As we look ahead to the final heat of Pabandom iš naujo, we were fortunate enough to interview Emilija V ahead of her performance on stage. Together we talked about her journey into music, her rehearsal process for the national final, and the meaning behind her potential Eurovision song. Check it out!
Hello Emilija! Thank you for speaking with us today! For those who are encountering you and your music for the first time, why don‘t you tell us a bit about yourself?
Hello ESCUnited, thanks so much for having me!
My name is Emilija V and I’m a Lithuanian singer-songwriter, living in London, UK. In 2021 I was most proud of my collaborations with legendary UK Garage Old School (MC DT, MC Neat) and UK Garage New School (Lord TCO) artists and having had those collaborations supported and played on Kiss FM as well as Capital Xtra radio stations. And to have a song that I co-wrote being played on BBC Radio! Still feels a bit surreal.
That’s wonderful, congratulations! And your YouTube channel showed me that you’ve been involved in music for at least 14 years – as a singer and a piano player. When did you first learn about your gift of music?
Excellent investigative skills, you are absolutely right! To be honest with you, I don’t think there ever was a definitive point where I realised it, it was more that for as long as I can remember I just couldn’t imagine my life without music. It’s just something that’s deeply in my bones, something that makes me light up whenever I’m doing it, gets me through hard times and keeps me up at night writing music at the most random hours. Until neighbours start knocking on the walls as a way to ask me to turn the music down… Sorry, neighbours!
In terms of more formal training – since my early childhood I attended B.Dvarionas performing arts school in Vilnius, Lithuania for 10 years where I got two diplomas – one in Classical Piano and another one in Jazz Singing. And then I continued my journey in the London Notting Hill Music Academy. And if we have to put a date to when it all started – when I was born I screamed so loudly that hospital staff joked around that I’ll be a singer… So I guess shout out to them for being 100% correct!
Now I know that this is your second time participating in the Lithuanian pre-selection, the last time being back in 2018. What made you decide to compete this year?
It’s the song. 100%. The moment I finished writing it, deep down I just knew that it was the one.
But then there was a plot twist – I decided with my management that we’d go in a different musical direction so it got shelved for almost half a year. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but I just wasn’t feeling happy with the new direction, I wasn’t inspired, I didn’t even feel like going to the studio… So I was fighting hard to go back to this Pop Rock sound that I’m truly passionate about until they gave in.
And how did you react when you got the news that your song was selected to compete for the selection?
I was beyond excited! But I was actually even more excited for the song than for myself because it’s a great record and I was so happy that it’d get heard by the Eurovision fans. Perhaps, it sounds a bit strange but as a songwriter I see my songs as my babies and wish them to have their very best lives and at the same time as an artist I want to make sure that I’m the one who makes that happen! haha
You mentioned how excited you are for your song “Overload” and it’s seems to be an upbeat pop song with some pretty deep lyrics, could you maybe explain the message behind your song?
This song tells a love story that is addictive and all encompassing and sadly, extremely toxic. To the point where your heart doesn’t even feel your own, because you’re so deep in it it’s like an addiction and you’re just a puppet to this love. The crying, the going with the motions, the hoping and inevitably – the crashing… Over and over and over again. Feels like it will never end, like you wouldn’t survive without this person.
And yet they’re the ones who make you feel you have a “bullet near my lungs” that doesn’t allow you to breathe and you’re suffocating. That’s why the main character in the song says “I wanna run from what’s inside me…” and is hoping that this “won’t go into the overload of forever” because it would mean her destruction.
So this song is an anthem of hope of breaking free from this self-destructive cycle. Because we all deserve love. Healthy, healing, peaceful love.
Can you describe for us what the preparation process has been like for Pabandom iš naujo – like the rehearsal process, staging preparation, etc.?
It’s my favourite rollercoaster ride! haha It’s all happening so fast and my head is certainly spinning, but I love it so much.
It all started with working with incredibly talented Jerome Thomas (Lord TCO) and creating a very special Eurovision edit of this song, which I hope you’ll love! I personally adore it. We made the record more nostalgic and more euphoric for the performance. Then we had to create a look to go with the performance that would represent this feminine, yet edgy and rebellious woman – my favourite stylist Irina Cybina helped me make this happen.
And those late night rehearsals working on the choreography and stage movement with my choreographer Dominique Marinho are just my favourite. As it wasn’t possible to bring them over to Lithuania we did our rehearsals over Zoom and countless whatsapp videos! But the bruises on my knees weren’t virtual, all 5 of them are very real. haha I’m so excited to share with you guys what myself and the team have been working on!
I can’t wait to see it live on the stage! And of course, you know that the winner ofPabandom iš naujo will go on to Eurovision in Turin this May. What would it mean to represent your country on such a large stage?
It’s been my dream ever since I was a kid, it would be a true honour.
For those who want to connect with you ahead of or after the selection– where can they find you and your music?
Last question – is there any message you’d want to share with the ESCUnited readers?
Ah, I just love the Eurovision community! It’s such a celebration of music, different cultures and love! I wish you all loads of healthy, healing and peaceful love in your lives, because you truly deserve it! And an absolute Overload of it!! 🙂
Well Emilija, thank you so much for taking some time to speak with us, and we wish you the best of luck during Pabandom iš naujo!
Thank you very much!