Andrej Babić is one of the most experienced composers in Eurovision. He was already five times in Eurovision – in 2003 with Claudia Beni (Croatia), in 2005 with Feminnem (Bosnia & Herzegovina), in 2007 with Alenka Gotar (Slovenia), in 2008 with Vania Fernandes (Portugal), and in 2009 with Quartissimo feat. Martina Majerle (Slovenia). He is back this year for the sixth time, as he composed the Portuguese entry this year – “Vida minha”, which will be performed by Filipa Sousa. We spoke with Andrej about his Eurovision experience, co-operation with Filipa, and his expectations this year. You can read all that and more in the following interview:
escXtra: Hello Andrej! Thank you very much for doing this interview with us. How do you feel participating in Eurovision for the sixth time?
Andrej Babić: Hello! I am always very open for any conversation… since Eurovision is not only part of my job, it’s also my big passion… so, you can imagine how I feel… After three years of absence, I can say – „Home again“
X: How did you decide to enter Festival da Cancao again this year?
A: I have to be honest, I wasn’t planning to make a song for Festival da Cancao 2012. However, after RTP invited me to be the one of the 12 invited composers, I thought that it’s an invitation you don’t refuse… For me it was an honour to be invited, and to have a chance to represent this beautiful country once again. I made a song with my lyricist, Carlos Coelho, who I work with for many years now. We have made four songs for Festival da Cancao since 2008. We won twice, one time we came second, and one time – 11th. But if I knew how are things going to turn out after the victory on Festival da Cancao, I probably woudn’t enter the festival. People from RTP said that they don’t need authors anymore, and that our job was finished with Festival da Cancao. I can’t help feeling used. I belive that Eurovision is still a festival of the SONGS, and authors are the ones who create them. So, why does RTP keep fashion designers, stylists, or producers in their team, while they don’t want authors, remains a mystery to me.
A: RTP had auditions for singers before they even announced who are the invited composers. They say that they connected the singers and the authors randomly. I still think that the connections were based more on the same style and same musical preferences. It’s kind of a strange way of making a festival, because composing has some sort of limits – is it a male, or a female voice, is it a younger or an older singer, etc… I have to say that we were very, very lucky to be connected to Filipa, who is a wonderful singer, and she managed to give life to our song the way that people can feel it. I don’t even want to think what would have happened if we were connected to some performer with much different musical preferences than ours.
X: Is your co-operation with Filipa going to continue after Eurovision?
A: Well, I don’t work with any of my „Eurovision performers“ anymore, so – I guess not. But, who knows?
X: Four out of your five Eurovision songs were in the final. What are your expectations this year?
A: Expectations are one thing, wishes another, and reality something completely different. I really wish people will feel the more different approach of Portugal in Eurovision than any other country… Some people say it’s an oldfashioned boring song, but as far as I understood, people from Portugal say it reflects their culture, life, passion and character. That is a very big compliment for me because I am a Croat, but it’s also the thing which Eurovision doesn’t have anymore – diversity. I believe that Eurovision should bring us more „national“ songs, because it’s the only thing that could keep Eurovision alive.
X: Did you hear the other competing songs this year, and have you got any favorites?
A: Yes, I have, and I have to say that there are so many good songs. I also think that all these pre-charts and bets follow the usuall rankings of the countries for years. For example, some of the countries had bigger bets before they even picked a song… I believe that the three minutes count, because some songs can raise from what they were before, and also some can flop. So… for the final decision, I will have to watch it all on the big stage in Baku.
X: Which song you think is the biggest competition to „Vida minha” in Baku?
A: There are not so many songs that follow similar approach in sensibility, orchestration, feeling, and charming native language.
X: What are your future plans?
A: I don’t make plans in music… I let it happen.
X: Do you have a message for all the readers of escXtra.com?
A: I would love to thank all the people who support my work for many comments and likes on my Facebook after this last victory in Portugal, and I thank in advance all the people who will support „Vida minha“ in Baku… Have a nice time there, and see you in some other Eurovision.
X: Thank you very much Andrej, and all the best to your entry in Baku!
A: Thank you very much for your interest in doing an interview with me!
Listen to this year’s Andrej’s Eurovision entry for Portugal – “Vida minha”: