Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Bettan & Stephan Barratt Due Interview on TV2 God Morgen Norge 15.05.09

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FH: It was a beautiful picture yesterday too, when Alexander Rybak could breathe a sigh of relief.

He is in the finale, it all went well. MH: Yes, and the expectations are raising

FH: There were a lot of Eastern European countries there a little while.

MH: There are many Eastern European countries and all of them want to be there.

FH: But our song is the best.

MH: Our song is at least very good, isn't it Bettan? Isn't this an ESC-song that is pretty perfect?

B: To me it is perfect. Just listen to the intro, and you are there immediately.

And that is a good ESC song, when you begin to love it during the first seconds. That is when it happens.

S: And you have to hum along in the end. B: Yes, we will.

Both the fiddle, the intro and that tremendously cute boyish face, which will charm the whole world completely. Then you have made it.

FH: But is it us - the Norwegians - who are talking now, or do they see him this way in Moldova and Azerbaijan too?

B: Yes, I think they do. It doesn't matter if Alex wins tonight, because he has already won. FH: Tomorrow.

B: Yes. He has presented himself in a fantastic way. Everyone knows who he is, and everyone likes him. And everyone wants to have a piece of the Alexander Rybak circus.

It's almost like he could benefit by coming second or third place, because then he doesn't have to go through all the hysterical stuff the winner has to go through.

Which is fun, but it is time consuming. And it takes a lot of concentration. Now he is ready to continue with his career, so he could benefit by being placed second.

FH: We don't know what you are hoping for, Stephan Barratt-Due.

You are principal at the school where Alexander Rybak is a student at the moment. He has albeit put the studies aside for now.

S: Yes, he has to await a while. FH: What do you hope will happen to your student?

S: I of course hope that Alexander will win. I believe he has great opportunities to win. When it comes to... music is boundless, even if you hear - even in this kind of music -

that you come from different parts of Europe, I believe Alexander... the music is boundless, and he appeals to, in his own way, universally.

I think he has a big opportunity, also because he is a great entertainer, I would say.

And in contrast to these Idol-times, when you first become a star, and then learn the craft afterwards, Alexander has a strong grounding in classical music.

HM: How good is he really?

S: He is a very good violinist, who would manage excellently and very well - as a violinist no matter what.

In my opinion, the choice that he completed, even if he has been interested in entertaining -

not necessarily an ESC song, I think - but to express himself with music, with song.

He sings well, he plays the piano, he composes. He has ownership to what he performs, which I find unique in this context, because he has written the music and the lyrics.

FH: But what is he best at? You mentioned the he sings, we know that. He plays the violin and he also plays the piano. Does he play other instruments?

S: He plays guitar. FH: But it is the violin that is...

S: I took part in a selection for "Kjempesjansen" - before the one he won - and... He has always been a "propeller", and wanted to do 1000 things,

but back then I remember we, Dan Børge and I and a few others were sitting there listening... .

But at that time he did absolutely everything, he played the piano, played violin and sang. He did everything he could, and it ended up being too much.

He plays the violin very well, and he sings - in my opinion - very well.

And he writes well. He has managed to develop different sides of his musical talent,

and I believe the reason is that he has stuck to what is - in a way - his base, namely the violin. That he has had that classical strength.

MH: And he is good at that. But Bettan, he is 23 years old, he has had a very speedy journey towards stardom here at home, and now he is international.

He speaks Russian, and that will make him become a sweetheart over there, I guess.

Is there a downside in this, a risky side, that he should be aware of, young as he is?

B: I don't think there are many risks for Alexander, because he is a wise boy in all this.

But what's important is who surrounds him, who are his advisors, and what they have decided to focus on.

That is important. If he wins - as I believe he will - it is incredibly important that all are conscious what to focus on, what to do and what not to do.

MH: True. B: And that is important, because he needs good advisors. He is - as you say - a "propeller", and he knows much, and he wants much, so he has to be stopped now and then.

S: I have to add one thing. I totaly agree with you, but he has an expressed and strong awareness concerning what he wants.

B: Yes he has. S: And therefore he is not as much a victim as so many others.

B: We were on a tour, and he is incredibly funny and verbally awesome on stage.

We had insane fun on stage. He can walk straight in, we did not know if the chemistry on stage would work, but it did.... he went straight in there too.

FH: We will follow this from our sofas here at home tomorrow.

One person, who is sitting ring side, is the journalist from Akershus Amtstidende, the local newspaper at Nesodden, where Alexander lives.

MH: Ann-Turi Ford, do you believe he will win tomorrow? AT: Yes, I believe so. We have a countdown to the finale, not the semi finale. We haven't bothered with that, so we...

FH: Can you describe in brief how young Alexander Rybak is doing in the middle of this crazy circus?

AT: I have not had the pleasure of being able to get my hands on him in person, but I hope to be able to talk to him today.

I was in the press centre, watching the show from there, because I had to write and send at the same time.

And that was very, very fun, because there was more applause and whistling when he entered the stage, than there was when many of the others came on stage. Or - all the others - except Ukraine, a bit.

FH: Ukraine a bit. AT: Yes, there was a gang cheering for them.

FH: We guess there will be many pages in the Monday's newspapers, if he really goes all the way to the top. Thank you very much, and good luck in the hunt for the 23 year old.

MH: Yes, she will manage it, after all she is from the local paper. FH:: How will you spend this Saturday, Elisabeth?

B: We will sit at home, and have a good time with friends from the USA. Have a good meal, cheer and enjoy just watching.

I have followed this on the internet for a while, and I see that he is a "propeller" over there. There are many questions, many cameras, many journalists are after him.

I remember from Gothenburg how we... It was a tremendous chaos that week, and we said

"Now, we have to go for it until Sunday, and then we will rest". But that was when it all started, and didn't stop until a year.

FH: An expert like you, Stephan Barratt-Due, do you stand to watch 3 hours of ESC music?

S: We'll see if I can bear it. Yes, I will probably watch it. And I have kids who will watch, and they will shout when it is time. We look forward to it.

MH: Bettan, you have sold quite a lot of this one; "Spellemann". B: Yes.

FH: She has sold very many of this one. MH: She has, in fact, sold to gold. B: Wow.

MH: Since you are here, we found out we wanted give you the gold record for the album "Spellemann". B: Thank you so much.

MH: There are some darlings, songs you really like, on this album.

B: This is especially fun in these times, when the record business struggles a lot. You have to take care of your audience, make albums and not give up.

MH: You can also get the GOLD record if 15,000 have illegally downloaded your album.

B: I have an audience that prefers to buy albums, to watch the booklet and have it physically in their hands.

But I know that digital music is going up. We have to try to change people's attitude, so they buy music instead of downloading it.

MH: Anyway; Congratulations with the gold record! B: This is very fun! MH: Here you are! I guess you have a few on your walls already.

The Description of Bettan & Stephan Barratt Due Interview on TV2 God Morgen Norge 15.05.09