In a very open and honest interview, Matt spoke to Vasil Garvanliev about his journey across the world and into music. They discuss immigrating to the USA, Eurovision 2020, and the latest on his possible selection as the 2021 artist for North Macedonia. Here’s a story of sheer perserverence through adversity, and using the good advice of great minds to pursue your dream…
We began by talking about Vasil’s inspirational story. And like all good stories, we started at the beginning. I was interested to know how he felt about becoming a child star in Macedonia and then immigrating to the USA at the peak of his popularity.
At the time it was the craziest and scariest time I’ve been through. Now looking back, it was the biggest blessing in disguise…That shock, I think, is the best lesson because it’s what taught me the importance of being humble.Vasil Garvanliev, North Macedonia 2020
Vasil has talked about being bullied as an immigrant child in the United States, but he always had his voice. And this voice took Vasil on a journey that found it’s way to the Chicago Child’s Choir. He recalls a time when the choir performed at the White House as part of an event celebrating the ’20 most influential people in the world’. In attendance were cultural heavyweights such as singer Barbra Streisand and Mikhail Baryshnikov, the dancer/choreographer. But one special conversation with the legendary writer, Maya Angelou, spawned some advice that Vasil says influences his music even today.
I remember she [Angelou] came up to us afterwards and said “Child, no matter what, always go after truth. If you follow your truth, nobody can touch you.” So if I encapsulate those lessons, that is it.Vasil Garvanliev, North Macedonia 2020
Even though Vasil found a way to connect with people in his new home country through music, it didn’t stop him experiencing being uprooted yet again. Vasil’s family were deported during what was a very restrictive time for immigrants in the United States, in the wake of the events of 9/11. I asked him what he remembers about the whole experience.
One of the things I’ve had to accept in my life is that nothing is easy. I was supposed to go and study in New York on a full scholarship, but then all of a sudden that was gone. Once again, at the time I thought it was one of the hardest things because here I was making my dream happen…It was another blessing in disguise because it opened up another world to me. The most important lesson from this deportation was the importance of chosen family…it’s those people that I bonded with at that time when the deportation happened. You realise your family is always there but there’s something called chosen family, which is even more important.Vasil Garvanliev, North Macedonia 2020
The song “You” was chosen as the best song for Vasil to take to the Eurovision Song Contest 2020. The Macedonian talked of his interpretation of the song…
It’s an invitation for us to connect through dance to celebrate the given moment…It is a perfect blend of East meets West and that was the main message; for all of us to connect together through the celebration of dance.Vasil Garvanliev, North Macedonia 2020
And what’s the latest on Eurovision 2021? Will we see Vasil selected for North Macedonia?
I’m waiting for any sort of answer. They [MRTV] still don’t know and they are still deliberating a lot. It’s not up to me but come on, Eurovision gods! Come on, Macedonia television! Give me my chance! It’s not up to me but if you ask me, all of the artists from this year should go next year. It’s only fair as you get so close to your dream then it stops.Vasil Garvanliev, North Macedonia 2020
We spoke about many more things including how he dealt with being in lockdown during the Covid-19 pandemic. Watch the rest of the interview in the video above or on YouTube.
What do you think about a possible return to Eurovision for Vasil? Are you excited about his upcoming EP and album? Let us know in the comments below and on our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube profiles.