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Farid Mammadov, representing Azerbaijan at the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest, finished his first rehearsal in the Malmö Arena. This is an impression of his rehearsal.
Farid, age 21, has effortlessly proven that he is one of the finest vocalists in Azerbaijan. To win the national final Farid provided a touching performance of the song Hold Me a very strong romantic ballad. The song is composed by Dimitrios Kontopoulos, who previously produced Eurovision songs for Ani Lorak, Sakis Rouvas and had 27 number one hits in Greek national airplay charts.
The main source of inspiration to Farid has been Azerbaijani music as well soul, jazz, and pop. He was raised on Mugham, a form of traditional Azerbaijani folk music and very complex vocal art. Meanwhile, since the age of eight Farid got engaged to the soul and jazz music, in particular Stevie Wonder. At his very first concert he performed Wonder's all-time-hit I Just Called to Say I Love You. He is also a talented songwriter. At the semi-final of the national selection Farid performed his own song Gel Yanima (Come to Me).
His competitive spirit is also shown in Farid's strong passion for sports. He enjoys participating in freestyle wrestling, which is regarded as the Azerbaijan's national sport, and Brazilian martial art capoeira. There is no doubt that he inherited sporting abilities from his parents. Farids mother was a silver medalist for the Soviet Union in gymnastics. Not to mention both parents are also into music with Farid's mum playing piano and his father used to sing and play keyboards in a rock band.
By the age of 21 he has already got a considerable experience as a member of many Azerbaijani legendary music bands, such as Eastern Stars (Şərq ulduzları) and Nightingales (Bülbüllər). Farid was honoured to work with such outstanding mentors in his country as Vagif Gerayzade and Aybeniz Hashimova before he became a mature solo singer.
Although it was his dream to sing for Azerbaijan, he previously had never participated in national selections to the Eurovision Song Contest, as he felt like the time was not right for him. Over the last few years he has developed his singing ability to the point where he was ready to succeed. Farid managed to win not only the jury vote in the final, he also gained the highest number of televotes from the audience during the qualifying rounds.
In autumn 2012, as many other finalists of the Azerbaijani national selection, Farid took part in the casting process for the new international music talent show The Big Stage (Böyük Səhnə). In the show top-rated songwriters, producers, choreographers and vocal coaches from Azerbaijan, USA, the UK, Greece, Sweden and Ukraine worked closely together to create a very special artistic environment for young performers with the only aim to polish their skills and help the emerging talents. There at the creative campus of the show Farid came to the Dimitrios Kontopoulos' attention - the composer of Hold Me. Dimitrios was impressed by Farid's charismatic performance, stage presence and vocal ability and composed the song Hold Me especially for him. In his own words: 'it was a perfect match of the singer and the song.'