“When I have nothing to do – I work the most!”

Interview with Alexander Rybak in Alanya, Turkey
By Anastasia Petrova Çetinkaya.

Anastasia Petrova Çetinkaya:

Originally from Russia. Lived, worked and studied in Norway from the age of 18. Nowadays lives in Turkey. Has been organizing concerts, cultural events and charity functions in Norway, Russia and Turkey for more than 10 years. Co-owner of publishing and event organization company in Alanya/Turkey.

In April 2013, Alexander Rybak was going to have 2 concerts in Alanya, Turkey and we were all looking forward to it. After many months of preparations, he finally arrived. I spent one week with Alexander and his team and tried to make their stay comfortable and full of joy. Alexander is a wonderful person and I enjoyed working and spending time with him. The most important to me, was to understand him, not as at public person, but as a human being with his own dreams, wishes and feelings. Therefore, I decided to make this interview, which I hope will open up a new Alexander to you.


AnastasiaEverybody always asks you in interviews about music and Eurovision,  but for me,  it is more interesting to know you as a person. Can you please, tell what kind of person you are? What do you like? Where do you like to travel and what are your hobbies? What do you do,  when you have free time?

Alexander: “Ah, you have made a questionnaire for me :)”.

Anastasia: No, really  not. Everybody knows about you from Eurovision and that’s all. I just want to find out what kind of person you are.

Alexander:  “ I am not very spontaneous. I like to prepare. before I do something.  I also like, to always be occupied with something. Sometimes,  people say that I have to learn to rest – sit in a sofa and do nothing, But I don´t think that it is to rest, not to do anything at all. Actually,  when I have nothing to do,  I work the most – otherwise I will go crazy. I really relax when I watch TV. I love TV and TV- series and TV- games. I like Mario. I just love TV – games.”

Anastasia: What are your hobbies? Do you ski? Ride a bike?

Alexander: “Physical hobbies. I like to ski in the winter.”

Anastasia: Do you do slalom or snowboard? 

Alexander: “Oh, no, no! It is so fast and so difficult to turn.  I like to work out and in the summer I do windsurfing.”

Anastasia: Why windsurfing? How did you start on that?

Alexander: “A very good friend of mine introduced me to it.”

Anastasia: Do you windsurf in Norway or in other places?

Alexander: “So far I have only done it Norway. Maybe I can also do it here in Turkey? There are so many waves in the sea here”

Anastasia: I think you can also do it in Turkey, but I have not seen it here in Alanya so far. Maybe you will be the first one. 

You travel so much. What is your favorite place?

Hello Alanya Magazine May 2013 Photography: Tarık Olcan & Murad Katkay


Alexander:  “I like America and I like to go there often. I like countries, where all the cultures are mixed and live together. Norway is also a country with many cultures now, but it is more different. For example, I like Alanya very much because here, no matter where you come from, you are an Alanyian, and that is great.”

Anastasia:Are you a “nature” person or a “city” person? Do you like most to be out in the nature or to be in the city?

Alexander:  “I am both, I think.. When I get tired of the city,  I go to the nature, and when I get tired of the nature, I go back to the city. I like to enjoy everything, which exists in the world.”

Anastasia: Do you get inspiration from nature, or can you just walk on the street and get inspiration there too?

Alexander: “Nature is one of the things, which I get inspiration from.” 

Anastasia: Norwegian fjords?

Alexander: “Fjords and mountains, but I also get inspired when I watch TV. I know my mother hates me for that, but when I watch TV,  I concentrate on myself. When you go somewhere, you always have your friends or girlfriend with you, who say all the time: “Oh, look at that tree!Look there!” And then I have to look, where the others point. So when I watch TV I am for myself.”

Anastasia: In the last years, since you travelled a lot, what has been the most impressive you have seen? Something that made you say “Oh, wow!!!” ?

Alexander: “That is very difficult to answer. I have an interesting life and I see so much. Last year I visited 28 countries. So it is a little bit difficult for me to say, what is really impressive. One time we went to Nepal. We went there to support and help them. I had a girlfriend at that time and she said: “Oh, we have to help these poor children!”. They did not have infrastructure but only they can do it. I have visited many places and seen poor people who really need help. And they are all very different.”

Anastasia: Where do you want to go?

Alexander: “I want to go to America “

Anastasia: What is your favorite city in America?

Alexander: “New York, Los Angeles… I had a concert in Toronto as well and there, I really felt inspired.”

Photo: Heyaktuel Alanya


Anastasia: You are doing projects with children and charity-projects as well. Can you tell more about them?

Alexander: “I am working on a musical now, which will be released next year. I have worked on it for 2 years and it is my big project.”

Anastasia: Will it be performed on the stage as a real musical?

Alexander: “First we will release the album and then we will see where it will go”.

Anastasia: What is it about?

Alexander: “It is about Norwegian trolls.”

Anastasia: You are of mixed cultures. What do you like best about the Norwegian culture?

Alexander: “In Norway we are always happy. I like,  that I have grown up in 2 cultures. In Belarus it is different. Even if you are in love,  you have to be sad – Absolutely opposite”.

Anastasia: You have performed with many famous singers. Who was the most impressive figure?

Alexander: “I liked very much to perform with Carola. After many years on stage,  she is the same. She is very talented and loves what she does. But the person, who I was most impressed by and who blew me away was Will Smith . I remember,  I met him and Barack Obama on the same day at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony. It was very interesting to meet Barack Obama and it was a very big privilege for me and I even had shaking knees . When we met,  he shook my hand and hugged me. It was very impressive for me.”

Anastasia: How do you see yourself in 10-15 years? What is your dream? I know,  that at the end you want to be a composer…

Alexander: “Yes, you have said it”

Anastasia:But what kind of composer do you want to become?

Alexander: “I want to be in a studio and write music – a lot of different music. Also because,  then I will be able to spend more time with my family,  which is difficult when I travel a lot. But now I like it. I enjoy it”.

Anastasia:Yesterday I thought about one thing: I have read that you have learned to play piano and violin from your parents and later at school, but how did you start to sing?

Alexander: “When you study at the music school,  they teach you how to sing. They teach you how to sing correctly. So for me it started as a play – for fun. For example, Michael Jackson is my hero, but he was not an educated singer. So pop- musicians, we just play, but everything else is professional. We rehearse a lot. So I am a violinist and composer as well. I want to remain so and share my music with all the world.”