Ukraine’s Jamala reflects on historic Eurovision win
Days after storming to victory, the 32-year-old singer gives insight into what went on behind the scenes and how the victory is already changing her life
The 62nd winner of Eurovision, Ukraine’s jazz singer Jamala, reveals how her parents live in Russian occupied-Crimea and how music and politics don't mix.
What was going through your mind just before the scores were tallied?
-It is impossible to describe these emotions. I thought that Australia would be the winner and I didn’t think about the judge’s criteria or anything like that. I didn’t know that the score of the jury and the audience are the decisive in the contest. But I really wanted to win. I imagined myself holding this award. I couldn’t even think that I would be in second place.
How are Russian journalists treating your parents in Russian-occupied Crimea?
-My parents communicate with me every day, and now they just cry; even though they get a lot of compliments. Journalists from Russian TV channels sleep near our house ("Russia", "Moskva24", "Lifenews"). It is inconvenient; so my parents had to close the house and go to stay with relatives. It is really unpleasant. They refuse to give comments.
What was the dynamic like between you and the Russian singer?
-We were all united by music, but all of our thoughts were with the songs which we were going to perform. We forgot that we should not say ‘hello’. No, I have greeted with Sergei, I wished him luck, and he told me the same. He told me that this year is very interesting in terms of strong artist. Very cool singers participated in this competition, and Sergei was absolutely amazing. He had a slap-up room, cool song, everything was great, but they just did not consider that there would be stronger singers.
How do you feel about being awarded by the president?
-I said already that it sounds a bit ridiculous. This is funny. Of course, this is pleasant. Thank you very much, but I love Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston without any people’s regalia. I think that musicians and artists need to be popular. They must collect the large concert halls, yes. And this is just a medal, this award is very rewarding. But for me, nothing has changed. It is just touchy.
There were some claims that your song was ‘political’. What is your response?
-I was a little sad that so many people associate my song with some politics. For me, first of all, this is music. I put my heart into it. Politics take place in those cases when there are no feelings. It is on the contrary with the music, only feeling can tell. The words cannot tell, only the music can. It is like different poles: politics and music. This is not my direction.
How do you feel about getting a Russian citizenship since your home is in Crimea?
I have one nationality, thank you, I do not need another one.
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