Mariyah LeBerg: "Being you and being authentic is the most beautiful thing you can do"

Just a few days before the final of DMGP we had the chance to talk to Mariyah LeBerg, who is competing in the Danish national selection with the song “Human”. The singer sees DMGP and Eurovision as the perfect way to kick off her music career and

Can you tell us about yourself? What have been your biggest achievements as a singer to date?

I am a 34-year-old Danish/Lebanese singer living in Denmark with my boyfriend and my twin boys Sirius and Noor who are 15 months old. I actually grew up as part of Jehovah’s Witnesses with my mom – meanwhile my dad is a Muslim. The two of them got divorced before I was born so I grew up with my mother and therefore also as a Jehovah’s Witness. When I was 17 I left the religion because I honestly never felt like I belonged there and wanting to be a “rockstar” is not really something you do as a Jehovah’s Witness. So I decided to take my destiny into my own hands and go chase my dreams. A lot has happened since then and I have made everything from punk music to world, trip-hop, rap, pop – you name it. I’ve toured large parts of Europe with previous projects as well as Asia – particularly in China and Vietnam. I even won a Danish Music Award as “best live act” back in 2014 with my old band Patchanka – so music and performing are nothing new to me. – This whole Eurovision adventure however is like nothing I’ve ever tried before.

What made you submit a song for the Danish national selection? How was the process of selecting the song? 

In late 2019 I released my debut EP as a solo artist and the whole point of that was to make 2020 “my year”. But then covid came along and brought everything to a halt and then I got pregnant at the beginning of 2021 so in the early summer of ’22 I thought; “what better way to Kickstart my career than to try for the Eurovision?” So I wrote Chief1 whom I’ve known for over ten years and asked him if he would be up for making a song and try for the DMGP. Initially we were gonna try one of my own songs but he then sent me the original demo of “human” made by Nermin Harambasic and I really liked it. I did feel the need to make it my own so I made a new theme for the song and wrote the remaining verses and we changed the production as well. Then we sent it in and luckily for us the song got chosen as one of the 8 participants this year.

What were your first thoughts when you got the news you were among the finalists of DMGP 2023? Did you expect it?

As the old punk rocker that I am, I honestly never imagined I’d be a part of DMGP – so getting the news that I was actually gonna be in DMGP I honestly couldn’t help but laugh a little bit – ’cause it had all started as this quirky little idea and then it actually happened and that honestly stunned me a bit. Don’t get me wrong though because I am beyond proud to be a part of it and all the other contestants are so talented so it really is a privilege to share their company – but had you asked me if I would ever be a Eurovision contestant 10 years ago I would’ve laughed really hard underneath my mohawk. To be honest, though I’ve watched the Eurovision every year since I was a little girl and I have always found it very fascinating and amazing. It’s hard not to love something that celebrates music like that

What do your family and friends think about your participation in the Danish contest?

My family and friends are proud of me for being a contestant this year – even though I’m not the typical Eurovision act – nothing I do surprises them anymore. They’re so used to me doing crazy stuff.

How are you preparing your performance for DMGP? Can you reveal anything about the staging?

I’m gonna start rehearsals for my performance this week and I’m very excited about it! The message of my song is that we’re all just human Beneath all the facades and filters and in a world where everyone strives to be perfect all the time I just want to make a statement that being you and being authentic is the most beautiful thing you can do. Some people think my song is religious but it’s really not. Especially not when it’s coming from me and the background I have. So in my performance, I hope to peel off some of those perfect layers.. and that’s all I’m gonna reveal for now.

If you win the Danish Melodi Grand Prix, will you change anything from your song for Eurovision? Would you make a revamp?

If I win I’m not gonna change anything – I think it’s perfect as it is.

Do you usually watch Eurovision? What are your favourite songs from past editions?

(I kinda answered the first part of this question earlier) my favourite Eurovision Song has to be Amar Pelos Dois by Salvador Sobral from Portugal. That song and his whole Performance were so incredibly beautiful, powerful, vulnerable and sincere and I loved how it was just him and his beautiful voice taking all of Europe by storm. No big light show or confetti or anything – just beautiful music. I really loved that.

Can you send a message to our readers and Eurovision fans?

I really hope you all enjoy my song and performance. The most important thing for me is to get my message across; – that no one is perfect – and no one is supposed to be. That we shouldn’t bring ourselves down because we get bombarded by perfect, beautiful people on Instagram with seemingly perfect, beautiful lives. Underneath it all, we’re all just human – flaws and all – and THAT’S what makes us unique, far more interesting and beautiful.

Don’t forget to vote for up to 5 of your favourite songs which are competing at DMGP 2023 in our poll below:

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