Theodor Andrei: “I tried to make a song like our country has never sent to the grand final”

Selecția Națională 2023 will soon find out who will represent Romania at Eurovision and we had the opportunity to talk with one of the contestants, Theodor Andrei. Theodor will compete with the song “D.G.T. (Off and On)” and he told us what to expect from his performance for Selecția Națională, you can check the interview down below. The national final will take place on 11 February and the winner will be selected only by the public.

Hello Theodor Andrei and thank you for taking you time for ESCBubble! First of all, how was your reaction when you heard you will be at Selecţia Naţională 2023?
When I found out that I had qualified for the Final of the National Selection for Eurovision 2023, I was at the mountains with my closest friends, my colleagues from the theater, from the theater group “Victory Of Art” with whom I share the stage every weekend at “Tandarica” Animation Theater from Bucharest. I knew that was the big day, the day when we found out who entered the Selection Final and I was very excited, even though it was the 3rd year I entered the competition. The night before, we had all listened to some songs from my debut album “FRAGIL” at the party. which was released in October 2022. In the morning when I received the news, all my friends knew that we had to find out the results and kept telling me that it would be fine. We started listening to songs from the soundtrack of the famous musical “Notre-Dame de Paris” (which I recommend to everyone because it is exceptional) and songs from Elvis Presley’s Christmas album together with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. At the same time, we were playing Activity – a board game – and one of my friends says: “The results from the National Selection have been published!” Everyone was excited and curious and I took the phone from his hand and when I saw my name on the list of qualified ones I said “I entered the Final, I can’t believe it!” and we all started screaming for happiness and holding each other. It was like a movie scene. It is one of the most beautiful memories of my life. However, I knew that it was a lot of work for such an event, so I slowly started to think about how I would design my moment in the final.

What made you decide to enter Selecţia Naţională and what are your expectations from the contest?
Eurovision is my childhood dream. I remember that every year I watched Eurovision with my family when I was a child and I kept telling myself that I would be there too. And I tried 3 years in a row. Initially, everyone told me that I was crazy, that I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, that it would be difficult and that everyone would criticize me. Now that I am in the Final of the National Selection for Eurovision 2023, I feel that I have taken a big step towards realizing my dream. I tried to make a song like our country has never sent to the grand final. I tried to make a fusion of several genres that would be beautiful for both Romanians and foreigners, and “D.G.T (Off And On)” – the song I wrote together with Luca De Mezzo, Mikail Jahed and Luca Udateanu – it ended up being highly appreciated by the foreign audience. It is the first song I release in which I also sing in English and I feel that it has something special, I believe in the magic that it creates, that surrounds it. And above the language barrier – the record has an atmosphere of its own and the fact that it has reached the souls of people both in the country and abroad makes me extremely happy. I think this is what art is really about – not about things that are quickly consumed, waves, trends and other ephemeral concepts, but about message, emotion, about souls, about the way a score moves your heart along with the notes, about the way it changes your mood, about what it awakens in you. Music is about people, not influences. People feel the music as much as the music feels them. Music is everywhere with you, and yes…the songs of the moment are lovely and have their place and their role. But people always come back to the songs made from the soul for the soul and I think that this is my mission and for the people who understand the message of the song, they like the way it sounds, they find themselves, it is worth making any sacrifice so that my show is as good as possible.

Your song is called “D.G.T. (Off and On)”, can you tell us what’s the song about and message behind it?
The song “D.G.T (Off And On)” stages a love story where reason is in conflict with instinct, where passion and safety duel – a song about a love that becomes an addiction with both its good and bad sides as well as the pleasure of returning to something harmful, where love is grounded and adrenaline makes decisions, a necessary evil with love and all that it means – passion, sex, tears, smiles, childhood, maturity, trust, risks, truths and lies. “D.G.T (Off And On)” started as a game – I started making the instrumental of the song out of boredom and then I started adding elements and I started to like it, and then I started writing lines for the chorus. I recorded the chorus in the form it was then and sent the project to my friend Luca De Mezzo, with whom I wrote the 2 pre-choruses and part C of the song. I did all these 3 on a video call, and then I wrote the first verse myself and finished the instrumental of the song in just one week. I sent the instrumental to my friends Mikail Jahed and Luca Udateanu and together we wrote the 2nd verse of the song, in its original form – the one that is full in Romanian – which can be found on my album “FRAGIL.” in duet with Luca Udateanu. For the Eurovision version, I chose to do the 2nd verse in English because I felt that it gives a nice dynamic to the song and it is among the few songs that I know where this combination does not disturb. Of course, I was inspired by 2 songs that I really like, namely “De La Capat (All Over Again)” – the song that was performed by Voltaj in Eurovision 2015 – which also used both Romanian and the English languages, and “Pe-o Margine de Lume” – the superb song by Andrei Tudor, which Nico and Vlad Mirita sang in Romanian and Italian at the 2008 edition of Eurovision – this is also one of the favorite songs of my mother. I also sang it at one point when I was younger, I leave a link here:

How will the staging be at Selecţia Naţională 2023? What can we expect from your performance?
My show in the National Final is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I think that, considering that the songs are very different every year, the preferences are different every year, there is a need for that “something” that will last over time, and I think I have found it, or I am close to reaching that exact “something” that is needed. My show will be about what people expect me to do and what no one thought I could do. I want to do something complex, with evergreen potential, so the choreography, scenography, costumes, scenery are not the central point of the moment – although I have prepared some at least out of the ordinary – but these remain only pretexts or ways to deliver the message, the emotion, energy, state. My moment must pass the eyes and reach the soul. It’s true, I can say from now, it has some elements that lead to an interpretative, conceptual area, but with a new cultural value for those who decipher the metaphors of the moment, but also for those who are not looking for such a thing, it will still remain a very cool performance.

Which of the other contestants are you excited to see on Selecţia Naţională this year? And who do you consider to be your biggest competitor?
I can’t wait to see what acts my colleagues have prepared for the final. I like some songs more, others less, but this is purely subjective. I’m the type that values the harmonic complexity of a song, the voice of the performer, the powerful personality of an artist on a song. We’re all good, everyone has their strengths, but I don’t believe in competition – I want to make the best performance there, but that’s only up to me. It is by no means a matter of rivalry between us. Probably even interesting collaborations will come out after the final. I choose music over pride.

This year the public will choose the winner of Selecţia Naţională, is this the right decision or should they bring the jury panel in the final back again?
In my opinion it is an interesting idea that is worth trying, in the end people know best what they like and what they don’t. At the same time, a jury made up of artists who have been to Eurovision knows better what is required there, what is emphasized. I just think it’s good to get rid of the idea that there is a recipe for Eurovision – because there isn’t. There are always unforeseen changes – there is no way there can be a recipe. I think we should choose to be different, because we can – let’s not try to make songs “in the style in which they are looking for in Eurovision” or the kind of songs that other countries have had before and it went well for them. Eurovision is looking for personality, something original, not another standard product from an artist factory. I think that Romania needs something different, something that is both catchy and recognizable and intriguing, and I believe that the show I prepared fulfills the necessary qualities. It is my childhood dream and I believe in it no matter what. I think we should believe in different, not be afraid of change, choose to take risks because only by taking risks we can win and I think we should believe in young people, believe in dreams, believe in ourselves, believe in – a song like we have never sent before. Let’s believe in the rebel spirit, in the metaphor, in the concept, in the abstract and at the same time in rebellion, freedom and Rock’N’Roll. For a Eurovision like no other, for a song like no other, for a show like no other. I believe in people, I believe in Romanian citizens and as long as the decision is in their hands, I will let myself be carried away by the future that is in their hands. I love you, I respect you and I want to bring home the prize that we all want and maybe think is impossible. Believe in change! Believe in dreams!

Do you follow Eurovision and do you have a favorite song from the contest?
Wow…I liked a lot of moments. From the whole history of Eurovision, because I’m quite an old-fashioned guy and I have a special love for more retro music like that, I would say that the moments closest to my heart would be Johnny Logan – Hold Me Now (Ireland 1987), Mikel Herzog – “Que Voy a Hacer Sin Ti?” (Spain 1998) and, even if it didn’t go to the Grand Final of Eurovision in the end – Ovidiu Anton – “Moment Of Silence (Romania 2016) – it’s a song that touched me in a different way during the time when it came out because I was still a constant victim of bullying at school and this song helped me relieve myself a lot. On the other hand, the year 2021 was one in which I analyzed the Eurovision final very carefully and I really liked many songs, it was a prosperous year – Maneskin – “Zitti E Buoni” (Italy), TIX – “Fallen Angel ” (Norway), The Black Mamba – “Love Is On My Side” (Portugal) and Vincent Bueno – “Amen” (Austria). These are the songs that have remained in my mind and soul and that I still sing them with pleasure. It was a very good year and it was a year in which Rock’N’Roll received the place it deserved.

And any other plans for 2023? Can we expect new music from Theodor Andrei?
I have many projects planned, I will have 7 more premieres at the theater this year, including -“Amadeus” by Peter Shaffer, “The Taming of the Shrew” and “Hamlet” by William Shakespeare, “A Snow Flower” – adaptation by Theodor Andrei and Julia Moraru after “Old Times Snowfalls” by Dumitru Solomon, “Without Sun” – adaptation after “The Lower Dephts” by Maxim Gorki). The 2 musicals written by me and the young author Brianna Dociu will be released – “Aripile Jos” (Broken Wings) – a unique musical that sheds light on the problems of the educational system in Romania and how they can kill artists; “Aici Incepe Viata” (This Is Where Life Begins). I will release new music-videos and new songs from my next album entitled “ECHILIBRU.” (EQUILIBRIUM.) which brings Rockabilly music, Blues and of course Rock and Funk songs into the same universe. And between all this, with a bit of luck, I will see how thousands of foreigners come to see the Eurovision 2024 Grand Final in Romania! Let’s bring Rock’n’Roll back to Eurovision and give it the place it deserves.

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?
I hope from the bottom of my heart that you like my song and that we have gotten closer now, on this path. If you want to find out more, I’m waiting for you on my Social Media pages and you can listen to my album “FRAGIL.” on all streaming platforms. This year is our turn! I am waiting for you with one vote each on February 11th in the Final of the National Selection with the vote code 10! Thank you! Lots of love!

You can listen to Theodor Andrei’s entry in Selecția Națională 2023 right here:

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