Latvia’s selection process “Supernova” consists this year of a one-shot final in Riga on February 8th, and we have 9 lucky finalists competing to become the Latvian entry for the Eurovision Song Contest in May
We chat today with one half of “My Radiant You”, Janis Driksna, who is competing as a solo singer under the name Driksna, with his song “Stay
Janis, welcome back to Supernova! We have not seen you here since 2017, why now and why as a solo artist?
Last time I took part in Supernova was 2017 with My Radiant You. We had a tough defeat and needed some time to recover ☺ I also had a bad fall at a BMX track the following summer which resulted in a severe head and neck injury and that put me on a side line for a few years.
I see that you were part of RigaLive songwriting camp, and in fact will be competing against one of your own songs in Supernova which was written there! (Katrina Bindere’s “I Will Break Your Heart”) How was that experience?
Riga Live has been a massive addition to developing young songwriters in Latvia.” I Will Break Your Heart” was written in one of the sessions with Katrina Bindere and Niklavs Sekacs. Katrina had asked me to write something fresh for her and to sort of push her out of her comfort zone, so we wrote the topline and lyrics and felt that this could work in Eurovision as well. I will be performing on stage with her on the 8th as well, so I am super stoked to have two songs in the final.
Also, you took part in the massive Charity event dod.pieci, along with many of Latvia’s best known artists (and raised nearly EUR500,000 for palliative care in Latvia) – that looked like a lot of fun!
Dodpieci charity takes part every year and most of the artists are invited to sing a song or share their story on the matter. I had a chance of co-writing last year’s theme song for the event called “Apskāvieni cik”. I am glad to see that people are very giving and always ready to chip in to make someone’s situation better. That is the way to go, we are put on this earth for each other and that’s all we have – each other.
The line up for Supernova 2020 is like a reunion of artists from the Final of Dziesma in 2014! We have yourself (8th with My Radiant You), Katrina Bindere (6th), Katrina Dimanta (1st) and Samanta Tina (3rd) – in fact Samanta’s song in 2014 had the same title as yours does this year, such a coincidence! How would you say that Supernova 2020 is different from that final 6 years ago?
Isn’t it a reunion every year? But yes, that’s quite some coincidence ☺ We had a chat about it since we know each other very well. Interestingly enough you also noticed it which makes you true Eurovision fans. But yea, all of us have matured, I think all of the final songs are better and stronger compared to 2014. I do think that “Going All The Way” was a hit that year, maybe the general public didn’t get it quite yet ☺
Supernova has a very different format this year from previous ones, there’s just one chance to perform live in front of an audience, live on the TV and via the internet all around the world! How are you preparing for it?
It has to do with the financing of this year’s event, however, it is a pretty cool way of doing it and I think the performers don’t get worn out as much, as often happened previous years. It takes the edge off a bit and lets you focus more on performing and getting ready for the final. At the end of the day it is about the song and singing it and less about the PR, at least I hope it is☺ I will have five backing vocalists on stage with me and our focus is a powerful execution of the song. I like the song a lot and I hope to do an excellent job performing it on the 8th of Feb.
You have spent a lot of time in the Netherlands in the past, do you know Rotterdam, the host city for Eurovision 2020? What can you tell us about your expectations for the contest, knowing the country as you do?
I lived in Amsterdam for about six and a half years. I love The Netherlands, It is a beautiful country and the culture is incredible! Two of my oldest kids were born there and we left a lot of friends behind once we moved back to Latvia in 2014. I have been to Rotterdam several times. It is more modern than Amsterdam and I really like it. We have very good friends living there that we still keep in touch with.
Knowing the Dutch culture I expect Eurovision to be organized to perfection and to be grand. It will have a lot of parties and deep-fried party snacks, good beer and lots of fun!
I see you as someone who nurtures new talent, especially with Latvian artists. You appeared with a songwriting credit in Supernova last year with the amazingly talented Adriana Miglāne, tell us about your work with new emerging Latvian talent
Once in a while I am approached by young artists to help them with songwriting and often I have written songs that need a singer. I love investing in young talent and it also helps me to stay in tune with the latest trends☺
Are there any songs that you have written for other people that you think, damn! I wish I had recorded that myself?
I have written songs for others that sometimes I think I would have loved to perform myself, I have even asked if they would be willing to give it back to me!
Finally, back to Supernova 2020. This year’s line-up is so strong! What are your thoughts about the chosen 9?
I love this years’ Supernovas line up. It has a lot of good vibes and each song is very strong and different. So, yea, good luck to all!
Thank you Janis for your time, and we look forward to seeing you on stage on February 8th!
Watch the audition video below, or you can listen to the studio version on Spotify here
Is “Stay” your favourite to win in Latvia? Don’t forget to vote in our poll below!
ESCBubble will of course be in Riga for the Supernova Final and will bring you all the latest news and exclusive interviews live from the studio.
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