He’s the “Voices” singer hoping to bring Sweden their seventh Eurovision victory this Saturday.
But as it happens, Tusse almost never made it to the Rotterdam Ahoy stage.
In the new documentary Tusse: Without my voice, the Melodifestivalen champion reveals the story behind his health struggle that almost made him miss out on competing at Eurovision 2021.
Tusse opens up about surgery in SVT’s ‘Tusse: Without my voice’ documentary
“If there’s something I’m afraid of, it’s not being able to sing, losing my voice”. Those are the words of 19-year-old Tousin “Tusse” Chiza, who will sing for Sweden at Eurovision 2021 this Saturday 22 May.
SVT’s new documentary dives deep into Tusse’s history as a child fleeing conflict in his home country of the Congo. Before settling in Sweden, the singer and his aunt lived in a refugee camp in Uganda for three years. “I remember the feeling of it. Being afraid of dangerous animals and of other people”, Tusse recounts. “But I remember what was good about it and kept me going was the music.”
Indeed, in times of worry, the young singer has turned to music for solace and comfort. From small church services in Uganda to enormous talent shows in Sweden, Tusse’s talent is cross-cultural. And now, he’s ready to showcase his voice on the world’s largest stage.
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But soon after his astonishing landslide victory at Melodifestivalen, Tusse’s participation at Eurovision came into question. “The final week of Mello came, I felt strange”, the singer told SVT. “On the Saturday, I remember that we cancelled most of the day’s interviews.” And in a post-victory interview on SVT’s Morgonstudion, Tusse could barely speak, his voice hoarse.
It was then that Tusse and his team decided to visit a doctor, who told the singer his tonsils had grown to an enormous size.
“I was on this antibiotic that was supposed to work miracles but nothing happened”, the singer revealed. Eventually, the only solution was to have a partial operation on his tonsils. But the operation came with risks. Following the operation, he would likely need to recuperate at home for five weeks — forcing him to miss out on Eurovision.
The Swedish broadcaster had a backup plan in the event Tusse could not participate at Eurovision. Instead, the runner-up of Melodifestivalen would represent Sweden. “If I can’t be in Eurovision, someone will take my place. Eric Saade will be there”, Tusse explained. “F*** no! I want to be there”, he exclaimed jovially.
Tusse’s fears extended beyond the song contest. “My voice is my job. Before my voice was my job, it was part of me. It was my way of fleeing what was tough”, the Mello champ explained. “If there’s something I’m afraid of, it’s not being able to sing”.
With no other option in front of him, Tusse decided to have the operation. And in the days that followed, he documented his recovery journey and the agonising wait to discover if he would be healthy enough to travel to Rotterdam and sing for Sweden at Eurovision.
But now, after a quicker than expected recovery, Tusse is ready for Eurovision. His voice is back, he’s made it to Rotterdam and he’s ready to give it his all for Sweden in Saturday’s grand final. We’re ready to hear a million voices, and we’re glad Tusse’s is one of them!
You can watch SVT’s Tusse: Without my voice here.
What do you think of Tusse: Without my voice? How will Tusse fair in the Eurovision grand final? Let us know in the comments below.