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Poland: Blending opera and pop into something that's all Ochman

09 May 2022 at 15:00 CEST
Poland's Ochman - WIDE EBU / Corinne Cumming
Combining pop structure and operatically-trained vocals, Ochman and his dramatic song 'River' are truly one of a kind.
Ochman from Poland prepares for first rehearsal EBU / Andres Putting

Like so many artists, Ochman is very much a product of his upbringing. He’s the son and grandson of musicians whose experiences span multiple genres. Their influences have been absolutely invaluable to Ochman as he takes the family’s musical heritage to the next level:

My grandfather Wiesław Ochman is, in my opinion, the greatest operatic tenor in Polish history. He’s my family, but he’s also my mentor. We had classical music around all my life, even while I was in the States and he was in Poland. But he’d visit and perform…I’d spent a lot of time going to operas with him. My dad, Maciej, also opened me up to rock, since he was in a Polish rock band called 'Róże Europy’. Without my family and their suggestion to move to Poland to study, I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing.

After graduating from high school in the United States, Ochman relocated to Poland to continue his classical vocal training, with the techniques that he’s learned over the years blending into other genres, as well.

My career moved forward more when I moved. The whole idea of the move was for me to improve as a singer and grow more comfortable on stage. I want to sing until the day I die. In order to achieve that, it has to do with singing technique. It was really important for me to have someone to meet with, and my professor, who’s been such a mentor to me, has been taking care of my voice and my path. For me, classical singing is the healthiest form of singing for me, and I’ve found this in Poland.

Ochman comes to the stage in Turin with his classical-crossover pop ballad River, which delves into some deep emotional places. The dark, dramatic staging that we’ll see at the PalaOlimpico brings in camera effects, intense lighting, and the inclusion of four dancers, symbolic of the dark waters that can swirl around our thoughts:

The dancers are posing as demons, since the whole concept of the song is about getting to this moment of inner peace, and trying to get away from all of the noise that’s in our heads. Those characters represent all of the demons we face. Stress, anxiety…we tend to stress about things that haven’t occurred yet. You kind of argue with those thoughts, but the song is about finding this moment of calm, taking a breath, and getting us to where our lives will lead to.

Ochman, Poland, First Rehearsal, PalaOlimpico, 3 May 2022 EBU / Nathan Reinds

As for Ochman’s plans for after Eurovision, the 22-year-old will return to the studio and go out on the road to meet his fans, many of whom have been supporting him since his victorious run on the eleventh series of The Voice of Poland, where he was mentored by Eurovision 2016 representative Michał Szpak.

After Eurovision, I’ve got concerts planned! I released my first album in November and I’m already working on my second. I’ve got an EP that I’ll be releasing right before Eurovision. There’s lots to be done, but I’m ready for it!

To experience Ochman’s unique blend of modern pop and classical opera, be sure to tune in to the Second Semi Final of the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest on Thursday 12 May.

📺 Watch: All 40 Songs Official Recap

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