Yesterday, the second semi final took place, and Hungary along with 9 other nations qualified for the Grand Final of Eurovision that will take place on Saturday. Prior to his performance we were extremely fortunate to get an interview with the Hungarian reresentative Joci Papai and get his views, and opinions on the contest. Dressed in black, and appearing very casual he spoke to Andy from Eurovoxx via an interpreter. Here is what he said, and check the video out below:
The interview started with Andy trying to pronounce Joci's name, which he did very well. He was even complemented on it. He told us that he was having a rest day, as he has been so busy and needed it. On the rehearsals he said, "for the first rehearsal... you are not really used to something so immense and huge". He also added, " you really don't know if you ever again will have a chance to perform on such a huge stage, and that is something you have to process, on the other hand the most important thing for me is the sound itself and how everything sounds". He stated that he needed to get used to the sound, and when he did it was easier to convey his message to the audience. The song, and performance too was about giving something to the people.
When asked about the possibility of changing the staging from the A DAL performance to Eurovision Joci said, " it was very important to us that the visual didn't divert your attention from the stage", and that intimacy with Joci and the dancer are crucial to the performance. Andy told him that it is one of the only entries where a story is being told through the performance, and that he got goose bumps. Although, he doesn't understand Hungarian he can feel the passion of the song, through the voice and performance. Joci was very happy, and really hoping for that, and he seems the risks have paid off. Andy also complemented him on how he can feel the power and passion of the song through the lyrics, and the way it is sung.
When asked if he had any advice from any former Eurovision artists Joci said, "everyone of them said he should enjoy himself, and I shouldn't really feel stressed, or feel the pressure when I am here.... it is an easy thing to say if you have done this before that". In terms of reaction back at home, and fans around Europe he stated that it means a lot that people connect and feel with the song. "This is the best thing that could have happened to me to have international feedback, and people liking or loving the song without actually understanding the lyrics". It proves music can work even if you do not understand the words.
In terms of the community that Joci is part of in Hungary he believes, " I really hope that gypsies all over the world are proud of me, also on the other hand it is also a message that as a gypsy if you work hard, if you put in the work that needs to put in..... then you can try to fit in society... in my case i can be pushed to the front as a gypsy and represent my country". He stated he was very proud, and honoured. He is an inspiration to many people, of different or minority backgrounds. Joci really loved the fact that he was giving an interview to someone who really understands the message, of what he stands for. He can really feel that Andy understands, and appreciates this message.
When asked who is influences, idols or musical inspirations when he was younger, Joci said, "Prince, Michael Jackson.... going through different musical styles but liked harder music such as rock.... i was going through different styles, and now I'm trying to absorb these.... and mix them to make them sound unique". Joci stated he was copying other artists for a while, but he learnt that you need to find your own way between them, and your own identity between them.
When asked how he deals with pressure before he goes on stage Joci added, "I am really, really feeling the pressure building up which is a good thing, but on the other it helps me before I go on stage to be alone and pray. Prayer is the thing that clears my mind, and which makes everything so like I'm seeing through a looking glass".
The interview then ended with Andy wish Joci all the best. Here at Eurovoxx we love the song, love the genuinely nice humble man behind it, and wish Hungary all the best for the Grand Final on Saturday.
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