Eldar Qasimov has watched his solo career take off since he won Eurovision 2011 as one-half of the Azerbaijani duo Ell & Nikki. This Sunday the two singers will reunite for a performance at the 2014 European Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships, which are currently taking place in Baku. Wiwiblogger Sopon caught up with Ell ahead of the action to talk about his anti-smoking campaign, his forthcoming album and much more…

First of all, happy birthday! It’s so hard to believe you’re 25, you still look so young! How have you celebrated? What do you plan to do with the rest of your twenties?

Thank you! Can you imagine how hard it is for me to believe I’m 25? Just kidding! Age is just a number for me. At least people get smarter at this age, so no worries. Even my beard can’t hide my eternal youth!

On my birthday, one of my friends brought me out of town. While we were gone, my friends prepared lots of food, and bought a lot of drinks. We couldn’t sleep all night!

I’m planning on spending the next few years spending time with and enjoying my parents, friends, and fans. I hope to share my new songs and ideas with you. It means so much for me!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gr1mQbWcqkY

You recently participated in a film festival against smoking. Why was that important to you?

This might sound strange, but I do smoke occasionally, although not usually in the presence of others. But I’m lucky because I’m not addicted to smoking, and I believe we need to get as many people as we can to kick this habit. If you don’t smoke, you’re not only prolonging your own life, but you aren’t ruining it for people around you either. I have a youth organization called “Addim” in Azerbaijan, we use it to promote such messages. I’m happy when I can help someone!

Two of your newer songs, “The One” and “I’m Free,” build on electronica. Is this the true Eldar, or is it an experiment?

I love to experiment, and we will have even more surprises on my next CD.

Great! You have a new album coming out soon. Will there be any English-language songs? Will the songs be more ballad-like, like “Running Scared”, or in more of a house-style, like “I’m Free”? Any prospective release date?

It will be in both English and Azeri. It will also have a lot of the “new me” on it. I love ballads, since they’re about love, so I will do some strong ballad songs. We hope to release it in the fall, maybe September, but no set date yet.

How has Nikki been? Will there be any future collaborations between you two?

Nikki is doing well as far as I know. We will meet up on June 15th and perform at the Gymnastic Championship in Baku! As far as future collaborations, we both have to feel the music between us, but as of now, all we feel is a good friendship. We’re both pursuing solo careers and releasing new tracks.

Thank you so much for your time! I look forward to listening to your new album!

Thank you! You can follow me on Twitter at @eldar_music for more news!

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Rashad
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Rashad

@Kevin, for your information, there are some openly gay celebrities in Azerbaijan and Crystal Hall was built in Baku, not in another town.
I don’t know if Eldar is gay, but it usually takes too long for a celebrity to come out becuase of the fear of losing their female fans I guess.

Kevin
Guest
Kevin

@Dar If he is gay. I don’t think he’ll be coming out anytime soon. Azerbaijan is not exactly known for its tolerance towards its LGBT community. I mean we’re talking about a country that demolished a town with the citizens still living there just to make the building for Eurovision 2012. It may be a really LONG time before anyone hears of any openly LGBT celebrities in Azerbaijan.

guido
Guest
guido

I love so much “Running scared” by Azeri duo Ell & Nicki. It’s the most beautiful ESC song. I like Azeri contributions to ESC each year. Azerbaijani performers are classy.
Azerbaijan deserves to win ESC one more time. Let evil tongues rot!

Rashad
Guest
Rashad

He’s got a nice voice, and an even better personality. To be honest, Running Scared is not my most favorite Azerbaijani entry, but it was a well-deserved victory for that year considering the conditions. As a result of Turkey and Armenia’s failure Azerbaijan got extra points from countries like Albania, Bosnia, Bulgaria and ex-Soviet countries. Being a nice ballad and having a simple choreography brought the Jury votes. In 2011 there was not a concrete favorite, and Azerbaijan was on top of the Bookie lists. So everything was perfectly set for the victory. Eldar is such a nice guy. He’s… Read more »

Alex
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Alex

He is cute and he looks like a good guy to hang out with. However, he doesn’t enjoy any success outside Azerbaijan (same for Nikki) and they shouldn’t have won in 2011. One of the worst and most bland/generic Eurovision entries ever. I will never understand how it won

Pastora Soler
Guest
Pastora Soler

He is very nice in the interview, good luck!

Pastora Soler
Guest
Pastora Soler

Sorry Eldar but you DON’T look soooo younger.

You look as a boy of your age, Maybe one year or two less… but not more.

I was reading the tittle and thinking “eternal youth??? emm ok, maybe he is 30” and then… I read 25. XD.

Charles
Guest
Charles

Although Running Scared remains as an eternal non-favourite winning song for many of us here, the only reason why I am not so disturbed by its winning is Eldar himself. He may not be the best male singer out there, but he did a decent job whereas his partner Nikki … I am not going to waste my time on her. I just feel sorry he was born in that country …

Dar
Guest

More pathetic armenia and Azeri arguing over stupid crap …
Anyway when is eldar going to tell us all he is gay .