JONI is a charming and mysterious Swedish-Hungarian singer hoping to sing at Eurovision. She’s moving closer to her goal: during the second heat the jury sent her and her song “Waterfall” through to tomorrow’s semi-final. We recently sat down and got to know a sista’ a little better.
Last year Monika Hoffman was the sole Swedish-Hungarian girl in the A Dal. This year it’s you. Do you feel a connection to both countries?
My parents are Hungarian. They moved to Sweden in the Seventies. We spent the holidays with my grandmother in Balatonfüred, and most of my childhood memories are related to Hungary. Like camping, family events, etc.
Why are you competing in A Dal? Wouldn’t you have a better chance in Sweden?
I’ve never chosen the easy way. If I believe in myself I can do anything. I came to Hungary on my own in October. At first I didn’t dare to speak in Hungarian, I didn’t know the language. My teacher helped me a lot, and after a while I released my first song, ’Chain you’. I’ve always thought of how I could reach a Hungarian audience. A Dal is the biggest competition here, so many people can know me and my music. I hope “Waterfall” will mean a lot to everybody, not just me.
You went through to the semi-final, which is great, especially as it was a very strong field. How did you feel when you realized that you made the next round?
I always live in the moment. I focus on giving you my feelings on the stage. I am grateful to stand on such a big stage, I don’t want to think about qualifying. I can sing on the street, in a hotel or on a big stage. The most important thing is to give feelings. Of course I was very happy, and the best thing: I can sing my song again!
You had a simple but powerful show. What have you planned for the semi?
Because of the rules we can’t change much. I’ll have a slightly different dress and I’ll try to sing better. By the way Tamás Pataki wrote a beautiful Hungarian lyric, I’d love to sing it once.
Do you monitor the Swedish Melodifestivalen?
Unfortunately I haven’t got time for that, but I heard a few songs. They are really good.
Who is your strongest rival?
I loved BülBüls and the Szécsi Twins. Gigi Radics and her song is very good too.
Have you watched the Eurovision Song Contest earlier before? Do you have a favourite?
Usually I worked untill the semi-finals, but I always try to watch the grand final. I don’t have favourites. I love the whole show.