ESC+Plus has talked to Júlí Heiðar, semifinalist of this year’s Icelandic national selection for Eurovision 2017 along with Þórdís Birna. The duo will perform «Heim til þín» (Get Back Home) in the first semi-final of Söngvakeppnin 2017, set to take place today.
ESC+Plus: Hello! First of all, thank you so much for your time and congratulations on having been selected to take part in the Icelandic national selection for Eurovision 2017!
Júlí Heiðar: Thank you! and thanks for this interview.
Can you tell us about you, your musical career and important achievements?
Júlí Heiðar: Well, my first memory is being the fastest sperm in my fathers… Just kidding. I’m 25 years old, studying drama at the Icelandic Academy of Arts. I have been writing music since I was 15 years old. I learned how to play the clarinet, saxophone, drums, guitar and piano when I was younger. I won the Icelandic high school singing competition in 2010. I released some singles after that. Then last year I got in to Söngvakeppnin here in Iceland with my song Ready to break free. This year I wanted to try a different direction and made a country/pop song. I’m also a dancer and I work as a dance teacher.
ESC+Plus: What impelled you to take part in Söngvakeppnin 2017?
Júlí Heiðar: It was always a dream to try out for Söngvakeppnin and last year that dream came true. I think I just got hooked so I tried again. I just had so much fun last year and I think the reason is all the people who you get to know, from all around Europe.
ESC+Plus: How did you feel when you knew you had qualified for the semi-final? Did you expect it?
Júlí Heiðar: I was really happy with my song this year so I was not that surprised when I got in. But still there were over 200 songs sent in so I’m very proud.
ESC+Plus: What would it mean to you to represent Iceland?
Júlí Heiðar: That would be a lot of fun and an honor.
ESC+Plus: Can you tell us about your song? What is the story behind the lyrics?
Júlí Heiðar: This is a country/pop song that I wrote last summer. The lyrics I wrote with my best friend, Guðmundur Snorri, who is in a relationship with a girl who lives in Austria. I asked him to write down his feelings on how it is being in a long-distance relationship. So, it’s essentially about a couple that lives in separate countries and how much they daydream and long for each other all day because of it.
ESC+Plus: Why do you think your song has to be selected for Kiev? What are you strengths to reach the top in the competition?
Júlí Heiðar: It’s got a great contrast between happiness and sadness, while maintaining its core, which is pure love. It’s got a catchy melody that echoes in your head, and I think many people can relate to this story. I feel like it has no certain demographic – everybody should be able to dance and sing together to it at home.
ESC+Plus: Have you thought about your stage performance?
Júlí Heiðar: Yes, and you’ll just have to watch to find out!
ESC+Plus: Do you usually watch Eurovision? What is your favorite song in the history of the competition?
Júlí Heiðar: Every year since I was a little boy and my favorite songs are Million Voices and New Tomorrow.
ESC+Plus: If you could choose a Eurovision former participant to sing along with, who would it be?
Júlí Heiðar: Polina Gagarina or Jóhanna Guðrún.
ESC+Plus: Finally, can you send a message for our readers and Eurovision fans?
Júlí Heiðar: Love is in the air, smell it, feel it, grab it and hold it! This year’s Eurovision is going to be awesome and I hope I get the chance to be there with all of you!