Tomorrow night, Armenia will be choosing their artist for the 2020 Eurovision Song Contest. There are 12 performers competing in Depi Evratesil, and we had the chance to catch up with one of them – TOKIONINE – earlier this week! Check out our interview with him below.
David: Hi TOKIONINE & welcome to Depi Evratesil! You’re going to be performing your song “Save Me” in the final so can you tell us a bit about what the song is about and why you decide to enter Depi Evratesil?
Tokionine: Hi. Thank you very much! The song is about love that can save and heal. Only love can save us from ourselves, from the demons hidden inside each of us, and only love can make us become the best version of ourselves.
D: The song is super modern & radio-friendly, with an EDM style that we don’t see much of at Eurovision. I hear that you started writing within Jazz, so how has your musical style evolved over the years? Who are your musical influences?
T: Thanks a lot. My musical taste and style have evolved very strangely during these years. I started from listening to Nat King Cole, then to Justin Timberlake, Craig David. Right now in my playlist I have Joji, Rosalia, James Blake, Kanye West, Travis Scott, Ella Mai, H.E.R. As for me, there is no bad musical genre, I find inspiration in any kind of music.
D: Can you give us any teasers on what you have planned for your stage show at the Depi Evratesil final this weekend?
T: The staging is going to be futuristic. 4 dancers will accompany me on stage. The rest you’ll see during the live show.
D: This isn’t your first moment working with Eurovision! You also composed the 2019 entry, “Walking Out” by Srbuk. How did that project come about and how was it getting to see a song composed by you performed on the Eurovision stage?
T: Srbuk is a great performer with strong vocals, so we decided to create something emotional so that she could express her energy and charisma. It was a big inspiration for me to see my song on Eurovision stage, it gave me confidence to move on and create more music.
D: If you win Depi Evratesil, you will be carrying the Armenian flag to Rotterdam in May. What would that mean to you?
T: Of course it would be a big honor to represent a country where I was born and raised. Though Armenia is a small country, I believe that it’s possible to create music that will reach big audiences.
D: Please tell us more about you – your background within music; performing, producing & writing! What is it about the world of music that you are passionate about?
T: I was born in 1989 in Yerevan and spent my childhood in Kapan, Syunik Province. When I was 7 my mom noticed my singing talent, and we moved to Yerevan. I participated in more than 20 song contests, where I was usually taking 1-3 places. As I have been composing since I was 10, I decided to also produce my songs on my own and started to learn everything that was connected to that process. As a result, at the age of 18 I started to work at one of the studios in Yerevan as a music and vocal producer. Under the name David Badalyan I released several songs, which people liked, but my job at the studio as a producer took the most of my time, so I had to abandon singing. Later I founded my own studio, then “Fancy Town” producing center for teenage artists. One of the artists of “Fancy Town” is Vardan Margaryan from the project “Depi Mankakan Evratesil”. In the nearest future I’m going to found my own label “ Ghost Guy Records” in Armenia and I’ll be the first artist of that label performing under the stage name TOKIONINE.
D: Not including your song “Walking Out”, do you have a favourite past Armenian Eurovision song? Or any favourite Eurovision songs in general?
T: I was very impressed by Aram MP3’s “Not Alone”. From last year’s Eurovision I like “Friend of a friend”, “Soldi”, “Arcade”, there are so many good songs, the list is endless
D: If you were going to cook a three course meal for somebody, what would you cook?
T: Omelette, Omelette and again Omelette. Cooking is not my strong suit, although I would like to be good at it.
D: If you were a character in any movie, who would you be and why?
T: I would be romantic like Jack from “Titanic” and courageous like Zorro (90’s kid).
D: Thank you very much for your time and best of luck in the final – I can’t wait to see your performance! Do you have any final words for your fans and readers?
T: Thank you for this amazing interview. Also I want to thank all those who started supporting me from the very beginning without knowing my name and background. I’ve read so many positive comments about “Save Me” and it makes me not want to stop.
Make sure to give his Depi Evratesil song “Save Me” here: