In an exclusive interview with EuroVisionary, Marlain Angelides talks about her experience in Jerusalem and why she has come back for more. She tells us about the song she has entered in the Cypriot final this year, and gives her opinions about some of the new rules.
Welcome back. Why have you decided to enter the Eurovision Song Contest again?
Hello! Although I have lived in the UK and am aware of the general view on the Eurovision, where I come from it’s a big deal. Mostly as a promo vehicle for local artists. But I see it as an opportunity for artists from smaller countries to show their work on a massive international scale. It is also an amazing experience and I would love to go through it again as an experienced professional now. I also think that the Eurovision is a great night of fun for millions of people, an opportunity to feel ‘united’ in some way and to support those we may never have supported under normal circumstances. So whatever happens, I will definitely be a part of that this year, either from Moscow on stage or from my sofa in Athens!
No doubt you were disappointed when Tha’nai Erotas 22nd.
Disappointed would be an understatement, I think. I was incredibly upset, I was too young and inexperienced and had felt a tremendous amount of pressure. The responsibility felt like a huge weight.
Immediately after the 1999 contest, could you see yourself entering the Eurovision again?
No, I did not see myself in the competition again. It was many years before I could even watch my own performance and remain objective about it. I don’t think I watched it for at least 3 years. Talk about trauma over a song! The funny thing with time and life experience is how much they change you and the way you see things. It now seems silly that I reacted that way, but I guess it was necessary for me to move on with life. It obviously is no longer about pressure, but about enjoying the experience and doing the best you can for you and the country you represent. And to show them back home how much fun it can all be.
Tell us about your career since then.
That would be spanning a ten year period huh? My complete biog is posted up on my Facebook profile, if anyone is interested in details. What I would like to say here is that I have spanned through professional Musical Theatre, tours, NYMT and West End in London, jazz tours and session singer gigs whilst in the UK. Moving to Greece as a member HI-5 the POPSTARS female pop band for 2 years and then joining various underground rock bands and playing the club circuit in Athens have all taught me who I really am. I started writing my own music as a result of all this experience. And I just have a lot to say. I don’t call myself a ‘singer’ anymore because I don’t just interpret other people’s songs. I have done that, and I still do, to make a living. But who I am is now a new thing. I am not sure if I can give myself a title. I just know that it is great to be here.
In September, you won the Pan Music Festival in Serbia. How did you become involved with the festival?
They approached me, in fact, having been onto my space page www.myspace.com/marlainangelidou. They wanted an artist from Greece who was well rounded and original. I was surprised, because I no longer feel I fit into the ‘pop’ category but they liked what they heard. It was definitely a different sort of experience as it was the first time that something of my own creation was exposed on an international level.
How is the Pan Music Festival different to the Eurovision Song Contest?
Well, for one it is smaller, broader than just Europe, and the selection is made based on the artists themselves. Other than that it is pretty similar, jury, televoting and all!
How would you describe Mr Uptight One Night Stand, your song in the Cypriot final this year?
Well, the title is now MR (DO RIGHT) ONE NIGHT STAND. It is a hard rock song, I would not even say pop/rock…too many guitars and no real ‘pop’ melody! The song mostly comments on how our society no longer connects emotionally but communicates on a superficial level. It’s not really gender specific as it could go either way (except for the word Mr)… It was the newest song I had written and I just thought that if it is ready in time, I will send it. It fit the 3 min limit! I actually never thought they would pass it through to the final. It is kind of ‘risque’ in its outlook, I guess. CYBC requested a change in the lyrics as a result, but passed it through. You will hear a ‘softer’ version lyrically on the 7th Feb.
Every year, it seems that there is an increasing importance placed on the presentation of the song. How important do you think the stage presentation is?
Well, coming from a musical theatre background I love and appreciate the ‘staging’ of a song. We live in a visual, media driven world. It seems natural, therefore, to assume that people will be drawn in to the visuals. But I also believe that nothing beats truth and honesty. Somewhere in the hype a truthful performance will mean something to some people. I believe that if one can touch even a few people with what they have to say then they have won, regardless of their final position on a scoreboard!
Can you tell us what we can expect on stage when you sing Mr Uptight One Night Stand?
I can reveal only that it will be performed by MARLAIN AND THE DIESEL SISTERS. Rock song….sisters…hmmmm?
What are your plans for the rest of the year?
I am still working alongside Michalis Hadzigiannis as I have been for over a year on tour and various appearances. I have so many plans and dreams it is crazy! I will be visiting the USA again on professional matters as well as hopefully releasing greek language material in Greece. It’s all nearly there after much hard work. Ask me again after 2-3 months!
Do you think the re-introduction of the jury is a good idea?
Yes I do. I applaud the EBU. I wish it held for the semi-finals too. With so many countries and ‘opinions’ a jury vote may even out the playing field, at least a little.
Which question that I haven’t asked you would you like to ask yourself and what would your answer to it be?
I just wanted to say to all those who have sent me messages over the years and have been so supportive to me, THANK YOU. Honestly! It is weird for me to think that people still feel warmly towards me since ’99 and I am grateful to them. Whatever happens, have fun in Moscow…