Joci Pápai will represent Hungary at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv with his song “Az Én Apám”. It’s an emotional track filled with ethnic elements as Joci looks back at childhood memories. He wrote the deeply personal tune with Ferenc Molnár “Caramel”, who took part in the first ever A Dal in 2012.
Hungarian broadcaster MTVA chose Pápai through the six-week long A Dal selection show — a format which has helped the country secure eight consecutive qualifications. Thirty songs started the process and eight made it to the final. In the end “Az Én Apám” emerged victorious after a televote-only superfinal between the last four acts standing.
Joci is a well known artist in Hungary, especially after his stint at Eurovision 2017. His recent singles all featured on the playlists of popular radio stations, while he has made numerous TV appearances.
As today is Hungary’s National Day, we’ve compiled 10 facts you need to know about Joci. Let’s do this!
1. He’s made music since childhood
Joci grew up in a family of musicians in Tata, Hungary. His dad was a drummer with a beat group, while his older brother taught him how to play the guitar. He was already playing the instrument and writing songs by the age of four.
2. His musical style is one of a kind
One thing is sure about Joci: you won’t confuse him or his music with anything else. As he said in an interview, “I got bored of following trends. I wanted to be the trend that others follow.”
3. He’s a talent show alum
The Hungarian public were first introduced to Pápai back in 2005, during the second edition of Megasztár, a competition similar to the Idol franchise. He didn’t win, but he released his debut album right after. The LP’s lead track “Ne Nézz Így Rám” (Don’t Look At Me Like That) became a radio hit.
4. He’s an independent artist
Although his Eurovision 2017 track “Origo” was released by Magneoton (the Hungarian branch of Warner Music Group), he went out by himself after the contest in Kyiv. He’s released all his subsequent singles independently. And, so far, the strategy appears to be working. Each song has racked up millions of views on YouTube.
5. His face sounds familiar!
Joci took things to another (more amusing) level in the fall of 2017. He competed in Sztárban Sztár — the Hungarian version of Your Face Sounds Familiar. His hilarious take on evergreen hits saw him place third, behind fellow A Dal alums Viktor Király and Tamás Horváth. Watch him take on Gloria Gaynor’s iconic “I Will Survive” HERE.
6. His song sounded familiar too!
In the same edition of Sztárban Sztár, Joci’s Eurovision 2017 hit “Origo” was covered by fellow A Dal veteran Olivér Berkes. His stunning rendition left even Joci stunned. Watch the performance here.
7. It’s all in the hair
The “Origo” hitmaker believes that his beard and ponytail hold great power. He told a local news site that it was a big sacrifice for him to shave his beard off for Sztárban Sztár — “I feel like half a man without it!”.
8. He’s the collab king
If you’re a Hungarian artist and want to make a musical collaboration, Joci Pápai could be the key to success. He has featured on several tracks with his good friends Ferenc Molnár “Caramel” and rapper Majka. All of them were massive YouTube hits.
9. Joci Pápai is Hungary’s first ever returning artist at the Eurovision Song Contest
In 2017 he represented Hungary with the mystical and other-worldly “Origo”. His message connected with Europe and he finished eight in the grand final. That’s Hungary’s third best placing ever! This year, Joci made a spectacular comeback to A Dal, winning the highly-coveted ticket to Tel Aviv.
10. He’s a living piece of Eurovision history
Joci was the first ever act of Romany descent to reach the Eurovision grand final. “Origo” detailed the struggles he has faced and his love for a white woman. He scored 200 points.
How far do you think Joci will go this year? Will he replicate his 2017 success? Sound off in the comments below.
whoops I misplaced an accent there, Barnabás*
This is a great article, Barnábas! I’d love to see you do some of those for the future Hungarian artists too, in next years 🙂
Last time me and my daughters was making fun of his song and made up our own text in swidish …. jag vill ha popcorn” was what we were singing…. but slowley the song grow, And actually the song was my and my daughters favorite when he performed live.
I like this song so much and I don’t need to understand the words. He delivers emotions like no one els. One of my and my ten year old daoughters favorite once again.
Good luck from Sweden <3
I need him to breed me
One of the best songs this year. I don’t see it as a winning song but I am confident that it will score well. Good luck!
Comparing “Az en apam” to “Origo” is like comparing apples to oranges. Both are great self-penned songs that shouldn’t even be objects of comparison in the first place.
Why not? Same author, same singer, same style. But it’s ok to compare, for example, Fuego to Replay?
The difference probably is that Joci writes and sings his own songs. I can’t imagine Alex Papaconstantinou performing to either/both Fuego and Replay, which he both wrote himself, live in the ESC stage.
Fuego and Replay are pretty much the same song. Joci’s songs are totally different.
People are comparing Tamta and Eleni because they’re women, why is it that we always have to pin point strong female leads against each other? Also why is no one comparing Victor and Sebastijan? In the recap on ESC’s channel the songs sound exactly the same when they’re next to each other but noooo nobody compares 2 males.
Fuego and Replay are both oranges. One is Sunkist orange, the other Florida, but they’re still oranges all the same.
I honestly don’t like the fact he’s back again in just two years of difference. Even more, A Dal this year has had so much better options than this song, which is a waaay weaker when compared to Origo. Can’t see Hungary in the final, sorry.
Important: Origo is the best televoting result ever for Hungary
That’s one of the reasons why I don’t understand the odds about him. I’m almost sure he will qualify again, and to be honest I’m hoping for top 15.
Orego was amazing. Az en Apam is not a bad song, but it never reaches the heights of Orego. In fact, in the first listen, it is flat as a french crepe- it takes few listens to truly appreciate the emotional depth that he conveys. I find it ironic that the singer who brought Hungary their third best result may be the one who will finish Hungary’s qualification streak. Also, in retrospect, they really should have chosen Madar, Repulj!
Hungary will have no trouble qualifying. I expect him to at least equal his result from 2017. Stop using your own opinion of the song as a basis for how it will do at Eurovision.
yesssss “Madár, repülj!” was the best finalist! It’d be nice to see Gergo take part in A Dal again, even if maybe with a less personal song. (same for Leander Kills)
King of Hungary!
He’s so precious! I wish him all the best