Today we welcome Czech artist and now Icelandic resident Markéta Irglová back to ESCUnited for an interview!

Fans of Eurovision will remember that Markéta competed last year in Iceland’s Songvakeppnin selection, but failed to qualify to the grand final. In 2007 Markéta won an Academy Award for her song Falling Slowly from the film Once, which went on to inspire a Broadway adaptation that won eight Tony Awards and a Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album. And now she’s back to try and win a different kind of award – the coveted crystal microphone trophy.

Well hello and welcome back to ESCUnited Markéta, we’re happy to have you back! How have you been since our last chat?

Hello, lovely to be speaking with you again! I have been very good, thank you. I released an album in August, after an 8 year break from full album releases, and its been lovely to see it fly around the world.

Markéta and Glen Hansen accepting their 2007 Academy Award.

Now when we chatted last year you were competing in Songvakeppnin in Iceland, and now you’re in ESCZ over in the Czech Republic. I’m sure people are curious, what made you decide to submit to ESCZ this year?

The song “Happy” did. I had just written and recorded it when I saw an Instagram post from ESCZ saying they are still open to receiving song entries for consideration.  I thought it could not have been a coincidence, having just the right song at just the right time. As well as that, I liked the idea of making a connection with Czech Republic, my country and people.

While your experience in Songvakeppnin was likely a bit different, is there anything that you learned from that experience that came in handy this time around?

The biggest lesson has been to prepare my three children ahead of time that I might not win, and explain to them that that is ok. For as much as that comes as a given to me, they as my number 1 fans were so sad for me the last time, that I thought it good to have a talk with them before the results are announced, if I ever compete in anything in the future. I think it’s good for them to see me not succeed and try again anyway. It is things like these that build up character.

I’m gonna ask you some more questions to help our readers get to know you better. First off, if you had the opportunity to collaborate with any Eurovision artist of your choice to create a new single, who would you choose to work with?

Well I was a Sam Ryder fan for a while before he appeared in the Eurovision so he is on the top of that list. Even more than his music I love his expression, and his spirit which seems so big hearted and passionate, while also humble and kind. He is a bright light and I am so excited for him to be getting so much recognition. Meeting him, let alone working with him would be wonderful.

If you had the opportunity to go on a round trip vacation to anywhere in the world without worrying about the cost, where would you choose to go and why?

I would love to visit New Zealand again cause I had a wonderful time there once, and I would love to see more of Asia, as I have not yet explored many of the countries. It is the same with South America. I would love to do a round trip vacation of places with beautiful nature and not too many tourists.

Last time we talked, you mentioned that you and your family are big fans of the contest back home in Iceland. But I want to ask you – do you remember your first memory of the contest?

Yes I was at my mother in law’s place with my husband and children, we were having dinner and the TV was turned on. It wasn’t long before my children and I were glued to the screen, totally mesmerized by the colors and sounds, ever changing stage and people both on and off stage, having the time of their life. I was like WHAT IS THIS?!

You’ve mentioned a few times now that this song essentially came to you in a dream and you quickly went on to write it down and record it. Do you remember anything about the dream that inspired your ESCZ entry?

Well the dream made me clear on the kind of energy I wanted to be sending out into the world with the song. Not an frenzied kind of happiness but serene and ecstatic joy. Something that made people feel as well as I felt in the dream. It is hard to describe dreams and translate their meaning but this one was crystal clear.

You released the music video for “Happy” just about a week before the selection – what was your favorite part of making that music video

My favorite part was getting to do it in our studio with friends, and create an atmosphere of genuine happiness of being together and sharing a moment in time. The video was shot one day and finished the next, the quickest turnaround I have ever experienced. Everything with this song has felt so natural, and come together in a beautiful effortless way.

For the national final we saw a very simplistic and colorful staging that featured just you on stage. Can you tell us about how this staging concept came about and are you happy with the final result?

At first I tried to involve other people in the performance but it wasn’t really meant to be. In the end it felt right to just do it on my own, and for it to be purely between me and the people watching. The energy was more concentrated this way and the stage wasn’t so big that I would feel lost in it on my own. But the Eurovision stage would be a whole other ballgame and I would create more of a show. I’d be excited to make use of the screens and indoor fireworks, have dancers and musicians on stage with me, make it feel like a party.

That would certainly fit what Eurovision is all about – a massive party! Now, last question – is there any message you’d want to share with the ESCUnited readers?

It is always an honor to connect with all of you in this way, through music. Eurovision brings people and countries together and makes it feel like we are just one people, without borders, bringing our cultural wealth forward to be shared and experienced together. It is not a competition in my view, only a collaboration. In this way I am grateful to have been a part of it, no matter the outcome. Thank you!

Markéta Irglová is one of five artists competing for the chance to represent the Czech Republic through ESCZ 2023 this year. Eurovision fans from all over the world can cast their vote for their favourite artist by going to the Official Eurovision App or Voting closes at 23:59 PM CET on February 6th.

Are #YOU team Markéta Irglová for Czech Republic? Let us know on social media @ESCUnited, on our discord, or on our forum page!

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