As we look ahead to the final heat of Pabandom iš naujo, we were fortunate enough to interview Geleibra (also known as Gabrielė Urbonaitė) prior to her performance. She is a first time participant in the Lithuanian pre-selection, and is an artist full of positive energy with experience in numerous genres.
Hello Geleibra! 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 Connor, thank you for having me! If you want a short answer – I am a girl pursuing my dreams. And my dream is to create and perform music, that would help people in any positive ways that are possible. I think, that music is a wonderful and powerful tool that can move, inspire and help other people to express and understand their feelings better.
A bit about myself – since childhood I was drawn to music and after finishing music school – I decided to go “all in” and finished jazz studies. Now I’m a singer, songwriter and a lecturer in college.
That’s super cool to know that you come from such an immersive musical background. If you had to identify some of your musical inspirations, who or what would you pick and why?
It’s a very difficult question. I never had one music idol or one musical inspiration. Sometimes I’m making a joke, that in music I’m a chameleon. In my life I learnt many different music genres – I was a country singer, jazz singer, a rapper… I tried many styles and all of them found wonderful, inspiring and interesting. So I would say, that my inspiration is music in general.
A wonderful answer – you’re a little bit of everything then! And according to my research, this is your first time participating in the Lithuanian pre-selection. What made you decide to compete in the national final this year?
Yes, you are right. I never participated, but I always wanted to try. I will be honest, I didn’t plan to participate this year, but life happened and during the last day of applications for participation for “Pabandom iš naujo”, music producers Justinas Chachlauskas and Evaldas Mikalauskas said Geleibra, you have a very good song! You must participate! And I thought – ok, let’s try.
When you got the news that your song had been selected for the Pabandom iš Naujo semi-finals, what was your first reaction?
Funny part – I got a message that my song was selected when I was boarding an airplane to Thailand. I’ll admit, I was in shock. I realized that if I stepped into the airplane – I will have only a few days to prepare once I am back in Lithuania. So I had this moment where I thought – maybe I should turn around and go back? But in the end I decided to travel and came back just one week before the semi-finals and will try to do my best.
Now your song for Pabandom iš naujo is titled “Aš jaučiu tave” and seems to be one of few songs to use Lithuanian lyrics. How important was it for your entry to feature your native language?
The truth is – I didn’t create this song purposefully for Eurovision. When I’m writing a song – I’m letting the flow take me over. And this song naturally appeared in my native language. I will admit – I am scared how people will react to it. At the same time – I’m happy, because I love my language. But in the end if I will feel that people will want an english version – I might do it.
And for our readers who might not understand Lithuanian, could you explain the message behind your song?
We all have friends, that are not living next to us. And even after many years of not talking – we feel that their love and our love is still there. And when we meet them – it feels like nothing changed. I wanted to write a song about that. And the cross point for this song to appear were two stories.
One – a true love story about a married couple, that life hit very hard. The man passed away.. And this wonderful woman was left alone with a child. But – she didn’t try to forget him. On the contrary – she was keeping his memory everywhere around her and her words that this “Never never never will change” just hit me. I feel the same about my grandma. She was the most beautiful person in the world. She is no longer with me, but I can feel her presence, her love. So my song is about that – even when people are not with you – you can feel their love, their presence is everywhere around you.
That is a beautiful story, I can’t wait to listen to it now that I know more of the back story! Now of course I have to ask, the winner of Pabandom iš naujo will go on to Turin this coming May. What would it mean to represent your country at Eurovision?
It would be an honor. I love Lithuania, I love people. And to show this love through singing – it would be wonderful.
For those who want to connect with you ahead of or after the selection– where can they find you and your music?
They can find me on youtube, instagram, spotify by writing “Geleibra”. There is no such word in the whole world – so it should pop up easily. P.S. My name is Gabriele. Geleibra is a word made-up from my name letters. It has a beautiful story too – but lets leave it for next time.
Last question – is there any message you’d want to share with the ESCUnited readers?
I just wish you to have a great time during all Eurovision contest! I hope, that you will find a resonating song that will stick to you everywhere – at work, in the street, at home and of course – in the shower. Best wishes, with love Geleibra <3.
Well Geleibra, thank you so much for taking some time to speak with us, and we wish you the best of luck during Pabandom iš naujo!