Monday, January 26, 2015

Belgium: Exclusive! Interview with Axel Hirsoux "Eurovision fans are absolutely amazing"

Axel Hirsoux (22.11.2014, Germany, Gloria, Cologne)
Axel Hirsoux won 2014 the national selection from Belgium - 'Eurosong' - with his emotional song 'Mother'. He represented his country at the Eurovision Song Contest 2014 in Copenhagen.

We had the chance to talk to Axel in Cologne on 22nd of November 2014 before he made his soundcheck for the EC Germany 'Club Event 2014'. Read our interview with him below to find out what he had to say...

Hello Axel, welcome to Cologne. I hope you had a save trip. 
Axel: Yes of course, it’s a short distance from Belgium via train. 
Is it your first time here in Cologne?
Axel: No, when I was a little child I was here with my family for the Christmas market. But It’s a long time ago. It’s my first time as singer here in Cologne. I love this city and with this Christmas decoration it’s just wow :-)
Yes but you are a bit too early here in Cologne, because the Christmas markets are opening on Monday, 24th of November...
Axel: Yes I know, but one is already open and I will go after my rehearsal. It’s the Christmas market next to the ‘Schokoladenmuseum’. I love Christmas time and I love the atmosphere on the streets. In Germany the Christmas moments are very important I think and in Cologne it’s just beautiful. 
Is there something else what you are planning to visit today in Cologne before the EC Germany ‘Club Event 2014’ tonight?
Axel: After the interview and the rehearsal I will go with a good friend and with Suzy to see the Christmas market. Than I will go to my hotel and change my dress for tonight and relax a bit. It’s not so much time for sightseeing this time. It’s different to the Eurovision time in Copenhagen, this time I have a bit time to walk along the streets and to see the Christmas market. It’s very relaxed and the organization is very good. 
It’s six month ago as you represented Belgium at the Eurovision Song Contest this year in Copenhagen with your song mother. If you look back these months, can you describe your feelings right now?
Axel: For me it was the first big professional experience as singer in my life. Everything gone by so fast. Between April and the beginning of Eurovision in Copenhagen it was not much time to make more interviews, more television, more promotion for ‘Mother’.  Finally I was on the stage of Eurovision, I have no regrets with my performance. I’m very happy with all. But in Copenhagen I was very tired.  I was one of the last chosen contestants for Eurovision 2014 in Belgium.  In this case it’s not much time for the promotion. I won in March the ‘Eurosong’ contest in Belgium and in April every day I did interviews and made promotion on television, radio… I had no time to sing my song on stage. So I came to Copenhagen and it was the first time after my victory in Belgium that I sung my song ‘Mother’.  As I arrived for the Semi-Final I was very tired and I had some problems with my voice. After Eurovision I haven’t sung for six weeks to take care of my voice. It was a medical problem. The Eurovision time and to perform on the big Eurovision stage was a dream. Well, if I had more time to relax and to take care of my voice before Eurovision in Belgium, maybe I would have been better in Copenhagen. 
If it would be possible, what would you change?
Axel: The background, definitely. As I saw my performance after Eurovision I saw a big stage, but my background was very sad. My song has a very positive message and is full of hope. The song has a big message for all.  On the stage of Eurovision it was just me and the dancer.  The background was not my choice. If I could change one thing, it would be my background and my dress and the dress of my dancer. My dancer was in a white dress and it was not possible to change. I think it would have been perfect with the Belgium version of ‘Mother’ with the lights etc. on the ‘Eurosong’ final.  If I sing ‘Mother’, now after six month of Eurovision, it is different. It is more intense and more powerful. You will see and hear it tonight. Now this song is very strong in my heart. 
In April this year was the ‘Eurovision in Concert’ in Amsterdam, which is the biggest promotional event before the Eurovision Song Contest will take place. On this event the the most of the contestants will meet each other for the first time. How was it for you?
Axel: It was very very stressed. Yes it’s true. It was the first time with the big fans of Eurovision and it was the first time with all the contestants. I thought ‘Ok, it’s my first time.. I will sing my song with all the other contestants.. Ok, take a deep breath..’. Oh it was a very great moment and I loved it to be a part of it. If I look back to Amsterdam, it is just amazing. The Eurovision fans are absolutely amazing. It was a very fantastic experience for me :-) I remember after the concert as people told me ‘Axel I love you song so much’.  The relation with the fans of Eurovision is amazing. If you have the chance to participate in Eurovision, you have the chance that people stay with you, not just for Eurovision. They follow your carreer and your steps. The Eurovision fans are still very very present for me and I thank them very much. For me Amsterdam was the beginning of Eurovision. 
What has changed in your life after participating at the Eurovision Song Contest?
Axel: As I came back to Belgium after Eurovision I took some moments for me and my voice. I haven’t sung for six weeks because of medical reason as I already said before. For a singer it’s very difficult to sing not for six weeks. After that I recorded my second single ‘Belissimo’ in summer.  But the problem was, that the people wanted to listen to ‘Mother’ and not my new single. I only sung ‘Mother’. If you are back after a ‘Dreaming Time’ from Eurovision it’s not so easy to go back to reality. As I came back to Belgium I thought ‘Where is my rehearsal? Where is the Eurovision stage? Ok It’s finished – and now.. what?’ In Eurovision you are in a dream, you are not in the reality. It’s a big show with a big stage and you speak to all countries every day.. After I arrived home I thought ‘Oh where is Conchita? Where is Suzy? Oh I’m alone..’ :-)  After some weeks I went back to the studio to work on my new single and on my album. 
You already released your second single ‘Belissimo’ and your next single with Camille is called ‘Because You Need Me’ will be out on 1st of December. Can you tell me something about the collaboration with Camille?
Axel: Camille is a little 10 years young girl and she was in ‘The Voice Kids’ in Belgium. She is an opera singer. If you are 10 years young, it is very impressive. She is a little girl with a big voice. The collaboration with Camille was an idea of my record label after ‘Belissimo’. ‘It is a good song, but it’s not a success in Belgium. The big hit for the moment is ‘Mother’.  After Eurovision I wanted to change the style. I’m not an opera singer and I’m not the new Pavarotti. I tried to change the style with Universal Music. I tried ‘Belissimo’, but the song is not really me. The vocals are powerful, but it’s not me. The collaboration with Camille is a little bit ‘Mother’-style with ‘Disney’-style, with Broadway-style and with Christmas time. It’s not a Christmas song. but it’s a good song for the end of the year and the Christmas moments. Well.. who knows, maybe you will listen the song tonight at the ‘EC Germany Club Event’?! ;-) It’s my surprise for tonight to sing this song alone here and it’s the first time to perform on stage tonight.  Work together with Camille was very intensive. I’m very happy with this song and the duet with Camille and I hope the best for the song. The single release will be on 1st of December in all countries, so I hope the best for the song. 

You said that ‘Belissimo’ is not really you and that you are not really happy with the end result. Why did you released the song if it’s not you? 
Axel: Well.. For me ‘Belissimo’ was a challenge after Eurovision. I didn’t wanted to waste time after Eurovision and I had no idea what to do. One day Universal Records send me the original version of ‘Belissimo’ in Italian style. It’s a cover of a Italian song. I listened the song and I liked it. But the most difficult thing with ‘Belissimo’ was, that at this moment I was in the promotion for ‘Mother’ in Belgium. A promotion for ‘Belissimo’ doesn’t exist. All the time I only was singing ‘Mother’ this summer.  I go to the television in November and again I sing ‘Mother’.  The TV show producer wanted ‘Mother’ and not ‘Belissimo’. The radio stations also gave ‘Belissimo’ no attention and the song is not played. 
Are you planning to perform ‘Belissimo’ tonight?
Axel: Yes, I will sing it tonight. It is the first time that I perform ‘Belissimo’ since I released the single. It’s a good place to promote my song tonight. 
Can you tell me something about the style of your album?
Axel: Well it will be more in the style of Freddie Mercury or Susan Boyle. I want to create my own style. I want that people listen to my album and they can say ‘This is Axel’s style’. I will take my time to finish my album and it’s planed to be released next year in March. 
You already have a title for the album?
Axel: No, not at the moment. The album will include more or less 12 songs. For now I have already three songs for the album. Universal is sending me every week more songs to listen and to think about to record for the album. It’s not so easy to chose the songs for the album. At the moment I don’t have a album title. Who knows, maybe it’s just my name – Axel Hirsoux. We will see :-)
What is the message from ‘Because You Need Me’?
Axel: The message from ‘Because You Need Me’ is a message of love from brothers and sisters. Camille is 10 years old so she is my little sister. It’s a message of love and hope. This is very important for the live of the people. It’s a message for the relation between brothers and sisters. Whatever you are going to do in your life – I’ll be there for you and you are there for me. 
In Copenhagen you performed ‘Mother’ in the first Semi-Final. can you describe your feelings as you realized that you didn’t made it to the final?
Axel: On the day of the Jury Final, one day before, I had not the feeling to be in the final.  Bud I had hope. I was there for Belgium, I was there to sing for my country. Eurovision is very difficult. After the ‘Eurosong’ victory in Belgium I was one of the favourites for the bookmarkers. In Copenhagen I had a feeling that I will be not in the final, but I did my best. On the day of the Semi-Final I wanted to enjoy the show and to enjoy the moment on stage performing ‘Mother’ for Belgium. It is just a game, it’s just a competition. Everything can happen.  I remember that I was very emotional on the Semi-Final. When I was singing ‘Mother’ I had my grandmother in my head. She died four years ago. I promised my grandmother before she died that if I go one day to a big stage I will sing for her. So this moment was very emotional for me. 

You made a cover version from Conchita’s ‘Rise Like A Phoenix’ and you shared it on Soundcloud. What was your motivation to cover ‘Rise Like A Phoenix’?
Suzy & Axel Hirsoux 
(Backstage in Cologne)
Axel: The story is that I recorded the cover three weeks before Eurovision.  As I recorded ‘Rise Like A Phoenix’ it was not that I sing the song of the winner. I sung it because for me is a beautiful song. It was not for Soundcloud, I only did it for me. After Eurovision I have seen a lot of cover of Conchita’s ‘Rise Like A Phoenix’ on youtube. I’m the contestant from Belgium, why not to post my cover.  I uploaded on Soundcoud and I was very surprised about the big reaction from the fans. I got so much positive reactions for my version. This song for me is my gift for Conchita, my ‘Thank You’ for Conchita. I love Conchita and we had so much fun together in Copenhagen. She is for me the best winner for this years competition for the powerful message for the people. Conchita Wurst is a very good singer and I really like the person Conchita. For me it was the first and the last time that I sung this song.
..means you will not sing it tonight?
Axel: No, it’s not on my setlist. I only sung once this song as I recorded.  Tonight I will sing a lot of French Eurovision classics. 

What about Euphoria? You also made a cover from Loreen’s winning song from 2012. 
Axel: Well, the difficult thing is if you are on a concert with other Eurovision artists – all of them have the same list. Some of them are singing the same songs. Suzy will sing ‘Euphoria’, she will sing ‘Rise Like A Phoenix’.. I have chosen for my setlist more French Eurovision entries. ‘Euphoria’ is not for me tonight. But I played the song in Euroclub in Copenhagen and it’s on Youtube :-)

What are your plans for 2015?
Axel: Plans.. Well.. For me I hope the best for my single, my album and the continuity for my career. I wish all the best to the new contestant for Belgium – Loic Nottet. I really hope that Loic will go to the final. I hope that Belgium will win the contest one day. Of course I wish all the best to all contestants for next year. For my private life I hope for the continuity to be happy in my life and in what I’m doing. I wish the best for all :-)
The contestant to represent Belgium next year in Vienna was chosen internally. What do you think about Loic Nottet? 

Axel: Yes it’s the same thing as with Roberto Bellarosa. I think it’s a good choice. Loic Nottet is a finalist of ‘The Voice Belgium’ this year. He has a great voice and is a great dancer. I hope that they will chose a good song and a good performance on stage for him.  He is a good choice for Eurovision and I think Belgium will surprise you for Eurovision next year.. :-)
Thank you so much for this interview and have fun tonight on stage of the EC Germany 'Club Event 2014'.

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