Switzerland – She is one of the biggest hopes for Switzerland in 2011: Sarah Burgess. The former American idol contestant has entered the Swiss open online selection for the Eurovision Song Contest in Düsseldorf. Her entry “Just me” is a very promising, contemporary pop song, co-written by this year’s Grand Prix winner John Gordon (“Satellite”). You may vote for the song starting 1 November here. The Eurovision Times is very proud to offer you an exclusive interview with Sarah Burgess:
Hello Sarah, first of all thank you very much for agreeing to have this interview.
My pleasure. ;)
Can you tell us a bit more about yourself?
I’m a 23-year-old that always wants the most out of life. I’m a girl who believes in fate, that everything happens for a reason. I believe in hard work, dedication, patience, but most of all I always believe in myself. I’m also a girl with a lot of attitude so watch out ;)
Did you write your entry “Just me” yourself?
Yes, along with Lene Dissing and John Gordon.Scroll down to listen to her entry!
In the song you mention a few stars, why did you choose exactly those and who would you say are your musical influences?
I chose them because they were Stars I liked, because of the qualities about them, and their songs each have some meaning to me. I also chose them because no matter what, they are THEMSELVES and that’s what the song is about. Just being who you are and not trying to change for anyone else. Being yourself is what makes you fabulous.Even though I’m not a fan of country music the Dolly Parton line I wrote is my favorite! And yes it’s true…my rack IS little. Haha!! My musical influences? Wow. I have so many. It’s funny, being in pop music people automatically stereotype you into JUST liking pop music. For me I like it all, with the exception of country. I really love Christina Aguilera. Growing up I always felt she knew what I was going through with the lyrics she wrote. I love the emotion and the power she puts behind every performance, and to me that makes her probably my biggest musical idol. I also love Elton John, Fleetwood Mac, Pat Benetar, Eminem, Tori Amos, Sarah Brightman, Styx, Amy Winehouse, Pixie Lott, La Roux, Robbie Williams, Lily Allen, Beyonce, David Bowie, The Black Keys….Oh Geez! I could seriously go on forever but I’m just going to leave it at that. As you can see, it’s quite an eclectic collection of artists.
Are you still recording your new album?
Yes. I’m still writing and still recording. I can’t wait to get back into the studio because I have about 50 pages of unused lyrics and ideas.
Honestly ^^: Did you know what the “Eurovision Song Contest” was a month ago?
I am always honest, never forget that! I actually knew a hell of a lot about Eurovision last year. I’ve been working with songwriter John Gordon for some time now and ever since Satellite was in the running of the contest I watched and read up on Eurovision. So I’m not a silly American who knows nothing about it, I actually did my research way before I knew I was even going to be entered.
Have you ever watched it and what did you like?
I really enjoy it! The only time I could actually watch it LIVE was when I was in Europe, but I always like to watch past contestants on YouTube. I really wish I could watch it LIVE in America, I think people would really love it. What do I like? The intense competition, of course!
Why should you, as an American, represent Switzerland?
I feel like a part of me is Switzerland. So many of my first real experiences and life changes have come out of Switzerland, so I feel as if I am the perfect candidate to represent this small but wonderful Country. I understand how hard it is for some people to accept me as an American trying to represent them. I just want everyone to understand the deep connection I have there, musically and personally. I have so many friends that I met on the Coole Schule tour; some of these kids changed my life. Before I was booked for the Coole Schule Tour I felt really lost in music and I didn’t know exactly where I fit in. I didn’t know what my purpose was and I didn’t know where I was going musically, I just felt like I was standing still doing lame bar gigs here in America. Worse yet, I was making music that wasn’t me – it wasn’t me lyrically and wasn’t me musically. I felt like I found myself in Switzerland, the kids brought out a whole new me. They helped me find out who I was musically and who I was inside. I started recording in Switzerland and finally wrote my first song there. I am emotionally tied forever to that Country and I feel as if there can’t be a better candidate other than me to represent Switzerland for Eurovision 2011.
Question from a reader: Do you speak any of the Swiss national languages?
Haha I knew this was going to be asked. Actually I never really had the opportunity to learn a new language. The first time I was in Europe I picked up some German, but I plan to learn more. I think it would be so cool to actually have a conversation in German. I also would love to learn French….since I am part French. I know it’s a super hard language to learn but I think when spoken it sounds so beautiful. I do know how to swear in German because a lot of the kids taught me and my tour manager got mad often. HAHAHA!
Can you tell us more about the project you did last year called “Coole Schule”?
Oh man! I could go on forever about Coole Schule. It was one of the best experiences that I ever had. Meeting the kids and sharing a special connection with them was amazing. I felt more accepted and more understood by kids half my age, it was crazy! I loved the project so much I did it two years in a row. I think it was such a great opportunity for the kids to have a fun English lesson and meet an American girl. Everyone stereotypes everyone and it was cool to see that some of their opinions of American girls changed. I’m not that typical, but I’m still a damn American. Haha! Coole Schule also taught me how to push myself and work myself harder than I’ve ever worked. We usually had 5 shows a day in different towns, so we ran on very little sleep. I always wanted to give the same high energy crazy performance every single time because they all deserved it. So I felt I could never slow down. I was also very mentally drained because of all the tough questions the kids asked, they were very uninhibited. Now I feel absolutely ready for anything. The most amazing thing that came out of Coole Schule is my lifelong friends. I still keep in touch with so many of the kids, and let me tell you their English is getting better!
Your dad didn’t want you to audition for American Idol or have a career in the music industry. Has he changed his mind?
My Dad has his views and I have my own. That’s what makes this world spin and so wonderful, it is the differences we all possess. My Dad now could care less what path I choose for my life. He mentions all the time about having a baby and what things I should do other than music. I still don’t think he understands that the only thing I want from life is to be successful with music. I live, breathe and dream about music all the time. Don’t get me wrong I love my Dad with my entire heart, but I just couldn’t care less of his opinion towards my music. I’m sure when I buy him his dream house and dream collection of trains (My Dad collects trains) he’ll 100% support me and quit asking for a freaking Grandchild! Haha!
And last but not least: Do you have a message for the readers of “The Eurovision Times”?
Please don’t consider me an outsider, consider me as one of you. I found myself and my inspiration in Europe and feel as if I can be myself 100% here and not feel judged. Most importantly I can swear without being scolded! Haha! In all seriousness I’m finally doing music that’s “ME” and I’m doing it in Europe. The music I was making in America is not what I want to be known for; I want to be known for the music I’m making over here. I want to be successful in Europe FIRST because honestly it’s everyone in Europe that has helped me find myself. Now help ME represent Switzerland for Eurovision 2011, I need your support yet again. J
Thank you for this interview and good luck!
Thank you so much! I appreciate you giving me such a HUGE opportunity! I look forward to making Switzerland proud!
This is Sarah’s entry “Just me”: