By Kamila Aliyeva
The interview of Azernews with Azerbaijani representative for the Eurovision Song Contest 2018 Aysel Mammadova (AISEL).
Question: Why did you decide to participate in the Eurovision Song Contest?
Answer: Honestly, the initiative did not come from me. I was invited to the selection, which was held by Azerbaijan’s public broadcaster ITV. About 20 people participated in the selection, maybe more. As a result, I was honored to represent my country. That’s how it happened.
Q.: You have already performed at many international festivals. What do you expect from participation in Eurovision Song Contest?
A.: I expect, first of all, experience, which I did not yet have. Why? Because it’s a pop contest. And as you know, I play a completely different music. I’m more of a classical and jazz pianist. I also sing jazz. That is, I have a slightly different genre. For me, Eurovision is, first and foremost, an experience in a new musical genre and an exciting adventure, as this may happen once in a lifetime.
Q.: How do you assess your chances of winning?
A.: Of course, I’m set for the best result. And I think it should be so, but I do not put priority on getting a high place on the list. For me, the main thing is to present a quality show, to perform well and be remembered. Because, sometimes a victory does not necessarily mean that you were loved by the viewers. For me, the main thing is that my show, song and I were loved by the people.
Q.: Have you thought about the show? In many interviews, you claimed to be more of a pianist than a vocalist. Should we expect that the piano will be somehow involved in your performance at the Eurovision Song Contest?
A.: We have staged the show. Rehearsals have already begun. I flew twice to Athens for rehearsals. Now, again, I will fly there in a week. We are currently engaged in staging and rehearsals. Yes, I have repeatedly said that I’m more of a pianist, rather than a vocalist. In fact, I have a professional piano education. I have been doing this since I was 6 years old. I also write music and perform my own songs. Regarding the show, there will not be any elements associated with the piano and my piano career. This song is more of a dance character. So, I will perform in a different role. I will have more active movements on the stage -- it's not quite dancing, but something different.
Q.: What inspires you? Where do you get your ideas from? What’s in your playlist?
A.: I’m inspired by good music. I recently discovered for myself just a great musician. He is practically a man-orchestra. He plays on so many instruments, simultaneously sings and composes his music. His name is Jacob Collier. Recently, his album “In my room” is constantly being played in my playlist. I’m very passionate about James Blake. I like Erykah Badu, “Bobby” McFerrin, a number of jazz musicians. I like Max Richter, this is a composer who creates his music for films.
Q.: What would you like to say to your fans?
A.: I would like to congratulate my fans and all readers on the coming of spring. This is a wonderful time in everyone’s life. I think that every person feels a great surge of strength and positive emotions with the onset of spring. I myself am very happy about the arrival of this season. I want to wish everyone the very best, happiness, health and harmony, both with themselves and with the world around them.
I also want to appeal to fans and all readers of this interview with a request to help homeless animals. I am an active animal rights activist and this topic is very painful for me. I would like to call people to humanity in relation to animals.
Kamila Aliyeva is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Kami_Aliyeva
Follow us on Twitter @AzerNewsAz