As Eurovision fast approaches, we’ve been chatting to some of the acts taking part in this year’s contest in Rotterdam. German interviewer Hans-Peter Schmidt-Treptow has spoken on our behalf to this year’s German entrant, Jendrik! What did he have to say? Read on….
Germany and the Eurovision Song Contest has been a chapter in itself in recent years. With one exception – Michael Schulte – the entries often ended up in the back ranks. Artists were sent whose careers were conceived on the drawing board. They often lacked the personality and stamina for such a performance. This year is different. A previously unknown young man has personality, has talent in abundance, has written a catchy tune with a statement and can flirt with the camera – Jendrik!
Who is Jendrik?
Jendrik: I was born in Hamburg, where I still live today. Music has determined my life since I was a child. It was important to my parents that my four brothers and sisters and I learn at least one instrument and do sport regularly. For me, that was initially playing the piano. I owe a lot to my piano teacher, including the desire to compose. Then came the violin, but I played more classical pieces on it. In sports, I tried tennis, but realised that it was not going to be my passion.
When did the ukulele come into play?
Jendrik: Much later, when I was about eighteen years old. My sister had wished for this instrument for her birthday. I saw the ukulele and immediately fell in love. I think I got on everyone’s nerves quite a bit at that time, because I only played it. My sister quickly lost interest in it and never really learned to play it. Maybe I should give her lessons today (laughs).
You trained as a musical performer in Osnabrück?
Jendrik: Exactly! After graduating from high school, I had two options: either to go completely in the direction of pop music or to work on stage in an ensemble as a singer and actor. In Osnabrück, both options presented themselves. In the end, I decided on the musical. Luckily, because otherwise I wouldn’t have the self-confidence I have today.
Are you a fan of the Eurovision Song Contest?
Jendrik: I can’t really call myself a fan, but I have learned! Now that I have a lot of contact with ESC fans, I also have respect for their knowledge about the event, which was not necessarily the case before. Of course, as a family we watched the show every year, I was always very enthusiastic and performed the acts immediately. Later in my studies, the interest was still there. I had a fellow student who hosted a party every year. We drank vodka with the Russian contribution or Jägermeister with the German song (laughs). Of course, that made you a little tipsy. But at that time I had the serious idea of taking part.
Do you already know the entries of your competitors this year?
Jendrik: I haven’t had time to listen to everything yet, I want to concentrate on that and listen to the 39 contributions in one piece.
What happens if you win or don’t win the ESC?
Jendrik: There is no difference, I think. It doesn’t matter if I come first or last. I’ll just continue with my music and produce songs, but I don’t rule out working as a musical performer again. For me, the ESC is a springboard to inspire people for my songs, which have a message.
You were in Lithuania with your team, you produced the stage video, should the ESC in Rotterdam not take place live?
Jendrik: That would be a pity, of course, but we have to reckon with that. But we are also in a luxury situation because we have done the performance and can watch and analyse it. Should there be a live performance in Rotterdam, which we all hope, this video is of course worth its weight in gold. We still have enough time to optimise everything. For me, this performance was a kind of dress rehearsal.
You are incredibly versatile. You’re an actor, a singer, you make your own videos. What struck me most during the performance on the NDR talk show was that you are professional and always one-to-one, a strong personality …
Jendrik: Honesty is my first priority, I know who I am and what I can do.
You made your video for “I don’t feel hate” completely by yourself. There were people who said that it can’t be because it’s super professional …
Jendrik: Yes, it is. I edited and shot it mainly by myself, but I had the support of a friend who edited the parts in the clip when the crew started to freak out. But it was also a physical feat to haul 18 broken washing machines to create the set.
Total happiness for me is … being happy.
If I hadn’t become an artist then …I would have become a graphic designer.
I owe the most …to my parents
If we were to swap roles now, what would Jendrik ask Jendrik… I would ask Jendrik if “I don’t feel hate” is the best song he has ever written, …and as an answer I would say that I always think the best song is the one I have just written.
If I hadn’t given this interview today, I would … probably be playing Playstation or cutting little videos a kind of diary until the ESC.
What do you hate to talk about? About a song I wrote for my grandfather who passed away last year.
My all-time favourite at the ESC is … “Think about things” by Daði.
What or who do you believe in? I believe in the good in people.
What role models do you have? Taylor Swift, she writes her own songs, is authentic, I want to be that too. I also have a good friend who is a teacher. She does a lot in this day and age and is friendly and optimistic about it.
What else is important to you that you would like to say?
Jendrik: I would be happy if everyone would finally pay more attention to the music at the ESC again, because that’s the reason why the contest came into being, for me it’s about the songs, not so much about the contest. Although I do realise that it’s important for the music industry.