Rotterdam 2021

🇷🇺 Manizha reflects on her Eurovision 2021 experience

"I could not have thought that “Russian Woman” could become such a phenomenon and cause so much controversy."

In a new interview, Manizha has reflected on her Eurovision 2021 experience. Fresh from her top 10 finish, she revealed that she never thought she would win the national final, let alone make such an impact at the contest. She previously revealed that she had finished the original version one day before the selection.

In interview with Russian site Ria.ru, Manizha has shared her reflections on Eurovision 2021. Having already shared some of the origin story of the song, she elaborated on just how incidental her national final participation was. Indeed, the song was a product of a jamming session in Israel.

I could not have thought that “Russian Woman” could become such a phenomenon and cause so much controversy. Moreover, I did not write it on purpose, it appeared by accident: we just jammed with the musicians in the studio.

Manizha on the origin of “Russian Woman”

She also shared that she didn’t originally plan on going to Eurovision this year and was happy to remain a touring artist in Russia, but the pandemic changed her trajectory. She initially thought that appearing in the selection would help her promote her concerts in Russia.

Emotional toll of Eurovision performance

In her interview with our very own Nathan Waddell, she shared how much of an emotional toll performing “Russian Woman” had on her. Speaking with Ria, she elaborated on how the intensity of Eurovision was more demanding than her concerts back home.

We had about 50 runs, during which we went through the number from start to finish, and each one was at the maximum of emotional impact. “Russian Woman” requires a lot of energy when you are on stage. I can give a three-hour concert, but I’m not as tired as from the performance of my contest song.

Manizha on how demanding Eurovision was

Even after all the rehearsals, it was the Grand Final performance that impacted her the most.

At the end of the performance, my voice trembled from the feeling that everything was over. When I went backstage, I could not stand on my feet – I cried a lot, I was hysterical. Before that I didn’t feel how tired I was.

Manizha on her Grand Final performance

Future plans

However, she was sure to express her gratitude for the experience, and particularly the international platform the contest has granted her. Since the contest, she has been invited to perform across Europe. Of course, many of her plans are pandemic-permitting.

We were invited to Portugal in August for a big music forum. But it is still unclear whether the borders will be opened, whether mass events will be banned. Of course, the pandemic prevents me from having the success in Europe that I would like.

Manizha on her post-contest opportunities

She expressed that she intends to tour internationally once she can. However, she intends to continue producing music in Russian, regardless of her international popularity.

I believe I will have a European tour. And I am sure that I will keep the Russian language in my songs and foreigners will listen to them.

Manizha on her future plans

About Manizha

Manizha was born in 1991 in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. She and her family fled the Tajikistani civil war in 1994 to settle in Moscow. She began her career as a child singer, eventually performing in the Ru.Kola project and as part of music groups Assai and Krip De Shin. Following these stints, she went on to study gospel music in both London and New York City. 

She began her solo career in 2016 by releasing a string of singles as an independent artist. In addition, she has released two albums, Manuscript and ЯIAM in 2017 and 2018, respectively. In 2019, she released her EP Womanizha.

As reflected in the lyrics of “Russian Woman”, Manizha identifies as a feminist and is a supporter of LGBTQ+ rights. This, her Muslim background and Tajikistani heritage have attracted online abuse via her social media channels, and, ultimately, international press coverage.

In a three-way 100% public voting format, Manizha won with 39.7% of the public vote. At Eurovision, she placed 9th in the Grand Final with 204 points.

You can watch our interview with Manizha below:

Are you proud of Manizha’s success? 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 follow us on Spotify and YouTube to see our reactions to the news in the run up to the 2022 national final season!

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