Interview: Eurovision.tv meets Simon Mathew19 May 2008 at 15:21 CEST
You have been in Belgrade for approximately a week now. What are your impressions of the city, and what have you experienced since your arrival?
Simon: "Well, I have been experienced a lot! We have had two rehearsals, and besides that we have been out for dinner at numerous restaurants. We have tried out some of the Serbian food which consists a lot of cheese and meat. We have also been to restaurants where the food has been super delicious! And actually exactly this is what has been the most interesting here: going out at night, sitting at a restaurant relaxing and having fun, have a view over the river Donau. It has been amazing, and we also were invited to the residence of the Norwegian Ambassador by the Norwegian delegation. Here the Norwegian performers were singing, and thereafter we went out for dinner. Other than that we have been relaxing at the hotel, going to the pool and the gym."
At one point you have told the Danish press that you actually never have thought about participating in the Eurovision Song Contest. How come did you say 'yes' when asked by the songwriters of your entry?
Simon: "Mostly it was because of the song, but actually I was asked to sing another song for Dansk Melodi Grand Prix, which did not enter anyway. It was made by the Danish songwriter Remee. But then I was called and asked if I wanted to sing All Night Long. At first I was a little bit sceptic, but I listened to the song and decided that if I was allowed to come with my own inputs and sing it the way I wanted to sing it, then I would do it. We recorded the song twice, and then it was just as I wanted it to be!"
Your entry All Night Long is in English. The last 11 entries from Denmark has actually been in English. Why do you think that Danes tend to sing their songs in English instead of in Danish?
Simon: "Some people are capable of making Danish sound beautiful while they sing, but for my part I sing better in English. I do not know why other Danish participants have chosen to sing in English, but I feel that I express myself better in the English, and the English language has more words to choose from than Danish. I also feel that you reach more people by using English. But it would be obvious to do somehing in Danish, though."
Some people say that the Eurovision Song Contest is getting somewhat unpopular in certain European countries. Do you feel that this is happening in Denmark as well?
Simon: "Everyone smears the Eurovision Song Contest, but everyone is watching it! That is the way it is! It is not as popular as it once was, where you sat with your family, waving the flags and so on. The reason for this is that everything goes much faster today: all the time new artists appear in the music business, and then you get tired of them, and then new people show up! Moreover the Eurovision Song Contest has changed a lot over the last years. Now you see everything from pirates to a puppet on the stage! The whole thing is getting a bit peculiar and a bit weird, and I think a lot of people opt out because of this."
You have been taking an admission course for the Danish Police Academy. What will decide whether you will pursue this career or the one in the music business?
Simon: "I have always had the dream to do both actually. I have made a living of doing music in the past five years, but I have also had the dream of becoming a police officer. Therefore I decided to try both out even though that I was doing my new album, which is called All Of Fame and just released in Denmark last week. I really did not want to sacrifice any of the two options, but it has been a bit stressful I must admit. At the admission course for the Police Academy, I actually passed the written and the physical tests with very nice grades. But then I flunked the team test, and I got a bit sad and frustated. But then I knew the Eurovision Song Contest was coming up, I have released my new album, I am going on a tour when I get home and I got 80 jobs this year, so I will do all what I can to succeed in the music industry. But this industry is tough, and I also want to get a more stable and permanent job, so at one point I will probably do the admission course for the Police Academy once more."
In Denmark you have participated in several talent shows. What is the biggest experience you have had within this field of TV shows?
Simon: "First of all there was Scenen Er Din [the Danish equivalent to Star Search, ed.], which was the first one I participated in. More than 1.3 million were watching the show, and I won! It was a fantastic experience, and it was what really started my career. Thereafter, I participated in Vild Med Dans [the Danish equivalent to BBC's Strictly Come Dancing, ed.] where I had to dance, but I like to move on to new challenges! At the latest, I am participating in the Eurovision Song Contest, and actually I think that these TV shows are not comparable. But I would say that the Eurovision Song Contest must be the most major event that I have ever participated in. I mean, nothing can beat the fact that hundreds of millions will be watching the show."
In regards to the upcoming semi-final on Thursday the 22nd of May: How are the rehearsals coming along, and are you ready to face the large audience of the Belgrade Arena?
Simon: "Yes, my rehearsals have been great! At the first rehearsal you just arrive at the arena, and it is a bit stressful since everything has to go very fast because 43 countries need to complete their general rehearsals. But when you get on stage and look at the entire arrangement, you can't help getting very excited about the whole thing! Afterwards you go to the viewing room where you are able to change things [regarding the camera work and lights, ed.], and this is really cool because then it turns out the way you want it to. I am looking forward to the dress rehearsals to see how everything goes. Sometimes it is quite difficult to communicate down here."
Within the last eight years, Denmark has won the Eurovision Song Contest, been the runner-up and qualified twice for the final. How do you consider your own chances in the contest, and what is your expectations for your result?
Simon: "I have no idea at all! I am trying not to focus on this because it will just add even more pressure. But of course the most importing thing right now is to qualify for the final. Thereafter I will see what will happen. Right now I am focusing on my stage performance and what I want to express through my song to the audience. I do not want to do it the Eurovision way, if you know what I mean, but I want to do it my way and so it resembles who I am. If the viewers do not like that, at least I know I did not try to be someone that I am not. I am trying to maintain the things I stand for and not what is 'Eurovision' and what people expect of acts this exact year. It changes all the time anyway."
It was your birthday last Saturday. Congratulations! Did you celebrate that in any way?
Simon: "Yes, we celebrated that. I was waken up in the morning at nine o'clock, and the Danish delegation sang a birthday song to me. Then I got a present and went for breakfast. Then we had do to do some rehearsing, and after that at the press conference, the present people also was singing to me. That is something I have never tried before! Afterwards we went out for dinner and then to the Euroclub to see what was going on there. But actually I went back to the hotel quite early because I am trying to save some energy for the semi-final on Thursday."
Eurovision.tv would like to thank Simon Mathew to take some time out of his hectic schedule to talk to us. We wish him the best of luck in the upcoming semi-final. Check out the youtube link below for a personal message from Simon Mathew.