Sixty songs made it to Cyprus’ Eurovision Song Project national selection, but only a handful remain in the race. Among them is “Meine” from Cypriot singer Christos Rialas. He wowed the judges during the third audition, and he’s ready to shine in the upcoming “Eurochallenge” round. He recently caught up with our Greek correspondent Billy Xifaras. He dishes on his song “Meine”, the dearth of Greek-language songs in the contest and his thoughts on the jury deciding the finalists rather than the public.
When I was first notified about the contest, I was more fond of the selection process than I am now. To make this clear, then, the audience had a more important role, equal to the judges. Now, the audience will have to choose from six entries in the final, which have been decided by the jury. I point out that whatever the future of our entry is, our participation means that we accept the new rules posed by the national broadcaster. If you listen to the 55 entries, you will notice that only one out of every five competing songs, so 11 of them, includes Greek lyrics or ethnic features. I hope if not our entry, another from these 11 will be presented in the final, after persuading the jury.
Who is your favourite juror?
Usually, the relationships between you and those who judge you depend on the review you receive, as well as your ability to realize which words are positive and negative, and when they are said to help you improve or insult you. Based on that, my favourite judge is Elena Patroklou, with Alex Panayi following.
Could you describe your competing song “Meine” (Stay)?
It’s an ethnic ballad with intense oriental features. In addition, the whole music team comes from Cyprus. Nikolas Mavresis, my all-time friend, is the composer and my friend Salina is the writer. After the song bridge there is the most intense “zeimpekiko” rhythm taking place! You will be able to listen to the full version of the song on January 26 on my official YouTube channel.
What motivated you to enter the contest?
The reason we decided to make this proposal to the Cypriot audience was to promote our culture and present our music identity to the competing countries. Having watched the competition for years, there are some countries like Italy, Israel, Serbia, and Montenegro which take part with songs presenting their music tradition. I personally believe that this is the base of Eurovision. So that every spectator and viewer gets to know, judge and respect each country’s culture, which is shown through the art of music.
So this contest is more about representing your country than yourself?
As a creative team, we want to make Cypriots of all ages feel and accept our proposal this year or some other time in the future. Then we will represent our country and not ourselves at the Eurovision Song Contest. It is a competition that can contribute to the connection and communication between different countries through music, and not through political, neighboring or other relations!
You won Mega TV’s prestigious singing contest “Your Song”. What do you remember of the experience?
Much to do, work, creative anxiety, good competition and new friendships! I met music and television professionals, and came really close to the audience! When the result was announced, as it was logical, I was very happy, but mostly my hard work and the help given from friends and familiar people were rewarded. The honor people gave me voting for me made me not only win the competition but also sign a contract with the record company Minos-EMI.
Has that changed your life?
Apart from the fair recognition, I did not want my life to change. The television presentation improved my professional life and that’s why I am thankful to Mega TV and the judges involved that gave me this chance!
Does it rank as one of the most important moments in your life thus far?
Apart from lots of family memories, I remember my first solo appearance at the primary school choir, my honorary prize in a Greek chorodrama competition in 2003, the first placing at a Cypriot song-writing competition (I competed as the singer of the entry) and, of course, my first placing at “Your Song”, the singing competition for professional artists. Mostly, my best moments were “inside” the music!
I would like to thank wiwibloggs.com for the chance to meet more people and express my humble opinion about our participation at the Eurovision Song Project. I would also like to wish all the best to all competing artists and those who continue to the selection process. As for the entry which will represent Cyprus in Vienna, I wish a very good placing at the final.