It’s not a secret anymore! Kristian Kostov gets the Bulgarian ticket for Kyiv
After months of intensive work, we finally can give you the answer to the burning question that has been hanging over fans all across Europe. Namely, who is our choice to represent Bulgaria at Eurovision 2017, and carry on the great legacy left by Poli Genova in Stockholm? Without even pretending to conceal our excitement, we can announce that Kristian Kostov is the one who will appear on stage in Kyiv to represent our country.
A young artist with an interesting story to tell
The announcement for his Eurovision journey finds Kristian just 2 days away from his 17th birthday, making him the youngest addition to the line-up this year and the first singer born in the new millennium to enter the competition. Born on 15 March 2000, the young teen idol is a member of truly international family. His father is Bulgarian while his mother is from Kazakhstan. Kristian got his first chance to shine on Russian soil. In 2014 he was one of the finalists of The Voice Kids, where he reached the final. Even more interestingly, 2008 Eurovision champion Dima Bilan was his mentor in the show. Kristian himself admits that he has learned quite a lot from him – “Dima is a great guy and he was the one who inspired me to reach the final and give my best week after week. Without him it would have been impossible for me to do it.”
The Bulgarian journey
If you were to ask Kristian two years ago, most probably he would have laughed at the thought that he would become so famous in Bulgaria. One year after his stint on The Voice Kids in Russia, Kristian was on the Bulgarian seaside for a holiday together with his family. While ordinary young people are normally tempted to just enjoy the sunshine on the beach, Kris had other plans in mind. Instead, he decided to try his luck in the Bulgarian version of X Factor and signed up for one of the regional castings taking place at the time. From the first second he fascinated the jury with his beautiful voice and charisma which brought him under the wing of the famous Bulgarian music producer Stanislava Armoutlieva – head of Virginia Records. She was the one who guided the young singer to the final of the reality show where he ended as runner-up with only Christiana Loizu managing to outscore him in the end. X Factor was the platform that allowed Kristian to become a true teen icon, especially for a young Bulgarian audience. Following his success, he signed a contract with Virginia Records which brought him to new projects. Last year, Kristian released his first Bulgarian-language single, “Ne si za men” , which also has an English version titled “You Got Me Girl”. His most recent hit was the joint project with hip-hop artists Pavel and Venci Venc’ – “Vdigam LEVEL” .
Currently Kristian Kostov is among the most famous artists in Bulgaria from the so called “new generation” and has one of the biggest and most devoted fan bases in the country who supports him in every step he takes.
“This is the biggest and best birthday present I have ever dreamed of. Now I am literally flying from happiness, but this challenge makes me realise the enormous responsibility I have from now on. To represent Bulgaria at such a prestigious music stage certainly is something that requires a lot of work and effort until all of the details are polished. To be one of the youngest participants has been the case for me in almost all of my past appearances on different competitions, but I am sure that I can handle this in the best possible way. In Kyiv I will perform from the bottom of my heart and soul, because the project is really something I feel connected to.”
A social media guy
Just like most teenagers nowadays, Kris is also obsessed with the Internet. “The truth is that I enjoy communicating with my fans. I run all of my accounts personally and for me it’s like a hobby. If I have to be honest with you, the whole idea of me having fans is crazy enough and it took me some time to realise what’s happening with my life. Besides being a bit funny, having so many people who follow every step you take is a big responsibility and sometimes it’s a bit scary to think about it. There is certainly a big demand to deliver my best at all times, so I have to cope with this and grow up faster than I thought before X Factor happened to me. So, anyway, if you want to follow me, these are my official accounts – Facebook, Twitter, Vkontakte and Instagram. I particularly enjoy the latter I must say, although because I’ve been so busy lately, I haven’t been that active. For Eurovision I will run a new Twitter account as well, so join me…only if you like, of course!”
Shy in real life, a warrior on stage
Whether you believe it or not, Kristian has a very shy nature. That was even one of the reasons why he got involved with music in the first. “My mother was very concerned that I was so shy and closed-off. That’s why one day we went together to the famous art-school “Neposedy” in Moscow. It is very popular and there are even special castings to enter. It was an experience like in the army – no delays allowed, if you break the rules there are additional activities, they may even terminate your membership and so on. But it really helped me a lot. Despite this, all the shows, concerts, I am what I am and it is very hard to escape from my shy nature. Of course, now I am more confident in my skills than before, but I doubt I will change entirely. For example, when I do a new project, new recording, etc. I never tell anyone unless I start liking it. In some cases I never reach this point. On the positive side, I don’t really need any critics, since I am doing their job on my own!” When people refer to him as the “Bulgarian Bieber”, Kristian feels both honoured and strange – “Whether people love him or hate him, there is a reason why Bieber has achieved such a tremendous career. Of course everyone is dreaming about it, but fitting in the shoes of Justin Bieber is not something I am aiming for. I just hope BNT haven’t chosen me with that idea in mind, because they will be disappointed!”
What about his Eurovision challenge?
The invitation to represent Bulgaria at Eurovision comes in a moment when Kristian has quite a tight schedule at his school in Moscow. “Because I wanted to dedicate my whole life fully to music, I decided to take two years in one and finish high school this year. Of course, this decision brings me many exams and other things to do. Now my most important exam is the Eurovision Song Contest and it is certainly the most difficult one. That is the biggest stage where an European artist could appear; the level of production is just amazing and beyond any words to describe. For years, I’ve watched the contest at home and now I will perform on that freaking amazing stage looking like a spaceship! I get excited even by seeing images in my head of all the fans around me, the flags, the chanting. I’ve lived through these images every night since I have been told that I am the chosen one. Now every second my soul is in Kyiv and I just can’t wait to do it. Wherever it’s possible I also watch past shows, and even take notes. And I’m not joking at all, it’s like an universe and it’s a science on it’s own. For example, try explaining how the voting works! By the way, why we can’t have Eurovision classes at school?”
Why “Beautiful Mess”?
When asked about his song, Kristian gave an interesting explanation as to why he and his songwriting team chose this title. “Beautiful Mess” is authentic, interesting and transmits the sentiment and the main idea of the song. I like the song, because it’s what I am. Last November, I started working with Bobby [the composer Borislav Milanov] with the idea to submit a song for Eurovision either for this year or next. “Beautiful Mess” was the song I felt genuinely inspired by. As a performer, now I’m trying to find myself and actually this is my first song that has a deeper meaning. And I like it a lot. My vision for the future is actually to do projects that make sense, so that’s a step in the right direction for me. Besides this, my fans will see me in a different light than in my past projects, so I am really curious to find out what their reaction will be.”
A new chapter for Bulgaria at Eurovision?
The project for Kyiv marks the second year of BNT’s reinvigorated efforts to bring the Bulgarian participation at Eurovision to a new level compared to the past. This year the broadcaster has an important ally – the Bulgarian label Virginia Records. Once again, the song will be relevant to current music trends and will have an international appeal. Just like last year, the whole project is executed in an international environment thanks to the cooperation between Virginia Records and Symphonics International. The composers of the song are Borislav Milanov from Bulgaria, Sebastian Armann from Austria, and Joacim Bo Persson from Sweden, all of whom were part of last year’s successful entry “If Love Was A Crime”. New additions to team are Alex Omar and Alexander Blay. Poli Genova and the “If Love Was a Crime” team brought Bulgaria their record-high 4th place finish in Stockholm last year.
For her part, the Executive Producer of the Contest in Bulgaria and Head of Delegation Joana Levieva-Sawyer is also very satisfied with the final result of the efforts this year. “To be quite honest – we received more projects than we expected considering the big requirements that we had. But that was the reason why we had a high level of songs and stage concepts. That allowed us to look at every proposal from all possible angles. The choice was extremely hard, but that was very pleasant pain to suffer. All of the projects that reached the final phase of the selection were worthy and could have had their niche at Eurovision. After this selection I am really an optimist that we have extremely good options for the years to come as well.
Partnering with the music industry is an approach that has been tested in many countries and is a completely functional tool to overcome the different problems we might be facing. We believe that Kristian will represent Bulgaria with dignity and success. He is a very interesting artist and quite an extraordinary young guy. I am speaking not only about his qualities as a performer which are obvious. Initially, I was really shocked by his way of thinking and how mature he is. He also has a very specific sense of humour. This year we will show you a really very interesting character and a song with a message and meaning. Of course, we will not spare any efforts to help him in all possible aspects, because Eurovision is a challenge even for experienced singers. Kristian is really a very inspiring artist, and I can see this in our team as well. Every one of us is motivated to give only the best. I am also happy that we have such ambitious and dedicated partners like Virginia Records. They are really passionate about this common cause and invest a lot of effort so that together we can meet the highest expectations.
Other than that, I really hope the knowledge we get this year from this cooperation will help us to build the long-term future of the contest in our country by establishing a well-produced national final which could be only possible in a close partnership with the Bulgarian music industry and beyond.“
The head of Virginia Records mentor of Kristian in X-factor and a former judge in the show Stanislava Armoutlieva is also very excited by the prospect Bulgaria to be represented by such a high-profile of an artist – “I believe in Kristian from the very moment I saw him in X-factor. His sense for music, his ability to excite people with his voice, the incredible working capacity despite his being just 17 years old make him the most extraordinary and talented boy I have ever seen. And I am not alone in this judgement. That was the reason why one of the best song writing teams in Europe proposed this beautiful song to be performed by him. The combination between this song and the performer is stunning and I am extremely happy that the foreign jury panel has felt this. It’s a great honour to be working together with Symphonics and BNT and even greater one to fight together for the dignity of the country in this prestigious event. There are no guarantees for success when it comes to Eurovision, but we will fight very hard for that. Our biggest dream concerning music is learning to cross borders and mindsets and to gain fans all across the world. I strongly believe that is what we should go for in this project. “
The 2017 Eurovision Song Contest will be on the 9th, 11th, and 13th of May and Bulgaria will take part in the second semi-final.