Michał Szpak: I would like compete in Eurovision – interia.pl – 24.06.2015


After his debut album, Michal Szpak kept out of sight for a while preparing for a comeback with new, more mature material. It paid off – the song “Real Hero” won the Super Premiere 2018 award at the Opole Festival and the critics appreciated Michal Szpak’s maturity. He once referred to himself as ‘colourful bird’, he tells us: “I have experienced a lot for my age”. We talk to Michal Szpak about music, his artistic journey, controversies surrounding his image, acceptance and hate.

Jadwiga Marchwica, Interia.pl: We meet soon after your success at the Polish Song Festival in Opole. Do you consider your Super Premiere win as your success?

Michał Szpak: – Definitely. First of all, because it is an important win with my own material after three years of silence – maybe not deafening because I made some appearances but still silence. I also think that this is a success for Poles, because they voted for me. The audience had a choice of different stars, and chose me, despite being a controversial person, and not everyone agrees with how I look, how I behave, what I want to convey. I am therefore very happy that talent was being assessed.

Soon after the festival, on your facebook profile, you wrote an inspirational post about the pursuit goals, about believing in your own abilities. It was your post-success shot; do you always try to convey positive energy to your fans, your friends?

Everyone who looks through my Facebook will notice that I am always like that. I have gathered a certain group of recipients, supporters which I have to take care of and communicate good emotions to them. I also have to think positively for myself – this is the key to not giving up.

You’re a good subject for haters and you probably come across heavy criticism often. It is significant that a year ago on stage in Opole you found yourself next to Maciek Maleńczuk, who often emphasizes that hate is a very Polish phenomenon.

– That is in fact a kind of Polish characteristic, a shadow on our culture’s nature. For some reason, it is difficult for us to accept that someone has succeeded or that he is better. It’s difficult because people who are better have hard lives.

Maybe it would be easier to be “average “and blend in with the crowd? Have you not thought for a few years to hide somewhere with this uniqueness? Have you not thought in the past few years that you wanted to hide with your uniqueness?

– I am a person who always expresses himself. I cannot, I do not want to, and I will never do anything for the public. I do not succumb to pressure from outside people just to prove to this or the other person that I have talent; to fit in with someone’s vision of this talent. I believe that anyone who evaluates another person’s talent solely by how he looks and dresses, should seriously think about himself. I will not be subject to such limitations.

Have you ever experienced unpleasant situations related to the lack of acceptance of your appearance?

– Very, very rarely, there is a direct confrontation. On occasions when I am in the company of someone that does not know me personally, it happens that they form an opinion based on first impressions. company that does not know me personally and develops an opinion after the first sight. It is clear who is judging you in such situations and deep down, does not approve of it, even if he does not say anything and is simply curious. After having a conversation, the issue of appearance disappears – I have never heard anyone claim that I have an inflated opinion of myself.

Does it go both ways? Are you open and accepting too?

– I am accepting of everyone but open only to those I want to be open to.

The direct confrontation and the unpleasant situation that I asked about happened after the concert in Opole …

– Yes, but I do not want to comment and come back to that because I think there is no need. That type of behavior should be quickly forgotten. It is a pity that the artificially exaggerated situation from behind the scenes has become more important than music and the winning talent.

Let’s get back to the beginnings of your career when Michał Szpak came into the awareness of the Polish audience became aware of Michał Szpak during the first auditions on X Factor.

– It’s a good story, amazing even, as I think about it now. The day before the qualifiers, I slept in some dingy hostel, where the night cost about 15 zlotys. It was December, and while lying at night in this horrible room, I felt very strongly that my life would change in the next year. It wasn’t that I would find a good job – it was a strong belief that my life would change dramatically.

It came true!

– I could feel it! But I also dreamed about something important, because in between the X-Factor stages I went with friends on a trip to London and one morning I was awakened by conversations. Friends stood around me and laughed under their breath, because in my sleep, I was saying: “You’re a star! You are a star! “[Laughter].

But before you became a star, during the first auditions Maja Sablewska, one of the judges, told you to take off all the adornment and to change the style you chose…

– Despite all appearances, I am a humble person, so I complied, although I think it was unnecessary. I might as well ask her for the same. It turned out later that my appearance was not meant to overshadow any vocal deficiencies, which I proved. But it is an interesting story with Maja Sablewska. A few months before my appearance on the “X-Factor” I sent a message to her with recordings, asking her to become my patron. I know that she received this message and I think that when I entered the stage of the “X-Factor”, she knew who I was.

A young boy, debuting, unknown to anyone, presenting such a bold look can shock. There may also be a fear that he is pretending to be someone he is not in order to be liked.

– My looks are always connected with my imagination and the need for artistic expression. Of course, what kind of music I was interested in and what company I kept was also important. As a young boy, I joined a hard rock band, hence the interest in studs, I also took part in vocal activities at the Jasło community centre. There, in turn, I often played Polish songs, theatre songs, older Polish rock songs with a huge emotional charge, which were more difficult. I always liked challenges, so I was willing to perform such songs and it not only shaped my musical sensitivity, but also my approach to my image.

And your family accepted your artistic experiments?

– Freedom has a superior value in my family. As siblings, we were always treated as free people. My parents gave us some guidelines, but they generally accepted our choices. As for me, my mum and dad said that on stage I have to present myself as an artist and they will never be ashamed of my appearance. There were certain remarks about my everyday appearance, but they were only suggestions.

And what is your everyday look?

– …. The same [laughter]. Ironically, when I was in the rock band, I dressed more hard-rock than now!

Did your sibblings have any reservations?

– The older sister at that time studied opera in Cracow and she rarely came home and didn’t talk much about the subject. The younger sister is much younger, so she had little to say as a young child. My brother, however, thought that rock music was great, but not necessarily the look … But I did not care about his opinion [laughter].

Is your appearance an important part of your artistic personality?

– Of course, I think that every artist must feel himself as a whole, and I cannot imagine separating the appearance from emotions. I’m hyper-colored and it suits me. On the other hand, we have Kasia Nosowska, very subdued, who also expresses herself with her attire and behavior and is not artificial in it either. Styling expresses me, always. I would not be satisfied without it. It is difficult for me even to follow the director’s instructions, which somehow limit me, because when the music begins – I am in my bubble. This world ends only when the music ends, and nothing can pull me away during it.

You say that what you are, comes from your imagination. But this imagination must have been stimulated by something …

– And it was – I was stimulated by typical artists like Michael Jackson, Aerosmith or Freddy Mercury. Recently I even came to the conclusion that I remember the death of Freddie Mercury, although it is actually impossible, because I was too small. But I remember the fact that something important happened that the world lost an important person, that the artist with unusual sensitivity left. Mercury’s character is important and inspiring to me today. The talent of these great artists certainly remained in my head, their professionalism on stage, their voices, how real they were.

You said quite recently that you were grown up and gave up being “Peter Pan.” Are you distancing yourself from the first years of your career?

– Definitely not and certainly not some drastic changes. The changes have taken place inside me, and this is due to the fact that my life goes by very quickly. Over the past years, I have experienced situations far beyond my years. I have seen a lot, I have experienced a lot and I was forced to become more grown-up. I look at life more rationally, although I am still incurable optimist and I do not like to have both feet on the ground.

There is such a term “mentally old man”. Such a person is a bit jealous of those who live quietly, the pace of an ordinary man, regretting that the career took away certain stages of his life.

– I know what you mean, and I think I did it for a while, but I had the opportunity to meet wonderful people in all this confusion, who provided me with experiences all stages. Nothing happens by accident and thanks to the fact that I met some wonderful people in Poznań a year ago, I am now recording a record there. Thanks to this, I have a bit of a student life, because I participate in my friend’s important events – exams, master thesis. I had to give up my psychology studies, but thanks to contact with them I felt that I would like to go back to it. Thanks to this fast pace, getting to know different people, I managed to make up for some situations that could have escaped me in recent years. I do not feel like a mentally old man, although I have always been drawn to the elderly. I felt better in their company than my peers’. And if I already had people of the same age around me, they were just as sensitive or as crazy as me. I have never been interested in gangs. I preferred to spend time at the lake with one or two friends, rather than a big loud group of friends. I spent a lot of time with my team, a few hours a day, and that was my life, my world. In that respect, I feel mentally older by about ten years, and music is always the most important thing for me.

This internal change, this maturity can also be heard in the song “Real Hero”.

– This is a change, although I still convey the same idea, only four years ago I did that in a quite infantile way. I further emphasize my message that we have one life, and no one can decide for us what we should do with it. We are the decision-makers – I said it four years ago and today, only in a more mature way. I myself feel that this is a huge change – I know exactly when it happened and what its reasons were, I also know that it was conscious and necessary.

For the purpose of performing at the Opole Festival, the originally English song, was translated into Polish. How did you feel about that?

– A little uncomfortable because I think that “Real Hero” sounds better in the original version. But the translation into Polish has kept all the song’s melody, which is not easy. I absolutely do not have a problem with singing in Polish for my countrymen to cultivate my native language. One should be aware, however, that our language is not appropriate for every topic and every emotion. It suits conveying deep emotions, is dramatic, combative, valorous. It suits serious, theatre songs. And Czesław Niemen’s repertoire perfectly reflects this.

Last year you said that you would like to compete in Eurovision. “Real Hero” has the potential for Eurovision.

– It’s just a very good song, great ballad. I watched Eurovision this year and in fact, after a great song from Latvia [Aminata “Love Injected”], after the presentation of such a complete and outstanding artist, an emotional song, I’d say that I would have a chance at Eurovision. I even have a song in my head that I would like to perform, which will be released on the album in October. I would like to go to Eurovision, face European artists and present a composition that I know will put a big emotional mark on this competition.

Like Conchita Wurst?

– Different, because Conchita was great, it was a great performance, but it was designed for media success, which I did not like. I admit that Conchita Wurst has done something very important for the community that she represents, but above all – she is loved and appreciated in her country. Poland has extraordinary artists, but is unable to appreciate them, so it should not expect anything in from them in return. In Austria or Italy, it is different – the audience appreciates and supports them, and this is wonderful. Conchita Wurst has not wasted her victory and has left an undeniable mark in this competition over the years. I would like my performance to be equally important, but in a different sense. I know that I am compared to Conchita, although I do not think I have anything in common with her. With my energy on stage, I feel more connected to Violetta Villas, from whom I learned the sincerity of conveying emotions during my performances.

Do you feel that your voice matters to the young generation?

– Recently, I heard an interesting theory from my friends from Poznań. The music I make is older than me, so my friend said that my voice connects generations in the opposite way – from parent to child. I am aware of the fact that my voice seems to be older than me and appeals to mature people. I hope that the message of my album will reach older as well as younger audience. And with my music, I want to say that our passing away is inevitable, that although the world is changing, we have to accept ourselves and be good people. Because bad energy always comes back, and good encourages.


Related Images:

Oficjalny Fan Club Michała Szpaka | 2011 - 2018 - Wszystkie Prawa Zastrzeżone