Last weekend we saw the first semi final of Portugal’s national selection show – Festival da Canção – and we now have the first five finalists! This week, the competition continues with some of the big favourites to win performing for their chance to represent Portugal in Rotterdam.
One of these is Pedro Gonçalves who will be performing “Não Vou Ficar” in his second encounter with the song festival. Check out the interview below to find out what Pedro has been up to since his first appearance back in 2017, what brought him back and of course we found out all about his tattoos!
This will be your second time at Festival da Canção after being a performer in 2017 with “Don’t Walk Away”. Since then you have released plenty of new music, how has life changed for you since 2017?
First of all, thank you so much for inviting me to this interview. I hope you’re doing well and safe from this pandemic situation!
Since 2017 my life changed for sure. Luckily I was invited to the agency I’m now in, “Icones”. Ivo Dias, my manager, was the one who saw something in me, trusted me and my work and, one year later, I moved from Porto to Coimbra, to focus on my music. I started writing more and better songs. I’m really lucky to be surrounded by love and people that believe in me and support me no matter what. I’m definitely a better and more mature human being (and the same as an artist).
In 2017 you were the chosen performer however this time you are back as both the composer and the performer. Are you excited to be sharing material that you have written and does this feel any different to last time? Why did you choose to come back?
I literally can’t sleep at night! I’m always thinking about the act, how it can be better. How can I show everyone that I love this, I love music, I love Festival da Canção and Eurovision and I really want to do the best that I can do. It feels really different! I’m more confident, more anxious. I’m not really nervous, I’m just glad that I was given this opportunity and I really don’t want to fail. In 2020, from March to December, I released one single per month. One new song exclusively to streaming platforms. I’m really trying to show people that this is what I was born to do. Express my feelings in the form of songs. So I think “Festival da Canção” really is the best stage to do that.
Your song “Não Vou Ficar” was chosen from the RTP open call, meaning you’ve already beaten almost 700 other songs!! That alone is testament to what a great song it is. Tell us about it – what inspired you to write it and what is the meaning behind the lyrics?
That was definitely a victory! I was so happy when I received the call telling me I was chosen to “Festival da Canção”. I’m just hoping that everyone at home feels the same way and vote that way. “Não Vou Ficar” really is a true story. I like to write about my own feelings and things that I went through, or people around me that I love had to experience. It’s about a relationship where one side really is trying their best, giving everything they have to love the one that’s on their side and, one day, they just come home to find her with another guy. So what do you do? You cry. Then you get drunk and you dance. And that’s “Não Vou Ficar”. A song with sad lyrics but with (what I think it is) a great vibe.
Your sound is super modern and really commercial. In the past we have seen that this type of music hasn’t always been represented within Festival da Canção. How would you describe your musical style and do you think the contest is moving towards a more modern sound?
I’m really a Pop/R&B guy, so I would never change that to “Festival da Canção”. There are a lot of great songs in “Festival da Canção 2021”, specifically great ballads. I just love Neev’s “Dancing In The Stars”. That song is amazing. But I’m really hoping that, this year, people will hear in “Não Vou Ficar” an escape from our already sad pandemic reality.
Moving away from the music for a minute… I noticed that you have some awesome tattoos! What is your favourite tattoo and what is the story behind it? And are there any more tattoo designs that you’d love to have in the future?
Thank you so much! I really don’t think I was ever asked about my tattoos in an interview, you guys are amazing ahah. I will definitely get more tattoos in a near future! I just love the feeling and the fact that I can have my story on my skin. I really just tattoo about my life and my family. Each one has a story, except the Old School King Cobra that I have on my forearm, that I just did it because it looked really cool. My favourites are the ones that I have on my upper arm. I have a Deer, a Bear and I will soon get a Koi Fish. They are a way that I can have my family always with me. The Deer represents my father, because they are “gentle and lovely with a hidden strength inside of them”. The Bear is my mother, “mamma bear”, and it’s tattooed half realistic and half geometric. The realistic half are all the memories I lived with her. The geometric half are the ones that I’m, unfortunately, forgetting since she passed away and I’m growing older. The Koi Fish is my brother! Not only because his Zodiac Sign is the “fish” but also because it means “prosperity, good luck, and a long life”, and that’s everything I want for him,
What is the craziest thing you have ever done?
Probably deciding to be a music artist! It really is a battle, something I struggle with every single day. But I don’t really want to give up, ever.
Last time you performed, the winner was none other than Salvador Sobral who went on to be the first ever Portuguese winner of the Eurovision Song Contest. What did you think when you heard “Amar Pelos Dois” for the first time and did you expect it to win Eurovision?
Well, I definitely knew it was going to win Festival da Canção. The song really is beautiful and it was such an amazing surprise in Eurovision. I was not expecting it to win, but I was really hoping it would win. So, if I don’t win Festival da Canção 2021, I’m sure the one that wins, will win Eurovision too!!
Final question from us – you’ve been releasing music the past year and had some great collaborations, have you got any more news to share about upcoming projects? What can fans expect from you in 2021?
Thank you so much! Really glad that you are enjoying the songs. You can expect lots and lots of new music! After Festival da Canção, I’ll release the first single of my debut album. There are going to be some really cool collaborations and I can promise you that every single song will be the best music I ever made. I just can’t wait for you all to hear it.
Thank you for answering our questions, did you have any final message for your fans and readers?
Thank you so much for this interview. You guys are amazing. I love Eurovision, I love all the Eurovision fans. I think that this celebration of music and love is one of the best things we can have in the world. Thank you for being there, “on the other side”. I’ll always be here for you, to hold you all in my arms (and in my music too).
A huge thank you and good luck to Pedro for spending the time with us to complete the interview.
Festival da Canção heat 2 kicks off at 21.00 CET on Saturday 27th February. Make sure to tune in to watch Pedro perform his entry!
Make sure to vote for your favourites in our poll: