ESC+Plus has talked to Valerija Iljinaité, candidate of this year’s Lithuanian national selection for Eurovision. Valerija will perform “You Made Me Glow” in the Heat 6 set to take place on February today.
ESC+Plus: Hello! First of all, thank you so much for your time and congratulations on having been selected to take part in the Lithuanian national selection for Eurovision 2017!
Can you tell us about you, your musical career and important achievements?
Valerija Iljinaité: Of course. I started my musical career when I was 6 years old, I played violin and I was really good at it. Also I danced, took parts in musical theatre shows. When I was about 13 years old I had to choose what I want to do in my future – will I be a professional violin player or will I sing? So I decided to be a singer. I took part in “The Voice” of Lithuania when I was 16 years old, where I became a finalist and had an honour to perform together with the winner of Eurovision Song Contest – Alexander Rybak. Last year I was representing my country in one of the biggest art festivals in the world – Slavianski Bazaar. I studied jazz vocal in Vilnius J. Tallat – Kelpsa conservatory after that I studied musical theatre and now I am planing to study opera singing..
ESC+Plus: What impelled you to take part in “Eurovizijos 2017”?
Valerija Iljinaité: Well, when I won the national selection for “Slavianski Bazaar” I promised that if I won, I would participate in Eurovision. That’s what brought me here 🙂
ESC+Plus: How did you feel when you knew you had qualified for the next phase of the selection? Did you expect it?
Valerija Iljinaité: Well, I tried to focus on my performance and the message I want to tell with this song. I didn’t have a lot of expectations. I prayed a lot and wanted people to feel me and my song – I guess it happened. I’m really excited and couldn’t be happier at the moment…
ESC+Plus: What would it mean to you to represent Lithuania?
Valerija Iljinaité: Well, this is one of my biggest dreams on my “to do” list. I really want to represent my country in this competition. I will participate in the selection until I win it, I promise. If not this year – then next.
ESC+Plus: Can you tell us about your song? What is the story behind the lyrics?
Valerija Iljinaité: The story is very bright. This song is really deep. It is about a lost person, which feels lonely and lost and suddenly being found by the light, by the strength from above, which in my opinion is God. Then the world is bright and safe again, this person is amazed by this strength and finally feels safe and sound.
ESC+Plus: Why do you think your song has to be selected for Kiev? What are you strengths to reach the top in the competition?
Valerija Iljinaité: My strength is my voice and my personality. I sing with my heart, I sing for people and my point is to heal their souls, to make them happier. I don’t compete, I want people to be happy. As my lyrics in the song – I want to make people glow and turn their nights into days.
ESC+Plus: Will you change anything of your stage performance or you prefer to keep it same?
Valerija Iljinaité: Yes, of course I will. But I don’t want to make it into a cheap show. I think people are exhausted of all this cheap show, dancing etc. I want to keep natural things on stage. Just voice, singer and heart.
ESC+Plus: Do you usually watch Eurovision? What is your favorite song in the history of the competition?
Valerija Iljinaité: Yes, Eurovision is very popular in our country. My favourite song in the history would be Jade Ewan – My time written by the amazing E. L. Webber
ESC+Plus: If you could choose a Eurovision former participant to sing along with, who would it be?
Valerija Iljinaité: That’s a good question. I don’t know… I like a lot of them.
ESC+Plus: Finally, can you send a message for our readers and Eurovision fans?
Valerija Iljinaité: Of course 🙂 Smile more, laugh more, and enjoy the light inside of you, because there is nothing stronger than your heart 🙂