Tusse: Without my voice SVT documentary
Photos: EBU / Andres Putting / SVT

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.

Read more Sweden Eurovision 2021 news here

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Denis
Denis
2 months ago

Honestly, I think for once it¨s nice that Sweden is under the radar.It takes the pressure off and we can relax and be entertained by others. We don’t have to have that winner’s attitude every time.Tusse has a job, to sing and that is what he will do. His career won’t depend on which place he ends up tonight. I don’t think he will be that low but somewhere around 13th-15th place. At some point every successful method will break and this could be the year Sweden breaks that method and hopefully maybe next year try new angle and changes… Read more »

Mara
Mara
2 months ago

Now I get why he underperformed… his performance in Melfest was way better imo

Heldi
Heldi
2 months ago

Just listened to the french version of Voices…it was actually much better than the full english version. Tusse should sing in french tomorrow he is good! 🙂

Miss Uncongeniality
Miss Uncongeniality
2 months ago

Sorry if i sound rude, but i find this a manner to get sympathy points

Tadhg
Tadhg
2 months ago

I feel the same, I can’t help but feeling that he’s a bit of a drama queen and attention seeker, I’m sure most of contestants have had stuff going on in their lives but don’t bang on about it. I also blame WiWiblogs for running with these sort of vapid headlines.

Herdie
Herdie
2 months ago

yes becuase Tusse wrote this article himself right?

Teddy
Teddy
2 months ago

I’m happy he qualified. He sang his heart out on Tuesday. I hope he doesn’t get embarrassed by the jury overrating him and the televote destroying him á la John Lundvik or even worse Benjamin ingrosso

Fred
Fred
2 months ago

Sweden gonna win this by far. Haters gonna hate. Jealous ppl.

Eurovision2016>
Eurovision2016>
2 months ago

eric saade was so close to giving sweden another victory.

Denis
Denis
2 months ago

Oh please. If we sent him it would still be the same old tired talk of “only doing well cause it’s Sweden” or “Sweden sending another overproduced pop song favoured by juries” or the classic “another 25 points from audience”. fact is whatever Sweden sends people will bash it, which is why after ESC not many of us will bother being on here

Eurovision2016>
Eurovision2016>
2 months ago
Reply to  Denis

did you even see the reaction from international fans and experts? everyone, even swedish experts said “if we want to do well at eurovision we send eric”. also, the eastern european televote would have given eric at least one hundred televote.

Denis
Denis
2 months ago

There is no indication that the song would work just because fans say so. It’s general audience that decides. And also if you don’t know the point with MF is not to send what eurofans thinks we should send but what Swedes think should go. We are well aware it might not do well but it’s our choice and we still be proud of Tusse regardless outcome.

SwedCazh
SwedCazh
2 months ago
Reply to  Denis

Perhaps thats true but at least it would have been the kind of jealousy we swedes could be laughing at, with Eric Saade we perhaps would get a top-5 in the finale. Tusse is great, dont misunderstand me there but the song is quite a snoringpill (i’m swedish and I admit it). No one is jealous this year I’m afraid. The positive thing for Sweden is that if we get a low rating this year….then we really gets it for the ”kill” next year.

Last edited 2 months ago by SwedCazh
WannaEatMySpaghetti
WannaEatMySpaghetti
2 months ago
Reply to  SwedCazh

In my personnal opinion Eric was a mess. A guy that can’t sing and a song that is barely listenable. I prefer Tusse. But still, I’m afraid for you that he will end up quite low. All my friends that aren’t fans of the contest but who watched the semi final thought this shouldn’t have been in final.
As for me, the message of the song is good, the song itself is quite nice but the voice is shaky.

SwedCazh
SwedCazh
2 months ago

I dont think that Sweden would have won with any entry from Melodifestivalen this year but I think that Saade would have been the best choice (Dotter also but her song last year was in my opinion better) for Sweden. At least people would have noticed us this year if Saade competed instead of Tusse. I kind of agree with your friends, it feels a little bit like we havent learned from the ”mistakes” from Ingrosso or Lundvik. We send something in the same genre as them for the third time in a row. Its good but its quite blank… Read more »

Denis
Denis
2 months ago
Reply to  SwedCazh

I don¨t think Tusse will be that low but I do think he will be somewhere 13th-15th. Honestly, I think it¨s nice we for once are under the radar, it takes the pressure of and we can relax and have fun. We don’t have to send something noticeable every year, I actually think that our “winner’s attitude we have every year was a worse issue than the songs themselves, that we sort of always took for granted the songs would win or reach top 5. With a new boss in charge of MF this could lead to changes..

SwedCazh
SwedCazh
2 months ago
Reply to  Denis

But under the radar? We are extremely competetive when it comes to ESC and we hate to loose. I feel that many say that it doesnt matter now when the truth is that Europe doesnt seems to be so thrilled like we where, during Melodifestivalen everyone was so cocky and said that he would win ESC easily. There was a lot of mean comments about Saade and Dotter from the swedish people then. But I agree with you here, I feel so bad but I hope for a bad rating tonight. We need to learn us a lesson.

Denis
Denis
2 months ago
Reply to  SwedCazh

Yes we are competetive but we cant win every year so maybe we should simply not try? Yes I feel its the attitude. Most Swedish acts were cocky, arrogant even. Lundvik especially. He went around with a winners vibe when it was clear the song was nowhere near being a winner or even top 5 material and I think that bothered people more than the song. Tusse is aware and he is not pretending he has a winning song, he just wants to perform. We should send songs that are less polished and not ready för ESC stage, someting authentic… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by Denis
Hélène
Hélène
2 months ago
Reply to  Denis

I can see that coming oh no just another generic good looking Swede with a radio pop meaningless song. Instead we have someone with a real message and great carisma. I think he is underrated this year just because he is Swedish.

SwedCazh
SwedCazh
2 months ago
Reply to  Hélène

I dont agree with you. We have to stop being so pretentious and be honest here, we had better places in Eurovision-final with the ”pretty boys” a la Eric Saade and Robin Bengtsson for example then we had during this last 3–4 years when we tried so hard for voting for the ones with the best voices and meaningful lyrics.

Last edited 2 months ago by SwedCazh
Ivar
Ivar
2 months ago
Reply to  Hélène

I think Tusse is overrated because he is Swedish. He sang consistently out of tune during the semi-finals. If he had represented Austria or Denmark, he would not have qualified for the final.

Hélène
Hélène
2 months ago
Reply to  Ivar

No he did not! He hade a soar voice at some notes. That could also be interesting Some artist use this in their singing. But he did not miss the notes.

Ivar
Ivar
2 months ago
Reply to  Hélène

Chill! Not everyone will share your views – or your tastes… Tusse’s performance on Tuesday was cringeworthy, and I repeat, consistently out of tune

L’oiseau
L’oiseau
2 months ago
Reply to  Denis

Well, maybe because all this is true

Maartijn
Maartijn
2 months ago

Omg no that would be even worse than this winning

Eurovision2016>
Eurovision2016>
2 months ago

obviously don’t want anyone to miss out but to be honest i think sweden would have finished higher had eric represented them. possibly could have been a favorite for the final. would be favourite in my opinion.

Roodi
Roodi
2 months ago

Eric would be like Ingrosso high with jury and low with televote.

Teddie
2 months ago
Reply to  Roodi

Exactly this

Eurovision2016>
Eurovision2016>
2 months ago
Reply to  Roodi

eastern europe alone would’ve given him at least two hundred televote points.

Jay
Jay
2 months ago

It’s a shame he didn’t… awful.. repetitive,boring, predictable

Agatha
Agatha
2 months ago
Reply to  Jay

No it is called current, that is why you think it is predictable since it sounds like music sounds today in the media outside the esc bubble, most songs in esc this year sounds like they are taken straight from the early 2000s and not 2020…

esc1234
esc1234
2 months ago

Why he was worried? His country managed to snick in the rule for the pre recorded backing vocals, he could mime as his friend Anton Ewald did. Nobody would have known.

gurki loko
gurki loko
2 months ago

I want to know
Have you ever seen the rain?

Luc
Luc
2 months ago

I admire him and his resilience, but I didn’t like his entry, I felt like it doesn’t make him justice 🙁

Herdie
Herdie
2 months ago
Reply to  Luc

actually I like the french version he did more, but glad he is in the final, wish him all the luck

Lolek
Lolek
2 months ago
Reply to  Herdie

While I don’t think Sweden should have been in the finales this year, I do quite like Tusse (and like you, I actually prefer the French version of voices better than the English)

Pierre
Pierre
2 months ago

Not My cup of tea

Hélène
Hélène
2 months ago
Reply to  Pierre

Why are you stating this here? It is just so mean.

Pierre
Pierre
2 months ago
Reply to  Hélène

So sorry if i upset you. But I dont like the song. And I dont appreciate SVT storytelling. Just an opinion.

Pierre
Pierre
2 months ago
Reply to  Pierre

And Best of luck!

Hélène
Hélène
2 months ago
Reply to  Pierre

The reason is that Sweden always without any reason get this kind of comments. The article is not about his song. It is about his health and you could just write stay safe or something nice, instead there is this crisism always when it is Sweden. You just can’t hold back. That is mean. You are not hurting me but him.

Last edited 2 months ago by Hélène
Ivar
Ivar
2 months ago
Reply to  Hélène

Tusse seems like a great guy, and I wish him good health. But I still dislike his entry for Eurovision. In my view, it did not deserve a spot in the final

Inna
Inna
2 months ago
Reply to  Ivar

hearing the other songs i believe he did deserve it. I mean most of the songs this year sounds like trash from 2003 or something. Even i got nostalgia hearing them for the first time hahahaha that is not a good thing when songs sounds dated as hell.

Pierre
Pierre
2 months ago
Reply to  Hélène

Perhaps you re overeacting as nothing mean was intended. As far as I know we dont know eachother. I guess its cultural Thing.

Hélène
Hélène
2 months ago

Good luck Tusse! You are great and will do well.

Oy oy
Oy oy
2 months ago

Tusse is one amongst several great artists of African heritage in this year’s EurovisIon. Great that Eurovision also mirrors European reality, no need to pull the rasisme card anymore now or in the future!

Eurovision2016>
Eurovision2016>
2 months ago
Reply to  Oy oy

uhm “mirrors reality” when sweden have had three consecutive black winners as a country that’s still overwhelmingly majority caucasian.

Hélène
Hélène
2 months ago

And?

Denis
Denis
2 months ago

So? Black people are Swedish too and it’s great our country takes a step forward in representation. Let’s also not forget we sent the great girl group Afrodite in 2002..

Last edited 2 months ago by Denis
Matt
Matt
2 months ago

Honey, it was a tonsillectomy operation.. you’re only 19 y/o, you will be fine.. I had them removed recently at the age of 30, same it was a risk operation due to the enlargement of the tonsils, and guess what – it was all good, no need to be a drama queen and attention seeker.. lol

Last edited 2 months ago by Matt
löl
löl
2 months ago
Reply to  Matt

well, maybe you didn’t have to sing in front of the whole world only weeks after? but what do I know…

Agatha
Agatha
2 months ago
Reply to  Matt

Did your operation damage your brain as well? Seems like it…

Last edited 2 months ago by Agatha
Milla
Milla
2 months ago
Reply to  Matt

HEARTLESS

Whisker
Whisker
2 months ago
Reply to  Matt

That’s not the point. LOL

Balint
Balint
2 months ago
Reply to  Matt

1, Vocal surgeries can drastically change the tone of one’s voice. An example at the top of my head is Miley Cyrus, who had a surgery in 2020, after which her voice got husky and raspy, which isn’t a bad thing, per say, but it may sound strange in a song like ‘The Climb’. 2, When there’s huge responsibility on your shoulders, and you are nervous, you can easily get irrational fears. Like, what if I step on stage, and I faint? What if nerves prevent me from giving my best on stage? What if someone comes up on the… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by Balint
Matt
Matt
2 months ago
Reply to  Balint

Miley Cyrus didn’t have tonsillectomy, she was diagnosed with Reinke’s edema – a swelling in the space below the vocal chords, which is often caused by “longstanding smoking”..

So it’s not the same, and off course in her/this case the change in the voice is quite often and possible.

Last edited 2 months ago by Matt
Balint
Balint
2 months ago
Reply to  Matt

I know right, but when I listened to Tusse’s performance during Melodifestivalen and the First Semi-Final, the struggle in the latter was obvious, which is something I’m sure he also noticed beforehand, hence his fear that he may not be able to perform Voices well. Sure, he still strained during his performance at Melodifestivalen, but he reached the notes fairly easily, a prime example of which being the “Can you hear them?” part after the second refrain, which was on pitch in the former, and flat in the latter.

Last edited 2 months ago by Balint
Denis
Denis
2 months ago
Reply to  Matt

Are you a singer as well? Are you about to represent a country? Did that minor operation change the tone of your voice? Or did it simply leave you permanently without a heart as well?

Matt
Matt
2 months ago
Reply to  Denis

No darling, but I am a ENT doctor and I know what I am saying.. Before replying this question I need to explain a little about voice physics: When vocals folds vibrate they create a sound wave. This wave is not a simple sound wave, so it is composed by more than one wave. The lowest frequency is called as main voice frequency and others are called as harmonics. Changing tonsils or other pharyngeal parts will not affect main frequency,more clearly your tessitura will not affected . So the glottic level we all produce just some sound and it turned… Read more »