Caramel: “It is very important when the audience understands a song”

The Grand Final of A Dal 2017 is taking place tomorrow, where eight acts are competing to be Hungary’s next entry in the Eurovision Song Contest. Ahead of the final, we spoke to one of the four jurors – Caramel, who’s job is going to be to select the top four acts to proceed to the Superfinal.

Caramel spoke to us about his role in the jury, the key-things he looks into before giving his scores, what he learnt as a juror in this show, and how important is the feedback of the audience. Check out all of that in this interview:

Caramel, first of all, how is it being a juror in A Dal for the very first time, and to give comments to so many acts and artists in this show?

It is kinda fearful, but I’m honored to do it and to be a part of the jury. It is a tough job to turn our feelings into points, and because of this I think a lot about how many points to give, or who did I give how many points already. I try and keep track of all the points I gave already, it’s not simple, but we’re trying to do our best. I try not to hurt anyone with my comments and critics, and I hope it also came across like that.

There is a big variety of music styles in this show. How did you decide which songs should make it?

There are songs in this show which don’t fit in with today’s general pop music scene, but I think these songs should be appreciated and valued as well, and we need to show that this kind of music exists in the Hungarian music scene, and this is also quality music. I know that many of these songs aren’t maybe entertaining for the majority of people when they hear them for the first time, so we all just need to realize that this kind of music can also be entertaining, only in a different way. And we want to show that the Hungarian music scene really has a vast variety of genres.

What is the main thing you look into when deciding how you will score a song?

There are quite a few things I look into, but the most important one is the song itself. Of course, you can’t separate the song from the artist singing it, so sometimes we were scoring the artist and the performance a bit more in the previous shows, but now that it’s the final, we need to evaluate the song itself, which is also the name of the show. It’s not easy to separate the song from the artist, the visuals, the performance, as all of this goes together and has effect on all of us. Once all of this works perfectly together that’s when we know that it is what we are looking for. But the song itself, its lyrics, arrangements, are the essentials of course.

You already took part in A Dal before as a contestant, and now you are back as a jury member. Which ‘role’ was easier and more natural for you?

It was a lot easier when I was a contestant and when I was standing on that stage. Being on stage feels very natural to me. I’m a singer-songwriter, and I’m always happiest when I’m on stage. However, everything I’ve done so far successfully is probably the reason why I can sit in the jury of this show today, but yes – it’s a lot more difficult being a juror, because you need to pay attention to so many things. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, and I really pay attention not to do that with any of the contestants. From an artist and a composer’s point of view this is very useful for me to be here now, as I can now see the reflection in the mirror, and I feel that I have already learnt a lot. All of the acts bring a different thing to the table, and for example, even though I write my own songs and my own lyrics, the song that The Couple had in this competition has such beautiful lyrics and it has such a strong effect on me, that I would personally like to work with the lyrics-writer.

One of the finalists qualified twice thanks to the televoting during this show. Are you going to take this audience support into account when deciding on your top four in the Final?

This is not the most dominant part of my judging, but it is very important when the audience understands a song. There are songs in this competition which are not ‘understandable’ at first, and part of our job is to point out to these songs as well, if they are good, of course. But the feedback from the public means a lot, of course, and the public can also not just show us the way to go, but to say it this way – the public is never stupid. If the public really likes something, then we need to think about it, and if for example I don’t like it personally, I do need to take the public into consideration, and sometimes we all need to become the public and then understand why the song is liked by so many people. In the case of Soulwave, I understood why the public loves their song – it’s very clear, close to the people, it’s a nobly simple song with great lyrics. The lyrics have such good sense that make the whole thing fun, and even though musically it’s not the most electronic thing or the most trendy thing, but this exists and it is very popular. The guys also performed well, they improved a lot during the show, they were very energetic and relaxed, and they looked really good on stage. These feedback from the public actually make an artist even stronger.

What do you expect in the Final?

Well, the artists keep changing things in their songs and performances from one week to another, and make the show a lot more exciting, so it’s always completely unpredictable. For example, Joci played a ‘tertia’ with his violinist which made the whole act sound different and a lot more exciting, as in the heats in this small part it was just another vocal from the background. There were other acts, like Gigi Radics who told us during the show that they will do some changes for the final, and I’m really looking forward to seeing and hearing all of them. I really think that there will be many surprises for us all again.

Thank you very much for your time, Caramel!

Eight acts are competing in tomorrow’s Final of A Dal. Which of these eight is your personal favorite? Let us know by voting in our poll here:

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