The 2015 Eurovision Song Contest winner and the host for this year’s competition in Stockholm, Måns Zelmerlöw, was in London in February in conjunction with the British final.The LINK caught up with him at a central London hotel to talk Eurovision, Swedish musical legacy and future projects.
Compared to last year, how nervous or excited are you?
I think that this will be fun and I feel like I have done it before. I have hosted the Melodifestivalen before, although this is bigger as the Eurovison has some 200 million viewers. But I feel really safe hosting it with Petra Mede. I think she is a genius on stage and we can both rely on each other. Competing for my country, having the weight of my country on my shoulders was WAY more nervous than this.
How DOES it feel to represent your country in the Eurovision Song contest?
It feels incredible. Growing up I always wanted to be an athlete and compete for my country and this was as close as I will ever get to that. When I sat in the Wienerstadt Halle that night, I felt like I was in an Olympic Stadium and I knew that 12 million Swedes were sitting in front to their TV sets, wanting me to win.
What are you most looking forward to when it comes to hosting the show?
We’re doing a couple of performances together, Petra and I, which will be fun. It’s quite unusual for the Eurovision hosts to really get a connection with the viewers but I am confident we will be able to do that and be able to find a sense of humour that is universal.
Considering the legacy of previous Swedish Eurovision winners, did you feel pressure to bring the victory home?
Not as such, but I felt that I had a shot. I was the favourite when I came to Vienna, and I am not good at that so I really tried to push it away and really focus on my performance. But of course I felt that people in Sweden thought that I could win and I really wanted to. I wanted to put my name down in the history books. Because it IS a big thing. Sweden had won the Eurovison Song Contest five times before me and I wanted to be the sixth.
With all the amazing singers and songwriters coming from Sweden, do you think Swedes are particularly talented?
We have so many good things in Sweden when it comes to music and culture. Music lessons are easily accessible to many and most kids actually start playing instruments early. There are also several great music schools and academies. More so we have darkness some six months of the year. That means that all you want to do is to sit indoors with a glass of wine and write music. On a more serious note, we do take great pride in our musical heritage.
When you write music of your own – where do you get your inspiration?
I take inspiration from everything that happens around me, as well as my past experiences. I want to write music that affects me - and lyrics that I can feel. Whatever is happening really, whatever I felt that day.
How about some insider info on the final? What can we expect from the show in Stockholm?
I DO have a lot of insider information, but there is not much of it that I can reveal yet. It is going to be a spectacular show. I had a meeting yesterday where we discussed everything and it feels great. There are a lot of things that Petra and I will do, a lot of interval acts that will be amazing. I feel confident about it.
So, past Eurovision 2016 - what’s next for Måns Zelmerlöw?
I’m releasing an album and hopefully doing a European tour over the summer and the autumn. And then, we will see. I like to keep it a bit open. If the next album will be a hit over Europe, I know that I will be touring for a while and if not, well, I have worked very hard for the last two years so it would be quite nice with a couple of months off.
To meet Måns Zelmerlöw and hear him sing, don't forget to book your ticket NOW for the Walpurgis Ball on 8 April at The Savoy Hotel.