Germany is gearing up their preparations for Unser Lied für Liverpool 2023. As artists look ahead to the national final, which takes place on March 3rd, Jazzi speaks to Anica Russo. She is vying to represent Germany in Liverpool with her song “Once Upon A Dream”.
Hi Anica, I would just like to start things off by asking how you are doing today?
“Hi!! I am fine, thanks for asking and also – thanks for having me! :)”
Before we continue, let’s start with a quick icebreaker by just asking if there is one thing about yourself that not many people know about.
“Hmmm – I was a reaaal nerd in school. I just loved going to school and my parents told me if my grades are good – I can keep on pursuing my music dream and they will do anything they can to support me. My parents have been my biggest supporters <3”
For newer Eurovision fans, this will be the first time they will get to know you, could you please tell us a bit more about yourself.
“My name is Anica Russo, I am 23 years old and a singer/songwriter and artist based in Berlin, Germany. My parents are from Croatia and Italy and I grew up in a tiny village in Northern Germany. I wrote my first songs in primary school and had my first live experiences as a child. I went busking through the streets of my hometown and uploaded covers on YouTube until I signed my first Major Record Deal at 18 years. From that time on I started to release my own music, got to work with and for artists like Alan Walker, Ariana Grande and Zoe Wees. In 2020 I decided to split ways with the label to fully choose the career path that felt right for me. I started an independent album project and started to post on TIKTOK (which made and makes lots of fun). I kind of reinvented who I wanted to be as an artist and found myself most confident in dark-pop kind of music with different influences. With my submission for the Eurovision Song Contest I try to fulfill one of my biggest dreams ever – with my song “Once Upon a Dream”<3”
Let’s move on to Eurovision, and you will be participating in Unser Lied für Liverpool, can I start off by asking, what made you want to participate at the German selection?
“Participating in the Eurovision Song Contest has been one of my biggest dreams ever since I was a child. The funny thing is, that I was actually approached by the German ESC team several times in the last years, for example to sing the song “Sisters” for 2019 Eurovision – the problem was, that I really wanted to participate with my own song and with a concept and a clear vision that I fully believe in – this is why I turned down the offer back then and it’s why I submitted my entry for this year´s “Unser Lied für Liverpool” – the time was just right and it was definitely worth the wait. Always listen to your heart.”
You will be participating with the song “Once Upon a Dream”, can I start off by asking what the song is about?
““Once Upon a Dream” tells the story of someone who faces setbacks and challenges but persists in pursuing their dreams.
It was back in September 22 when I met with two friends from Finland for a songwriting session. Initially, we just wanted to write a new song for my project but then we started to passionately talk about the Eurovision Song Contest – so I asked my friends Rami and Wilma: “Should we write a Eurovision Song?” and then it happened. We did not only write the song, but we instantly had the idea for the staging, the message and the whole concept in our heads – it was truly a magical moment.
From that day on, me and my boyfriend worked on the song, the structure, vocals, mixing,… for 3 months, including several night shifts in the studio and at home. It was a real journey – and we are more than happy about how “Once Upon a Dream” turned out.”
When the audience listens to your entry, what message would you like to send?
I want to send a message of hope and belief. What is a life without dreams?
What would going to Eurovision and representing Germany mean to you?
“It would simply mean the world to me and surely be one of the best days in my life <3”
Asking more about Eurovision, what is your earliest memory of the competition and what is your favourite Eurovision song (from Germany or from another country).
“One of my favorite childhood memories is watching the Eurovision Song Contest together with my parents – The ESC night became THE TV event of the year for me and my family.
I remember sitting on the couch with my parents, watching the contest, rating the different performances and always dreaming about how my own performance could look like.
I always tried to stay awake `til the end but would eventually fall asleep on the couch so that my parents had to tell me the winner in the morning. 🙂 Some of my favorite Eurovision Songs are “Rise like a Phoenix” – Conchita Wurst and “Euphoria”- Loreen. I am in love with the epic kind of Eurovision Songs!!”
As we are speaking right now, we are only a few weeks away until Unser Lied für Liverpool, how are you feeling?
“I am MORE than excited for the stage performance – since this is what I am living for and dreaming of – reading reactions and predictions is more of an emotional rollercoaster and I know that I should not spend too many thoughts on these things, but that is pretty tough to do 😀 At the end of the day, the live performance will be the most important part and I will try and do my best on stage and ENJOY it!”
How are the preparations for your live performance going?
“Yesterday, we had a fitting for the stage outfit and I fell in love with one dress *-* I just can`t wait for you to see it!! Moreover, I am rehearsing on a daily basis and had a TV vocal coaching session yesterday, since this will be my very first TV performance and it turned out that it is sooo different from live concerts – I love to be prepared, so I wanna start early. :)”
Can you give us any insight into your staging for Unser Lied für Liverpool?
“Only one word: MAGICAL ✨”
You started your career quite young, Do you have any advice for artists, who are also quite young who may just be starting out?
“Listen to your heart and only do what feels right to YOU! There will be so many adults and professionals that will tell you they know better and know what is right for your career – but that is a big lie – there is no one else in this world that wants your dream to become reality than you do and the most important part is that you always keep on believing in yourself – you will definitely find the right people that believe in your career and your vision – it is just a matter of time. So never let anyone else change you in a way you do not 100% agree with. I wish you ALL THE BEST <3”
Are there any other parts of your discography you would advise fans of “Once Upon a Dream” to listen to?
“I think all of my songs are part of the journey and made me the artist I am today.
Alongside Once Upon a Dream, my song “Sunday Service” is definitely one of my most vulnerable songs – In that song I talk about my belief in god publicly for the first time. Industry “professionals” used to tell me to not talk about religion or believe in public – now I did it anyway and it feels so good and so right for me. Let me know what you think about it <3”
What is the one thing that you have learnt from taking part in this year’s contest, that you will take with you going forward?
“What a beautiful question! I mean, I am still learning from this contest every day – but one very important thing for me is – that music is NOT a competition – it is art. We are all artists and do what we love most – and out of 9 very different acts with very individual careers and songs – there will be one act representing Germany in Liverpool. All you can do is try your best, show them who you are and hope that it connects with the people.”
Thank you for this opportunity, Is there anything you would like to say to the International viewers over at That Eurovision Site?
“Dear Eurovision Site community, thank you so much for taking your time to read this interview. I am so grateful to be a part of the ESC community now – I think it is something very special and I really hope that we see each other again in Liverpool! Thank you for your love and support so far!
Oh and: Always BELIEVE IN YOUR DREAMS! <3
About Anica Russo
Anica Russo is a 23 year old German singer-songwriter from Berlin. She started playing music and guitar from the young age of four. From a young age Anica has been playing gigs and building up her experience on stage. Anica signed her first record deal at the age of 18 and hasn’t looked back since. This year Anica is looking to compete in Eurovision in Liverpool, her Unser Lied für Liverpool song “Once Upon A Dream” was written by Anica herself alongside Mendi Moon, Philip Sesay, Rami Bakieh.
Germany’s Eurovision Journey
Germany has been part of Eurovision since the beginning, debuting in 1956. Their debut entries were Walter Andreas Schwarz’s “Im Wartesaal zum großen Glück” and Freddy Quinn’s “So geht das jede Nacht”. Germany has appeared at every Eurovision since except for 1996, which means they have been at more contests than any other country. They have a long history of success in Eurovision, finishing in the top 3 an impressive 13 times. Germany has won the contest twice. Nicole won in 1982 with her song “Ein bißchen Frieden”, taking home 161 points in the process. Their second win came in 2010, when Lena scored 246 points with her song “Satellite”.
Germany’s most recent Eurovision entry was Malik Harris’ “Rockstars”. As Germany is part of the Big 5, they automatically qualified for the Grand Final. In the Final, the song received 6 points and finished 25th in the Final.
What do you think of our interview with Anica Russo? Do you think “Once Upon A Dream” could represent Germany in Liverpool? 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: Anica Russo