Intervju med Tysklands Malik Harris

Foto: (c) Anna Maria Boshnakova

Tyske Malik Harris er 24 år og kommer fra Landsberg am Lech, 65 km fra München. Han startet tidlig med musikk, og for en måned siden ble det klart at han skal representere Tyskland i Eurovision Song Contest 2022, i Torino.

Malik vant finalen av Germany 12 Points med sangen Rockstars, som ble en meget minnerik kveld, også fordi tidligere Eurovision-vinner Jamala fremførte sangen 1944, bare dager etter sin flukt fra Ukraina.

Vi har fått anledning til å stille den tyske representanten noen spørsmål og her kan du lese hva han har å si om sangen sin, møte med Jamala og Eurovision-deltakelsen:

We know that you come from a very musical family, but when and how did your musical journey begin?

– Yes, I was lucky enough to grow up in a super musical family where there was always great music like Michael Jackson, Queen or Alicia Keys playing in the background, so at some point I just started singing along and realized how much fun it was to play around with my voice. When I was around 12 years old I bought my very first acoustic guitar because I wanted to not just sing my favorite songs, but to play them and try out my own versions of those tracks. Right after that I wrote my very first song and when I was around 15 or 16 I was able to play guitar, piano and drums and started playing small shows in bars and clubs all around my hometown. At one of those shows, while playing in front of like 10 people max, I was discovered by my now manager Robin, and from there it all went super fast. I played shows alongside artists like James Blunt, Tom Odell or LP, my songs started being played on the radio and last year, I released my debut album ‘Anonymous Colonst’.

Your song ‘Rockstars’ seems to have a very personal message, as well as being very appropriate for the current times in Europe. Can you tell us about the story of your song, how it came about and also what it means to you?

– I’d love to! ‘Rockstars’ is about the ‘Good Old Days‘ of my childhood and youth, those lighthearted, mindless times when being happy was so much easier and I never had to deal with real problems. I realized that we all somehow leave those times behind at a certain point and get caught up in thoughts, doubts, our everyday lives and so on and so on.

I wrote ‘Rockstars‘ after watching an episode of ’The Office’ and hearing this quote: I wish there was a way to know you’re in the Good Old Days – before you’ve actually left them.’ That moment was so intense for me, I immediately started writing this song because I realized how much time I spend in the past, longing for those ‘Good Old Days’ and that feeling of lightheartedness to come back.
I’m also trying to remind all of us through this song that we should stop always looking for the good old days in the past, but rather try to find them in the present, right here and right now and in every moment, because they actually never really stop – we just have to change the way we’re looking for them.

Foto: (c) Anna Maria Boshnakova

In the national final you had a very stripped down performance, alone on stage with your instruments. Will you keep that vibe for Turin or are you planning on making any changes?

– There will definitely be some changes concerning the setting – I can’t tell you too much yet but what I can say is that I’m going to keep things stripped down and as intimate as possible because I think that’s just the way this song and the message is supposed to be represented. I’m also going to be alone on stage with my instruments using my loop station again because I just love to perform like that – I’ve always done it that way, it’s simply the way I play my songs live, but the whole setting around that will definitely be a real level-up compared to the national final and I can’t wait to show everyone 🙂

Did you get to meet Jamala and talk with her? If so – how was that experience for you?

– We only said hello and had a brief but very intense moment for me, even though we didn’t speak much. I felt like with everything going on, the whole evening was a lot for her and I wanted to keep a respectful ‘distance’, but it was an honor to meet her and to watch her mesmerizing performance.

Jamala fremførte sin vinnerlåt fra 2016 i den tyske finalen, den 4. mars 2022.

Eurovision is known for celebrating diversity and bringing people together, from all over the world. How does it feel working towards a Eurovision participation when so many are affected by the heartbreaking situation in Ukraine?

– It’s not easy to be honest. At some points I feel very overwhelmed by this whole situation but the thing that gives me hope right now is knowing that the whole democratic world stands with Ukraine. It’s the first time in my life that we are ALL on the same page and I think it is important to show that and to let the people in Ukraine know that we’re on their side. That’s why I’m very happy to be a part of an event that brings the whole European continent together to let them know exactly that.

Do you think Eurovision has become even more important now, after the past few years and all that we have been through?

– Definitely. What I’ve always loved the most about Eurovision was that it has always been the only constant thing that managed to bring this whole continent together for an event full of harmony and peace, and that is now more important than ever in my opinion. Not just for the people in Ukraine, but for the whole world that is living through a very scary and painful period of time.

What is your first memory with Eurovision? Any favorite songs/moments?

– My first memory is definitely Lena’s ‘Satellite’ performance. I remember 13 year old me dancing in the living room to her amazing show. My favorite song is Duncan Laurence’s ‘Arcade’. I love the simplicity of his performance, the fact that it’s just one man playing the piano and telling his story without any distractions made it so intimate and raw and I really loved it.

Are you planning on going to any of the pre-parties before May? Or are there other plans for promotion?

– Oh yes for sure, I don’t want to miss any event! Especially after covid, I’m super excited to have the chance to go to other countries and play my music in front of actual humans again and meet new people. So I’ll try to go to every single pre-party!

Videoen viser litt av Maliks opplevelse da han dro til Stockholm for å opptre på Melfest weekend 2022.

What are you looking forward to the most about your time in Turin?

– Meeting all those lovely and passionate Eurovision fans, enjoying the live shows of all the amazing artists and of course standing on that huge stage and sharing my most personal song with the whole world. I can’t wait for all that!

And finally. Do you have a message for all Eurovision fans out there?

– Well, in light of what’s happening in Ukraine, I can imagine how many of you are feeling right now. These are very scary days and if you’re anything like me, you probably feel a little overwhelmed and powerless sometimes, but I think it’s important for all of us to remain hopeful, let our voices be heard, trust our democratic systems and partners and stand together in unity with the innocent people of Ukraine who are under assault right now. I pray for those affected by Putin’s irrational and horrible actions and hope you all out there stay safe. Love you all.

Vi takker Malik for mange fine og kloke ord, og for at han tok seg tid til å svare på våre spørsmål. Hele team ESC Norge ønsker ham lykke til videre på sin musikalske reise!

Vil du se hvordan han reagerte da han fikk høre det norske bidraget for første gang, så kan du se det her.

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