Eurovision Interview: Julia Samoylova
Jeremy Williams-Chalmers, Arts Correspondent
Julia Samoylova was all set to represent Russia at the Eurovision Song Contest last year, but due to a performance in the Crimea, she was not allowed to enter Ukraine for the contest.
As a result Russia withdrew, but kept to their word that allowed Julia to be their returning entry. A defiant performer, she proclaims I Won't Break as she heads to the stage in Lisbon.
For those not in the know, tell us a little about yourself...
Well, I'm a self made Russian singer. A runner-up in a Russian version of The X Factor. Performed during The Opening Ceremony of Winter Paralympics 2014 in Sochi. Due to my rare physical condition I have to use a wheelchair at all times since childhood.
What appealed to you about entering Eurovision?
It is an old dream that is going to come true at last. When I was a girl and watched Eurovision Song Contest where Alsou performed I remember I knew at that moment – I want to be there and one day I will be there.
How did you feel when you found out you would be representing Russia?
It was pure happiness of course what else could I feel at that moment…
Your song is called I Won't Break, tell us about it...
My song tells a story about simple but all important things… that you should always listen to your heart, no matter how hard your current life is, to trust your heart to show you the way as it is the only road to true happiness.
What is the best feedback you have received as yet?
Just days ago Alexander Rybak of Norway sent a video greeting to me full of warmest words of support. I am so thankful to him for that!
Have you listened to your competitors yet? If so, which is your current favourite?
I like Belgium song and especially their music video. It’s my personal favourite. I like the Italian song and their video raises goosebumps on my skin. It is a very powerful peace message to the world. I can say I am a fan of Netta of Israel, she is bursting with positive energy!
Have you spoken to any past entrants? If so, what advice have they had?
I talked with Polina Gagarina and Sergey Lazared and they shared many technical details with me. But mostly they said it’s such a grand celebration of music, that the atmosphere is extremely friendly and not at all competitive here.
What is your favourite Eurovision entry of all time?
Molitva performed by Marija Serifovich of Serbia.
Which previous non-winning entry do you feel really deserved the crown?
You may be surprised but most of the time the voting results met my own tastes. Or at least no ‘unfair’ case comes to my mind at the moment.
What do you hope to achieve with your appearance at Eurovision?
I just want to go on this stage and to perform well. I want viewers to enjoy it as much as I will.
What is success for you in the contest?
Taking into account last year events coming to Lisbon is already a success for me.
Lastly, if you could duet with one past entrant, who would it be?
It’s strange but I don’t like singing in duo. I had such an experience in Russia (and my singing partner was a man I esteem very high – Russian musician and actor Gosha Kutsenko) but it was rather an exception on the rule. I’m totally focused on my own songs now.
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Eurovision Interview: Julia Samoylova, 9th May 2018, 7:59 AM