Ahead of Selecția Națională on February 11th, Shiloh interviews Theodor Andrei. He will perform sixth in the national final with his song “D. G. T. (Off and On)”.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your journey as a musician? How did you decide to become a singer?
I grew up being exposed to a huge amount of music. My parents showed me legendary vocalists and performers since I was little. I started imitating Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson when I was 4 years old. Then I started searching for information and artists, I started studying the genres and their cultures. I’ve been through music festivals, TV shows and piano lessons and my journey led me to the moment I found out I want to write my own music. “I am an artist with a story” – this is one of the lyrics of my song “Artist” which is part of my debut album “FRAGIL.” released in 2022. “A bohemian represented by songs / A cheerful man in depression”. In Eurovisionistic terms, I think the motto of the 2019 edition – “Dare to Dream” describes me best. I have always chosen to do what I feel musically, no matter how crazy the combinations of instruments, words or genres that I sometimes used were. I like to think I’m a beautiful crazy =)) and as long as I can make some people feel better or unload their emotions in one place through my music, I’m fulfilled, no matter how crazy I may seem. I grew up with Elvis Presley, Little Richard, Aerosmith, Kiss, Bon Jovi, Cargo, Iris, Compact, Holograf and as Damiano David, the lead singer of the Maneskin band, said after winning Eurovision in 2021 – “Rock’N’Roll never dies!”
Do you have a favorite Eurovision memory, or a favorite song from previous years?
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.
What made you decide to participate in Selecția Națională this year?
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.
What was the composition process like for your song “D.G.T. (Off and On)”?
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 my mother’s favorite songs =))) I also sang it at one point when I was younger, I’ll leave a link here:
Have you listened to the other competing songs? Is there anyone you see as your biggest competition?
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.
What do you think makes your song stand out from the other entries?
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. My song puts together elements from Rock, Blues, R&B and Hip-Hop, plus it is sang in both Romanian and English and the show is like no other. 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!
What can we expect to see in the live performance of your song?
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.
And finally, what would you like to say to listeners who may be discovering your music for the first time through Selecția Națională?
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! <3
Selecția Națională 2023 will be held on February 11th. Out of the twelve competing songs, the winner will be chosen exclusively through public televoting.
About Theodor Andrei
Theodor Andrei grew up watching Eurovision with his family and always wanted to be a part of the show. He was exposed to music at a young age and was a semifinalist in 2017’s edition of The Voice of Romania Junior, as well as participating in the bootcamp for X Factor Romania’s season nine. He is also a theatre actor and a YouTuber. In October of 2022, he released his first album, “FRAGIL.”
Romania’s Eurovision Journey
Romania joined the Eurovision family in the Eastern wave of enlargement, making their debut in 1994. Their entry – Dan Bittman’s “Dincolo de nori” – finished in 21st place with a total of 14 points. At the introduction of semi-finals, Romania found their stride and were present in every Eurovision final until 2018. Romania’s best result is third place, scored twice in 2005 and 2010 respectively.
In 2022, Romania was represented by WRS with his song – “Llámame”. Performning at the second semi-final in Turin, Romania qualified for the final for the first time since 2017. At the close of voting in the final, Romania finished 18th in a field of 25, scoring 65 points.
Should Theodor Andrei represent Romania at Eurovision this year? Is Selecția Națională your pick for Super Saturday? As always, let us know what you think by commenting below. Also, be sure to follow “That Eurovision Site” on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Tiktok as we prepare for Eurovision 2023!
News Source: That Eurovision Site
Photo Credit: Theodor Andrei