Helena Paparizou, the 2005 Eurovision winner and one of the most famous Swedes of Greek descent, is gearing up for Melodifestivalen 2014. Yesterday, during an interview on Greece’s AlphaTV, she dished on her decision to participate in the Swedish national selection, what it was like to win the contest, and why you won’t find her in the kitchen. I’ve watched the interview and can now reveal the highlights for all y’all who don’t speak Greek.
Speaking about how she felt when she won the 50th Eurovision Song Contest Helena had this to say:
One can say that optimism can make everyone succeed. During the Eurovision Song Contest 2005, every one of us was spontaneous, although we kept at the back of our minds that ‘Number One’ could not finish second. It would not sound nice at all! We, speaking about the artists, like to act spontaneously, and this is the only way of transmitting what we want to pass to our audience. It’s good to be organized, but not excessively, because things can easily go wrong, especially when you have lots of expectations.
Nine years after her victory, Miss Paparizou still feels the spirit of Eurovision in her veins.
At the time it was announced that ‘Number One’ won the contest, my partners were arguing about the cables of my microphone and I was like, ‘Guys, they are watching us!’ and then they said ‘YES, Greece won!’ There was a lot of stress and happiness, and these are wonderful memories… I don’t think I will ever be able to get Eurovision out of me, and I can understand this clearly when I come across people in the streets, supermarkets, because they feel that I am their child. I cannot believe that 9 years have passed since I won the contest back on 2005, now that I will participate in the Melodifestivalen 2014. I feel that this happened only 2 years ago! Eurovision got me close with people, which is something unique.
Born in Sweden to Greek parents, Helena embraces both aspects of her identity—even when others want to put her in a box.
I decided not to fight into myself in 2001, when others told me that I was too Swedish and I needed to get to know the Greek culture more, while others said that I was OK. I am both Swedish and Greek, and I live with this. In Sweden they say: ‘Here comes the Greek!’ And this is true, as I have more Greek elements than those I had inherited from my parents. One of them is the characteristic that I am 10 minutes to every appointment.
The decision to compete at Melodifestivalen 2014 stems from a chance encounter in a recording studio.
For 9 years the Swedes have been asking me to take part in their national final. The truth is that I was in Sweden to record my new album, including songs both from Greece and Sweden. When I was in the corridor of the studios, sometime at the end of August, one of the doors opened and I heard the word ‘Soldier’ [the title of her entry for Melodifestivalen 2014].
She had to sing this song.
I said, ‘Guys, this song epitomizes my own life… I want this song!’ And the guys who were in the studio said, ‘But it is for Melodifestivalen.’ And I said: ‘OK I will take part in it.’ It was just like the moment I decided to take part in the contest to represent Greece.’
Helena also spoke about the possibility of her song winning the Swedish final.
I do not know if I pass the first semifinal or not. I want to do this. I like to take risks. Now with all these changes (#HelenaChange) I feel better, I feel that my life is going well. If I hadn’t taken the decision to make all these changes, I would not succeed in my life. However, I do not easily make such decisions, as I tend to move back and forth. I think this is one of my worst characteristics. I also tend to trust the wrong people, but it doesn’t matter. What is done is done.
If you want to find Helena, then don’t look in her kitchen.
I don’t like to cook. I tend to do so when I am upset and angry about something. I haven’t learned any recipe from my mother, who spends a lot of time in the kitchen cooking for many people. I have learned, though, to cook from the Internet and many cook-books. I have burned 2 kettles, and generally when I cook something I enjoy it more when I eat it with company.
And her thoughts on the Swedes?
Although they are conservative, they are free in their own freedom.
You can watch the complete interview by clicking here. She performs a few of her numbers, so it’s worth a visit!