Eurovision 2019 gave us many emotional performances, but no one quite pulled it off the way Bilal Hassani did with his empowering track “Roi”. He deserved so much better than 14th place but it was quite the competitive year, and his message behind his track and performance will stay with us all as the years go by. We were honoured to be able to interview this French singer-songwriter.
We spoke about the Eurovision Song Contest 2019, representing his country France, his inspiring song “Roi“, his debut album “Kingdom”, his wigs, and so much more.
Listen To Our Interview With Bilal Hassani Here:
Hi Bilal, it’s nice to be talking to you, how have you been?
I’ve been doing amazing. I’ve been having a great time; very tired but very excited about life and everything.
You’ve been so busy recently with Eurovision, can you describe what it was like?
It was the best experience of my life, I had a great time, made new friends and discovered a lot of music and a lot of things about myself. I’ve actually found myself doing this experience.
The stage was certainly impressive, how did you feel when you first saw it?
I kinda went teary-eyed. I was very, very impressed but I just couldn’t wait to just sing on it.
You were chosen to represent France at the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 with the song “Roi” in the national selection show Destination Eurovision. How did it feel to be chosen as France’s representative?
I think I would say that this was the most unexpected experience of my life. I never would’ve thought that I would represent my country so early on in my life. I’m only 19 and that was just, yeah, very surprising.
We absolutely loved the staging with the two dancers, and it made us tear up the first time we saw it. How did it all come about with the dancers?
Actually, Marika Prochet is the creative director of the performance and she came up with the idea. She did a little video edit of my performance at the Destination Eurovision and added the two dancers in, like with cuts, like a really rough cut. It wasn’t really beautifully made but it was just… It, it made us all cry so we immediately knew that it would be that staging.
You came 14th – we did vote for you and reckon you should’ve placed higher, but the UK came last so we’re not judging at all. How do you feel about your placement? And why do you think the UK hasn’t done well in the competition in recent years?
I couldn’t really reply to the second question because I don’t know how it works. I just don’t really understand how all the ranking thing just works because, yeah, for me, music is not about competing and it’s not like sports, it’s not like running, like the person who runs faster, just wins. Music is not like that, music is connecting with people, and I think ranking music is kind of minimalising the whole movement of culture and music and, yeah, presenting emotions but at the same time I just love the drama, and I understand why the audience loves it and, and rate it. it has been working for so many years because we all love watching it at the same time, and, yeah, I’m very satisfied with my placing and I don’t think people should feel disappointed about their country’s placing low or high or whatever, it’s just, it’s just a number, it’s not that important.
Now, let’s talk about your incredible song, “Roi”, can you tell us more about it?
It is a song about self-love, about self-acceptance, about being yourself and always, always, remember that you need to know yourself and love yourself before you love others.
What does the song mean to you?
It’s the most important song in my life and I just love it so much.
It has been co-written by yourself, Medeline, and Madame Monsieur – who actually represented France at Eurovision, the year before, with “Mercy”. How did the songwriting process occur?
It actually happened in one night and we just couldn’t stop writing and it just flowed and I don’t even remember how it happened because it just happened so fast.
A few months after the release of “Roi”, you released your debut album “Kingdom”. How did it feel to release your first album?
I was dreaming of this moment my entire – short, short, life – but my entire life, and I was just very, very, very happy and excited about it all. I just couldn’t wait. It felt very, very emotional.
Do you have a favourite track, and why?
I would say my favourite studio track has to be “Dans mon seum” because I just love the melody and the story and everything. And for live performance, it has to be “Basic”; I just love to dance to it on stage and making people jump and everything.
Do you plan to go out on tour with this debut album, possibly a European tour?
Actually, my tour is starting in October in France and I am going all over France in various, various cities and I’m very excited to start the tour, I have some dates that are actually already sold out so I am very touched by how the audience just felt connected to the album and want to see it live; and, I would really love to go on a European tour.
What can we expect from you next, music-wise?
Always surprising you with new stuff. I have my sound and I’m going to keep it but I’m… I’m still going to try new things, maybe a musical, I don’t know.
What do you hope to achieve in the next few years?
Many things. I just want to keep doing music and doing concerts and try new projects. I want to branch out.
Now, quick questions on your wigs, we know you name them, do you have a favourite? And why?
I think Vivi Eurovision, the one that I wore on the Eurovision stage is just really my favourite. And I don’t know why; I think it’s because it’s very long.
How many wigs do you have? And do you plan to get any more?
I’m never going to stop getting wigs and actually, now, I have 17.
What is it about your wigs do you love?
I just, I just, always love having hair, the idea of having long hair, like a fairy, like a princess, I just always loved that, ever since I was a baby.
Back to music, who are your inspirations? And what music icons do you look up to?
I… I love pop music and I love icons, David Bowie, Prince, Michael Jackson, Beyoncé, Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, all of those big, big artists that just had their identity. I just feel like it’s so brave to be yourself so publically, and I just love them.
Which Eurovision acts, over the years, have been your favourites, and why?
My ultimate favourite of all time has to be Loreen with the song “Euphoria”, I just love the song.
If you could collaborate with anyone in the world, who would you choose, and why?
I would say Beyoncé, and why… It’s because of her work ethic, she’s so motivational and just watching her concerts and her documentaries just makes me want to work so hard, so just the idea of meeting her would be so crazy for me.
Do you have any advice for next year’s France representative for Eurovision 2020?
Be yourself. Own up, like, own your song and… Have fun. Have fun! Have a lot of fun!
Is there a moment during your time at Eurovision, that you’ll never forget?
I think the second before I started the last performance, the one for the final was just magical.
And, finally, do you have a message for your fans?
Well, I want to thank you guys so much for following me and for sending me love because we need love in this world right now; we live in a world that is full of dark, dark, dark, dark people and dark souls and dark auras and we need to erase them, and I just want to remind you guys that you need to always be yourself, love yourself, follow your dreams, and never let others pollute your identity.
Thank you, Bilal Hassani, for taking the time to answer our questions. We enjoyed chatting to you, and cannot wait for what the future brings you.
Bilal Hassani’s debut album Kingdom is available to download and stream right now, via Low Wood and Columbia which is a division of Sony Music Entertainment Germany.