Believer, fighter, singer, dreamer, father and Samurai – these are the many faces of Joci Papai, Hungary’s representative at the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest.
Music definitely runs in the family of Joci Papai as his father was the leader of a big gypsy orchestra. No wonder that at the age of four Joci chose the same path when he first picked up a guitar, an instrument he did not let go of ever since. Joci Papai could have become a professional sportsman as he was playing basketball from an early age, but eventually he decided to pursue his dreams as a musician. His road to fame, however, was not an easy one: coming from a poor family he struggled to get recognised in various talent shows.
Joci's breakthrough came in 2005 and after he released his first album and was featured in numerous top-charting singles as well. Recently Joci Papai reshaped his musical style, creating an exciting and unique blend of authentic gypsy music and modern pop. This can be heard in his entry for the 62nd Eurovision Song Contest entitled Origo.
Things you should know about Joci Papai
What are the three most interesting aspects about your entry?
First, honesty. Second, the song is the summary of my life as everything in Origo is one hundred percent me. Third, this song is a blend of styles, it’s modern world music – electronic beats meet with Hungarian and gypsy styles, it’s an extraordinary yet finely balanced combination.
What are the three most impressive facts about you?
I'm very proud of being an honest person. Though I’ve had my fair share of struggles, I’m very emotional and I’m filled with love to the brim. I got so much love from my parents and this is so important to me – I wouldn’t be able to write good songs without inner peace and balance and I am forever in debt to my parents for this. I hope to pass that profound love over to my children.
Do you have a (lucky) routine before you go on stage?
Yes, definitely! I’m very close to God and he’s very close to me. Therefore I can’t get on stage without saying prayer. I can actually feel God’s presence when he is there with me on the stage which is the most extraordinary feeling – when I’m there I see everything absolutely clear, it’s like being in a slow-motion scene.
Why is the Eurovision Song Contest important for you?
I love Hungary and the unique Hungarian music. I’m the first gypsy to proudly represent Hungary at the Eurovision Song Contest and I’m grateful for having so many people behind me.