HAMBURG, GERMANY – Ahead of the 61st edition of the Eurovision Song Contest, we go on with our series of exlusive interviews with Big 5 countries Heads of Delegation. After Edoardo Grassi from France and Nicola Caligiore from Italy, let’s move on to Germany with newly nominated Carola Conze who was kind enough to take time to answer our questions. Vielen Dank!
Hallo Carola, and thanks for accepting our interview. Before we start, could you please introduce yourself to our readers? I am very excited to be a new member of the ESC family. As I have always had a big passion for music shows I am more than happy to be part of the world’s biggest music event now. Before I started to work at German Public Broadcaster NDR, I worked for many years as an executive producer at tv production company MME and was responsible for music shows like The Dome and Top of the Pops. Currently I am very happy working as an executive editor for Germany’s longest running and very entertaining NDR Talk Show.
Are you a true Eurovision fan?
I have always watched the show with a whole bunch of friends. It didn´t really matter who wins – it was just a very fun evening. NOW it does matter who wins
At the start of Eurovision season this year, Germany made the headlines with the so-called “Xavier Naidoo Affair”. Could you tell us what happened exactly? After the experience of 2015 we decided to change our national system this year and discussed this with some of Germany’s best singers. Xavier Naidoo accepted the challenge, contacted some of Germany’s and Europe’s best composers and producers. The idea was to focus on the song, the audience was to decide between 6 different songs. But then we truly underestimated the reactions and how much Xavier does polarize. We withdrew his nomination when international newspapers started ro report with a very wrong and distracting twist.
Why did NDR eventually choose to go back to the national selection system instead of picking another artist internally?We believe in the wisdom of the audience. For that reason we decided to offer 10 candidates out of different music genres. We now have a great coverage of many music styles – as there is for example metal, pop, rock, singer-songwriter, folk music.
In 2015, in Vienna, it was a real disaster for your country, with a sad “nil point”. How do you explain such a result ? What was the delegation and broadcaster’s reaction? What can you say, of course – we were disappointed, and obviously the song did not connect to the people. But now we are looking forward to this year and are really excited to see what happens in Stockholm.
So on February 25th, “Unser Lied für Stockholm” will take place in Cologne with 10 acts. How were the candidates chosen?The Artists were chosen by professionals from all aspects of the music world – music industry, radio stations, the production company and by us – the broadcaster.
In your dream, what big German artist would you like to see on Eurovision stage someday?
Mmmh, it doesn´t seem fair to me, to drop other names than the ones nominated in our preselection show…
A rumour of a possible German debut in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest has reached our ears… Is it pure gossip or genuine information? I don´t have news on that topic, I am sorry.
After 60 contests, what is your favourite Eurovision entry? Your favourite German entry?
I adore Lena and I remember Nicole singing: ‘Ein bisschen Frieden’, it really touched me back then and I loved Conchita!
Do you have any words for our readers?
Thanks for reading and thanks for voting Germany THIS time . I am very much looking forward to Stockholm and can´t wait to meet everybody from the Song Contest World.