Portugal: Interview with Suzy

by Fernando Méndez 693 views

We travel south for our 7th interview in our series of ESCToday Eurovision 2014 Interviews. Today we meet up with the 2014 Portuguese representative Suzy in Lisbon, who opens her heart and talks to us about herself, her music and her journey to Eurovision.

How does it feel to represent Portugal at the forthcoming Eurovision Song Contest?

To be able to sing as the Portuguese representative is a childhood dream that Emanuel allowed to become reality. Since we embarked on this project, I have worked intensively with him and put all my soul into it. I feel an enormous joy and a great pleasure in participating in the most important music event in Europe. It’s definitely an enormous honour and responsibility to represent my country in the ESC. I will do all in my power to fill all the Portuguese hearts of joy and pride.

Quero ser tua was performed completely in Portuguese at the Festival da Canção. Are there any plans to modify the lyrics and add English or any other language to the final version of the song?

I love to sing in Portuguese, all though I enjoy singing in English quite a lot too. So, either way, it would have been fine by me. Nevertheless, RTP wants its entry to be totally sung in Portuguese. So, by their decision, Quero ser tua will have the same lyrics as it was presented in the Portuguese selection and there won’t be any phrases in foreigner languages added, like in 2007.

I don´t see performing the song totally in Portuguese as a handicap. Music and its poem are more than just words. It’s a set of sounds made by instruments, which translates into a melody and that transcends the barrier of the physical body. It touches our souls, causing random emotions! One can say music is universal. You cannot target a song in sections; therefore, even in Portuguese I will be able to transmit sensations and emotions. And I want to transmit joyful and cheerful feelings for 3 minutes.

How did you decide to to enter Festival da Canção? Had competing at the the Eurovision Song Contest ever cross your mind before?

 As I mention before, to be able to represent Portugal in the ESC is a childhood dream becoming reality. I was only 11 years old when I saw the ESC 1991. I was enormously fascinated with Dulce’s interpretation and I fell in love with “Lusitânia paixão”. In that precise moment, my desire to be a singer and to eventually compete in the Festival RTP da Canção emerged.

Emanuel knows me and my work for quite a long time now. When he was invited by RTP to compose a song for the Portuguese selection, he immediately calls me and invited me to sing his song. I didn’t think twice: I came to Portugal, started working on the project and the rest is history.

I want to thank Emanuel for his trust and all his teaching. I would also like to thank my entire crew and all the fans that voted for me in the semi-final and in the final. 

Tell us more about your song and what is the story behind it? What message would you like give the European audience when you take the stage in Copenhagen through your performance?

Quero ser tua is a positive and cheerful theme, which creates a very cheerful mood in the audience. Talks of love and sharing feelings. Speaks of true love, when we commit ourselves with body and soul, sincerely and with strong emotions. That’s what my song talks about. The willing to love unconditionally, respecting everybody and experience the supreme feeling.

We want to bring joy and positive feelings to the Eurovision Song Contest. Here in Portugal, we are living quite difficult and hard times. We want to bring joy to everyday life and a positive message. We just want people to believe that things will change and they will change in a very positive way.

All the competing songs at the forthcoming Eurovision Song Contest have been selected. Have you listened to the other competing entries?  What essence does your entry Quero ser tua have that other entries don’t?

 I have heard some of the songs. I think we have a great contest this year: great songs and fantastic singers. One can listen to fabulous ballads, great up-tempo songs and amazing ethnic melodies that I like quite a lot. I would say I will bring to Denmark the Portuguese soul mixed with some African and Brazilian sounds and flavours. I guess that’s the main difference between my song and the rest of the entries competing this year. I suppose that’s the essence my song has that the other entries don’t. What do you think?

I would be so happy if everybody would dance, clap and sing-a-long with me during my performance. That would be awesome and I would be so very happy!

How did you choose to enter Festival Da Canção with Quero ser tua? How did your collaboration with Emmanuel come about?

You will never believe me, but my collaboration with Emanuel started when he had a professional meeting with my brother, after RTP’s invitation. For quite sometimes now, my brother professionally collaborates with Emanuel. In one of their meetings, Emanuel mention he was looking for a singer to perform his entry in the Portuguese Selection.

My brother mentioned my name and Emanuel immediately remembered me from previous works and from a show he attended in Dubai one year ago. After that meeting, Emanuel called me and I came to Lisbon, listen to the entry and proudly accepted the challenge, knowing I could be a small step away of living a childhood dream.

The stage and musical scenario are no new thing things to you, as you are quite familiar to the world of music as you have been performing since you were 5 years old. Tell us more about your musical background and your evolution in the musical scene?

I always enjoyed singing and I start my career at a very early age, when I joined the kids group, Onda Choc. I learned a lot back then and much of my past experiences were crucial to my future professional life. In 1999, together with the musical duo Anjos, I recorded the theme with which I’m still quite known, “Nesta noite branca”, a modern Christmas carol.

After that, I continue my hard working, publishing some solo albums and participating in various musical projects, which led me to work in several Portuguese, Canadian and American cities.

Is competing at the Eurovision Song Contest next May, one of the biggest challenges you have overtaken musically speaking?

It is a huge challenge for sure, but I wouldn’t say it’s the biggest one ever. Starting my musical career as a member of Onda Choc, collaborating with Anjos in Esta noite branca, recording my first solo album… All of these have been big challenges that I needed to overcome in the past. Since the start of my musical career I’ve been having so many challenges and I’ve always done my best to overcome them. I guess singing in the Eurovision Song Contest will be another huge and important challenge, which I need to put all my body and soul in it to overcome.

Portugal has been drawn to compete in the 1st Semifinal of the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest.  Taking into account that there are many strong entries in your semifinal and some of the bookies hot favourites will compete with you, how do you encounter this challenge? Do you feel more pressurised as it will be a very tight and competitive semfinal?

I think both semifinals have great songs and all of them can get the lucky placement in the final. I can´t say the one I’m competing is harder than the second one. Being a finalist depends on our performance and the way we conquer the public in 3 minutes. I will give all my heart and soul and sing as if the world would end tomorrow. I want to conquer each and everyone with my performance and with my song. So I guess, being on the 1st or 2nd semifinal, at the end of the day, doesn’t really matter.

How are you planning to stage your entry in Copenhagen? Can you give us some hints about your stage performance, choreography, dress and visual effects? Will it be similar or different to the FdC staging?

 At the moment we are already working on some changes. Those changes will not only be on the stage performance, but also in the orchestration of Quero ser tua. Concerning the orchestration, we are currently experimenting some ideas (e.g., increasing the importance of percussion in the melody chore), verifying which works best and which might be most pleasing to the European public.

Paulo Magalhães, our choreographer, is rethinking the stage performance. We want to recreate the importance of Portugal and the XV century Portuguese sailors in the discovery of the New World.  Representing our own country in an international contest is such a huge responsibility that we are putting all our efforts into it and we hope we

We hear that you are settled in Dubai now. How do you cope with the saudade?

You’ve done your homework (laughs!!!). Actually, till a month again, I was settled in Dubai, where I lived for the past 2 years, due to a professional engagement. After Emanuel’s invitation, living there was impossible due to all the commitments I was suppose to engage in Portugal. So I left Dubai for good and I’m again living in Lisbon.

I must say those were 2 magnificent years and I loved living there. A completing different way of living, but I love to experiment new things. Of course it wasn’t always pretty and easy and I miss my family, the Portuguese food, the Lisbon “light”………. I felt a bunch of “saudades” these 2 years. I coped with it visiting Portugal as often as I could or asking my family and friends to visit me in Dubai.

Have you heard any of the other songs in the contest? Which are your favourites?

As I said, I have heard some of the songs. ESC 2014 will be a great contest and all the 3 shows will be awesome, with fantastic songs and fabulous performers. There are so many great songs, that it’s difficult for me to pick one or two. All of them have something that attracts me and speaks to my heart. I suppose this is what a great musical show should be and I do hope that the Eurovision Song Contest stays like this for another 50 years.

What are your plans after Eurovision?

 The Festival RTP da Canção and the Eurovision Song Contest is only a way to make myself known again to the Portuguese audience. I’m already working on my new CD and I’m recording new songs to be included in it. One of these songs will be a duet with Emanuel himself. If all goes well, my new CD will probably be edited in the beginning of the summer and will include Quero ser tua. After that, I do hope many concerts will follow, in Portugal and abroad.

Do you have any message for your European fans and our readers on esctoday.com?

I would like to thank you all and I hope you will support me in Denmark. I hope you like my song, my performance and that I can fill your hearts with joy and happiness. I so hope you feel proud of me and happy about the return of Portugal to the Eurovision Song Contest. Thank you all for your support and for all your love. Very special kisses and hugs to all the readers of esctoday.com.

ESCToday would like to thank Suzy and her management for this interview. We would like to wish Suzy and Portugal the best of luck at the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest.