Markus Riva: ‘I think that people give up too easily these days’

The second semi final of the Latvian selection process “Supernova” takes place tomorrow live from Riga.

In this show, fan favourite Markus Riva will be trying again to become the Latvian representative at the Eurovision Song Contest, with his song “You Make Me So Crazy”

I have been lucky enough to chat with Markus for the last 3 years about his appearances and I was thrilled to see him back so we can pick up where we left off in 2018…

Markus, I am so happy you are back this year! This has been an incredible year for you, including your fifth album release at the end of September. How would you sum up 2018?

Thank you so much! I am happy and excited to be back as well! 2018 was a good year in general. I am happy that my album “I Can” came out. It is always very exciting to release a conceptual album and I really put a lot of my personal stories into that. It is my fifth album so far and I am proud of my work. Also, I did the second season of X Factor in Latvia (as a host), was an opening act for Rita Ora in Latvia, received my first Ukrainian music award and did 2 songs in Ukrainian, and recorded some great and successful tracks in Latvian and Russian too.

I was so pleased that you included some of your past National Final entries on your album, including my favourite, the title track “I Can”, how did you manage to decide the track listing?

“I Can” has a big meaning in my life. I wrote this song for my mother. She passed away almost 2 years ago and I wrote this song when I got the bad news that she has a cancer. But a lot of people have reached out to me with their own stories about the meaning of this song in their lives. This is motivational. And moves me. As for the other songs – they are all my own stories. I did not include “Dynamite” (Supernova 2017) in the album, though, I just felt that it would not fit in the story.

“Last Dance”, one of the new songs on the album got a rework in November and was released as a duet with Aminata Savadogo. We all lost our minds a bit as we were convinced that this would be an entry into Supernova! How did this collaboration come about?

I wrote Last Dance as a duet with Aminata. I got this idea in my mind. But because of bad timing, we did not managed to get the duet version on album. But luckily we did it after as a promo single. And I was so relieved that Aminata was saying yes straight away. I love the vibe of this song and the lyrics. It is a sad break up song. Like dancing with tears in my eyes. And I love the sound of this song. Thanks to Kaspars Ansons, who is behind of some other album tracks and of course Aminata’s songs too.

Let’s move on to your actual Supernova entry, the dance track “You Make Me So Crazy”. You’ve also released a version in Russian ” По венам алкоголь” (Alcohol in my veins). Was the song originally written in Russian? What can you tell me about how this evolved?

Yes, firstly the song was created in Russian, but I did not want to write a song specially for Supernova/Eurovision because it always gets you in a box somehow. But I loved the first version and decided to do that in English. It is a simple song, maybe lyrics are not too poetic, and I read that for some the song is generic… but I believe that sometimes you have to keep it simple. The vibe is different from my previous attempts and I am cool with that. I want to show a different side of myself and who doesn’t love a simple, catchy dance track? This year is going to be different.

You are also well known as the presenter of X Faktors, which has now finished it’s second season in Latvia. How excited were you to see that 4 of the finalists from season 1 are competing alongside you in Supernova this year?

I am happy to see them! All these TV shows are a great platform where you can show yourself especially in a small country like Latvia where we have only several big TV shows. It is great that they are moving on and using another stage to shine.

I ask you every year, and I think I know the answer, but are you still just as hungry for that Eurovision stage as you always have been? What keeps you motivated?

I am! If I wouldn’t be then you won’t see me in Supernova! My fans motivate me! This is the biggest motivation for me and the love and support that I get from them. I think that people give up too easily these days.

Your social media platforms are great for keeping me updated on your travels and achievements, of which there have been many in 2018! What is in store for you in 2019?

Thank you! Well, Supernova is one of them for sure. I have never been to Israel and I hope that this will happen! And Eurovision experience would be a really dream come true!
Also I am working on new albums in Latvian and Russian. And want to open new borders. And I will have a debut on a big screen in Ukrainian comedy “The Producer” this February.
So, I got a big plans and no time for beach and surfing and sipping coconuts … 🙂

Thank you Markus for your time, and we look forward to your appearance on the Supernova stage on Saturday!

Watch Markus’ entry “You Make Me So Crazy’ here, and stream it on Spotify here, which counts towards the public vote!

Vote in our poll for who YOU want to see qualify from this semi final into the Grand Final, which will be held on February 16th. ESCBubble will be live in the studio for the Final and will bring you all the exclusive content we can!

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