Vasil Garvanliev will represent North Macedonia at Eurovision 2021 with “Here I Stand”.
Vasil was originally due to sing “You” at Eurovision 2020. However, the contest was cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. But, just like several other countries, North Macedonia opted to stick with its singer for Eurovision 2021.
And now, we present 10 facts about Vasil. Let’s do this!
North Macedonia at Eurovision 2021: Facts about Vasil
1. He was a huge child star
Legend has it, that Vasil was discovered as a child when, one day, he was singing on the street. A Macedonian composer was captivated by his voice and soon Vasil was a successful child pop star. During this time, he became known for the Japanese-inspired song “Marionka”, which has become one of the best-known Macedonian children’s songs.
2. He has both Macedonian and Bulgarian citizenship
Vasil was born and raised in the Macedonian town of Strumica, but he also has Bulgarian citizenship. A relative of one of his grandmothers has Bulgarian ancestry, which gives him a Bulgarian connection. Vasil told wiwibloggs that he is from North Macedonia but considers “home” to be within himself. His Bulgarian roots became a contentious issue after the release of his Eurovision 2021 song. The music video featured some artwork that resembled the Bulgarian flag. Despite the video being recut to remove the piece, some Macedonians felt it was inappropriate for North Macedonia’s Eurovision act to also have Bulgarian citizenship and called for Vasil to be replaced.
In response, the singer said: “I am a music ambassador, and in music there is no religion, politics, orientation, race or colour. I had absolutely no intentions to hurt anybody. Quite the opposite! I am so proud of this project which not only embodies me, but my country and culture – musicians and featured artists in the gallery. I do not apologise for being me. I never will – I didn’t have a choice in that. However, if I hurt ANYBODY in ANY WAY, from the bottom of my heart … I am sorry. Forgive me.”
3. He sang as a soloist with the Chicago Children’s Choir
In the late 1990s, following the Kosovo War, Vasil’s mother moved the family to the United States. They settled in Chicago and there Vasil used music to help him adapt to the new culture. This led to him getting a place in the acclaimed Chicago Children’s Choir, eventually becoming a soloist. Vasil still sings with the choir and is recognised as a valued alumnus.
4. He’s sung with Nick Carter, Enrique Iglesias and Céline Dion
Once Vasil became established with the Chicago Children’s Choir, it led to all sorts of opportunities performing backing vocals for with established pop icons. This included pop stars Nick Carter and Enrique Iglesias, as well as Eurovision 1988 winner — and international diva — Céline Dion.
5. He was deported from the United States
Just as Vasil was getting established as a young singer and was about to begin serious music studies, he and his family were deported from the United States. This followed tighter immigration requirements in the wake of September 11. But Vasil stayed focused and eventually resumed his music studies in Toronto, Canada.
6. He competed in Skopje Fest 2007
Thirteen years ago, Vasil made his first attempt at representing his country at Eurovision. He competed in the national song competition Skopje Fest which also served as the Macedonian national final. Vasil’s self-written song “Pomogni mi” (Help me) placed 13th in the competition.
7. He worked with Chance the Rapper
In 2016, Vasil performed on several tracks on Chance the Rapper’s album Coloring Book. The album, which incorporated gospel with hip hop, was critically acclaimed and appeared on many music critics “best of 2016” lists.
8. He’s an opera singer…
Vasil studied at La Scala Theatre Academy in Milan and Toronto’s Royal Conservatory of Music. He went on to perform as a professional baritone singer in Canada.
9. …and he’s a pop singer
Vasil isn’t just restricted to one type of music. While he can hold his own in the great opera houses of the world, he’s just as comfortable serving a contemporary pop performance. Vasil has said that he feels he can express himself more truly when singing pop. These include singles like “Patuvam” and “SudBina”.
10. He supported Tamara Todevska at Eurovision 2019
This isn’t Vasil’s first time at Eurovision. In 2019, he was one of the three backing singers who supported Tamara Todevska in Tel Aviv. And while he was squirrelled away offstage, Vasil played his part in the performance. “Proud” went on to win the jury vote and give North Macedonia its best-ever Eurovision result.
How will “Here I Stand” do at Eurovision 2021? Will he take North Macedonia to the final for the second time running? Tell us your thoughts below!