Charizma Interview - Eurovision Song Contest qualifications Poland

Interview by Arkadiusz Gil & Grzegorz Nędza for OGAE Poland (www.eurowizja.org)


Do you know some Polish artists? Tell us you opinion about Polish music. What are you think about your rivals?


We really don’t know much about the Polish music scene, other than famous musicians like Fredric Chopin… Just that there are excellent musicians coming out of Poland. About the ESC; We have only heard a couple of them, but one we really like is Hania Starch and “Regroup”. That is a GREAT pop song, and her voice is brilliant. I’ve been listening to it on repeat… Jet Set has great production too. There is some really good music in the competition.

Let's talk about your song called 'Emily'. Is it a particulary important name for some of you?

Not really, it fitted musically. Although I have a niece named Emelie

Your song has very catchy melody, is typically Swedish, like directly taken from Melodifestivalen. This is your formula for success on Eurovision?

Hahaha... Well, the way it was written it fits into that formula. Also, when you know a song is going to be in the contest, you want to give it a more mainstream, easy-listening sound. So that’s what we did. It’s pretty far from where Charizma is musically right now, but the song is fun.

Charizma exists more than 20 years, so in Sweden you're not debutants. But in Polish you're not well-known. How do you want present yourselves in Poland – your 'debut' will be with a great number of viewers.

Well, Charizma is a band playing melodic radio friendly rock/pop. We have toured in Scandinavia, USA, England, Australia, Germany, The Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, Estonia, Poland(!) and maybe some more places. Oh yeah. Lichtenstein. Our last album had a few hits, reaching no 3 on the sales charts in Sweden. We have had some songs getting airplay in the US.
All the members are Christians and we bring that into our music, communicating faith through our art.
We love playing love and that’s how we ended up in Poland. We did a concert last summer in Poland and the promoters liked us and wanted to work with us… and that’s how it happened. We really loved playing in Poland, everything was so well arranged, great sound, light, the audience. And everyone was really nice… so we are looking foreard to coming back.

How did you remember your participation in Eurolaul 2004? Do you think that experiences from Estonia can help you?


Yeah that was quite an experience… But this is a whole different thing. In Estonia we did a ballad written by someone else (Henrik Sethsson, who wrote “Listen to your heartbeat” that “Friends” sung in Copenhagen 2001). This time we are doing an up-tempo song that we wrote ourselves.
In Estonia we were not really comfortable with a lot of things, this time it’s different. So, yeah we learned to stay pretty basic and just have a good time.Evereryone knows that Eurovision is not only a music but also show decides about final victory.

Are you planning something special? Charizma has 5 members and on the ESC stage can be six people – so maybe some girl – 'Emily'- will be on stage with you...?

We were thinking of some pyrotechnics first but we were told we couldn’t do something special since the TV-station is doing all the production. And we will be 6 people on stage, we are adding an extra backup singer, a guy friend of ours. So, no Emily on stage I’m afraid…

Do you have some secret plan of promotion in Poland?

Well, the song and video should be available and getting airplay about 2 weeks before the contest so hopefully people will get a chance to hear it a bit beforehand. Other than that we’ll just come over and have fun, meet great people and enjoy the whole thing. We will arrive on the Thursday before the show, so there will be some time for interviews and such. Maybe, maybe some kind of performance somewhere… we’ll see!

There is a chance that your song will be played in Polish radio stations before final in Warsaw?

Most definitely! We hope that it gets on rotation as soon as possible. The song should be available by our promoters New Line Music. Also it’s on the internet, at www.charizma.com. The REAL version, not the demo that for some reason is floating around the Internet.

Tell us about your video to 'Emily'. When it will be available? Could you tell: when and where it was recorded and who help you to do this? What is about?

The video for Emily was shot right after New Year and was a day full of work. We wanted to make it a simple video showing the band playing, since there really wasn’t a lot of time to work on a story. It was directed by a video producer and photographer called Morgan Carlsson. It’s available at YouTube (search for Charizma+Emily) and of course also at our site www.charizma.com and Myspace www.myspace.com/charizmaonline.

Many times in your interviews or in your web you emphasise that for you music is not only a sound but feelings and emotions are more important. What do you want to tell to Polish people by 'Emily'?

Well basically the story behind Emily is that as human beings we keep rushing around being so busy with things that we forget to live. We are striving to be rich, to have nice things, to satisfy ourselves with stuff. The song is us saying that “There is more to this life than these eyes can see”, which we believe. We forget so easily that there is a spiritual side of us too, and that there is a God who wants us to fill us with a peace inside, much more worth than all the stuff we can ever get.

Let's back to your history. How did it happened that in 1987 in Poland was re-edtion of your first album "Rock the World”? As we know you have some concerts in Poland then. Could you tell us something more?

Yeah, Charizma was in Poland for about a week back in 87. The album was released by some Polish company and the band didn’t know about it til years later. We call it the Polish bootleg. I wonder if anyone remembers the band from back then… It was really hard music then.

Your last album – 'Life in 3D' is great! There is a few catchy song which are similar
to Emily, like Waiting (Here for You), Out of the Shadows or Shout it Out. Maybe you will repeat the history from 1987 and you will release album in Poland?


Thank you! Charizma is really about the melodies, we really like hooks and catchy songs. Hopefully the album will be released; we are working on it right now. In that case we would change a few tracks and add Emily and another new song.

Are you working with new material? What are your plans for New Year 2007?
We most definitely are! We have songs for an album and if it wasn’t for the whole Eurovision thing that happened quite unexpectedly, we would be in the studio now recording. So instead I think the first single will be out in March/April. It’s very much different from Emily, but melodic.


And what if you win in Poland? Do you think about it?
Wow… Of course you can dream about it. We do know we have a good song that many people like and if they like it enough... well maybe… In that case we would be very humbled and proud to represent Poland. What an honor! We can just wait and see. I wish we could go to Greece or someplace warm instead of Helsinki in that case though… ;-)

What are you doing in Sweden ordinarily? Are you only musicians from Charizma?

Nope, we all have different careers, but music related in some way.
Bosse is working with education and musical training for bands; Janne is working as a host at a concerthall, Göran is a music teacher, Thomas is working with artist promotion and songwriting and Johan (me) is an Art director working with graphic design, often artwork for CD’s.

The name of band is associating with the attitude which is likely to showbizness. Who is the most charizmatic person in the group?

Hahaha... We all have our different characters and charisma. Bosse is the energetic guy on stage, Janne is the guy who make friends with all the stage people, Göran is the one who always have wise things to say, Thomas and Johan really both like to talk to new people and make friends.

What is the most important thing in your life?

That’s hard to say speaking for 5 people but I think we all could agree on this;
Our faith, having a relationship with God. Family and friends, being a good husband, father or friend and of course music plays a big part in our lives. Doing music is like breathing.

Tell us about inspirations to your songs...

Musically I think we are inspired by everything from hard rock a la Kiss to Depeche Mode, from R& B and gospel to really commercial pop. We all love melodies though.
When it comes to the lyrics I (Johan) usually like to tell a little story of some sort. Also faith plays such a big part in my life that is something that shows in the lyrics too. I want to be uplifting, encouraging, and communicate God’s love and grace for us.

Have you ever tried to get to the Melodifestivalen?
There has been a few songs sent yeah, but not every year or so. Thomas actually had a song competing in Helsinki last year; he ended up in 5th place. I think Emily was actually sent one time too, but sounding different than this version.


Could you betray your favours in Melodifestivalen 2006 and Eurovision Song Contest 2006?
Ok, wow.. I didn’t see all of the songs in the Swedish one but, as a group I think we liked.
Carola; The Poodles and BWO. In the ESC maybe Russia, Romania…

If you win Polish Eurovision you will try to learn Polish language? :)

Well, you know, we played in Gdansk last summer together with Scooter. And for that show I learned some sentences which I think people actually understood. I had our driver teach me when we were riding to our hotel. It’s pretty hard, but we will try of course!
So, if you like the song, remember to vote for us! Kochamy was!


Interview: Arkadiusz Gil
Polish translation: Grzegorz Nędza