AzRaH: “My aim is to go away from trends and deliver something totally different” (Austrian finalist – Exclusive Interview)

ESC+Plus has talked to AzRaH, finalist of this year’s Austrian national selection for Eurovision. AzRaH will perform “The One” in the “Wer singt für Österreich?” final to take place tomorrow.

ESC+Plus: Hello! First of all, thank you so much for your time and congratulations on having been selected to take part in the Austrian national selection for Eurovision 2016!

Can you tell us about you, your musical career and important achievements?

My name is Azra and I was born in from Bosnia & Herzegovina. With 9 years I moved with my parents to Austria, because of the war in the 90’ies. As a child I used to sing and imagine to sing and perform my songs and also watch Eurovision every year with my parents. I wrote my first song with 11 years, buildt my first girl group and with 15 I had my first Singer Competition. I tried to collect as many experiences as possible collaborating with different producers and I also attended many concerts, looking on how the “professionals” were working. During my university time, I decided to explore the music business in Bosnia and recorded my first single and video spot “samo sjecanja”, which was qualified to the international music festival “Suncane Skale” in Montenegro. After that, I released a couple of my written and composed songs, for which I got the music award “Oskar” in Bosnia & Herzegovina. Well, I have been recently active in Bosnia, exactly for 7-8 years, where I have composed and written songs in my mother language until 2015. In the beginning of 2015, I had the wish to write something in English, so that was also the start of my new song “the One”.

E+: What impelled you to take part in “Wer singt für Österreich 2016”?

In the beginning of 2015 I took part at the national Austrian Contest “Austro Vision Song Contest” and I won with my own Song “Sabah El Kheir”. My price was 2 days in a music studio. To use this price, I wrote the Song “The One” and began collaborating with musicians for the arrangements. 1 Month later I read an article about call-entries for Eurovision which led me to send the Song to ORF. I ended at the top 5 for a Wildcard-Competition and I won it.

E+: How did you feel when you knew you had qualified for the final? Did you expect it?

I was totally speechless and very excited as I never imagined that this project would bring me so far. The other candidates had excellent songs, but the people in Balkan countries are huge Song Contest Fans and they strongly wanted me to win, so they voted and voted and voted the whole day & night until I got the most Likes on Facebook.

E+: What it would mean for you to represent Austria?

Well, we all know that it is impossible to Top the results of Conchita Wurst, but it would be a big honor to represent Austria, as this is the country which gave me a very warm welcome when I went to live there. Besides the beautiful nature, the people are very helpful, truly correct and the music scene is slowly awakening with lot of multi culture artist and musicians. I am really enjoying to live here.

E+: Can you tell us about your song? What is the story behind the lyrics?

“The One” is a song about love. Actually, it is a love story between two people who love each other with the impossibility to come together. Despite these circumstances, they feel each other and help one another in need, like a Soul-Love.

E+: Why do you think your song has to be selected for Stockholm? What are you strengths to reach the top in the competition?

Every song has a statement this year. My statement is love, mostly the love for each other. The big opportunity of “The One” is that it is the only song with real instruments and musicians – a real hand-made, jazz-pop-soul catchy song, with gives you a happy feeling during the listening. It is very unusual for this song contest. But the good thing here is that if you watch the ESC with so many songs within 90 Minutes or more, every song tends to sound like the others – every song is similar – like the beat, arrangements and so on…, because every year every country offers always the same “trendy Sound” from the previous winner. My aim was to go away from this “trend” and deliver something totally different. Because, as we know from the past, just songs and sounds with totally different styles are the winners.

E+: How are you preparing your stage performance for “Wer singt für Österreich 2016”?

I will perform with my band, without any show. It will be just me and my emotions. I think with my emotions, the show with dancers would be totally useless. It was stressful to find the right costumes, also for the band, as we didn’t have a lot of time for it. But anyway I am very excited and happy as this is my childhood dream!

E+: Do you usually watch Eurovision? What are your favorite songs in the history of the competition?

Yes SURE!! Every year I watch Eurovision. I am a HUGE Fan. When I was a child, I always dreamed about to perform on this huge stage. The beginning moment is magical. I always have goosebumps when I hear the Hymne and see the Stars on screen. Aww, this is a totally moment of happiness.

I mostly like the songs from the Balkan Countries. Azerbaijan has also every year big songs as Sweden. My favourites from the past are “Molitva” from Marija Serifovic, “Rise like a Phoenix” from Conchita, “Every way that I can” from Sertab Erener and Greece’s “My number one”.

E+: If you could choose a Eurovision former participant to sing along with, who would it be?


E+: Besides Eurovision, what are your plans for this year?

I want to record my first EP in English and German and I am looking for good producers and musicians who can realize my ideas and wishes. In private life , finding “The One” would also be good plan for this year 😉

E+: Finally, can you send a message for our readers and Eurovision fans?

Believe in Love and trust the inner voice. We should spread love, no matter where we come from and who we are.

E+: Thanks for your time and good luck!

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