Karmen Stavec is no stranger to the Eurovision Song Contest, she has watched the contest and had an interest in it from a very early age. Karmen has previously participated no fewer than four times in the Slovenian national selections. She was one of Vili Resnik's backing singers in the 1998 contest held in Birmingham and of course represented Slovenia in Riga in the 2003 contest. Karmen shares here with us why she is back in 2009 and her thoughts on the contest since she last participated.
Eurovision.tv : First of all, can you tell us what has been going on in your life and career since our readers last saw you in the 2003 Eurovision Song Contest in Riga? Have you released any albums? Is it true that you took a break altogether from music and recently made a come back?
Karmen : "After the Eurovision Song Contest in Riga 2003, I couldn't find the right will to perform anymore and just decided to do something totally different. So after that period no albums have been released, although I did still do some recording. But something resembling a come back happened just recently, if you could call it like that. I would prefer to call it enjoying myself in doing music, not the business of it so much."
Eurovision.tv : Reflecting back to 2003, the end result was clearly disappointing after you had been considered amongst the favourites to win in Riga. How was the result received by the Slovenian public upon your return? In hindsight would you have changed anything about the performance in any way?, Have you ever tried to develop a theory as to why your song didn't finish in a higher position?
Karmen : "Well, the Slovenian public really didn't take my quite disappointing result very well. Quite frankly I too would have wished for more, normally. But to search for reasons after everything is done is very unhelpful. In the end you come to see that there are actually no recipes for a 100% success guaranteed."
Eurovision.tv : Riga was the second time that you participated in the Eurovision Song Contest having being a backing singer for Vili Resnik in 1998 in Birmingham. How did the two experiences compare from being in the background, to being in the limelight as the main artist. What are your best memories of both Birmingham and Riga?
Karmen : "Definitely there is a big difference between being the backing singer and the lead artist. As a backing singer you are there to support the main artist, not to promote yourself. And for me it was a great experience to get to know the Eurovision stage from that point of view, although you can't compare it with the experience as the singer at the front! Anyhow I have only the best memories of both Birmingham and Riga, simply there are more of the good ones so I forgot about the 2 or 3 bad ones. But either way, if you're there as a performing artist, journalist, delegation member or just as a fan, the Eurovision Song Contest is a great experience, it's a world in itself, in this one week nothing else matters."
Eurovision.tv : One year after your participation in 2003, there were some vast changes made to the format of the Eurovision Song Contest, mainly being the two semi-final system where countries have to now qualify for the final. What do you think of these recent changes? Have you still followed the contest over the last 5 years? If so, did you have any particular favourite songs that stood out for you?
Karmen : "Normally I still followed the contest in the past few years after my participation in Riga. Well, I like changes because they are a good sign of development, or maybe the wish to become better or more appealing to the viewer of the contest. It doesn't matter if they are good or bad at that exact moment as long as the thought behind them was reasonable. Sure I have some particular favourite songs that stood out for me for several reasons. For example the winning songs or songs that finished in the first three in the last three years are in the group of my favourite songs, My number one from Greece's Helena Paparizou in 2005 ( I adored her since Die for You in 2001 ), Molitva, the Serbian winner in 2007, Marija was a great performer. I liked a lot last years Russian winner Dima Bilan and his song Believe, He's unbelievably charismatic, last year's Ukrainian entry Ani Lorak's Shady Lady ( loooved her! ), and I simply cannot understand what happened to Kate Ryan's Belgian song Je t'a adore in 2006 when it didn't qualify for the final."
Eurovision.tv : This is your fifth participation in the Slovenian national selection. What made you decide to return and compete in 2009? Are you in it to win it? Or is it more about a platform to launch a hit?
Karmen: "As funny as it may sound, it was just the song that persuaded me into trying again. After Riga, I decided not to do it ever again, but it was Rafael, the composer who convinced me with his trust in me, and I said to myself what the heck, let's try, this song deserves it! But I actually never expected the song would be accepted for EMA selection , because it's not what one would expect of me in a festival such as EMA. You know, we all have put a great effort in it to present it as well as we can, my choreographer is actually English and from London so we are looking forward to finally perform it on stage! To be honest this will be the first time for me participating at the EMA festival that I'm not feeling any pressure from anybody, no expectations. It's just me and my great team performing a song we strongly believe in. It will be just for the love of the game this time!"
Eurovision.tv : Your song A si želiš will compete in the Semi-Final of the Slovenian EMA 2009. Can you tell us a little more about what we can expect for the feel and style of the song, and it's meaning?
Karmen : "The song is about a guy ( person x ) who broke up with his girl ( me ), and is now sorry about it. And I'm asking him throughout the lyrics if he wishes to take back the words he had said. "A si želiš" means "Do you wish?" All the rest should remain a surprise..."
Eurovision.tv : The songwriting team you are now working with is different from the ones you have worked with in the past when attempting to represent Slovenia in the Eurovision Song Contest. Is this your first project together or have you been working on some collaborations for a while?
Karmen : " This is the first time I worked with the composer Rafael Artesero, and Gregor Bezenšek, who made the adaption to the song. What I like about this project is that everything happened just naturally and was very relaxed. I received the song in the summer of 2008 and everything else came together slowly."
Eurovision.tv : Finally Karmen, what would it mean to you personally to represent Slovenia once again in the Eurovision Song Contest? And whatever happens, how does the rest of the 2009 calendar look for you?
Karmen : "Well, let's not think that far ahead just yet, probably every contestant taking part in the EMA festival would be proud to present his or her country in the Eurovision Song Contest in Moscow. For me in music it's just go with the flow and enjoy it to the maximum."
Eurovision.tv would like to thank Karmen Stavec for taking time out of her busy rehearsal schedule to talk with us and wish her the best of luck in her bid to once again represent Slovenia in the Eurovision Song Contest.