Latvia’s national final ‘Supernova’ has reached the semi-final stage, and on Sunday 19th February, the remaining eight acts will be competing for four places in the final, due to be held on 26th Feb at the LTV studios in Riga.
Among those hoping to progress to the final (and indeed to Kyiv!) is Linda Leen. Linda took time out from her busy schedule, which includes promoting her new album (Digital Church – out now!) and tour, to share her thoughts with us ahead of the competition.
Linda, thank you so much for taking the time to speak to us. You have a new album out at the moment ‘Digital Church’, your first album for a while – how has the reaction to that been? I also notice that you’ve been nominated in the best song category of the ‘Golden Microphone’ awards for your last single ‘Beyond Velvet Skin’. You must be pleased with how things are going right now?
“The greatest joy for me is the fact, that I can finally say- THIS is my true sound, this is how I always wanted to feel like, when listening and performing my music. It is really satisfying and I’m very proud of it. I call it a pilgrimage of a chameleon, that has found it’s own true color. And the most important recognition for me is sold-out shows, where I can truly praise the music together with people. And it’s cool to be awarded by professionals time after time as well”
We LOVE the video for ‘Beyond Velvet Skin’, but it caused a bit of a stir with its sexy content. Did that reaction surprise you and are we likely to see a similar approach with ‘Who Is In Charge?’
“These are different songs. As all people are. And art is a whole of symbols that can be consumed, interpreted within different levels, usually- the level that one is ready to see. “Beyond Velvet Skin” is about blinding desire, that sometimes blocks ability to see what is behind surface, “exterior”, beautiful facade, a cry for wanting to be seen as a soul, understood. So the video was actually a good mirror for the same process in society. The scenes in the studio contained not much more or even less uncovered skin than in an average pop video, and only scenes with me playing an organ were filmed in the church. But we see what our mind acknowledges, so we see differently. And that’s the whole beauty of this world!”
What made you want to enter the Supernova this year?, Have you ever thought about it before or did it just feel right with this song?
“I have my new album out in Latvia and ready to be released internationally. All l I want is my music to live through the ears and hearts of people around the world! I want it to inspire them, to make them think, cry, laugh, love, enjoy themselves and be aware of their lives and choices. To be as much “here and now” as possible, to feel alive and strong. I feel all these things, when I perform live, bonded with the people in audience, so I see Eurovision as a good tool to reach a lot of my new like-minded listeners abroad. During the process of making the album, I had a vision about this song, so I just followed my intuition.”
So how would you describe the song ‘Who Is In Charge?’ in a sentence? Is there a message in the song?
“We are all a part of this world that is a home for different people, let’s be here for one another, even and especially if it takes to make a change in ourselves.”
What would it mean to you to win Supernova and represent Latvia at Eurovision in Kyiv?
“I believe that a success of a country (and Latvia really needs it now!) is built and created by the success of its individuals. The leaders, ice-breakers, who reach their goals and inspire others to follow their example- to be brave, to take risks and contribute to their country by doing what they always dreamed of, what they are the best in and what they’re designed for. So- my thing is writing and performing music and I want to do my thing in the best and bold way possible. To be internationally successful artist from Latvia!”
I first came to know of you (as would many Eurovision fans) following your collaboration with Brainstorm on their song ‘Reality Show’. Can you tell us about how that happened? are you still in touch with the band and have they offered you any advice on performing in the selection process and (hopefully) Eurovision itself?
“When we recorded the song, we all lived pretty wild lives and I was offered to take part in the recording through the car window, while I was driving home from my work in the radio station and they were heading to the studio outside of the city. Crazy! So I just turned around the car and I was on my way. A pretty real reality show! Now the drummer of the group is one of the judges, so we have to choose different topics for our conversations to stay loyal.”
What sort of music would you generally listen to?, are there any artists that have inspired you and influenced your sound?
“When I’m at home, I listen to the silence. When I drive my car, I listen to a classic music and opera. But I do spend a lot of time listening to new music as a part of my job. My latest record was influenced by late 60s, early 70s rebellious souls like Jim Hendrix, The Doors and their edgy guitar and organ sounds, gospel music, my all time favourite group and my music taste creators, since I was nine- “Depeche Mode”, Bon Iver, I listen to a lot of indie and electronic stuff, so all of that and personal experience made me sound like I do today”
Are you a big fan of Eurovision, and if so are there any particular songs from Eurovision that you have particularly enjoyed?
“I enjoy watching the show last few years as the quality level of the stage equipment, songs and performers has raised a lot! I think the most perfect song, personality and performance combination of all time for me so far is the Swedish wonder Loreen with ‘Euphoria’.”
It’s been a long time since Latvia’s only victory at Eurovision. What do you think of the other songs that have represented Latvia over recent years?, what would it take to get Eurovision back to Latvia in 2018?
“I don’t really see Eurovision as a competition to be honest. I see it as a world class show where countries can represent their current best pop artists who are ready for international music scene, career. So I hope that the winner of Supernova will be ready and equipped to use this as a first step!”
Do you have any other messages for your supporters and the escbubble readers?
“Peace, I love you!”
Thank you Linda. Congratulations on your qualification from the heats, and we wish the very best of luck in the semifinal and (hopefully) the final too!.
You can watch Linda’s performance of ‘Who Is In Charge’ from the first heat below. Viewers can vote online during the show, and streams on Spotify will also contribute to the result to make sure to check the song out there too!.
And you can listen to Linda featuring on Brainstorm’s (aka Prāta Vētra) hit ‘Reality Show’ here:
The semi-final will take place this Sunday (19th Feb) and we will of course be covering it live with our live-blog. So do join us to see how Linda gets on.