ESC Serbia had opportunity to speak with this year Azerbaijani representative, Sabina Babayeva. Who is she, how will she promote and present herself and her homeland to Europeans, what does Eurovision mean to her, how much does she know about Serbia and much more, you can read in our exclusive interview below.
Hello Sabina! First of all I would like to congratulate you on winning national Eurovision selection. How do you feel about it? What are yours impressions?
– Thank you! I think it was one of the happiest days in my life!!! I am a big Eurovision fan and for a long time it was my dream to represent my country at the Contest. I’ve previously participated in the national Azerbaijan selections, but this year became my lucky year. I felt in my heart that 2012 is special for me. So it happens. Awesome feeling!
It would be interesting for our readers to found out something about you and your career – who is actually Sabina, what are her interests in music, what kind of music she listen, what are her interests beside music, what does she likes and dislikes?
– Actually my whole life is my music. When I was young, I’ve always was surrounded by music in every kind of way, my mom who is professional musician, has introduced me to this amazing word of sounds.
I’ve graduated from the Asaf Zeynally College of Music with a degree in vocal arts, and since then have participated in many song competitions both in Azerbaijan and abroad. Also I have a university degree in law.
First big victories have happened for me in 2009 when I won the grand-prix at the young performers contest Amberstar in Latvia, as well as the grand-prix of the Slavic Star Contest in Russia. It was a life changing experience. And since Azerbaijan became one of the participants at the Eurovision song contest I have wanted to take a part in the competition.
As for my music interests I enjoy all kinds of music but especially I like to listen to jazz, soul, blues and modern pop-music. I’m a jazz girl, Areta Franklin always was an inspiration for me, I feel this music is as a part of me, it brings light to my soul and my mind. I love to travel, to discover something new for me, enjoy good cousin, all kind of staff.
You participated in Azerbaijani national selection last year. Can you make comparison between that one and the one held this year? What do you think what are the reasons that contributed this year winning, and not last year?
– This year was tough! But actually it’s tough every year! This year there were 119 contestants, me included, and we competed during 8 weeks of performances! Imagine it! Everybody is so talented, so great! Last year I think it was a time for duo Ell/Nikki to win and to finally bring Eurovision to Azerbaijan, I’m so proud of them. And this year I’ve worked very hard and try my best to do everything in my power to win. And I did it! It’s still unbelievable but this is a great feeling.
Is it more challenging to participate in Eurovison in home country? Do you feel more responsibility when singing in front of your audience, then in some different country?
– Of course it is! Twice as much! First it is a great responsibility to be your country’s representative! Eurovision Song Contest is finally at my country, in my home city Baku and this is incredible opportunity for the Land of Fire and for me. I love the feeling when you are on the stage in front of big audience – it’s amazing because everybody rooting for you. I’ll try to do everything I can to get the best result in the Grand final on May 26th.
Your song is presented amongst the last participating entries. Can you tell us something about the sound, about the authors?
– The song When the music dies is my song, it was written for me! I felt it from the beginning and now I feel its sound inside anytime and anywhere. The song was written and composed by Stefan Örn, Anders Bagge, Johan Kronlund and Sandra Bjurman. Stefan and Sandra were also the authors of already well known hit Running sacred and I am happy to work with such a talented people. We’ve recorded the song using ethnic Azeri instruments and unique vocal ethnic style mugham. I hope that European audience will like it, like I do.
Safura and Eldar and Niggar had very strong promotion and marketing in last years. How do you plan to promote your song until the beginning of ESC?
– I’ve got a great team of professional on my side and we are planning to promote my song When the music dies. I will take part in conserts, will make some touring to other countries, to bring my music to them. Of course, there’s going to be a lot of activities for my fans all over the Europe, so wait, it’s only a matter of time.
You will sing your song in the final, on May 26th, 13th in runnning order. What do you think, is it really important running order of performance?
– First of all it depends on a person. Someone is crazy about the numbers and the dates, probably I’m not. If you have a fantastic performance, it doesn’t matter at all are you the second or twenty fifth or first. The main thing is to show your power, your emotions and your love to the audience.
Sabina, how do you want to present yourself to the Europe and the world, and in general how your country and your people would like to present themselves to the rest of the world?
– The main thing about Azerbaijan, Azeri people and me its our hospitality. If you came to Azerbaijan you become a guest in every house, it’s the only way to treat people for us. I really want everybofy to know and to understans my country, our traditions, it will surprise you in a great way, trust me.
Azerbaijan debuted in Eurovision Song Contest in Belgrade in 2008, and has a row of pretty good results in this contest. What do you think is the key ingredient for succes?
– We are very passionate about Contest every year, it’s a big chance to every singer to take part in Eurovision, to present our music to the whole Europe, it’a amazing so we are working hard to bring every emotion on stage. I’m very grateful for it.
Was Eurovision popular in Azerbaijan before 2008 and can you point something that make an impression on you – a song that you particularly liked, performance, maybe a singer?
– I’ve watched Eurovision Song Contest since I can remember myself, it’s always was like a great holiday for me – to see those amazing singers on stage. And yes, Contest is very popular in Azerbaijan. As for performance that made impression – I’ve always liked Celine Dion’s performance at Eurovision, smooth but power vocals, great! And in 2004 I loved Ruslana’s Wild dances! It was overwhelming! She rocked the stage.
What do you think, does the best song always win at Eurovision?
– Eurovision – is a unique world. It is surprising and unpredictable at all. Eurovision Song Contest changes a lot year after year. Everything goes fast today: all the time new artists appear in the music business and every year you don’t know what to expect, because you can see everything from pirates to puppets on the stage!
So far, all of participant countries selected their song for the Eurovision. Did you hear any song and do you maybe have a favourite?
– I follow the news on the Contest every day, because I like it. And of course, I’ve already heard many songs. I think it will be interesting competition – I like many Eurovision’s songs of this year. Among my favorites I can probably name Engelbert Humperdinck from United Kingdom with the amazing song Love will set you free and of course my good friend Anri Jokhadze from Georgia with his I am a Joker. I’m sure there are many other talented artists this year and I wish good luck all of them! See you soon!
Sabina, we are wondering how much you and your people know about Serbia? Do you like our music? Which Serbian Eurovision song you like best and how do you like our entry for this year?
– I love Balkan music and I’ve always wanted to travel to Serbia, I hope I will get a chance! Actually, one of the best Eurovision winning performances for me is Marija Šerifović’s Molitva, I was amazed by her! Great ballad and I love ballads! And this year it’s unbelievable Željko Joksimović, he’s one of the best European singers! I loved his Balkan version of Safura’s Drip drop and this year you’ve got great song, great singer, I wish Serbia all the best at the Contest!
Finally do you have something to say specially for our readers and all fans in Serbia and in the region?
– Thank you for all the interest in my music, for support! I wish you all the best and hope to meet one day with everybody during Concerts! Don’t forget to come to Baku for Eurovision 2012! We are waiting!
Dear Sabina, thank you for this interview and time you dedicated to us. On behalf of editorial of our website and me in person, we wish you all the best in forthcoming contest and in the rest of you career.
– Thank you as well! It’s a great honor to talk to Serbian’s Eurovision Fans!!!