Safura from Azerbaijan is just 17 years old. Tonight, she is the one to open the Eurovision Song Contest, when she performs her song Drip Drop as the first entry of the night. But she's not alone.
Reached 70 million people
The Azeri entry has been prepared by a huge PR effort. According to Michael Karlsson from Zapfire Group, Safura's Swedish musical management, the team has reached around 70 million people in their promotional work. But Safura won't feel the weight from the responsibility given to her.
“I don't feel the pressure, I adore my work so much and would love to do this all of my life. This is just a big pleasure for me. The big stage inspires me, and I adore the audience and their energy. When I'm on stage, I'm thinking about how many people will be watching. I'm trying to put my energy and my emotions to positive use,” she tells Eurovision.tv.
Safura has visited a number of countries on her PR tour in the weeks before the contest, and she has done telephone interviews with many more.
“Our song Drip Drop is now played in the highest frequency in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro, Russia and Ukraine,” Michael Karlsson says.
Tries to avoid nervousness
But the main concentration for parts of the last week has been set to something more elementary. Safura has practised walking with high heels. The Azeri team was long in discussion on whether they would use the very high-heeled shoe model that was eventually seen on TV in the Semi-Final.
“I wear high heels home in Baku all the time,” Safura explains, seemingly not too bothered about the discussion.
“The one thing that can destroy everything is nervousness and fear. Usually, I don't have it, and I will try everything to avoid it,” she says.
But during the last weeks, one of Safura's most common activities hasn't been standing on stage. The weeks before the contest have rather been very thick with interviews. But Safura doesn't complain.
“It's interesting for me with interviews, so I'm not very tired. I can't even remember how many interviews I've done the last couple of weeks, but I like everything about the Eurovision Song Contest, from interviews to being on the stage,” she says.
Aims at perfect performance
Safura feels that everything about the contest is new and interesting for her. But nevertheless, she has some experience from these environments. Previously, she won Pop Idol in Azerbaijan, and she was there for 16 weeks and rehearsed daily. In that time, she got plenty of experience from doing interviews and TV shows.
Today, Safura's aim is set to a bigger contest. But nevertheless, winning is not a word she wants to emphasize when describing her approach.
“My biggest goal is to represent my country in a good way. Of course, I want to win, but who knows? I will just do everything that I can to make my performance perfect,” she says.