In January he finally left a Lisbon hospital after undergoing a successful heart transplant a month earlier.
And on Saturday Eurovision winner Salvador Sobral sat down with wiwibloggs ahead of the Eurovision grand final to shed light on his difficult but ultimately uplifting year.
“It’s incredible,” he tells us. “I had a second chance in life. I don’t think many people can say that. I feel great. I can run. I hadn’t run in eight years maybe and I ran. I played football. I can climb stairs.”
Getting to that point has taken time.
“When you live between four walls in five months, it’s very strange to get out,” he says. “You get physically dizzy with the cars and the roundabouts.”
“It was very strange to me. I remember trying to pay for something. I bought some groceries and I had to pay and I was trying to count the money and I couldn’t. It’s strange. It’s an adaptation to the world.”
Despite the romantic vision some may have of an artist in isolation, he says the hospital stifled his ability to engage with music — at least at first.
“I didn’t write anything at the hospital. I didn’t feel inspired at all to write, even to listen to music at the beginning. I said, ‘Music doesn’t belong here.’ Of course it was stronger than me and I had to listen to music. I never did music there. I never played. I never composed. I never wrote songs.”
Our interview came just hours before the singer — full name Salvador Vilar Braamcamp Sobral — was set to perform his new single “Mano a Mano” during the grand final interval.
His sister Luisa, who wrote his winning Eurovision song “Amar pelos dois”, was resting at a nearby hospital. Heavily pregnant, she’d had “phantom contractions” and was expected to go into labour over the weekend.
Salvador and “fast food music”
His Eurovision 2017 winner’s speech — in which he compared pop music to fast food — raised plenty of eyebrows and offended some of his fellow contestants. But Salvador says the comments weren’t born of spite but honesty.
“I swear I didn’t prepare anything,” he says. “I didn’t think I was going to win for one. When they announced my name that I won, the first thing I thought was, ‘Sh*t — I’m going to have to climb those stairs.’ Before climbing stairs was a nightmare. I thought, ‘Five stairs over there and then to the stage.”
“The second thought was sh-t, I’m going to have to deliver it the next year — I’m going to have to give it to somebody, which means I’m going to have to be there again.”
“My third thought was what I’m going to say. I’m walking there and thinking. The whole show was this music I don’t appreciate and I don’t think it has enough meaning to it. So I thought, ‘Let’s talk about this and say what we feel.'”
More recently, the candid singer faced sharp criticism after he said that Israel’s song “Toy” was “horrible.”
Was he nervous about passing the trophy to her — or any other singer from a pop genre?
“It will be awkward if it’s the girl from Israel because I said that and now it would be a bit strange,” he admits. “She’s gonna be like, ‘You some of a b—-!'”
“It’s OK. I have to do it, so I’m going to do it with a smile on my face.”
Despite his reservations about Eurovision songs generally, he does like Portugal’s entry from Claudia Pasocal and Isaura.
“I like it because it’s different form last year. They’re not trying to imitate anything. She sings very well — she’s in tune. In Eurovision it doesn’t happen that often.”
“Last year I felt that people sang a lot out of tune. This year I don’t know because I didn’t see them. They get really nervous and sing out of tune, so it’s legitimate.”
Adjusting to his new reality
A heart transplant is among the most serious and sensitive procedures someone can undergo. Naturally that has consequences on both the body and the voice.
“I had liquid retention — maybe 20 kilos of liquids which made the diaphragm [move upward toward his lungs]. When I lose the liquids because I’m healthy, the diaphragm goes down, so it’s harder for me to sing. I’m still adjusting but I’m OK with it.”
“People will see that I’m recovering,” he says of his performances. “Sometimes I may shake a little bit. I like to use that. It’s another resource as well. Shaking is fragile.”
“When I went to the hospital, before I retired, my voice was in top shape. And now I need to recover it again. But it will come. I’m positive.”
"Amar pelos cinco" — so nice to break bread with #Eurovision2017 winner Salvador Sobral and Portuguese #eurovision commentator Nuno Galopim in #Lisbon ?????? Next year's show is going to be AMAZING #Repost @wiwibloggs ??? Lovely lunch in #Lisbon. A little blurry, but still #salvadorable. #lisboa #visitlisboa #visitlisbon #visitportugal #eurovision #eurovision2018 #eurovisionsongcontest #eurovisionsongcontest2018 #wiwibloggs
Salvador says it’s too early to know how his recent experiences have impacted him as an artist. But he’s clear that it has already altered his day-to-day.
“I’m more relative,” he says. “I don’t get mad because of traffic. If I’m arguing with somebody maybe I won’t argue because why should you argue? I’m healthy and I’m good. I’m more peaceful at life and getting less mad at stuff. That’s something I gained.”
Are you as happy as we are to see Salvador looking so good and feeling so fine? Are you looking forward to his upcoming tour of Portugal and Spain? And what do you think of his new single, which he performed during the interval? Let us know down below!
Salvador is finally free from his eurovision journey. He entered it unwillingly, because of his sister, unconscious of where it could go. But it was epic.
Yet, he kept being the same person throughout all that journey. Not a bit of hypocrisy. And that’s what most people don’t get. He means everything he says. People don’t.
Anyway, Eurovision can keep up with the fireworks. And that’s fine. He’s out.
just stay away from eurovision plz!! go back to the hospital and treat your heart problems/autism/epilepsy or whatever you have [email protected]!!
Why don’t you treat the p!ss gremlin that’s been hiding up your @ss, mary?
That was not my impression… I thought Deban looked at him halfway between amused and dumbfounded by Salvador’s politically incorrect opinions (like saying singing on key doesn’t occur often in Eurovision…).
I also love Salvador as a performer and I laugh at his carelessness and candor, but it’s funny, when I watched the video (and I did it at least twice) I didn’t get those negative vibes from Deban or anyone else (certainly not from William). I didn’t think Deban’s attitude towards Salvador was cold, he just addressed the fact that many ESC fans felt insulted with Salvador’s words (both last year and now). Even if we agree with Salvador we shouldn’t whitewash the fact that there was a negative response. The only negative thing I’ve seen here (apart from some… Read more »
I am glad that he liked the Portuguese entry, been feeling sad for the girls. At least some fellow artist showing some love for their work is nice
Great interview. Congrats Wiwiblogs, good questions…and Salvador is sooo amazing 🙂 He is intelligent, honest and so genuine. Those characteristics are rare in these days.
“I’ve been given a second chance to insult everyone and it’s incredible”
Talking truth is a dirty job but somebody gotta do it. Salvador is a man for the job.
It’s such a shame that he didn’t die.
Be careful what you whish you for. It might turn against you.
Making negative considerations about the quality of a song: You’re the worst person in the World! DIE, DIE, DIE!!!
Wishing someone would DIE because he made negative considerations about the quality of a song: Totally fine.
I still love him
Nope – the operation was a failure he is still an heartless creature the way he treated Netta
YOU’RE heartless for referencing his f#cking medical condition while criticizing him!
You’re entitled to an opinion on him but cut the damn ableism!
I like how the portuguese people related with Eurovision always acknowledge Wiwibloggs (Salvador, Filomena, Pedro Granger & Penim, Nuno Galopim, Suzy, Heck RTP in general) It shows they respect your work and you deserve.
I’ve love to know if the Portuguese have a phrase for “don’t bite the hand which feeds”, because that’s what I feel Sobral has done to the contest. What confuses me is if he had such disdain for the contest in the first place, why did he he even enter it? Especially as he was so ill. I wish his attitude had been challenged more by William and Deban.
Love makes us do things we wouldn’t otherwise do.
he entered esc because he was irrelevant. he tried to gain fame through a tv talent show and failed miserably and for several years he remained a failed musician because his music sucks. he then brought in esc his telenovela story “i’m young and i’m dying” and after he won he suddenly became a genious of real music
Yes, we do have that saying in Portugal. We have tons of folk sayings, full of old wisdom and some are quite funny and lost in translation.
Ill people can still sing in Eurovision, there aren’t rules against it.
He gave us one of most beautiful winning entries ever (actually, his sister did, but he sang it very well) so I tend to forgive him for his sometimes slightly egotistic behaviour.
As I usually say, from a performer I ask a good performance (and for my tastes, that is is the case of Salvador Sobral, whom I has the chance to watch live).
I don’t ask them to be nice people. (If they are, that’s a plus, of course.) Much less do I ask them to be humble people.
I want to watch their performance, not marry them.
Well that is a matter of taste of course.
Normally I love songs in the original language.. I love it when I dont understand the lyrics, but do “feel” them. Pastora did that for Spain for instance 2012… but his song? Left me cold. I find his way of performing really annoying too. His movements are so not inline with the music that I don’t believe them.
Worst winner for me in a very very long time.
Pastora was great. Thanks for supporting countries singing in their language. Hope you enjoy the next Portuguese entry more then Salvador’s performance
You do realize that you are in a minority, right?
After annoucing the winner, have you seen one of the Israeli guys rudely pushing away Cesar sampson when he wanted to congratulate Netta? So rude!
I thought that too, but then I watched it again and it looked to me as if Cesar managed to congratulate Netta, and then did the same to the “security guard”, who was obviously part of the delegation. That gesture was acknowledged. So I don’t think it was as bad as it might have looked.
That “security guard” (the bald guy) is, if I’m not mistaken, the composer, I saw him on one of the press conferences.
Wait, I don’t get it, Salvador said that he said about Toy, but his views on fast food music were known even before he won esc in 2017. People have blown what he said out of proportion, attacked him personally, even though what he said was not personal, it was how he sees music and he was always honest about it. But Netta can say “I believe authenticity (shows) through.” after winning, which means that she thinks that other contertants weren’t authentic, and nobody says anything? How is this any different than Salvador’s attitude? Are there double standards in media?
Good point. The difference is others use more obscure answers while Salvador is clear and direct to the point.
And some of the people who love to call Salvador arrogant and pretentious had way worse words for Netta that didn’t even have anything to do with her music (which is a valid thing to criticize), and are racist/ discriminatory/unnecessary.
Finally someone impartial who uses the brain instead of the emotions to speak!
Was fascinated to hear the Portuguese expression “yellow smile” meaning “fake smile.” In English I think that would imply someone who hasn’t brushed his teeth for weeks and weeks . . . .
Yes, that’s why William immediately said Salvador’s teeth were white. 😀
Well, it really does not mean “fake” but “uneasy, awkward smile”
It kinda means “fake” in the sense that it is a smile that does not convey happiness (it’s “forced”).
But you’re right in that it is not “fake” in the sense of “hypocrite” but, as you said, “uneasy, awkward”.
I’m so glad to see him better than before! I hope I can one day go to a concert of his because I enjoyed his Eurovision performance a LOT. He was definitely the best of the night.
Such an awful person
Yeah, because Netta saying “I believe authenticity (shows) through” about her victory is that much different from what Salvador said… she basically said was the most authentic artist in the contest. Such class
Off topic, but thanks to all the wiwiblogs team for the entertainment and bants during eurovision 2018. Long may it continue
second chance in life and yet still an arrogant “mada backa”
If he is such quality, why does he give interviews to tabloid journalists and light entertainment journalists such as wiwi?
he said last year that wiwi was his favorite blog…they were in Lisbon and asked him an interview….so what?
The interview was not for a tabloid newspaper, but actually to the most respected newspaper in Portugal.
The interview had 23 questions. Only the last was about his opinion about the 2018 edition of ESC.
Also, just to make it clear that “Público” is not a tabloid: his polemic answer was not featured in Público’s header. (The title was actually a very beautiful quotation from one of his new songs.) So the newspaper didn’t hype the whole thing (contrary to other media…). You had to read them entire interview and get to the very last question to know what he said about “Toy”.
He looks healthy, must be because of his mother’s food 😛 She has a small restaurant, did you guys go there?
I don’t think so… From what a Portuguese celebrity magazine wrote 1 year ago, she was originally marketing director for a multinational operating in Portugal, but a few years ago she gave up to do what she really loves: she’s now a designer/seamstress, making wedding dresses in her workshop in Lisbon.
Has more of a chubby face now. But body is still skinny.
she is from Austria and shes a great Eurovision fan…have some respect!!!!!!
“We”?? who the hell are you to speak for the others? You can only speak for yourself 🙂
He’s not skinny but rather he is back to his normal weight.
He had a lot of extra weight and volume (20 kg, it seems) due to severe fluid retention, a consequence of his heart insufficiency.
One thing i dont get is why people that dislike him still bother to comment or insult him. I dont waste time with things i dont like, but whatever. Glad he’s doing better now.
Most of the people I know who had been given a second chance at life became more accepting, sensitive and conscientious.
I cannot say the same with this man.
You’re no less insensitive than he is.
Using his recovery as a way to criticize him is a super a$$hole thing to do.
The people i know who had been given a second chance started giving less f*cks about what people thought of them.
As it should be, to be honest.
The one thing I still don’t get is why you take part in something you actually seem to despise and then constantly complain about it.
It’s called hypocrisy.
Truth teller, It’s not. He said he owes a lot to ESC and that the contest gave him many good things.
He did it for Luisa. Luisa wanted to send a song into festival da canção, and she thought Salvador’s voice would suit it best, so he did it for her. They probably never thought that they would end up being the ones to go to Eurovision. But, Salvador went to Eurovision I’m assuming because he wanted to help Luisa see just how far her song could go. And of course, he won and since he won, he HAD to take part in this year too because it’s expected of him. He literally did all this in the first place out… Read more »
Sometimes when you love people, you do things for them even if you aren’t completely interested in it.
He did it out of love
By the way, to all those ESC fans calling Salvador Sobral a hypocrite, a fake nice guy, for what he said at his acceptance speech: listen to what he said close to the end of his 2017 Red Carpet interview. It’s basically the same thing we would later say after winning. So he was always open, never hiding what he thought to please the fan base. From the very beginning, the writing was on the wall, you just failed to read it, or, worse, you thought he would turn it around and kiss your ass just because you awarded him… Read more »
I wonder if wiwi will make an article about someone that’s been accused of cultura appropriation recently. Probably not!
Those kind of accusations are so stupid!
I wonder when Croatians will accuse anyone who uses a neck tie of cultural appropriation… *roll eyes*
Your an embarrassment
I’m not saying that this year’s winner was bad, but hopefully whoever wins next year won’t receive that much criticism as Netta. 🙂
Impossible. It happens every year.
The best eurovision winner of all time. Netta will be remembered as the wort one.
I prefer Jamala.
Comon, that is Dima Bilan 😉
Burgeois rich kid who thinks he’s superior to everyone vs. unapologetic empowerment woman? Yeah, I think I’ll take the latter.
burgeouis rich kid lol i cant even. Just shows how much you know about him.
I’m sure you’re his having lunch with him every day. I call it like I see it. my description fits.
Errm, i know him since he was on idols. It’s pretty clear you dont know anything about his life or career.
The only reason I don’t upvote you is the 2nd sentence. Don’t say that: give ESC some credit, I’m sure worse is possible…
And one day after Netta won, Salvador still makes headlines – that shows how big he is!
Or how little he is..
he’s making headlines thanks to his health problems and his insults towards other singers. his music is flopping
Full tour in Spain and Portugal and this is just the beginning. More that can be said about Loreen or Emelie
Hopefully in Latin America one day
Oh yeah???? And what have YOU done with your life, Jim?
The only news you’ll ever probably end up making is your eventual obituary after you get old and pass
Even with his divisive and filterless personality, Salvador will always be in our hearts and Amar pelos Dois will be an eternal jam for many many years to come.
He looks really different now that he is well
his vile personality is the same though
actually he said he’s gonna give netta the trophy with a FAKE smile, or ”yellow”
That is Portuguese humor. Don’t try to tell me it is arrogant either, we get it. It is only funny for Portuguese obviously, not hating 🙂
No, he didn’t say that. He said he would give it with a smile — and then WONDERED if that smile would be “yellow”. And in Portuguese, “yellow smile” (sorriso amarelo) means fake smile, but NOT in the sense of “hypocrite smile”, rather in the sense of “uneasy, forced smile”, because you feel you’re in an awkward situation, so you’re really not happy to be in that position. In a way, even if Salvador does not retract what he said about Netta’s song, this is at least a tacit acknowledgement that he’s sorry he said it, not because he changed… Read more »
I hope the SJWs who attacked Netta’s styling have something to say about the use of such racist language as Yellow Smile which mocks Asians.
mock what, troll? it’s a portuguese expression which has nothing to do with asians. You’re being the racist one.
LOL. Ignorance is always a little bit funny.
LOL! That’s funny
in this case, he must respect the terms of the contract/contest.
he has assumed this smile with charm.
Glad he’s healthy. Now he needs a personality transplant. So tactless and rude.
To be fake-friendly, we-are-a-big-happy-family-at-ESC, like everybody else?
I like him better the way he is, unfiltered. But it’s good that he learns a loose mouth can out him in an awkward situation, like handing a prize to the artist whose song you publicly trashed. This could be a growing experience for him.
People are being ruder to him than we’ve ever seen him act towards anyone so far.
There were literally people saying they hoped he died
And here you are, showing us how gracious your personality is and how sincere your wishes are. *sarcasm*
What I‘ve seen yesterday from the health side, I saw that he is doing incredibly well. He looked much healthier than last year and he has way more energy now.
What a nice person he is. And he was also a very good eurovision winner, good song, good personality etc.
Sorry for my username, i really love netta and her song.
I am sorry boys and girls
758points …Honey!!! 🙂
I’d settle for 529 personally. Honey.
And yet here you are, hating. Your actions do tell more than your words could ever say
Man, am I glad that there is a new Eurovision winner. Now, we just need a new editor-in-chief.