Put on your bell bottoms and get ready to dance! Turkish-born Serhat , who will represent San Marino at Eurovision 2016, is ready to make you move with his disco number “I Didn’t Know”.

And last week the beloved crooner built a bridge to Tbilisi, where he met with Georgia’s Eurovision representatives Nika Kocharov & the Young Georgian Lolitaz. 

Our Georgia correspondent Rezo Mamsikashvili caught up with Serhat at the Holiday Inn Tbilisi, where they discussed his musical experiences, why he switched to the disco version of his song and the complications that switch brings in terms of staging and preparation. Yes, he’s gone back to the drawing board, but he isn’t upset about it. As he says: “I like challenges.”

Today our @rezomamsikashvili met with San Marino’s entry @serhathpo #wiwibloggs #SanMarino #Eurovision

A photo posted by wiwibloggs (@wiwibloggs) on

Hello Serhat! We’re all wondering: What’s your connection to San Marino?

Hello! My connection is music right now. Before the contest I knew San Marino, but after they paid attention to my work in the music business in Europe, they asked me to represent San Marino at the Eurovision Song Contest. Now I have been in San Marino several times and I feel very comfortable in this very small country. I think our connection will grow.

Your biography is long and extensive. Among other things you’ve hosted the Turkish edition of Jeopardy. Do you consider yourself primarily a TV personality or a musician?

Actually, I started my show business life with television as a producer and presenter. Jeopardy was really successful in Turkey. I recorded more than a thousand shows and I’m proud — I got all the possible awards as a presenter and producer. Right now, television is a part of my life, but I’ve been focusing more on music over the past ten years. That’s why I can say music is the priority in my life.

Has your long career as a TV producer given you any particular skills that you’ll be taking to Eurovision? Are you very involved with your staging?

Yeah. I am not only a producer of TV shows, I’m also a producer of different festivals in Turkey, like the Mediterranean Song Contest, a high school music contest, and that’s why I’ve a lot of experience with how to organise a festival, and the background from the staging to, like, everything else — administration, etc.

Please tell us about your Eurovision song. What’s the message?

Actually, I love this song. It’s a very personal song. It’s a reflection of part of my life and, of course, as we started from the ballad version, it was more emotional. But even the disco version — it looks more up-tempo and cheerful — but there is also an emotional part inside. So the message is very simple – Love.

Photo Gallery: San Marino’s Serhat

Why did you decide to switch to the disco version of “I Didn’t Know” for Eurovision?

Actually, I love all versions of the song. We produced five different versions, so we spent more time than any other country. We had different languages, too — French, Italian — and the disco version and also a more modern dance version. The first idea was to perform the ballad version, which I love. But after we put the disco version on YouTube we got a lot of positive reactions especially from Eurovision fans. I think for any artist it is very important to listen to the expectations of the fans. I always take it very seriously. The Eurovision Song Contest is strong, and it exists for fans, so it’s a very specific group and I appreciate it all. We’re singing for fans at the Eurovision stage. Then why not sing the disco version? So, if Eurovision fans want to see my show this way, I’ll do it.

We react to the disco version of “I Didn’t Know”

Will the song have different staging now that it has been changed to the disco version?

Of course. Everything was ready and fixed. Actually, it was a risky decision, because you must change the whole staging and costumes. I like challenges. Of course, I didn’t have a problem with the ballad version, but I started from the beginning, from zero again, to build up the staging.

How do you isolate yourself from negative feedback? 

My friend, who has experience at the Eurovision, told me three months ago: ”You have to cut your connection with social media. Don’t listen, don’t look, don’t do anything. It was not important for me, because I’ve enough experience with good and bad things. I never fly high after good comments and I never die after bad comments. In life 100% can’t love you.

Today we met San Marino’s Serhat in Tbilisi #wiwibloggs #SanMarino #Eurovision

A photo posted by wiwibloggs (@wiwibloggs) on

Turkey has not participated at Eurovision since 2012. Why do you think Turkey is staying away and can it be encouraged to come back?

I don’t know. I can’t talk at that time. From my side, actually, I made a lot of contests, festivals…I was on the jury of many international festivals and for the first time I will be as a contestant on the stage. So it was maybe not my first idea even years ago as I started to sing. It just happened. It’s nice, because I’m a Eurovision fan. I love the Eurovision Song Contest.

What do you think your chances are of winning the contest?

I think that all of the countries have a chance and want to win. We’ll see everything on the 10th and 12th of May and everyone can win. We’ll see what kind of performances will be performed in the semi-final. I think I’ve got a chance as others.

Finally, do you have a message for your fans on wiwibloggs?

First of all, it’s really nice, this kind of interview. I hope we’ll all enjoy together — all countries, correspondents from other countries. They come to Stockholm and I think we’ll have a good time all together. Because this is mission of Eurovision — come together. We all come together. The most important thing is to be there, enjoy it, to make best perfomances and then waiting for next year. Thank you!

Thank you Serhat!

FOLLOW ALL OF OUR SAN MARINO NEWS HERE

37 Comments
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PhysalisFranchetti
PhysalisFranchetti
4 years ago

Each to their own again – I like his song – can’t help it. I like his voice too – very Leonard Cohen / Lee Marvin – the sort that makes you wonder if the TV sound system will cope with the low frequencies 🙂 I think the final will be the worse without him, so I really hope he gets through. I want him to bring some of those rather talented male dancers with him.

tuti
tuti
4 years ago

His song may not up to most people’s taste but Serhat seems to be a really nice person, based on that interview. Wish him the best of luck in May 🙂

Frank
Frank
4 years ago

Ooooo oooo, beep beep
Vola vola
Maaaaaybe

Just bring Valentina back.

Graph
Graph
4 years ago

Musically, I like the disco and the ballad about the same. But the disco version eliminated some of the lyrics that I didn’t like in the original so overall I like the disco a tad more.

Pollaski
Pollaski
4 years ago

I didn’t know no one would like my song
Everything would go wrong
I didn’t know it would fall on its face
And I’d end up in last place
I didn’t know…

Alic
Alic
4 years ago

agree @williamleeadams

Kate
Kate
4 years ago

suspicious answers 😀 Go Serhat!

Kelvin
Kelvin
4 years ago

Serhat,you changed my decision

Kelvin
Kelvin
4 years ago

Unusual interview

João Teles
João Teles
4 years ago

i have to admit, the disco version is way better than the original but still, it’s too dated and it stands no chances to get into the final at all, in my opinion.

Random.sage2.6
Random.sage2.6
4 years ago

He is sexy in a old dude kinda way.

Leaf
Leaf
4 years ago

For San Marimo to finish in the top 10 in the final they would need to send Beyoncé…… And yeah, the fans are harsh criticizing “I didn’t know” since they are aware this is not qualifying and the reality of an equally bad song winning is REAL

ESCaddict
ESCaddict
4 years ago

Serhat is wise to stay away from social media. As we know, the reaction to his song has not been good.
I still find it hard to believe he entered this song. Surely it is obvious to everyone, and I mean everyone, that it is a crap song with no chance of winning.

esc 2016
esc 2016
4 years ago

lee adams
he is one of the most boring act this year….for sure

William Lee Adams
Admin
4 years ago

Really loved reading this. Serhat is one of the more interesting acts of 2016 for sure!

NL
NL
4 years ago

I prefer San Marino winning above Sweden and Russia xD
But would be a problem… eurovision 2017 in such a cute small country

This is my opinion (TIMO)
This is my opinion (TIMO)
4 years ago

Eurovision 1970’s rhythm l didn’t know and your point is? Oh yeah just to look different and stick to the mind while he can’t even bother to sing but ad dancing group to make it a big show, eurovision is big opportunity for one who is desperately looking to make career oh well good luck but don’t be upset if you stay in semi final with uninteresting trick.

Huh
Huh
4 years ago

*than what anyone has initially thought about him, I mean.

oooops
oooops
4 years ago

I recommend this website:
http://escnation.com/simulator/sim16.php

First you can define your own odds, and then you can have your voiting simulation.
Even if my favourites were Estonia and Russia, well, Russia won the first time, but then Serbia won. So it is a fair picture of eurovision 2016(with a touch of your taste)

Huh
Huh
4 years ago

Brave. You guys should check out his other songs like Je M’adore. He has more swag than anyone has initially thought about him.

hhh
hhh
4 years ago

NEW VOTE YOUR TOP SEMI FINAL 1

VOTING -http://tummiweb.com/scorewiz/rsvp/147817/s2bb3

RESULTS – http://tummiweb.com/scorewiz/scoreboard/view/147817/eurovision-2016-semi-final-1-voting

David
David
4 years ago

I respect Serhat

Kristin
Kristin
4 years ago

Serhat is very intelligent

Paul
Paul
4 years ago

12 points from UK

Paul
Paul
4 years ago

Very imposant man, serious and the same time light, he just enjoying life. Nice

Lucy
Lucy
4 years ago

I love you Rezo

Melanie
Melanie
4 years ago

No final

Olive
Olive
4 years ago

Love Serhat 😀 <3

Vanessa16
Vanessa16
4 years ago

Very Interesting Interview.Good Job wiwibloggs

Adrianna
Adrianna
4 years ago

Correspondent,who knows what is interesting for reader.Well done Rezo!

Robyn Gallagher
Admin
4 years ago

I’m so intrigued about the scrapped staging plans for the original version. I assume it would have also been the creative work of Thierry Mugler. Hopefully he’ll still be on board and will bring his creative genius to the disco.

Anton
Anton
4 years ago

I don’t know, but his song is not so bad like some others. I would put him in Top-15.

fikri
fikri
4 years ago

he’s a nice, genuine guy. i hope people aren’t too harsh on him. 🙂

Random.sage2.6
Random.sage2.6
4 years ago

He seems like a cool dude but realistic about himself in this contest too. Next Valentina Monetta? I kind slick see him coming back.

Marc
Marc
4 years ago

Such a nice person, c’mon Serhat! Bring San Marino back to the final!