FeaturesRotterdam 2021

🇨🇿 Benny Cristo: “This year, I am more confident about myself as an artist.” [INTERVIEW]

With the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest fast approaching, many artists are starting to release their songs. We had a chance to chat with Benny Cristo, who won the Czech national final last year with “Kemama”, and who has now returned to represent the Czech Republic with “Omaga”!

“What I like about music is that you can keep growing in it.”

In the interview, Benny Cristo shares how he discovered his passion for music. While we know him as a talented singer, it was actually a coincidence that he became one: he participated in a competition which he assumed to be about dancing, but it was a singing competition instead! He made it far into the competition and has been focusing on music ever since.

However, besides music, Benny has a passion for sports as well: he participates in competitive martial arts and snowboarding. He still spends time on these interests as well, but has chosen to focus on music instead because of the challenge and opportunities it presents.

One of these challenges in music is creating a sound that feels personal. For “Kemama”, Benny traveled to subsaharan Africa, which he had not visited in 29 years. He shared that growing up in Europe, he only recently felt like adding African sounds to his music was something which could be appreciated in a predominantly American-sounding music scene.

“There’s so many things to worry about, I just wanted to have fun.”

Benny’s entry “Omaga” is an upbeat song that is sure to get you dancing! In the interview, he shared that his inspiration behind the song is quite simple: he just wants to have fun and quit worrying about the state of the world for a while, even if it is just for the 3 minutes of the song.

Careful listeners may have noticed that there’s a line in Czech in the second verse of “Omaga” as well. Benny preferred English for most of his song, because he wants to sing the song for everyone, not just Czech people. It shows a message to the world of the openness which he hopes to see in the Czech Republic. While the rest of the song is in English, this lyric is kind of an Easter Egg for Czech people: “We can stay at my place, no worries, we can pretend as if,” followed by the English line “there ain’t no apocalypse.”

Furthermore, he shared that he thinks it’s fun to get people out of their comfort zone through this lyric, letting them be a bit confused about what it may mean. Similarly, the song titles of both “Omaga” and “Kemama” are linguistically interesting, as they challenge the listener to get a new perspective on the song and to think outside box. In the music video as well, he challenges us to find as many references as possible!

“This year, I’m gonna be just me and do the best that I can.”

“Kemama” has been famously revamped several times, after being suggested so by Eurovision fans. According to Benny, he let certain comments get to his head because of the different market he was joining due to Eurovision. However, he says that he has grown and changed as an artist over the year, and is approaching this year’s contest with a more relaxed attitude.

While before, he felt the need to proof himself as an artist worthy of the international market, Benny is now more confident. He is okay with knowing that some people may not like his song. For this year, he will stay true to himself and try his best for himself, rather than to please others. And yes, this also means that there will be no revamps or other changes for “Omaga”.

Check out our full interview with Benny Cristo below:

Benny Cristo will represent the Czech Republic with “Omaga”, performing in the Second Semi Final of the Eurovision Song Contest on 20 May 2021.

What are your thoughts on “Omaga”? Has Benny managed to get you out of your comfort zone with his song? Let us know! Be sure to stay updated by following @ESCXTRA on Twitter@escxtra on Instagram and liking our Facebook page for the latest updates! Also, be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel to see our reactions to the over the news coming months.

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