Olena Usenko with “Vazhil” Ukraine Junior Eurovision 2021

After the country returned to the top ten and secured a seventh-place finish in 2020, Olena Usenko is hoping to continue the upward trend for Ukraine at Junior Eurovision 2021 with “Vazhil” (Leverage).

Scroll down for “Vazhil” lyrics

Ukraine in Junior Eurovision 2021: Olena Usenko “Vazhil”

Ukraine has competed at Junior Eurovision every year since 2006, winning the contest in 2012.

For 2021, Ukrainian broadcaster UA:PBC accepted submissions of original songs or cover songs of Ukrainian Junior Eurovision entries between 2015 and 2020. An initial field of 118 songs (nearly double the number of entries from 2020) was eventually shortlisted to a national final of twelve entries. Olena Usenko won the majority of votes from a five member jury and an online public vote to earn the ticket to Paris.

The 14-year-old from Bila Tservka in central Ukraine is a singer and actress. She previously competed in Ukraine’s Junior Eurovision 2020 selection, under the artistic name Ellen, finishing second with “Never Get Free”.

She studies at the Katapulta Art Music School in Kyiv. The school is well-known as an institution that grows future generations of Ukrainian singers and entertainers. Just a few days after her national final win, her school posted their supportive congratulations, as well as an interview with Olena, where at one point they asked her to choose her favorite between two different artists. Olena appears to have an undying love for 2021 Eurovision winners Måneskin, as she chose them in all three pairs she was offered (even over her fellow Ukrainian group, Go_A).

What do the “Vazhil” lyrics mean?

“Vazhil” is a power ballad that starts deceptively slowly, but is packed with meaning from the first word.  The song opens with Olena quietly looking for her true identity among what seems like a flood of opinions and messages from other people telling her who she is.  Olena sings in growing desperation looking to find that part of herself that will help shut out the negativity, and help her experience what the world has to offer, as her full, authentic self.

The chorus (aided by piano and guitar notes) then comes in with an emotional message with roots in making the most out of life and not taking anything for granted.  “We are only give a moment,” Olena emotionally belts. “All we can do, Is go out of the darkness, And live while there is still time.” Through the second verse, the song gains power with strong messaging as Olena sings about how she learned to find her own heart to continue pursuing her dreams, and silence the voice of those jealous and bitter critics. “But I find strength in myself, they do not dare silence me, because it doesn’t hurt anymore!”. Through the bridge to the song’s final crescendo, Olena triumphantly belts how she has learned to never let go of her dream, no matter what trials life throws in her way.

The music video, which was released on Wednesday, 17 November 17th, expands on these themes. We see a nervous young girl being encouraged by her mother to go on stage. The girl takes her place center stage, but the minute the stage lights hit her, she is paralyzed with fear.  Olena herself explains the significance of this scene:

“I was 7 when I first went on stage, and that performance turned out to be a nightmare. Everything went not according to plan, I was very scared. After that I even told my mother that I would never go on stage again or sing! If I could go back into the past, I would hug myself and say, “Keep going, girl, never stop!” These days when I feel nervous before performances, I imagine myself as a grown-up, successful artist going back to the present self and saying, “Olena, you made it!” I believe that so it will be,”

We see this as Olena from off-stage looks at her younger self wilting under the nervous pressure. Just as the young Olena is about to walk off the stage defeated, present-day Olena comes out from the shadows, taps her younger self on the shoulder and gives her words of encouragement.  Olena explains how important this support is:

“I was bullied at school because of practicing creativity. My parents noticed how excited I got singing or dancing in front of a mirror, how I held my breath watching concerts of stars on TV. They supported me, found a vocal coach, and since the age of 10 I have been doing what I love most”.

By the end of the video, Elena and her younger self join hands and sing the song’s final triumphant chorus, as the crowd gives them both a standing ovation. The song’s powerful message: everyone is given only a moment, and there is no time to stay in the shadows because of your fears or insecurity. The video’s director, Dmytro Avdeev, adds:

“The music video is based on Olena’s personal story. Sometimes you realize that you needed support so much that you want to go back to your past and say those important words to yourself. I am sure that Europe will understand our message because the idea of self-help has no borders”.

“Vazhil” lyrics — Olena Usenko (Ukraine JESC 2021)

Written and Composed by:  Olena Usenko and Kateryna Komar

Ukrainian text

English translation

Шукаю кожен день
Серед сотень відображень
Чужих пісень
Слів гірких, брехливих вражень
Де я, де я, де я,
де я справжня
Де ж то, де мій, де мій
той мій важіль
Що увімкне світ
Нам дана лише мить
Коли свiт згорить
I слiду не стане вiд нас
Все, що можемо ми
Це вийти з пiтьми
I жити, поки є час
Я не знаходжу слів
Та знаходжу в собі сили
Поки всі вони
У небес усе просили
Змусити замовкнути не сміють
Крил моїх спалити не зуміють
Бо вже не болить!
Нам дана лише мить
Коли свiт згорить
I слiду не стане вiд нас
Все, що можемо ми
Це вийти з пiтьми
I жити, поки є час
Йшла я йшла збиваючи коліна,
Йшла та йшла скрізь дощ та вітер зміни.
Де мій важіль? Він у моїх мріях.
Там чекають, там усі воліють.
І ніхто тепер вже не побачить..
Я зневірююся, чи я плачу.
Буду, буду до біди незряча.
Мрія в серці значить…
Нам дана лише мить
Коли свiт згорить
I слiду не стане вiд нас
Все, що можемо ми
Це вийти з пiтьми
I жити, поки є час
Жити… жити… жити… поки є час!
I’m looking every day
among hundreds of reflections
other people’s songs
words of bitter, false impressions
Where am I, where am I, where am I,
where I am real
Where is my, where is my, where is my lever
that will turn on the world
We are only given a moment
when the world burns down
and there will be no trace of us
All we can do
is go out of darkness
and live while there is the time
I can’t find the words
but I find strength in myself
while they all
were asking heaven for everything
They do not dare to silence me
they will not be able to burn my wings
because it doesn’t hurt anymore!
We are only given a moment
when the world burns down
and there will be no trace of us
All we can do
is go out of darkness
and live while there is the time
I was walking, hurting my knees,
walking through the rain and the wind of change
Where is my lever? It is in my dreams.
They are waiting there, everyone is willing there.
And no one will see it anymore.
I despair or I cry.
I will, I will be blind to trouble.
A dream in the heart means…
We are only given a moment
when the world burns down
and there will be no trace of us
All we can do
is go out of darkness
and live while there is the time
To live… live… live… while there is the time!
 
What do you think of Ukraine’s 2021 entry? Let us know in the comments below.
 
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Lollipop
Lollipop
8 months ago

Nice one TBH, nothing special just good

Aeria
Aeria
8 months ago

People massively overlook this. I think juries will love her, understandably so. I’ll vote for her a lot as well. Good luck Ukraine! 🙂

Ria van de Velde
Ria van de Velde
8 months ago

Beautiful song and lyrics and Olena Usenko have a great voice. Good Luck in Paris

trollo
trollo
8 months ago

fingers crossed for top-10~ ^^