Good Evening Europe talked to Jamala, who will represent Ukraine in Eurovision Song Contest 2016 with her self-penned song “1944”.
Good Evening Europe: You have participated in the national selection before. What does it mean for you to represent your country in Eurovision?
It’s a great honour and a great responsibility.
Good Evening Europe: Your song is called “1944”, and has already been subject to heated discussion and many headlines because of the supposedly political nature of the entry. Could you tell us the story behind your self-penned song ‘1944’?
I wrote it a year and a half ago. The origins of it are in my childhood. It’s inspired by story that my great-grandmother told me when I was small. The song is about the tragedy that happened to our family and all Crimean Tatar in 1944. I mean the deportation of Crimean Tatar people from Crimea to Central Asia, the crime made by Soviet government. They packed all people to the freight trains like beasts for a few weeks with no food and water. Those who couldn’t survive were thrown out and left lying on the ground. My great-grandmother lost her daughter as well. But “1944” concerns all people that had their own horrible tragedies in the past, such as Holocaust.
Good Evening Europe: Which message would you like to send out to Eurovision-viewers across the world?
I believe there are two important messages in the song. The first is “We should never forget about this tragedy of our people, we should remind about it to our children, so they will be able to prevent the things like that in the future”. And the second message is “creating the future we should remember our roots, where we came from. If you really respect and venerate your family, your own culture and history, you learn how to respect other cultures. It’s the way we could make this world better”.
Good Evening Europe: The EBU has already approved ‘1944’, but how did you experience the intensive media coverage and accusations? Did you ever fear that your song could get disqualified?
No, I didn’t. I knew there is no politics in lyrics, so there’s no reason for song to be disqualified.
Good Evening Europe: And back to what it’s all about: The music. You graduated from the Music Academy majoring in opera singing, what made you chose a different musical path?
Plans changed because in summer 2009 I went to International contest of young singers “New Wave” in Latvia and got Grand Prix there. After that I decided to write my own music and started to move in this direction.
Good Evening Europe: Your previous attempt in the Ukrainian selection was an uptempo song with a more cheerfull message and with ‘1944’ we see a very different side of you. Which development have you gone through since 2011?
I grew older and became wiser. I’ve recorded four albums of my own music. I mean all songs written by me. The latest record “Breath” was released in October 2015. I went through 5 years of incredible personal experience and went through all changes and convulsions that happened to my country. All these made its impact on my music.
Good Evening Europe: Can you reveal something about your stage performance in Stockholm?
At the moment we prepare completely new performance, but we still keep details in secret. And the dress will be new too. Vogue Ukraine made a kind of competition between Ukrainian designers. We chose the sketch by Ivan Frolov, we worked with him for my concert dress before. Actually we prepare four dresses; two with Ivan Frolov and two with chief stylist of STB TV channel Dmitriy Kuryata. Which one I’ll wear at Eurovision I’ll decide at final rehearsal for semi-final.
Good Evening Europe: As this interview is aimed for Eurovision-fans, we would like to know how you feel about Eurovision? Could you reveal some favorite songs or artists from the history of Eurovision Song Contest?
I don’t have favorite song. I usually pay attention to performers, musicians, vocals and musical background. These are few songs that I like: Raphael Gualazzi “Madness of Love”, The Common Linnets – Calm After The Storm, Loreen – “Euphoria“
Good Evening Europe: Do you have a special message for the readers of www.Good-evening-europe.dk (Denmark)?
I want to visit your country and sing for you! I hope I will have this opportunity after Eurovision! Vote for me! Thank you for your love and support!
Good Evening Europe: Thank you very much for taking the time to answering our questions and the best of luck in Stockholm!