Markus Riva: “When I am performing I feel a good mission to give a good vibe to the audience.” [Interview]

Latvia have for 2015 completely overhauled their national final, leaving Dziesma behind in Ventspils and instead trying to discover a Supernova in Riga. With only 8 performers left in the competition we decided to speak to those that passed the quarterfinals and next up is Markus Riva who competed last year with the song ‘Lights On’.

escXtra: Hey Markus! Thanks for taking some time to speak to us once again! Congratulations on making it to the semi-final of Supernova!

Markus Riva: Thank you so much! It means a lot to me!

X: We spoke to you last year when you participated with your song ‘Lights On’. One year on, how do you feel about your participation in Dziesma 2014?

M: Well, it was a nice experience. Despite the results, I was very glad to perform in the final and was not disappointed about the results. It was my first time in the national contest as a soloist because before that I did 2 times as an author only. I still love “Lights On” and lot of people do!

Markus Riva 3X: You’ve had a rather busy year with many different projects in both Latvia and abroad; can you give us some of the highlights of the last 12 months?

M: Yes, it was a tough and exciting year. Of course, the most important project for me was prime-time TV show “Want to Meladze” that was on TV in many countries – Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan and the Baltic States… It gained me a lot of experience and lot of new fans that is so amazing because my music now is important for so many people and I am so blessed about it. I made it to the final but didn’t get in the new boys band “M-Band” and now I am re-launching my solo career in different level that is so exciting. Over the last 12 months I have worked on my new material a lot and I hope that this year will bring a lot of new music from me.

X: Supernova is a different game to what Dziesma, can you tell us how the experience has been different between the two years?

M: Yes, this is a bit different. But in my opinion, this is much better and more interesting. We have more live shows and we have this sort of jury thing that tells you “all of your faults, all of your mistakes” (lines from “Take Me Down”) straight after your performance. And also they have grown in production. I wish, they would be more like mentors and work a bit with us.

X: What is your overall goal in participating in Supernova?

M: To win! Of course! I don’t like contests but if it is Eurovision then you have to have only one goal! Champion could be only one and I want to be that champion.

X:  Tell us about your song “Take Me Down”. How do you feel about performing this entry and what is the song about?

M: “Take Me Down” is very personal and emotional song. Quite dark and epic but this song has a very light meaning. No matter what happens in your life I will go with you till the last second. When I am performing I feel a good mission to give a good vibe to the audience.

 X: Will your live performance in the semi (or possibly the final) be any different to what we saw on Saturday?

M: After the show “Want to Meladze” I started to work with my management in Kiev. Few days ago we released a brand-new music video in 2 languages “Take Me Down” / “Taty” that was directed by very famous Ukrainian director Alan Badoev who has filmed music videos for Kazaky, Lara Fabian, Dan Balan, Filip Kirkorov, Via Gra and many more, also for ESC entries Tina Karol, Loboda. We made a nice video/light show that was cancelled by LTV team, but hopefully for the semi final we are going to see at least a part of it. For sure, we are going to make a spectacular production for the big final and for the Vienna, if it is going to happen (fingers crossed).

X: Last year you told us of your favourite Eurovision songs, this year would you be able to tell us your favourite song from last year’s Dziesma contest?

M: Well, now I have to remember what we had last year (laughing). I liked song from Niko “Here I am again” and song by Dons was also good.

Markus Riva 2X: Now some questions to get to know you a little better, how did you spend your most recent birthday?

M: As always I spend it with lot of friends and with a big party / concert in Riga. Last time I had a gig with my vocal, dj set, with drummers, dancers and some fireworks. Straight after I flew to Kiev to celebrate it there. I always have the best friends around me so I am very blessed.

X: Can you tell us a secret about yourself that very few people know?

M: Well, I revealed one secret about me in the TV show “Want to Meladze”. It was very personal but I thought it was a great timing to talk about it. When I was 14, I had really big personal issues, psychological issues that almost led to self-suicide. I am happy that music and my dreams helped me to get over it and now I am the happiest person.

X: If you can imagine an average day when you have no music to perform, what do you like to do with yourself?

M: I love to travel, if I have some days off, I would like to fly to Europe and just go to the museums and discover the history. I just love to feel the touch of history. That is why I love Europe so much; one of my recent trips was to Italy – Florence, Venice, Verona.

X: What is your favourite alcholic or non-alcholic beverage?

Since I am also a DJ I do drink a bit alcohol. But always feel the right moment to stop (laughing). One of my favourite is vodka cranberry but one of my latest discoveries is vodka ginger beer. But don’t drink too much 🙂 If non-alcoholic then just still water with some lemon or Nespresso coffee.

 X: What is your favourite colour?

M: I don’t stick with only one. I am very chameleon-ish person.

X: Finally, do you have a message for our readers?

M: I wish everyone to find yourself. It is the most important thing how to be happy. Happiness is all what we need!

Markus takes part in the Supernova semi-final on Sunday, February 15th with the song “Take Me Down” which you can hear below. To see more from Markus check out his official website and Facebook page! On behalf of everyone at escXtra we would like to thank Markus for his time and wish him all the best in the contest and beyond.

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