don�t know why, but Eurovision song contest is just like a poison. There is something special about it. Every year I am involved in it and there is always something different. I�ve been in the big final once and I know exactly what it feels like to be there- all those emotions, excitement, new friends, tears and laughter, total fun and brightly produced show watched by millions of viewers. So I guess I just want to have that feeling once a year and I go for it and write songs for other performers. But I also loved vote presenting, people usually wait for that and go crazy.”
What is your favourite entry ever both Latvian and international?
Lauris: “My favorite Latvian entries I think are The war is not over by Walters & Kazha and My star by Brainstorm. In terms of the stage performance it was definitely I wanna by Marie N. Internationally I like Helena Paparizou. I don�t know many International Eurovision songs as we joined this ESC club only in 2000.”
Lenii: “I liked I wanna and Hello from Mars. But Internationally I liked LORDI, because they were something different and new to Eurovision.
Lenii, what are you planning for the performance in the final?
Lenii: “I will have a new image, new dress is being made now, we will improve our choreography and I will try to use more of my beloved saxophone J But you will see yourself, can�t put all the cards out now.”
What plans do you have for the upcoming months and how would winning the Latvian ticket fit with them?
Lenii: “I am now recording an album with new versions of popular songs written by the popular Latvian composer maestro Raimonds Pauls. I am also studying music management. So I have no idea what will change if I win. We�ll see, I don�t think about it much now”
Any message for esctoday.com readers and your fans?
Lauris: “Take off your mask and be who you are! Very original message, right? J But seriously that is my main message to everyone.”
Lenii: “I agree with Lauris and I also wanted to thank you all for your support and keep your fingers crossed for us in the final if you like our song. And of course � SMILE!”
esctoday.com wants to wish the artists the best of luck for the Latvian national final.