The final of “The Next Star”, Israel’s Eurovision 2015 artist selection, takes place on Tuesday, February 17, at 21:00 Israel time (so 19:00 GMT and 20:00 CET). You can watch it on on this link. Among the finalists is Avia Shoshani, a lovely lady who makes us shiver when she sings. Some of you may remember her as one of Moran Mazor’s backing vocalists from 2013. She recently chatted with us about her passion for music and the possibility of taking centre stage at Eurovision.
Congratulations for making the final! Are you overwhelmed by the excitement? How are you preparing?
First of all, thank you for the kind words, it’s heartwarming. The excitement is getting bigger and bigger every day, the butterflies are multiplying and I can barely wait for Tuesday to come, so I can stand on the final stage. There are a lot of preparations, filmings, rehearsals, and I feel that I’m blooming during this period. I have met some incredible and talented people and it’s an honor for me to be in this environment filled with music and creation.
I’m a bit sad that this period is about to end, even though for me every end is always a start of another thing, so it’s just the beginning of my way and of the hard work.
What type of music do you listen to? Do you have a favourite artist or song?
I listen to many different styles, languages and artists from around the world, including Stevie Wonder, Strome, Tracy Chapman, Sia, Coldplay and many big others. I’m especially connected to Israeli music from all years – from Chava Alberstein, Shlomo Artzi, Arik Einstein, Shalom Hanoch and to Eviatar Banai, Dudu Taasa, Marina Maximilian Blumin, Yoni Bloch, Daniel Salomon, and that’s just the beginning.
I’m very connected to Arik Einstein. I know almost all of his songs by heart, I’ve explored his way for many years. Arik for me is my childhood, his songs reminds me of the long trips in my father’s car on a Saturday morning to watch the blossoming poppies in the south or the Banias river. My favourite song of him is “Shir Al Hatuki Yosi (“a song about Yossi the parrot”), which hides in it a lot of messages, emptiness and depth. I feel like this song was written about me and every time I hear it I cry.
Back in 2013 you were a backing vocalist for Moran Mazor at Eurovision. What memories do you have? Did it make you “hungry” to come back to Eurovision as a lead singer?
In 2013 I accompanied my amazing friend Moran Mazor to represent Israel in the Eurovision Song Contest. I think that only someone that experienced Eurovision could understand what it feels like to be on the biggest and most respected stage in the world, to see how all the wars in the world, all the egos and political tensions are remaining outside the door for one night, this is a true evening of being united by music and harmony.
There’s nothing like that shivering going through your body when the director is counting the seconds back before the song begins and there’s nothing like this huge love you get from all over the place. I remember that during these two weeks I was so proud to be part of this delegation and to stand next to such an inspiring singer like Moran, being by her side in ups and downs, to wipe off the tears and get it back together.
For me this was an experience that nothing will compare to and I have been dreaming all my life and I will keep on dreaming and my “appetite” is just getting bigger and bigger to get another opportunity like that.
Do you follow Eurovision regularly?
Those who know me know that I’m a well-known Eurovision fan. I watch it every year and have done so for many years. It is a very high standard competition and so diverse: the languages, the crazy performances, the great singers, the dancers, the special effects that are being added every year. It’s all very exciting to me and I recommend for every music lover to follow this contest.
One of the songs I got really connected to in the past years is the winner of the contest I took part in Denmark 2013: Emmelie de Forest – “Only Teardrops”. I think that this song delievered a big message, the singer was so delicate and special and introduced a lot of simplicity by going on stage barefoot, with delicate makeup and dress. Her exciting song represents Eurovision and the nature of the contest, putting politics and everyday problems aside, being as neutral as possible and focusing only in harmony, love and music.
Participating in Eurovision can help you build a successful career, but it can also end it before it starts. Does that scare you?
I’m not afraid of this contest and that it might hurt me if I’ll be chosen to represent the country. On the contrary, I think everything depends on the singer’s attitude and in his insistence. I always try to put everything in proportion, just like I promised to myself when I decided to go and compete in “The Next Star”. I knew I was about to make music above all, to deliver messages in every song I choose to sing and to have fun. I’ll do the same if I’ll be chosen to represent Israel, I will get there to show everyone how amazing our country is and I will get there to represent only Israel and not Avia Shoshani.
I think it is a privilege above all, and it’s a mission. And if I will be chosen, I will do anything I can in order to get the best result and to represent us with honor. I believe that everything we do should be done without fear of the unknown and without any regret, just the opposite, with a lot of motivation. And I believe that my country will stand by me through the good and the bad.
Since it’s the beginning of my career (and I’m sure it’s just the beginning), I’m full of ambition to represent Israel and it’s just another springboard for me, and if i’ll get it, the hard work will start only afterwards. I’m a person that likes to work hard and believe that there’s nothing you can’t do if you really want it.
Do you have some songs ready for Eurovision?
I performed my original song on the show and I got a lot of hugs and love from the judges and the public. I’ve been writing for many years and believe in my songs — I believe some of them can fit for Eurovision and if I’m chosen, I will offer them for sure.
Even though it is a bit far now, if I had to pick a song, I would look for a song that has a strong message, a song that anyone can relate to, in any age, language, race, gender, etc. — a song that’s rolling on your tongue and that is fun to hum, and most importantly, a song that will represent Israel in the best possible way.
Why do you think you’re the most suitable artist for Eurovision of the four finalists? What kind of song would you like to sing on the Eurovision stage?
I believe that all the other finalists that are in the final with me are suitable and appropriate to represent Israel and I believe that I am too. I believe this contest has no rules, but I know what I have to offer. I know i’m a very professional and responsible person, I can handle pressure and I love hard work. I never stood in front of the Eurovision stage, but I did see how things are managed from close by. I’ve seen Moran Mazor — she was so amazing and strong and determined to succeed and I also experienced the disappointment and I helped her getting in all back together.
I know where I want to get and I know that representing Israel will always be my dream, so even if I don’t get to fulfill it this time, I will keep on trying in the upcoming years until I will achieve it. Once I’m given the chance, I will do anything to represnt us in honor and in the best possible way.
What are your plans for after the show?
After the show I plan to keep touring all over the country with my original songs, to try to get into the music industry and to make a decent living out of it, to find a record label that will believe in me and in what I have to give and deliver and to fulfill myself and my dreams.
Thank you from all of us at wiwibloggs. We wish you the best of luck in “The Next Star” final in Israel.