I know you’ve been waiting for an interview with a Eurovision winner. It’s not this-years winner, of course :) In 2005, a lovely girl from Ukraine touched the hearts of the Eurovision audiences and won the European contest with her amazing wild-dance performance. Today, three years after her victory, Ruslana looks back (definitely not in anger!) at her career and very much into the future. She was very kind to steal some of her time, so precious during the preparation of her new album.

What is the greatest success in your career so far? And if you think you haven’t reached the top yet, what do you aspire for in the near future?

I hope that my greatest success will be in the nearest future. Now I work a lot for it. It has been more than 3 years since I won Eurovision and was named World Best-Selling Ukrainian Artist at the World Music Awards ceremony in Las Vegas in 2004. Just about time for my fans to demand something new and special from me. I’m very happy that my new album is finished. I really worked hard for it. In February, we had a great premiere of the Wild Energy show in Baku. Then came the Bulgarian National Selection for ESC in Sofia, the first Eastern European country that saw this new show. I am happily planning to come to Sofia again in the near future with the full version of Wild Energy.

Slavyanskii Bazaar was a considerable springboard for you as a serious artist. What, then, does Eurovision mean to you as an artists and as a person?

Eurovision for me was a “window on Europe” and a “window on the world” and to the world. Thanks to the Contest, Europe got to know me.

The “Eastern bloc” has been very active at Eurovision recently. For the last seven years, six winners came from Eastern Europe. How would you comment such a tendency?

I think, it’s because Eastern Europe reveals to the world the graceful and beautiful style it has. That style had not been typical for other countries. Eurovision every year sees a lot of pretty girls and handsome boys, but it’s not enough. If you want to win – you have to be special, stand out from the crowd, but also be special in a very sincere way.

Let’s have a look at your latest album. Listening to the tracks in “Wild Energy” makes me think of elemental energy and feelings. With your new album you seem to be moving away from Wild Dances in terms of style, despite all common motifs. What is the main idea of your fresh album?

My new album presents a completely new Ruslana. The main idea is to show the character of the Amazon. She can be a girl–wind, girl–fire, girl–water, girl–rock, but she falls in love and becomes vulnerable. She doesn’t know what to do, how to live with those feelings. This is a story of the all-conquering love, in a pop-fantasy style. This is especially prominent in my new song Moon of Dreams, a duet with the Grammy-winning American r’n’b singer T- Pain, who’s also worked with Kanye West, Bow Wow, Akon, Chris Brawn and others.

Wild energy – do you wish to harness and master it? Or perhaps you prefer to be submitted to its force, totally controlled by the wild energy?

My Wild Energy is always with me, no mater what I do. So it’s, I guess, both.

What type of character is Lana? What does she dream of and yearn for?

She is a real Amazon – beautiful, smart and independent woman. She knows what she wants for sure and she fights to get it. Lana dreams of love. That magic feeling that gives us inspiration and wings.

In fact, how did it all start? When did you realise that you were born for music?

I’ve been in since I was four. When I was a little kid, I studied at an experimental music school and sang in a band. My parents joke that microphone was my first toy and that I learned the notes before letters. I graduated from the conservatory with two educational qualifications in the field of music – as a piano player and a symphony orchestra conductor. Music has been in my heart throughout my life. I have realized that I was born for music since early childhood.

There are millions of wannabes who wish to become stars overnight, but their time in stardom is usually short. What, do you reckon, makes a star? What do you have to sacrifice or risk to stay on top?

The first thing that comes to my mind – be honest with yourself and with people. It’s very important. I’m always honest with my fans. If you work only for money and you sing a song that you must sing but you don’t feel it by your entire heart and soul – you will be a singer for one day.

And finally, wishing you good luck with your future career, I’d like to ask you, Ruslana, what do you pray for?

I pray for health of my parents, of my husband, friends. I sometimes pray for peace. I pray for a good future of Ukraine. I would like to live with music in my heart and wild energy in my eyes for the rest of my life.

She comes from a sunny island in the Mediterranean. She is smart and beautiful, young, and above all – talented. She is Morena, and although her song, representing Malta at Eurovision this year is called Vodka, she does not promote drinking – rather, sobriety.

Watching the video to this-year’s Maltese entry, I felt like I were in a movie. An intense action video, where Morena plays the role of a top spy, a cat-like woman, who triumphs in the end. Very impressive, and perfectly combines with the rhythm of the song. You’ll be surprised, but no one drinks vodka in the video. Morena was very kind to spare some of her precious time and answer my queries. Enjoy and don’t forget to support Morena in May!


Dear Morena,

First of all, congratulations for your victory in Malta and let me wish you great success in Belgrade in a month and a half. Thanks for your time!

I’m interested to know if you like cooking.

Now that’s an interesting question! Let’s put it this way – I sing much better than I cook! I will let you draw your conclusions!

What do you think is the universal recipe for a successful Eurovision song?

I do not think there is a real recipe because the formula changes all the time! However, I think it should be a good song combined with a good voice, in the right year, with the right amount of luck!

What is the best meal that goes with Vodka? Or perhaps, the best company?

Hmmm… I really like your questions! I think it might be interesting to have Sushi and Vodka! As for the right company… Let me think! Okay – George Clooney , Svante Stockselius , Hilary Clinton, Madonna, and David Copperfield! I am sure it would get interesting to see what they have to say to each other after a few Vodkas!

How did it occur to you to perform a song about one of the most popular beverages in the world? Is this a wink to Russians, or to people who generally like drinking vodka and having fun?

Maybe you should ask the author that question! ? However, the song is not about the beverage – in this case VODKA is a code which I decipher as a spy! Perhaps it appeals to every country because everybody knows the word “ V O D K A” I think!

Malta is the epitome of Eurovision. Everything in your country seems to be related to the contest, and as your joke goes – when you vote for Eurovision, as if you’re voting for Parliament. How important is Eurovision in your career?

True! Here in Malta the Eurovision song contest is very popular and it’s taken very seriously, but not as seriously as sometimes people think! However, we love it, and I think it could benefit any artist from any country ‘cause it is a chance to show your talent to millions of people. So, I think it will be very good for my career, no matter what!

We miss two more national winners, but out of these picked so far, who has impressed you most. And who of this-year’s participants stands the greatest chances of success?

I have not had the time to watch or listen to most of the songs so I can’t really compare! But I have heard there is even a puppet this year!

And finally, Malta has few “neighbours” that are always loyal and traditionally support you. In this sense, how do you see the future of Eurovision having in mind neighbout voting?

Hmmm…. I’m trying to see who our neighbours are because Italy is our only neighbour and it does not take part. I’m not sure I can figure out any country that has “traditionally” supported Malta, and maybe if we did have such countries we might do a little bit better. Then again, I do believe that the top 3 songs are usually the best songs that are voted by every country and not just by the neighbours! I would not want to win by neighbourly voting, but by merit! If the neighbours had to help out that would be great, but I do not think we have that! So I guess it has to be exclusively whether the people like my VODKA or not! ? I hope they do! I think it was a good move this year to have two semi finals, so it looks positive for the future of the contest.

Thanks for answering. Wishing you good luck in Belgrade and all my best to Malta!

Hey! I really enjoyed this interview, and thanks for being so nice to make contact! Good luck and hope we can party, party, party, and Vodka, Vodka, Vodka together in Serbia! Na Zdarovye!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dustin the TurkeyThe fact that I’m a vegetarian has nothing to do with my choice for first interview for this Eurovision season. Because it’s far from surprising that I decided to turn to the true source of Eurovision inspiration. Driven by my zest to learn what’s behind Dustin’s grand success in Ireland, I asked him a couple of questions about Eurovision, music, life, and birds. Despite his hectic schedule he was very kind to answer them.

Hello there Dustin,

Congratulations for your victory and good luck with your promo tour and above all, with your participation in the Contest. You are one of the most impressive entrants in this-year’s Eurovision Song Contest. That’s why I’m eager to ask you how did it occur to you to take part in the European extravaganza?

Thank very much Tanya, very kind of you! I think you’re right I am most impressive. The reason I decided to enter is simply, the people of Ireland need me. We’ve a proud Eurovision history but for the last few years our acts have died a death out there, so it was obvious to all concerned that it was time to send an act that could not only sing well but was also very, very beautiful. So naturally I was the obvious choice.

My next query is, what do you see happening in Eurovision from a bird’s-eye view? Do you predict fur flying?

When you’re as talented and good looking as me you get used to some people being jealous, that’s fine by me. As for fur flying, if it happens I’ll be upset, not for me but for the millions of little kiddies for whom I’m a leader, role model, idol and hero. You see they find it so, so hard to understand how others don’t instantly see my genius. Being young and innocent they don’t understand how jealousy can be such a cruel mistress.

You are a major showbiz star, you have years of experience in TV together with Zig & Zag, you have your own entertainment show, you host Dustin’s Daily News… Won’t you miss all this?

I’ve no intention of quitting my TV life, I simply couldn’t do that to the children of Ireland, they’d be devastated, there’d be riots on the street. I am the air that they breath. That said if I got to have a go at a proper euro-wide showbiz lifestyle I’d be gone it a shot.

Your style is truly curious! It’s (on the brink of?) camp, yet catchy and sweet in its parody and criticism. Tell me, how do you think your performance in all its splendour and feathers can influence people’s voting? And if yes, why?

The key to my performance is the song itself. In many ways it’s more then just a song, it’s an anthem, an anthem for the new Europe. Many believe it’s a song that will heal the world of all it’s suffering and unite the people’s of the world. Me? I think it’s better than that, to be honest I never really imagined music could be as good and powerful as it is in my song.

Is your song an outspoken protest, or a helpless attempt at changing recent unfavourable developments in Eurovision? How do you relate camp style with neighbour voting?

I love Eurovision, I reject all notion of block votes and deal making, though if Bulgaria want to vote for Ireland, I’ll be sure to get Ireland to vote for Bulgaria.

You tend to release your albums right before Christmas. How do you feel during Christmas time, Dustin?

It’s not a great time for me or indeed any turkeys, I try to hide out somewhere that nobody pays any attention to or even looks at, so next year I should be safe enough in the European Parliament.

For all those people, birds and chicks, who don’t know you, can you tell us, what style of music has mostly influenced you during the years? The Emerald Isle is famous for its grand singers, such as Johnny Logan, U2, Linda Martin, Sinéad O’Connor, Enya, to name but a few. Do they whisper anything to you?

Andea Corr is forever whispering to me but for legal reasons I can’t reveal what she says. My main musical influence would be Bono, we’ve a lot in common, we’re both small little fellas with big dreams about helping others, neither of us can really sing and lots of people laugh along to our songs.

Tell me in the end, what can people learn from poultry? Not only as far as Eurovision is concerned, but in general.

They can learn that vegetarianism isn’t just for hippies.

And finally, Dustin, let me express my sincerest wish for success. I do hope that the European audience will appreciate true European music. You’re one of my personal favourites!

My pleasure Tanya, hope to see ya in Belgrade, GO ON YA GOOD THING!!!!!

We never met, just exchanged a couple of emails, sharing a common interest. Half a year later, I already knew that Matteo is a serious and irrevocable lover of the Eurovision Song Contest. He comes from Italy, and although the country hasn’t participated in the European competition for 10 years, he cherishes a great zest for it. “Informed” is too weak a word to describe Matteo’s opinion of the ESC. So, small wonder that I turned to him for enlightening us on Eurovision.

  1. What is Eurovision to you? How long have you been engaged with the Eurovision idea?

    Eurovision Song Contest for me is a way to know new artists, new sounds and new Cultures. When I was a Child I used to watch yearly the “Zecchino d’Oro”, a tv programme for Children similar to the Junior Eurovision Song Contest. Foreign Songs were performed partly in foreign languages with traditional sounds. This led me to know new Countries, new words…. When I grew up I felt that the Eurovision Song Contest could be the ideal following of my interest in different Cultures: several Countries competing fully in their national language with their home-land sounds.

    My serious interest in the Eurovision Song Contest started back in 1990 when we won for the second time, but I became a huge fan only in 1997… when Italy took part for the last time :(

    Nowadays I’m the president of Ogae Italy, the Official Eurovision Song Contest Italian Fan Club since 2003.

  2. Matteo AldrovandiItaly was one of the original countries to join in Le Grand-Prix Eurovision de la Chanson Européenne. What happened for 50 years so that Italy is not at the ESC today?

    Ah! This is a question that several persons ask me. There are some stupid stories about it, but the truth is only one. RAI used to broadcast the Contest very late in the night. Never “live”, only in 1991. So people, year by year, lost their passion for the Contest. People couldn’t stay up to watch it at 2 am or 3 am to watch it on Tv…. slowly also newspapers stopped writing about it… and the interest in this competition decreased in Italy.

    As You know in Italy we have the San Remo Festival, Italian Music Festival which appeals to around 15.000.000 people in front of the Tv yearly. Sponsors pay so much money to advertise their products and San Remo Festival is sold to foreign televisions worldwide. You can now imagine how much money and efforts RAI TV puts in organising this contest which is held in March every year, too close to the
    Eurovision Song Contest.

    When we asked RAI why not competing to the Eurovision Song Contest, RAI replied us: Why shall we have to take part in a Music Competition totally unknown in Italy, like the Eurovision Song Contest, while we have our San Remo Festival to sell worldwide and we earn so much money from it? As Ogae Club, we are trying to let people know and “remember” the Eurovision Song Contest to the Italian Press and Singers. Many Italian artists would be interested in taking part, but RAI said again a strong NO: Few Audience, High Costs, too near to San Remo Festival.

  3. I know people who say that the East “stole” the Contest from the West and turned it into something different. How would you comment the division East / West?

    I never cared about East and West inside the Eurovision Song Contest. This year this “division” was very strong as only “east” Countries ended in TOP10, but I have to admit that their songs were the Best. I still believe that people at home vote for the Song, not for the Country. Western Countries should learn to send decent songs, with something different and unique, not the same photocopied song.

  4. What I’ve noticed from my practice with Eurovision is that fans are very important. However, when a common viewer watches the show, they vote for a song they hear for the first time, and with some luck – a song they’ve been listening to on the radio. But very few of them have followed the ‘warm-up’ period. So, my question is, to what extent are the fan clubs important for the promotion of the ESC participants beyond the fan club?

    It depends how the Fan Club is working… There are some fan clubs who work in cooperartion with WebSites, with National Television and with Newspaper. Those media report the Fan Club activities and when these Clubs invite a eurovision singer these media cover the event. It’s a great way to be familiar with other Eurovision artists’ names. As for my Club, we work in cooperation with Radio, suggesting them songs to airplay, forwarding addresses to request promotional material to get Eurovision Music. Every single act made by a Fan will be important to make a singer or a song known to several people.

  5. What is your opinion of the introduction of the second Semifinal and the huge number of countries willing to join in the ESC?

    I’m not against new Countries at the Eurovision Song Contest, but only if those bring something “national” to the Contest. If a new country should perform a song in English, with an anonymous sound, I can really live without it in the Contest. For me the Eurovision Song Contest is discovering new sounds, new traditions, folklore in the Songs. So I’m always against using the English Language in songs representing a non-english-speaking Country.

    Ok, I could say: Yes to a song performed half in English and half in national language, but please use also Your national language, it’s something a Country shouldn’t be ashamed to use. A Country should be proud to perform in its language, it’s its heritage to share with Europe.

  6. Christmas and the New Year are coming. Would you be so kind a wish something to our readers?

    Ok, Two Wishes… First: to the Italian readers, that Italy will be back in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2009… but probably this is too much. For the other readers that Your Country will win the Eurovision Song Contest in 2008 so that You can experience what I felt back in 1990 when Italy won for the last time. Now It seems that I won’t experience that feeling anymore, but with the help of all of You, I hope to be able to bring Italy again in the Competition.

Warming up for the next Eurovision Song Contest, I decided to talk to the fans – the people who have turned the Contest into what it is today. Collectors’ items, merchandising products, promotional materials, small gifts… fans are always eager to get them, with their interest sometimes making completely unknown singers great music stars.

That’s why I called an eminent specialist in the sphere of Eurovision mania, who can be trusted to give a reliable, competent and well-informed opinion.

Chris Zavos is one of the first people in Greece to whom it occurred to draw to the idea others sharing the same love for the Contest.

  1. Sarbel and Chris ZavosHow long have you been involved with the Eurovision idea?

    My first Eurovision Song Contest was in 1979 when I was still a little kid, and as the time passed on that night my parents decided that I could not watch the show until the end because I had to go to bed; the next day they told me that Israel had won (Hallelujah). For the following years of my life I was involved in classical music, and I rediscovered Eurovision in 1987 when Greece was represented by a boy band named Bang. After many obscure years, there was again hope in Greece that we would achieve a good result, which was eventually the 10th place. In those years we only had National television in our homes, so there was a lot of publicity given to the event. I still keep in my collection my first ever official National tv magazine featuring Bang in its cover. However, it was only in 1990 that I became a member of an organized Eurovision Society.

  2. You are one of the greatest fans of Eurovision I know. I also know you as a person who likes classical music and jazz, and adores classic theatre – elite, high art as a whole. How would you explain this mixture of tastes, that some people would find unusual? What do you think it comes to say about the “Eurovision” art?

    Indeed, I love quality art, mainly because I was raised in a conservatoire ever since I was a little child, and I played the violin in a classical symphony orchestra. Still, I cannot explain even myself how I contracted the “Eurovision virus”. There have been times that I was embarrassed to admit in certain artistic cycles this side of me, because there is a general misconception that Eurovision is meant for certain people who lack good taste. This is absolutely not true. Throughout the years I have met many real professionals involved in the event and have become good friends with journalists, musicians, fans, singers, and tv people from around the world. It is exactly this idea of intercultural relations that fascinates me, the feeling that I belong in a wider world; Eurovision was originally conceived to serve these ideals. After all, I adore travelling and meeting with new mentalities and life styles. This is why people like me are the greatest supporters of the songs that keep their traditional National elements.

  3. I know that you are one of the most important and influential people in the Greek OGAE. How would you comment the importance of fan clubs on people’s attitude to the Eurovision Song Contest? How important your work is for the promotion of the contest?

    Thank you for your kind words. Although I am currently the oldest active member in OGAE Greece, I have recently left the administrative board for professional reasons, because I had to move to Crete for a few years. However, I fully trust our new board in Greece, and I am always pleased to offer my views and suggestions whenever asked.

    Fan clubs are very important because they keep the Eurovision candles lit. They hold reunions and song contests throughout the whole year, not only during the Eurovision period. Moreover, every fan has their own archives of collector’s items, such as newspapers, magazines, books, records, videos, posters, autographs, stamps, photos, etc. OGAE international has a fanzine produced in Germany and distributed to all affiliated National clubs.

  4. Do you tend to work in cooperation with ERT, the Greek public broadcaster, and in what respect do you work with them?

    When we organized the event in Athens in 2006, all the Greek fans put together their own pieces of the puzzle, and the result was a unique deluxe illustrated publication with information about the past Greek Eurovision entries, which was offered as a gift to all the fans that came from all the participating countries. We were also responsible for hosting the foreign fans by providing help with tickets, accommodation, and transportation through a hospitality initiative. I think this has saved a lot of effort, time and money to our National broadcaster. We are keen on participating in every aspect of the contest just for the honor of participating. During the live show, we create a unique atmosphere supporting our National entries, and it is not strange that the EBU trusts the front seats to the OGAE network.

  5. The EBU decided to introduce a new format for the ESC – the two semifinals. Many countries protested against this decision with little effect. How would you comment this innovation and its influence on the interest to the show?

    I only know that this innovation will not have any impact on the ardent fans. We are of the opinion that “the more countries, the more fun, the more collector’s items”. It may sound crazy to someone who hasn’t got the Eurovision virus, but for those who have it and read these lines will certainly accord with them. Besides, it has been shown that the new participating countries are more interested in the contest that the traditional ones, thus I see no reason why anyone should be excluded from the show. Whenever a change happens, there are certainly many people who are ready to foresee a catastrophy. It is not bad to try new formats as long as you later recognize if they have worked or not and try something different the following year.

  6. What are your expectations about this-year’s entries at the ESC? What kind of song do you think Europe wants to hear in order to grant the trophy to it?

    Eurovision is undoubtedly unpredictable. One year it’s ethnic, another it is hard rock, the third it is a ballad. It’s really risky to tell who is going to win. Personally, I truly wish quality songs and musicians could win the contest more often, although it seems that the show presented on the stage becomes more and more important than the songs and voices themselves. Even so, the contest is an excellent means for singers to present their work to an international audience, and the trophy itself seems less important than the exposure someone gets through this event.

  7. I’m now playing advocate to the Devil… but I have to ask you this question: Do you think that the end of the ESC is close? That is, leaving the most ardent fans alone, do you think that people are fed up with Eurovision?

    I think that the end of the ESC is close for some of the Big4 countries and some of the traditional countries, and that in the future we will see a few of those countries opting not to submit an entry, like Italy did some years ago. But I see a lot of enthusiasm from the newcomers and this alone is encouraging that the end of Eurovision is yet to come. In Greece, ERT obtains a share of over 90% in the last 4 years, mainly because striking names have decided to participate. It’s amazing that so many people criticize the quality of the Contest, yet the share in Greece remains breathtakingly high.

What more can I say after these words! Let’s enjoy together the next Eurovision Song Contest.

Wondering where it all starts, and how one gets successful at Eurovision, I decided to try asking Maltese sisters Natasha and Charlene, a huuuge example of Eurovision spirit.. They were so kind to spend some time on my queries. Have a look at what they have to say on music, Eurovision, and…

  1. You are one of the most successful duets in the history of Eurovision. You are among the most popular names in the music industry in Malta and across Europe. Is it only the family link between you two, and love for music that keeps you on top, or there is something else?

    Well, being sisters we think helps a lot because when working on new material we have no problem speaking our minds out or complaining to each other J nobody gets offended, and if we do, it will soon pass because we’re used to arguing and making friends again in no time! The other thing is that we’re always up for new ideas and always ready to experiment with new styles, and of course we are both very determined and find a lot for support from our family and that gives us the strength to get up again after each fall and be stronger for whatever is yet to come!

  2. Charlene and Natasha ESCYou come from a country where Eurovision is almost a cult. What are your latest projects released or to be released on the music market and are they related ONLY to Eurovision?

    As regards Eurovision this year, yes, we have been working on some very good new material! J and this summer we’ve also been busy creating something more which is due to be ready very soon!

  3. You are absolutely successful on the TV, your faces are familiar to everyone in Malta. Where can international fans see you and listen to you these days, if they come to Malta?

    We are back on Net TV as from the first week of October, “Sas-Sitta” which is an afternoon entertainment program, live every Saturday from 2pm till 6pm. Then of course we have our private functions in various hotels and different localities around Malta. We will be taking part in various concerts these coming days and will be very busy throughout Christmas with a very big show which is also a production of Spiteri Lucas Entertainment. For more info visit

  4. Last year, we saw you on the Bulgarian National Final as part of an international project with Swedish and Irish as well as Bulgarian participation. What can motivate you participate for a country which is not your native?

    First of all, we would like to say that our participation in Bulgaria last year was an experience we shall never forget! We were approached by Jonas Gladnikoff and later on also by Niall Mooney to work on the song Open your Eyes, as we listened to it the first time we immediately agreed it would’ve been a good song for the Eurovision. Bulgaria gave us the opportunity to enter our song in the competition and as we are always up for new opportunities we decided to try our luck in your festival as well J

  5. How far do your plans go to international participation, no only related to the ESC?

    We have worked with different composers as we like to experiment new styles, and since music is something platonic the more ideas from different people of different backgrounds and from different countries, the better it gets. Presently we are working on more material with new artists and composers from different countries as well as from Malta.

  6. This year you are taking part in the National selection of Malta. What are your expectations given the competition for the up-coming Eurovision season? Who are your most serious competitors?

    Every year is a very tough competition here in Malta, we have a lot of talented singers as well as composers, and everybody is very determined to win! There are a few popular names which have been in the scene for some years now and everybody is waiting for his time to come plus you never know about the new faces. I just hope the best song wins!

  7. And finally, Open Your Eyes, the song performed in Sofia during the national Contest, carries a wonderful message. I cannot imagine it performed in any other language but English. This is not the case for Malta, but what do you think of artists performing in English, for whom English is not native.

    Well, I guess the most important thing in a song is that you are able to communicate your message, you want people to understand what your song is about, so they can relate to your feelings and make it their own song.. so it would really have to depend on who’s listening J

Wish you good luck in your future participation on Eurovision and hope to see you soon, maybe in Belgrade!