At the age of 14 she’s already released a charity album, performed at Sanremo and appeared on several televised singing contests.
And later this week Ukraine’s Sofia Rol will shine yet again, this time at the Junior Eurovision Song Contest in Malta.
She’s already had quite the adventure. After winning Ukraine’s national selection and shooting a glossy music video, her JESC bid came under threat owing to last-minute financial concerns. But thankfully Sofia and her team have managed to raise enough money to attend the contest, owing largely to the United World Cultures Foundation.
Prior to flying to the Mediterranean she caught up with wiwibloggs to tell us about her JESC song “Planet Craves for Love”, the advice Eurovision winner Jamala gave her and much more.
Your song is called “Planet Craves For Love”. What is your message with the song and title?
With my song I pray for peace in Ukraine and in the whole world. I hope that many people hearing my song will stop for a while and think what good things they have done and could do to make our planet better. I think this message is timeless.
At the Ukrainian national selection there were many talented performers. Were you confident you would win?
As you already mentioned, there were many talented performers. Of course I couldn’t be confident I would win. I wished so very much. I did my best. And to be honest, I don’t even remember properly the moment when I was named the winner. I was absolutely delighted.
To our ears, the song sounds very Ukrainian with a strong ethnic identity. How would you describe the song musically?
Not really a strong ethnic identity. I would say it has classic Ukrainian motifs.
On stage at the national selection you had dancers who seemed to be dressed as animals. Will they join you in Malta?
You know, the animals that you talk about are actually the four elements of nature: water, fire, earth and wind. Anyway, these scenic beings will not join me in Malta. I am working now on a new performance.
At the national selection you seemed to dress like a fairy of the forest or a magical tree goddess. Will you wear a similar look in Malta?
No, I will have a completely different dress in Malta. It is still being made. Would you like to see a tiny detail of it? Here you are.
Ukraine's #jesc2016 star @sofia_rol has shared a detail of her #junioreurovision dress. You can see it at the top of the above image. She is replacing her dress from the national selection, seen at bottom. Our full interview will be on wiwibloggs.com by the morning. #JESC #junioreurovision2016 #sofiarol
Can you tell us anything about your staging in Malta?
I wish to keep it in secret until everything is done. Agree everybody likes nice surprises. I would say that everything will look completely different comparing to my performance during the Ukrainian national selection.
Last year Anna Trincher sang about the environment and this year you are too. Have you spoken with her and gotten any advice?
Yes, we met and had a nice chat. However, it was not a “giving advice” conversation. Anna warmly wished me good luck. Also, she mentioned she knew that I would be selected to represent Ukraine on Junior Eurovision. Anna told me she was rooting for me.
The music video looks fantastic and you wore so many nice clothes. What was it like filming? Any funny stories?
Oh, great you like the video. We had so much fun filming. Being together with my team is a joy. They always make jokes on me.
Ukraine will, of course, host Eurovision 2017 in Kyiv. Do you feel extra pressure to do well at Junior Eurovision because of this?
I don’t feel any pressure from Ukrainian people or journalists. I feel extra pressure from myself. I am very demanding with myself. It is a big responsibility to be a part of Junior Eurovision and I will do my very best to worthily represent Ukraine.
Did you watch Jamala perform at Eurovision in 2016? What was your reaction when she won?
Of course I was watching Eurovision 2016. It was a very exciting moment when Jamala won. I am a big fan of her. So if to say I was jumping of happiness, screaming, crying is to say nothing.
Moreover, while I was preparing for Junior Eurovision, Jamala sent me a very warm video message with some advice. Jamala told me not to worry and to sing for people who are close to me: my parents, friends. Jamala mentioned that this is the way she personally fights with stress while performing. I am very touched and grateful for this advice and good luck wishes.
What do you want Europe to know about Ukraine or the Ukrainian people?
I want Europe to know that Ukraine is an amazing country and Ukrainian people are very sincere, kind and welcoming. So please come and see Ukraine, you will love it. You will adore its nature, cuisine and national flavour.
Who are your favourite Eurovision acts?
Jamala. She was fantastic in Stockholm. Jamala managed to keep the whole audience in a pleasant tension from the first note. I really liked Ruslana. It was an unforgettable performance. Måns is also my very beloved singer. I still keep singing “Heroes”!
And what about Junior Eurovision?
I am a big fan of Destiny Chukunyere. Her voice is absolutely amazing. Also, I really liked Anastasia Petrik’s performance. She was so small and cute. However with such a strong voice. Just no words… beautiful.
In 2009, when you were just seven years old, you released an album called “Sofia Rol — for the Children of Ukraine”. Could you tell us about the album? What kind of music did you sing? Did it become quite popular?
It was a charity album. In fact it has become quite popular. Also known abroad, as many CDs were taken to Europe by Ukrainian diaspora. The essence of charity is that the disk was a karaoke version of many Ukrainian songs and was made for little kids who wanted to sing.
Many of our readers follow the Sanremo Music Festival very closely. And you already sang at Sanremo! What was that experience like for you?
It was a colossal experience for me. For the first time in my life I performed live with the orchestra. We had only two rehearsals in Sanremo. And of course something went wrong during the performance. When I sang, the bass guitarist jumped to another line of the score before the culmination of the song. All the orchestra went quiet. I had to carry on singing. However the performance was destroyed and it really influenced the results.
After presenting those gorgeous dress details we had to bring her to the Hard Rock Cafe Malta for the #wiwijam. The party will kick of November 17 and #JESC2016 Ukraine #star @sofia_rol is going to be there. Tickets already available on eventbrite. #malta #ukraine #sofiarol #jesc2016 #embrace #junioreurovision #hrcmalta #hardrockcafe #jesc
Do you have a good luck charm?
My good luck charm is my parents. I wouldn’t be able to achieve everything I have now without them.
Do you know anything about Malta?
I don’t know much about Malta. Only basic knowledge – Malta is a country in the Mediterranean Sea. If I am correct, every house there has the name. I look forward to browse around Valletta and discover more about its culture and character.
Do you have a message for all of your new fans and followers on wiwibloggs?
My dearest! Love and be loved! And let’s together make our planet better. I kindly ask you for your support during Junior Eurovision! I hope you like my performance.