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A strong voice for F.Y.R. Macedonia

15 May 2012 at 11:01 CEST

Kaliopi talked to right before her first rehearsal today. About her arrival in Baku, she told us: "The flight was the worst part, I always feel stressed when I have to fly. But the hospitality of the people is just amazing, they are so friendly, I've felt at home immediately. The next two weeks will definitely be great."

"I'm not nervous", Kaliopi said when she saw the stage of the Baku Crystal Hall on the TV screen in the back of her delegation's dressing room. "It doesn't matter how big your audience is, a stage is a stage, no matter if you are performing for 3, or 30,000, or 3 million people. You don't learn that, you are born for the stage. I've been singing since my early childhood, with a live orchestra, on many occasions. But you always show the same respect for your audience", she added.

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In Kaliopi's song Crno I Belo, which was sung completely in Macedonian language during today's rehearsal, classy ballad music meets rock, and this was illustrated well in the setting of the stage during today's rehearsal. On the background LEDs, the interior of an opera house was pictured. As soon as the rock part of the song kicked in, white moving spotlights were added to emphasize the increased tempo of the song.

On stage, Kaliopi was accompanied by musicians of both musical genres as well: There were violinists, representing the classical ballad parts, and a drum kit and electric guitars used during the second part of the song.

Kaliopi truly amazed the whole audience in the Baku Crystal Hall with her strong and expressive voice - her big experience with TV shows and concert stages definitely showed today! She performed in a confident and professional way, and while the technical crew was fixing a problem with the spider cam, she was even improvising unplugged with her band members!

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The Head of the F.Y.R. Macedonian Delegation, Meri Popova, started the press conference by greeting the press and by confirming that she has been enjoying her time in Baku, just like all other delegation members. "I think it will be a very great Eurovision Song Contest", Kaliopi added. "My song, Black And White, is a true story of me, you, everyone," she stated about her song.

Kaliopi had already been selected to represent F.Y.R. Macedonia in the 1996 Eurovision Song Contest, but her song got eliminated in the jury preselection. "It was sad not to be on stage back then", she summed up her feelings about her first Eurovision experience.

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She also explained that her Eurovision entry was written by her ex-husband, Romeo Grill. "I asked him to write a hit for me, a Eurovision winner. He just said: 'Yes, ok.' And when I heard the song for the first time, it made me cry, I thought - oh god, I love him. That's the story of the song."

Later on, Kaliopi sang an accappella version of the folk song So Maki Sum Se Rodila to the press audience, who gave her a strong applause in return.

Kaliopi also explained the meaning of the eyepatch she had been wearing on one of the official press photos made for the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest: "It means that even if you cover your eyes, you can still see everything - because we don't only see with our eyes, but also with our heart."