Moldova’s national selection for the Eurovision Song Contest – O Melodie Pentru Europa, is taking place this weekend. A total of 20 acts are going to compete to represent their country in Rotterdam. One of the 20 finalists is a duet between Julia Ilienko and Mishel Dar, who are competing with the song “Tears” which was written entirely by Mishel.
We had a great pleasure to chat with Julia and Mishel about their entry, their music careers so far, their plans for O Melodie Pentru Europa, and a lot more. Check out everything they told us in this interview right here:
Hi Julia & Mishel, and thank you for taking you time for ESCBubble! First of all, how was your reaction when you heard you will be at O melodie pentru Europa 2020?
Mishel: Omg! That was just OMG! Yeah, we prepped a lot, rehearsed, worked on the vocals before the auditions but didn’t think about any finals at all! There was some kind of suspense as well as we didn’t know if there would be any final! So first after the live auditions we learnt about the final and second about us qualified for it! That was just so exciting!
Julia: I’m a perfectionist and really self-demanding person! It’s about everything actually: school, creative part of my life, everything! Truly I didn’t like myself at the live auditions! I know I can do better! So when I found out we’re in the Final I’m not going to conceal I was confused and really touched! Now my manager is blackmailing me with the video where I’m crying! It’s all about tears in everything lol
How long do you know each other for, and how did you come to the idea to collaborate together in a song?
Mishel: We’ve been friends and song partners for more than half a year now. The idea to collaborate came up when I finished the studio solo version of “Tears” as the tribute to Avicii and then when I started to think about a female child or teenage voice inside of the song Julia showed up out of the blue and worked her magic on the song! All the process connected with the song is real magic, everything just came in its place like a fairy-tale: the images, music video, our forefathers’ calling, the lyrics, the melody as if some kind of force guided us right from the start!
Julia: I put faith in my own Willy Wonka’s “golden ticket” just right after one of the international festivals where I sang “Turkish Hope”. Where I was spotted by the recruits of a new promo agency and my parents signed the contract with them. After a month Mishel messaged me in IG Direct, he was shown some of the songs I covered. It’s a dream come true and the song I fell in love right away!
What made you decide to enter in the contest?
Mishel: Right after we shot the music video “Tears” turned into something much bigger and serious! The song exploded in new vocal colors thanks to Julia and the whole project concept of returning to ourselves, being strong just made us take the next step and that was entering the contest!
Julia: There are not so many chances for young artists in Moldova if we talk about the promo. When “Tears” came out a lot of people got curious about whether we were going to take our chances at Eurovision. I was not sure and didn’t give any positive answer but as it turned out my team planned it since the very beginning, the moment the song was written. This is so exciting! Not only witnessing the whole creative process but watching how everything works inside, becoming a part of the story!
Can you tell us about your song for O melodie pentru Europa, what it is about?
Mishel: This is the song about all of us children pure and naive, open and fragile, real US! We’re not afraid to cry if we want to or laugh out loud with no turning back! This is the song about our searching for the place under the sun being our real selves till the end and no matter what! This is the song about who we really are, where we find our voices, forget and leave these tears for good!
Julia: For me besides that global message this song is also how to find my voice in the adult world. Remember in “The Little Prince” “Adults never understand anything themselves and for children it’s really hard and boring to explain every little thing all the time non-stop”? Thanks to Mishel I found my personal guide into this world and the opportunity to give them my point of view in a heartbeat! 😉
Why do you think your song would be a good choice for Moldova?
Mishel: Because this is the song about all of us when we cry and when we laugh, it’s our real truth inside we keeping too close to our hearts, it’s our never ending quest for our real selves and us always staying children till the end! We guess the idea is really close to Europe and can successfully resonate with everyone! This is the real story of us living our lives with the only purpose: to finally find ourselves someday! All the tears must be heard and left for good! In this song we also share the idea of helping hand all over the world to make all our dreams come true!
Julia: Seriously did you hear the “Tears”? I’m very biased but I think it’s just perfect for the contest! We would like to represent the country because there’s nothing like walking on the red carpet at the Opening Ceremony carrying the flag of your country!
How will be the staging at O melodie pentru Europa 2020? What can we expect from your performance?
Mishel: Well, we’re not going to reveal all the secrets about the staging but we can definitely say it’s going to be tears of laughter and joy and it’s going to be awesome! We expect to do our best first of all and fulfill everything we imagined for the staging!
Julia: Come on, why not telling you something? What the secrets for? As our producer says it might come across a bit kitschy but we believe in our audience and we are going to show you the story on the edge literally asking everyone to stop and stare, to look back on what happened to the world, our dreams and schemes (ours in the global sense of the word, to the humanity say for the last 50 years? The two extremes: the 70s style and the ultra-sophisticated stroke that has become the symbol of the 21st century – just think about that? We want all the people to #HearTheTears! Moreover, we hid some gimmicks for all the Eurovision fans and some of the contestants as well! Just watch us!
What are your expectations from the contest?
Mishel: Actually, we would like to share our thoughts and ideas with everyone and we really expect to be understood and “Tears” to be heard! This is our biggest expectation of all!
Julia: Now I’m feeling like a sponge because on the one hand sharing the stage with those who already represented the country at the contest and those talented ones wow that’s really exciting and extremely useful. I’m absorbing and watching! On the other hand – that feeling of the big membrane of the speaker – when I am broadcasting and transmitting the song to everyone possible and want each and every one hear our message. All I know we want to enjoy every second of the show! It’s all about Eurovision, isn’t it?
Do you follow Eurovision and have you a favorite song from the contest?
Mishel: Of course we do! We got so many ESC favorite songs! “Euphoria” by Loreen, “Toy” by Netta, “Fly on the wings of love” The Olsen Brothers, ”Diva” from Dana International, ”Waterloo” from ABBA and many many more!
Julia: My Mom actually has been watching the contest for many years. I started just some years ago and it became our “mother-daughter” tradition. But when I met my team which has a lot of Eurofans or the real contestants of Eurovision like Tolik Vornicesku (my vocal coach and the back vocalist of “Tears” who was in the national final in 2018 with the song “Broken Glass”) I learnt about the contest much more. For example, the day we all catch up before the Final we’ll play the official table game of Eurovision and 28th of February we’ll definitely go to play “Guess the Song” – we got some entertainment like that in the city. You don’t really have to guess all the rounds about Eurovision but they’re all fully ours to snatch! Nobody can stand a chance here!
Any other plans for 2020? Can we expect more music from the two of you in the future – either as a duet, or as soloists?
Mishel: Absolutely yes! We’re working on new songs now and hopefully there might be duets again if we feel like making them together! Anyway, we promise you’ll hear something new from us pretty soon!
Julia: I know for sure Mishel’s working on a brand new song right now and it’s just amazing! Me and my team have been listening to loads of new demos for a while but waiting for some songwriters including my “Tears” partner to come up with something really mine! I don’t wanna stay an artist releasing songs once a year just before the pre-selection! If we don’t go to Rotterdam I plan to live between school and the studio, will be recording something new!
In the end, I want to thank you for your time and please, if you have a message for your fans and our readers here on ESCBubble?
Mishel: Thank you so much! Be yourself for as long as you can and stay strong for as long as you live! Cry if you want to and laugh when you feel like! May all your tears be only tears for Joy, Happiness and Love! We love you!❤
Julia: You can’t even imagine the size of that biggest “THANK YOU” we have for you! This is so important for us to feel your support, your interest, read all the critique and remarks, enjoy your feedback and wish-us-luck messages! This is the most precious of all! Probably even much more precious than the Crystal Mike itself! Don’t let anyone dim your inner light and believe in your dreams! I believed in mine and look what dreams may come!
Give a listen to “Tears” by Julia and Mishel right here:
Let us know which one of the 20 finalists of O Melodie Pentru Europa is YOUR personal favorite, by voting in our poll right here: