From our Special Correspondent in Turin (Italy)
At Eurovision, Sweden is always a nation to follow. Over the past ten winners, the country of Abba has won two victories (in 2012 and 2015) and six times finished in the Top 10. This year, Cornelia Jakobs has every opportunity to contribute to this glorious roll of honor. with his song Keep me closer (“Serre-moi plus fort”), a moving ballad about the last moments of a couple who are about to break up, she is one of the big favorites to win in the final the night between the 14th and 15th May. The 30-year-old writer, composer and performer would then have confirmed that her years of hardship lie far behind her.
Evil reprimanded in 2008 by jury Swedish idolthat New star Swedish, she had traveled back in 2010 in the girl band Love Generation, which only approached success from afar … Due to perseverance, she ended up conquering, in the early thirties, the attention and legitimacy of the public, which she does not have to intends to let go, by winning in the Melodifestivalen, the much-followed Swedish selection for Eurovision.
What is your song “Hold Me Closer” about?
I got a breakup – or rather several in a short time, because it was a kind of relationship where you leave each other and then make up. There was a lot of love and passion, but it was also quite toxic, because it’s hard to be in a relationship with someone who is with you to and from. He had problems with his mental health. I wrote this song [avec David Zandén et Isa Molin] During this period. Keep me closer is permeated by these emotions, these emotions what happened.
Over the last few weeks, and more since the Eurovision rehearsals began, you have come to sing that song over and over again. How to keep emotions intact and not fall into automatism?
I started performing on stage at the age of 7 [son père était musicien]. I have a certain way of getting in touch with my emotions. When I stand on the stage, I think less. It makes me feel good. It allows me to take a break because I tend to adjust my brain. As I make sure to write songs that are consistent with who I am and what I feel, inspired by my life or what surrounds me, it is easy for me to connect to these feelings. Maybe I’m a good time traveler too (she smiles). I dive back into this period, and as soon as I hear the first notes of the song, the emotions increase.
In 2008, you had a bad experience in “Swedish Idol”. The jury strongly criticized you during your hearing. Among the jury members was Anders Bagge, who you beat in March at the Melodifestivalen, the Swedish selection for Eurovision. Did you get your revenge somehow?
Revenge is too strong a word. I understand what you mean and there is a bit of that, but revenge is connoted too negatively. I would rather say that for me it was a huge achievement. For years I worked very hard and I faced many obstacles, I had to swim against the current … After idol, I could not touch a guitar for ten years. It was violent enough for me as a 16-year-old to take their harsh remarks. It took courage and a lot of hard work to keep going. Economically e.g. Music is a tough business. It took me a while to get over it. By winning the Melodifestivalen, I felt very strong and proud of myself, of this 16-year-old kid who did not let himself be broken.
Anders Bagge, who is a star in Sweden, was overwhelmingly supported at the Melodifestivalen by the Swedish audience, which placed you in second place. You imposed yourself thanks to the international juries, which were in first place and Anders Bagge in seventh place. Was it destabilizing?
I was prepared for this because I was quite unknown to the Swedish public when I attended the Melodifestivalen. In Sweden, it is very common for people to vote for an artist they already know or love over a TV show. The Swedes also seem to favor men – we usually send men to Eurovision (laughs). It did not bother me so much. I was quite pleasantly surprised that so many people supported me when I was new. I took it as a big compliment. And I was also very happy that there was an international jury! (she bursts out laughing)
You are one of the favorites in this Eurovision. Is there pressure?
It’s a pressure, of course, but that’s not how I feel. Everything that happens to me is so big to me. I went from the unknown independent artist to this massive support for Eurovision, it’s a big step forward for me, it gives me energy, it comforts me. That was my goal: that people should see what I do, not only in Sweden, but all over the world. I love to go on trips. I would like to perform in all these countries. I already have the feeling that the mission is complete in many ways. I do not have to worry about my career for a while now, which is a good thing. I can concentrate on the music I want to release, on the concerts. I feel more joy than pressure.
You faced a whole host of technical issues during your second test last Friday. Isn’t that bad for self-confidence?
I like when the tests go wrong. When I forget the lyrics e.g. That was what happened to me during the rehearsals for the Melodifestivalen final. I’m thinking at the moment “What the hell ?!”, then I correct myself by telling myself that what is happening now will not happen again later, in the course of live. So everything that happened today [vendredi], will not happen again. To me, it feels like I have checked the box “bad practice” and there will be a “perfect” box to check for the semifinal practice.
If you win the Eurovision night from Saturday to next Sunday, what will be your first thought?
Probably “What the hell?” ! (“What the hell?”) It’s hard to answer that question because it must be such an experience … Winning the Melodifestivalen is the closest thing to it: it was so crazy. So it will probably be a shock, a “mistake” state that will be activated in my head. Who knows ? If that happens, then we’ll see … I’ll tell you! (laughs)