She has one of the most prolific Eurovision songwriters backing her in Selecția Națională 2018, the same man who co-wrote Sergey Lazarev’s Russian entry in 2016 and Azerbaijani Farid Mahmedov’s “Hold Me” from 2013. Set to perform in Sunday’s Semi Final 1, will she be the one to finally give Romania their first ever win?
Can you give a short introduction about yourself?
I’m Hellen, originally from Constantza, Romania. I discovered my passion which is now my job when I was 6 years old. I attended my aunt’s wedding and I took the microphone and sang Celine Dion’s “My heart will go on (Titanic)”. I was really surprised of what I could do there on that tiny stage. After the wedding I knew what I was about to do with my life. Years passed, I was rehearsing daily and one day I wrote my very first song! So here I am, at the age of 25, composing and writing my own songs and being proud of my work. People can also search for the song “Fire” or “Never let go”, which is my previous Eurovision song from 2017.
Do you remember what you were doing when you found out you made it into Selecția Națională? How did you feel when you found out you were one of the artists to compete?
Yes, I do remember what I was doing when I found out that I will be part of the semifinals: I was in Baia Mare (a city from Romania) rehearsing with my band. I was singing one of my favorite songs when Călin Giurgiu, a friend of mine told me about this. I was extremely happy!
When did your interest in music start?
As I mentioned above, my interest in music started when I was 6 years old. This is my passion, my dream, my job and my aspiration in life!
What made you decide to enter? Have you ever performed to a TV audience such as Selecția Națională before?
I didn’t want to enter the competition this year, but a friend of mine, Călin Giurgiu connected me to John and Magnus who proposed a various list of songs to me from which I chose “From Underneath”, the song I will be performing. It was LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT! Yes, I did perform before in the following competitions: last year’s Eurovision, The X Factor (Manchester and Romania) and also The Voice.
How will the staging of your performance be like? Will we see just you perform solo on stage or will you be joined by other vocalists?
My performance will be simply amazing! I will be on stage with a pianist, 2 backing vocalists and a pair of dancers. Stay tuned and you will be surprised!
The song is written by John Ballard and Magnus Hyden, with Ballard in particular having a huge history of composing entries for Swedish band Ace of Base and lots of entries for ESC including Azerbaijan 2013, Russia 2014, 2016 and Greece 2017. Were you familiar with his previous work? How did the collaboration come about?
I knew about their previous work and I was thrilled to know that I was going to collaborate with them! The collaboration is the merit of my dear friend, Călin Giurgiu, who encouraged me to listen to their songs and enter the competition.
Are you a fan of the Eurovision Song Contest? When did you first hear about it?
I am a big fan of song contests in general. I first heard of the Eurovision Song Contest in 2004. I remember the competition took place in Turkey and the opening act was the incredible Sertab Erener! I so loved her voice and presence on that stage! In my family there is some sort of a tradition that consists in gathering in the living room and watching the Eurovision Song Contest.
Is there a performance from Romania that is your favorite? And is there any other performance that you really enjoyed?
I do have a favorite performance from Romania and a favorite foreign performance that I really loved: Luminița Anghel & Sistem – Let me try (Romania) and Jamala 1944 (Ukraine).
What about outside ESC? What sort of music do you enjoy and what music influences your performance style and motivates you to keep performing?
I enjoy soul, RnB, pop-rock and jazz. I analyze each style carefully and “steal” what I like from each style and artist.
What do you like to do when you’re not performing?
I love to travel, spend time with my sister, Miruna, (we do a lot of shopping!) and read books of psychology. I also enjoy meeting new people and making new friends as I am a very social person.
Are there any goals you have for the future? What are your plans after Selecția Națională?
I just want to make my voice heard. That’s all! I want to sing and put a smile on the audience’s face!
And finally, do you have anything to say to our readers at ESC Bubble?
Dear people from all around the world, thank you so much for your support! If you’d like to listen to my future projects, I invite you to visit my artist page and my YouTube chanel! You will find the links below! Also, don’t forget to listen to that part of me which I will be performing in the ESC! #FromUnderneath
Hugs and kisses from #Hellen!
If Hellen is one of your favorites in the first semi final of Selectia Nationala, make sure you cast your vote for her, and for two other acts in our poll here: