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Germany's Malik Harris: a multi-talented 'Rockstar'

13 May 2022 at 15:00 CEST
Germany's Malik Harris EBU / Corinne Cumming
With family roots in opera and Detroit’s deep music scene, Germany’s Malik Harris could have gone in any musical direction. But when he picked up a guitar in his early teens and a loop station soon after, he decided to blaze his own path.
Malik Harris performing Rockstars, representing Germany in his second rehearsal at Turin PalaOlimpico EBU / Corinne Cumming

Malik has music running through his veins. His late grandfather was an opera singer (and he still listens to recordings of his voice on occasion), his grandmother is a pianist, and his father, born in Michigan, USA, raised Malik in a house where Motown and the Detroit rap scene were influential. According to Malik:

My dad grew up on Nine Mile, and Eminem was on Eight Mile! He was one of the first rappers I listened to, and now I listen more to NF, who’s also from that area. The scene there, with Motown and everything, especially for black music, it has so much deep meaning. Between my grandfather and father, the Detroit music scene is part of my genes, thankfully!

📺 Watch: Malik Harris – Rockstars (Exclusive Rehearsal Clip)

Malik’s appreciation for honesty and storytelling in music has deeply influenced his own songwriting, which he likens to a form of therapy. From the ability to harness one’s feelings to the catharsis of sharing your emotions with a group of like-minded people, the heart-healing power of song is something deeply important for Malik:

For me, writing down thoughts is where it begins. That alone has such an impact. As soon as you write things down there’s a physical manifestation of the thought, and it becomes so much more real. Step two in my songwriting process is turning those thoughts and feelings into melodies that evoke something. And then, you have to go and share those thoughts and feelings. Standing on stage and talking about things, it’s almost like a group session, where everyone shares their own stories. All of this together makes music feel like therapy!

Malik Harris, representing Germany, second rehearsal, backstage EBU / Andres Putting

The composition for Malik’s song for Eurovision, Rockstars, follows this process. A single line from a television show ended up inspiring a moment of reflection that blossomed into a song for Turin.

An episode of ‘The Office’ inspired ‘Rockstars’. There was a very deep moment when someone said ‘I wish there was a way to know that you’re in the good old days before you’ve actually left them’. That quote hit me hard andmade me realise how much time I spend thinking about the good old days and comparing myself to my younger self. As a child, we tend to live in the moment with no worries. I realised that I’ve grown up into this person who’s always thinking too much about everything, caught up in worries and doubts. I feel like we should see the good things here and now.

Interestingly, the big emotions evoked in Rockstars contrast with the close, intimate staging that we’ll see at the PalaOlimpico this Saturday. With carpets laid on the stage, instruments casually strewn about, and plenty of close-ups, the feel of the song’s presentation hits literally close to home for Malik:

I used to sleep in my studio where I recorded my music. I’d sleep on the sofa, wake up and see the piano and drum pad all around me. Being in the studio feels like home to me, so I wanted to bring that feeling to the stage. We found a way to do that here, and I couldn’t be happier! Standing on those carpets with those instruments around me feels great. It’s super-organic.

📺 Watch: Malik Harris – Say The Name (Eurovision House Party)

After two years of COVID lockdown, Malik is thrilled to not only have the full Eurovision experience. His pre-Contest itinerary stopped at pre-parties all over Europe, but he is also due to start a tour of Germany just days after the Grand Final in Turin.

For me, what made me the happiest is having contact with Eurovision fans. They’re so connected with everything and so passionate. It was crazy to go to these pre-parties in places I’ve never been before, step off the bus, and have people screaming my name ans singing my song. This whole journey has made me very humble, knowing there are people out there listening to my music. I love standing on stages and playing. Through COVID, that was taken away, but just now I’m able to do what I love again. It’s amazing, and gives you some rockstar vibes, for sure.

If you want to hang out in Malik’s studio lounge, feeling like a total Rockstar, be sure to tune in to Germany’s performance on the Eurovision Grand Final on Saturday 14 May.

📺 Watch: All 40 Songs Official Recap

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