Netta Barzilai has one of the biggest voices of Eurovision 2018 and she’s using it to spread a message of social justice. While “Toy” is definitely a song of female empowerment, it’s also a song of empowerment for us all….regardless of our gender. She clucks like a chicken not merely for our amusement, but also to let the haters know it’s time to back off. As she tells wiwibloggs: “The noises are supposed to imitate the voices of a coward — a ‘chicken’. Someone who doesn’t act the way he/she feels and treats you like a toy.”
In her first English-language interview since winning The Next Star for Eurovision, Netta discusses her message, her vocal looper and her love of a certain Czech Eurovision star…
You’re climbing the iTunes charts all over Europe and your video is approaching six million views. Did you expect this response?
I knew we were making something unique and different, but never in a million years did I think the song and the video clip would get such a strong positive response.
You became the bookies’ favourite to win almost immediately. Do you feel extra pressure now? How are you coping?
I’m just trying to be super focused. There is a lot of pressure, of course, but I’m working as hard as I can and I do get a lot of help from a team of amazing people. I’m extremely grateful for having them near me.
Your composer Doron Medalie has said the song is inspired by the #MeToo Movement. Did you tell him that you wanted a song of female empowerment? What was your reaction when you first heard the song?
While I was at “Rising Star”, Israel’s pre-selection competition to the ESC, I was exposed to many people, including Doron. He saw me, my persona and capabilities and decided that “Toy” is a song that would fit me and the competition. I couldn’t agree with him more.
What’s the general message of the song?
The song has an important message – the awakening of female power and social justice, wrapped in a colorful, happy vibe.
Your chicken noises give us LIFE. Please explain their significance and what they represent.
It’s so funny how people are caught up with that. It has a double meaning. The noises are supposed to imitate the voices of a coward — a “chicken”. Someone who doesn’t act the way he/she feels and treats you like a toy. Baka is also ‘stupid’ in Japanese.
Are you worried that people will perceive the song (particularly the chicken noises) as a joke or troll entry? What will you do to ensure people realise this is a ‘serious’ entry?
I think we spend too much time on judging ourselves and others, instead of opening our minds to take in all the inspiration that surrounds us.
Is Pikachu your favourite Pokemon?
Isn’t it yours?!?!?!
Could you please explain what your vocal looper is, how it works and why you love it?
The looper is a mobile recording device which allows me to record my voice, several times in a loop, until a playback is formed. I love it cause it gives me creative freedom to express my crazy musical ideas.
Were you worried that the EBU would prevent you from using it? Are you now fully cleared to use it in Lisbon?
I can’t reveal anything that would happen on stage, but I can promise surprises!
Are you worried that you might make a mistake live on stage with the looper that might impact your performance?
Yes, but that’s part of the thrill of taking chances. If you want to succeed, you have to take some risks.
Many fans have called you the ‘Verka Serduchka of 2017’. Verka, of course, is wild and crazy and came second at Eurovision. What do you think of this comparison?
If a comparison needs to be made, I’m glad it’s to Verka’s Eurovision performance! 🙂
Have you listened to Czech song? Many people feel it carries an opposite message to what you want to convey. We’re curious what you think.
Mikolas Josef is hot! Maybe he could lie to me next time we meet.
Will your staging in Lisbon take inspiration from the music video? Will those fab dancers be coming?
Yes, we are taking inspiration from the video, but I can’t reveal anything at this stage.
Finally, do you have a message for all of your fans on wiwibloggs?
My message is that you don’t have to fit the normal standard model of how a person should look, think, talk and create in order to succeed. We’re only here for a minute — we better enjoy the ride.
Are you in love with Netta as much as we are? Are you feeling her beautiful spirit through the outré and addictive “Toy”? And what other questions do you want us to ask her when we finally meet? Let us know in the comments box below!