Gebrasy: There’s absolutely nowhere else I’d rather be than on stage
On Saturday 6th February, 6 artists will gather to perform in the Grand Final of Pabandom iš Naujo 2021, the winner of which will represent Lithuania at the Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam in May.
Amongst the finalists, and qualifying through last weekend’s semi final with a perfect score, is 26 year old Gebrasy with his song “Where’d You Wanna Go”.
We were lucky enough to chat with him following his Heat 2 performance, and here is what he had to tell us:
Gebrasy (otherwise known as Audrius Petrauskas) welcome to the semi-finals of Pabandom iš Naujo 2021! Your song “Where’d You Wanna Go” won Heat 2, with top points from both the jury and the public. Can you firstly tell us a bit more about yourself?
Well, I’m Gebrasy, a singer-songwriter from Lithuania. I’ve started singing from when I was four years old and I’ve started writing songs at age 10-11. I always knew that I wanted to be in music so I always strived towards this goal and even though I have a bachelor’s degree in English Philology, there’s absolutely nowhere else I’d rather be than on stage or in a recording studio.
We first saw you in “X Faktorius” as a solo singer, coming 3rd in series 2, and then as a member of the Group “Original Copy” in series 3, where you came 7th, that must have been a great experience!
Yes, the first time that people really saw me was in 2014, it was X Factor season 2 in Lithuania and I entered in the boys category. I managed to get to the grand final where I ended up in third. Then, in 2016 season 3 we entered with “Original Copy” and all I can say is that it was extremely different. The feeling of singing with 5 of your closest friends can’t be compared to singing solo, it’s absolutely a different feeling, there’s less stress, because you have your friends to fall back on in case you make a mistake, while as a solo artist, you’re always exposed to any and every mistake that happens on stage.
You are no stranger to the national final process, having competed in 2017, 2018 and 2019. Your Eurovizijos Atranka song in 2018 “ In My Bones” was written by Ashley Hicklin and Michael Schulte, who went on to come 4th at Eurovision in Lisbon. How did this collaboration come about?
In 2017 I was contacted by Ash Hicklin, he was responsible for writing Tom Dice’s “Me And My Guitar” and since it was one of my all time favourites from Eurovision, I immediately signed up for the collaboration. He sent me a list of songs to listen to and “In My Bones” was already there on the list, I really liked it, but I chose to go with “Shine Like Gold”. In 2018 though I was contacted by Ash Hicklin again and interestingly enough, he suggested “Run With The Lions” to me [Jurijus represented Lithuania in 2019 with this song] but I didn’t really connect with the song and I asked if “In My Bones” was still available and took it without any regrets.
Tell us about the change you made as an artist from Audrius Petrauskas to Gebrasy. What did this mean to you?
Well, I started seeing that I have more international fans and since everybody was having trouble pronouncing my name and even in Lithuania, I get called Andrius instead of Audrius so often, that I thought that I’m in need of a stage name. Gebrasy doesn’t have any particular meaning, but it’s a username that I used for various forums and video games. I came up with it somewhere around the time that I started writing my very first songs, so I thought that using this stage name could be something that’s sentimental to me and it wasn’t necessary for it to have any specific meaning.
“Where’d you Wanna Go” is your own composition, and seems to tell the story of a lost love – tell us more about the song and how it was created?
The song was written over the summer, I was tasked to write a lot of songs, pretty much had to have two new ones every single week in the studio. I really surprised myself that I was able to stay creative throughout this entire process, because I didn’t think that I could be a good writer on-demand. I spent a lot of time on train rides between Kaunas and Vilnius, recording everything that I wrote and going back home. It was a tough process even deciding which song I should participate with. “Where’d You Wanna Go?” was the fourth song considered for me near the end of preparations. The song “No” was picked up by Titas and Benas. The final two songs, well I’ll release them under my name in the future, depending on the results this year, perhaps one of them will be saved for Eurovision 2022 or perhaps both of them will be released this year if I end up winning this year.
I’ve been watching the Eurovision covers you’ve created on your YouTube channel, and they’re great! Are you a big fan of the contest?
I’ve been watching Eurovision when I was a kid, it was always on at our house. I find the format of every European country sending a song really interesting and I’m also a competitive person, so contests like these really peak my interest. Since I started my own Youtube channel back in 2014, I did a lot of covers over the years, some bad, some good, I don’t think I’d like to delete them, because that would just be deleting the evidence of growth that I had over the years. I want people to see that you never start out at your best, you need to continuously keep working hard on improving yourself and that you shouldn’t be too afraid to fail. I really think it’s cool that you can find older videos like that by Shawn Mendes or Troye Sivan, they didn’t pretend that their Vine or old Youtube days didn’t happen and I find that pretty awesome, because I feel the same towards all of my bad audio recordings.
A lot of artists have struggled during the pandemic, without the freedom to tour and bring their music to the public. How have you coped in the last year as a singer/songwriter?
It was absolutely difficult both psychologically and financially. I haven’t had a real paycheck since August, the fact that I could actually actively write music and work on it together with my best friend Faustas Venckus is what saved me in 2020. I really missed the shows, being able to sing in front of large crowds is absolutely an awesome feeling that I missed so much, it’s hard to put it into words. I just hope that the music that I’m releasing will end up opening doors to more opportunities in the future and perhaps with Covid under more control, we’ll be able to hold concerts in Spring or at least Summer.
Thank you so much for your time Gebrasy, and we wish you the best of luck this coming weekend! Watch his semi-final performance here
Who do you think should win Pabandom iš Naujo 2021? Vote in our Poll!
- The Roop - Discoteque 42%, 305 votes305 votes 42%305 votes - 42% of all votes
- Gebrasy - Where'd You Wanna Go? 27%, 200 votes200 votes 27%200 votes - 27% of all votes
- Martyna Jezepčikaitė - Thank You Very Much 14%, 104 votes104 votes 14%104 votes - 14% of all votes
- Voldemars Petersons - Never Fall For You Again 11%, 82 votes82 votes 11%82 votes - 11% of all votes
- Titas & Benas - No 4%, 32 votes32 votes 4%32 votes - 4% of all votes
- Evita Cololo - Be paslapčių 1%, 9 votes9 votes 1%9 votes - 1% of all votes
As always, we will take you through every second of the Grand Final of Pabandom iš Naujo with our live blog on Saturday, from 2000CET, and stay up to date on all the news on the Eurovision Song Contest using our social media buttons below.