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If creating emotions among the audience and the Internet users who leave comments is nowadays considered a success then Michał Szpak is already a star..
The main difference between you and other Polish musicians is the fact that they come out to the stage wearing a t-shirt and jeans, while you are like an actor on the stage. Why?
Michał Szpak: – The stage is a very special place where people should not appear wearing their casual clothes. There is magic, and emotions created. I do not like concerts where a woman sits next to a piano and sings that she loves her husband or her pets. I show people, with my every single gesture, that my emotions are learned emotions: I know what I sing about and I know how to express feelings.
I’ve recently had a small accident- I bumped my nose against one of my colleague’s knee, from my band. But I did not stop the concert.
Michał Szpak: – It happened when my colleague had his solo part, I started my ritual (laughing) and I put too much emotions into it … Well, it happened. I did not know what to do, but I thought to myself “well, I don’t think that I should show my face now…” It would not have been good for the people to see that I was bleeding. I checked, there was no blood, so I continued to sing. However, when I was leaving the stage I lost consciousness as I had hit my nose really hard. Because of the huge amount of emotions, I would not be able to leave the stage for such a trivial reason.
Did you learn how to sing?
Michał Szpak: – – Never. I have been learning since half a year now. But we all learn all our life.
When it comes to your first album, you try everything: from rock to dance electronic music. Why is that?
Michał Szpak: – I did not want to be pigeonholed, hence so many musical styles. Each song is different; however, they have one thing in common- they talk about things I had to say during “The – X Factor” period and while I was taking part in other programs.
So far, you have written lyrics to three songs, all of them say something about you. In “Pretty Baby” you declare that you are ready to play every single role people would want you to. Considering the way you sang the song you became Niemen or Riedel.
Michał Szpak: – During the period when I was not very popular yet, I used to sing at motorcycle fan meetings and people often used to see someone like Riedel in me. They used to compare me to him. I was happy, but I did not want to be compared to anyone – everyone creates their own personality. In Poland, there is a specific trend which I don’t like. Whenever someone new appears people say: “Polish Michael Jackson”, “Polish Shakira” or “Polish Lady Gaga”. Nobody wants to say that the person is ‘’Polish Ryszard Rynkowski’’, right? Michał Szpak will always be Michał Szpak..
In “Rewolucja” (Revolution) you sing, that “you want more from life “. 25 years ago, Bono was singing the same, but he used to add that he did not know what he was looking for. Do you know?
Michał Szpak: – It was my message to people, not to myself. I have learned to take as much as I can from a day – to- day life. It’s not so easy for many people. They write to me that I am their inspiration and that this song is dedicated to them.
To whom in particular?
Michał Szpak: – To the people who do not believe in themselves. You have to take what life brings, all positives. Sometimes others laugh at us, but when a person does not give up and stays himself, he will make the others around him understand that wearing pink army boots is not just a fad but by doing it the person creates himself. You should always stick to your style – this is what I mean.
But in order to be able to do that you have to have faith in yourself and a goal. In a song ” Muszę biec’’ (I have to run) – you sing about the sins you have committed and that you “must commit them again.” You add something about a country where you have to confess your sins all the time?
Michał Szpak: – They are the banned topics. I am a man, but I have long hair, painted nails and I wear mascara – for some people it means a sin, an attack on something sacred. But they do not realize that thousands of years ago men used to look exactly like that – they used to wear jewellery, they used to paint lines on their eyelids, they used to have tattoos. This song talks about sticking to being yourself despite many obstacles and people stabbing your back with knives or forks (laughing). We have to keep on going and we cannot doubt in ourselves, because when there are no people around us who would support us, we will eventually fall down.
Who is your biggest support?
Michał Szpak: – My parents and my siblings. They let me be who I wanted to be, they have taught me art and allowed me to be free and to choose my identity. On the other hand, they did not allow me to cross some certain borders, that is to say, to behave in a bad way or to be rude
You have become an attractive object for a TV which is a medium that gives fame but also takes it back sometimes, or even ‘’eats you alive’’ at the moment of your biggest popularity. What did Paris Hilton say to you about it? She is the best when it comes to playing games with the media?
Michał Szpak: – We promised to each other that our conversation will remain a secret. I can only say that she gave me some advice. She is a woman who has amazing PR and whether she is perceived in a good or bad way – she is always there and is going to exist there. This is the most important thing when it comes to the media. I know that I’ve become like food for them, but if people think that I’ve already shown everything then they are wrong. I have many ideas in my head and I have many different faces…
Talking about ‘’faces’’ – Have you seen the program with Szymon Majewski, where they were imitating you?
Michał Szpak: – I consider it to be my success. I love watching people trying to imitate me because it means that I exist, that I create emotions, mixed feelings. There are a lot of people who accept me the way I am, many people do not want me, but the coolest thing is to see people imitating me. This means that I have had an impact on them
You do have an impact on people. But fans are possessive and want to influence what the artist should do, what path he should choose. Are you not afraid of your fans, that they will start making demands?
Michał Szpak: I can see it already, many people do not like some things I do. But no one has chosen my path for me, I have done it myself and I have to follow it. If I leave my path I will do harm to myself. That is why I prefer to stick to my dreams, and those who really like me will accept my every change. It would not matter if in 10 years’ time if I will be singing ” Majteczki w kropeczki” (meaning disco Polo) or death metal – my real fans will stay with me till the end.
Nevertheless, like every public person, you will have to set up some boundaries between your public and your private life. We live in a world where even the news about the colour of your underwear is important for some people.
Michał Szpak: – Setting up boundaries? I still have time for it. But people know whether what they write in the media is true or not.
They do not know, I am afraid.
Michał Szpak: – The boundaries will set up themselves, and I will never allow to destroy my privacy, to deprive myself of my private life. I know when to say “no”.
Life is full of different situations – someone has recently proposed to you in public at a fan meeting?
Michał Szpak: – The person who asked me this question was very serious. When I refuse, I must be aware that this person will turn away from me, will start looking at me in a different way. You have to explain in a diplomatic way that this is not possible. Because it is not.
And when it comes to where do you live?
Michał Szpak: – I currently live in Warsaw. When one of my fans got to know where I lived she moved in to the same block – of – flats. She was waiting near the lift every second day in order to see me. Others used to wait for me outside the entrance and used to follow me, everywhere, staying just 2 meters away. Step by step. I have no influence on that. But many fans are also great strength and support. I am able to give a lot to every single one of them. Once a year I am going to organize a meeting for all my fans, so they can spend some time with me.
Writing about “The X – Factor”, the English “Daily Mail” translated your name and instead of Michał Szpak you became … Michael Starling. Can such a change last longer?
Michał Szpak: – I believe that when my greatest dreams come true, I will be known abroad as Michał Szpak. And after this article, at least, there is a “star” in my name… (laughing)
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