Ahead of tonight’s National Final in Norway, escXtra had the pleasure of speaking to Ira Konstantinidis who will take to the stage with her song “We Don’t Worry”.
Here is what she had to say to us:
X: Hi Ira, Firstly thank you very much for your time today. To begin, could you tell us a little bit about yourself and when you became interested in music?
My name is Ira, half greek and half norwegian, living in Oslo at the moment. The interest in music has always been there for me, but I was too shy to express it when I was younger. My parents would always hide and listen if they could get the chance. Right now I don’t really care and I sing all the time, hehe. Music has always touched me in a special way, and also in a very personal way. That, I think all artists and musicians can relate to. My first meeting with some sort of musical instrument was in first grade, where me and three other kids where chosen to play drums. I remember loving it and not feeling at all uncomfortable at stage.
X: We hear you are a big fan of Amy Winehouse, do you have a favourite song of hers?
That is such a hard question! If I had to choose between three songs it would probably be Rehab, Tears Dry On Their Own and Valerie. I will most likely regret my answer later.
X: Besides Amy Winehouse, do you have any other music inspirations?
Plenty. Well, if I were to answer all musicians that I like and have inspired me of some sort it would be many. But somefemale artists that have directly influenced me in my way of singing are artists like Melanie Fiona, Janis Joplin, Elle Varner, Etta James and Lauryn Hill. They are not necessarily what I listen to the most. I like them basically because they truly express themselves on stage and have real and pure talent . A video I love is when Etta James performs at Montreux in 1975 with I’d rather go blind!! I would love to be just like that in the future.
X: What made you decide that you wanted to enter Melodi Grand Prix this year?
It was not something I had ever considered to be something I could compete in. The whole concept was something that I though I would never fit in for. I was called in just a day before the demo was supposed to be sent in. In a little studio at my former school, I learned the song in 20 minutes, went in to record it and after that it was sent in. I though I was just gonna help a little out with a song, but before I knew it I was called in for meetings with NRK and spending time in the studio. Since I did not know if I actually would be a part of this or not, I never let myself actually realize what I was about to be part of.
X: The song you are competing with is called “We Do Not Worry”. How would you describe this song?
It is a pop song with a little soul to it. It has this homemade feeling to it, like some friends sat down with an acoustic guitar and started jamming. What I think makes it different is the untraditional setup of the song where you are not really ever sure what is the verse, chorus, pre-chorus etc. But I think that’s what makes this work. It’s not boring and predictable. Also my voice is not a traditional pop sounding voice either and I hope that makes the song more interesting.
X: If you went on to win Melodi Grand Prix tonight and in doing so, compete in the Eurovision Song Contest in May, what would you hope to achieve from the experience?
That would just be amazing! Just winning MGP itself would feel like I have reached the top already. I know my 3 minute show has to be on point if I want to achieve that. If I were to win I hope it would set a huge kickstart to my career and that I would get many opportunities from it. I hope it would really get my name out there and I could actually and finally pursue a real career in music which is the only thing I can see my self doing in the future at the moment.
X: Have you followed the Eurovision Song Contest before?
I have, I think it’s hard not to follow because it is such a huge concept and a lot of people have a tradition watching it. I have not personally watched every year, especially in the age that I’m in right now, the interest is not the hugest, but I hope that this year ’s concept in Norway at least will engage a lot more teens. Eurovision is growing to be a more serious platform to present yourself as an artist.
X: Do you have a favourite song from the contest?
I think that looking back it was more about the performance than the actual song, so judging by the whole performance I of course have to go with Sakis Rouvas – shake it from 2004. I don’t think there exists any other place where its more accepted to me such a feminine straight man.
X: Can we expect an album from you after the competition?
Right now my only focus is on Eurovison Song Contest.
Thank you so much for answering our questions Ira and all the best of luck in ‘Melodi Grand Prix’. Finally do you have a message for the readers of escxtra.com ?
We wish Ira all the best of luck tonight in Melodi Grand Prix. You can listen to her competing entry below.