As Supernova gets underway with a bang in Latvia, this weekend’s second semi final sees the appearance of new artists, as well as the return of some fan favourites.
One of the new artists featured is Ritvars, with his song “Who’s Counting”
We caught up with Ritvars to chat about the music scene in Latvia, how he ended up in Supernova and the heartbreaking story of his song:
Your song is called “Who’s Counting” and the lyrics reveal it to be a true love story to your son. What can you tell us about writing this song?
It was a few weeks before submission deadline many things came together, at that point I had just made a decision to recall my claim of access rights with my kid in the court. I had a lot of mixed feelings and emotions I had to deal with. So my guess is that it was just a way of getting it all out, it was Sunday afternoon, I was playing around on the piano with some motifs that I had in my head and there it was over a course of a few hours the song just appeared. Although it may sound like a cliche – I was sitting there and crying when the lyrics and the melody came together. And I’m not really ashamed of it. The whole back story of the song is about trying to reconnect with my kid, encountering some heavy obstacles and figuring out the ways of dealing with them in the best way possible. It is not about blaming someone or something, it is about accepting the fact and still not losing hope.
I understand that you are an IT specialist, alongside your songwriting, that’s quite a mix! Is music your priority?
I would argue that it’s even more interesting, I am a communication manager within the field of IT, I am also a voice actor, I have been doing it for over 5 years and in 3 languages, and I have a law degree. And then there is music, that I have this love and hate relationship with. I have always had a dream about a career in music, but at the same time I have also moved away from it because of some mundane reasons, like it’s hard to make a living, I was not focused enough when I was younger, etc. I have studied it for a brief period, so i do have a very basic knowledge of harmony and music theory, I can play some basic stuff on the piano and I can sing (if I try very hard:). Is music my priority – my priority is my family, that is a lesson I had to learn the hard way, but now I know it. Music is in the top 10 for sure 🙂
Whilst researching for this interview, I’ve not been able to delve much into your back catalogue of songs – what can you tell us about your musical background?
No wonder you couldn’t find much, because there isn’t much to find – to be honest it is the 3rd song I have ever fully written, there are a gazillion ideas I have, but only 3 songs that are actually fully written. And only two of them are recorded in a studio. I have had some formal musical education and I guess that is the fact that has enabled me to actually write something structured and understand on a very basic level how music works. And there’s also a thing that is often forgotten called collaboration, my musical experiments are brought to a totally different level thanks to some amazing musicians I have had the chance to meet and get to know. There is this group of musicians Persian Records, who really gave a different sound to the song. Unless you are Jacob Collier – you need some other musicians around you with more opinions and skills.
How are you planning your Supernova appearance? Do you have anything you can tell us about how this will be performed on stage?
It will be simple, the song is very subtle therefore it would feel wrong to make a spectacle out of it. I don’t think there is a need to overcomplicate it or make it into a grandiose show. We are sticking to the rule of “Less is More”
And what about after Supernova? Any plans for musical releases or tours?
To be honest I didn’t think the song wold actually get through to semifinals, so as for now there are no plans for tour. And the song itself is a rather intimate statement, that I think belongs in rather intimate setting. But you never know, we will see how things play out.
Do you have any history with the Eurovision Song Contest? Is it something that you always watch?
The history is rather odd, I don’t watch it often, I have been submitting songs for a few years, because I found it was a good way for me to make myself focus on writing a song. In some way it was similar this year, I wasn’t sure I would be able to write something, but it kind of happened a few weeks before the deadline. And on the other hand I don’t have a TV so it’s not that I have something against Supernova or Eurovision it’s just that I don’t watch TV. On the other hand Eurovision Song Contest is absolutely a phenomenal event, the idea itself is bold and fascinating. So many countries coming together to showcase their popular culture, it is amazing. Also I believe that last few years have sort of hinted how open minded and progressive the whole community actually is. And it’s great.
What are your feelings about the music scene in Latvia at the moment?
The musical scene in Latvia has some amazing musicians, I have to mention people participating in Supernova to start with, there are some brilliant talented people there, and then there is the scene of classical music, I mean there are names like Maija Kovalevska, Kristina Opolais, Marina Rebeka, Elina Garanča, Iveta Apkalna, Mariss Jansons, Andris Nelsons, Gidons Kremes and so many more, it just shows how deep the musical tradition is. Then there is the Jazz scene, with people like Deniss Pashkevich or Maris Briezhkalns building a jazz scene in country as small as Latvia (it’s a tough work) just so that there would be options for young musicians to perform and learn. Pop music wise I guess BrainStorm is the only band that has cracked the boarders and gained some very significant international recognition, some potential there. I hear a lot of people saying that nowadays the music is not what it used to be in the “old days” and to a certain extent that is true, the role of the music has changed and it has become a form of entertainment rather than a form of political/cultural statement, that is how it feels here in Latvia. So I guess that our next big act will move across this threshold and maybe it’s going to be the act that attracts some international spotlight. And even if it does not, it’s still fine, because music is a form of self expression and self healing in the first place, and it is great if people just come together or play and sing alone as long as it makes them feel better.
Thank you so much for your time Ritvars and good luck for Saturday!
Watch his entry “Who’s Counting” here
We will be live blogging the second semi final here at ESCBubble on Saturday 10th, join us at 2025CET as we take you through all 7 entries and find the 2 qualifiers for the Supernova final on February 24th! And if Ritvars is one of your personal favorites in the second semi final of Supernova, make sure you cast your vote for him, and for one other act in our poll here: