Manager with a diploma and a voice
Participation in the Eurovision Song Contest, even if you win, does not guarantee your future
Participation in the Eurovision Song Contest, even if you win, does not guarantee your future. None of the former Belarusian contestants have made it into the list of popular musicians.
Participation in the Eurovision Song Contest, even if you win, does not guarantee your future. None of the former Belarusian contestants have made it into the list of popular musicians. It’s been ten years since Yegor Volchek’s moment of glory. At the age of 24, he has completed his education and experienced years of oblivion, but this young man believes his long held dream will soon be realised.
Yegor Volchek at the Junior Eurovision-2004Yegor, after the Junior Eurovision, you didn’t appear in public for a long time. Didn’t you plan to make music your life?
After the contest, all contacts were lost. I was forgotten and did not receive any invitations to events, even in my native Mozyr. Those were hard times. Since early childhood, music has been a huge part of my life and I had wanted to follow this path. My mother helped me to channel my energies into my studies and I entered the BSU. After graduating from the university with a diploma in management, I realised that I was still yearning to sing on stage. With this in mind, I auditioned for the ‘Academy of Talents’ contest.
It became your winning ticket!
You’re right. I’ve always played music, even after ‘Eurovision’, but I didn’t speak openly about it. Whilst at university, I was in a band with some other guys and we sang and gave concerts. My ‘Eurovision’ experience put me off competitions, to be honest, it wasn’t even me who applied for the ‘Academy’, I was taken by my friends and it took me ages standing in the queue to decide to enter. I nearly left when I saw my friend’s mother, who was keeping a place for her daughter; she took me by the hand and brought me into the place next to her. I’ll always be a grateful to her for that.
Does this mean that the Junior Eurovision has not affected your life?
It’s normal after the ‘Eurovision’ Contest to experience a slump after such a great high, and usually a period of oblivion! But I heard good things about the people who performed for the ‘Academy of Talents’ and I wasn’t worried in the same way. In Belarus, we treat the ‘Junior Eurovision’ too seriously. When I was selected for the contest as an ordinary Mozyr boy, I was extremely excited, but after arriving in Norway my nerves began to show. Each contestant had to sing one of their songs at a party; I was so afraid that I hid in the toilet for half an hour. I was very shy and didn’t want to sing at parties, so I didn’t go to any others. In fact, I didn’t go farther than my hotel room and the hall where we had to sing after that.
After the Academy of Talents, Vladimir Kubyshkin took you under his wing. Many young performers dream of having a producer such as him as their mentor. Why did you then decide to take part in the I Want to Meladze project?
To be honest, Vladimir did not know that I went to the audition, but he didn’t mind and thought it was a good idea. I decided to take part because my friend Katya Volkova, who I knew from the ‘Academy’, had previously taken part in the ‘I Want to VIA Gra’ project. She called me to say that Meladze had announced a new audition and I should take the chance. I didn’t take any notice at first, until I received a call from Kiev asking me to be involved in a pre-audition in Minsk. I was not prepared very well and hadn’t even learnt the right song, so I had to sing something I already knew. The jury didn’t like my performance, calling it amateur, they asked me to sing some other pieces and that I should wait for them to call.
Yegor VolchekKatya has probably told you many scary stories about the contest. Didn’t this put you off?
Listening to her stories, I was convinced that she was exaggerating, but everything turned out to be true! It was physically and emotionally difficult to take part. I’ll remember that week for a long time; we slept for two hours a day and had no food or water. The programme directors were looking for us to show our emotions… and they succeeded: many guys lost control. The contestants were on all good terms with each other but we were provoked immediately after cameras started. There was some drama and hysteria but not to the extent that you see on the TV now; the TV team actually exaggerated those conflicts.
Did you really wish to sing with a band?
I’ve never dreamt of singing with a boy band, but I did want to work with Mr. Meladze; I believe he is a great producer and composer. Almost all the project performers have become solo singers. With this in mind, I was ready to work with a band, to get a ticket to my independent career.
Have you managed to establish important contacts?
Until the fourth round, we had no contact with any stars. It was hard to leave the project at that stage, as I’d wanted to get some advice from our mentors.
There is a rumour that the winners of such programmes are known well in advance.
Obvious favourites appeared in the first audition and TV viewers could also see that some were shown only briefly while separate stories were recorded for others. I predicted a couple of future winners… and was right.
Will you take part in contests in the future or don’t you have any plans?
I realise now that I’ve lost some time. There were a lot of 16-17 year olds taking part in the Meladze project and It made me realise I’d wasted quite a few years singing to myself. I need to motivate myself from now on to go knocking on doors and making things happen.
Would you like to take part in the Eurovision Song Contest then?
I applied last year but didn’t get through. This year, I’m not trying because as I haven’t a real hit which would hook the audience. I’m now busy composing something that would work for a competition such as that one.