Alexander Rybak was born on May 13th 1986 in Minsk, the capital of Belarus - at that time a part of the Soviet Union. His phenomenal journey began at the age of five, when his little family of three moved to Norway and settled at Nesodden, a short ferry trip from Oslo, the capital of Norway. His parents, Natalia and Igor, are both professionally trained musicians and teaching their son the violin and piano was the most natural thing in the world.
Alexander practiced like a top athlete. Soon it became apparent, that he had to choose between his two instruments and he decided to go with the violin. He still plays the piano – as a hobby – along with the guitar. Alexander continued to practice as well as playing concerts with his family and other musical friends. At a very young age he debuted on the stage and many noticed Alexander’s talents. He enrolled at The Barrat Due Institute of Music when he was 10 and here, he met other young people with the same passion for music and realized that he was not the odd one out. From the very beginning Alexander studied the great classical masters, but was also preoccupied with thinking «outside the box». He began playing jazz and popular standards as well as pop hits. He composed music since he was a young boy. His violin took him to far places including Russia, The United States and China, while he was a member of different orchestras.
Born with a competitive streak, Alexander joined the Norwegian talent-contest “Idol” in 2005, but didn’t get to the final. A year later, at the age of 20, he joined another talent-contest, ”Kjempesjansen” with a broader approach to music and use of instruments. With his own, jazzy, composition “Foolin”, Alexander won the contest and the hearts of the Norwegian nation!
A director at one of Oslo’s biggest theatres cast Alexander in a production of “Fiddler on the Roof”. His performance led to a multitude of rave reviews and he was awarded a Hedda, the highest acclamation a stage actor can achieve in Norway. In between all his engagements, Alexander also found time to travel like fiddlers did in the old days, playing for food and lodging in some of the valleys and islands of Norway. On one of these trips, he came up with the idea to write a song called “Fairytale” and when the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation contacted him one day in late 2008, he had a plan. This was just the beginning…
Alexander Rybak signed up for the national Eurovision-selection in Norway with his own song “Fairytale“. He performed on stage with folk-dancers of the Frikar Dance Company and won with the highest score of votes ever. He went on to the 54th Eurovision Song Contest in Moscow in May 2009 and won with a landslide victory. He finished with a grand total of 387 points, breaking the previous record of 292 points scored by Lordi in 2006 and scoring 169 points more than runner up from Iceland.
“Fairytale”, became a major hit in Europe and was # 1 on most European I-tunes charts the following week. It also reached top 3 on the European chart, #1 in Belgium, Denmark, Greece, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Russia and #2 in Ireland, Finland and the Netherlands.
Alexander released his debut album “Fairytales” in more than 25 European countries including Scandinavia, Russia/CIS, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Benelux, France and Greece. The “Fairytales” album reached triple platinum in Norway within two months. It has also sold to Gold in Sweden and Double Platinum in Russia, where Alexander in mid August 2009 was #1 on the Russian Billboard charts.
The second single from “Fairytales” released in Norway was “Funny Little World”, which entered the Norwegian charts at #2 only beaten by Fairytale at #1. This is the first time in history that a Norwegian artist has had the two top chart positions in Norway.
In the months, following the Eurovision 2009, Alexander went on concert-tours in Norway, Sweden, Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, Poland and USA. In December 2009, Alexander had the honor of performing at the Nobel-Peace-prize-concert in Oslo, watched by millions of TV-viewers.
In march 2010, Alexander was awarded with the norwegian Grammy-award, the coveted music prize “Spellemann of the year” 2009.
Alexanders interest in acting has led to a character-role in the movie “Yohan- the child-wanderer” and to voice-dubbing of the lead characters in the animated movies “How to train your dragon” and “The Moomins and the Comet chase”. He also appears – as himself – in the movie, made about him “Fairytale – The movie” (2009 ).
In June 2010, he was invited to the Russian Grammy-awards – MUZ-TV-Awards to perform the song “I don´t believe in miracles”. He had recorded the song – in Russian for the movie Chornaya Molniya (Black Lightning) by Timur Bekmambetov in 2009.
But Alexander was not only invited to the MUZ-Awards to perform. He was nominated in 3 award-categories and won the coveted MUZ-TV-award for “Best breakthrough of 2009″.
In June 2010, his second album “No Boundaries” was released. It was an album where Alexander really allowed himself to experiment with genres and show his musical diversity. In december 2010, Alexander released a Christmas-EP, “God Jul” with 4 Christmas Classics recorded with the Big Band, that also accompanied him on his 2010 self-produced Christmas-Tour in Norway “Swinging Home for Christmas“.
2011 continued as the previous years, with lots of performances and concerts, collaboration with other artists, participation in TV-shows in several countries – but also with the launch of a new project of Alexanders: Musical workshops with young musicians from music-schools and youth-orchestras. Alexander has developed the concept himself and his 3-day-workshops with a final, public concert by him and the young musicians together, has been a huge sucess so far, and is something Alexander really loves to do.
In June 2011, Alexander released his 3rd album “Visa vid vindens ängar”, in collaboration with one of his big idols – the swedish singer/songwriter Mats Paulson, who wrote most of the songs and with Alexander in charge of the musical arrangements and performance. The album is a collection of summerly, poetic ballads, all sung in Swedish by Alexander and again – he showed new sides of his talent.
In September 2011, Alexander went back to school at Barratt Due Musical Institute to finish his violin-studies and get his bachelor-degree as violinist – something that had been postponed because of his Eurovision-victory in 2009. While he completed his studies, he managed to continue his career as performer, though with a little less full schedule and he went around the world for concerts, performances, TV-shows and musical workshops. Alexander passed his exam at Barrat Due in June 2012 and got his bachelor-degree with top-grade.
In November 2012, Alexander released a Christmas-album “Christmas-tales” with new versions of his favorites of the American classic Christmas-songs and some of his own compositions.
From his 4 albums, many songs have been released as singles but he has also released singles, that are not on albums. They are:
“I don´t believe in Miracles”- for the Russian movie “Black Lightning” (2009)
“Fela Igjen” – with Norwegian group Opptur” (2010)
“Atlantis” (2011 )
“I´ll show you” - Duett with Romanian singer Paula Seling (2012)
“Strela Amura” – Russian version of “Oah” (2012)
“Leave me alone” (2012)
and the Russian version of “Leave me Alone” – “Dostala” (2012)
Alexander has been requested in many countries since his Eurovision-victory in 2009 and until February 2013, he has, so far, visited 36 different countries to play live concerts or perform on TV.
“The Eurovision Song Contest and YouTube have been a big help for me, to show my talent. I don´t consider myself, a “format” kind of artist and I need the support of people around the world. I care about talent and I love to support and inspire people by travelling around the world and work with young talents, wherever I meet them“, Alexander says.
In 2013, Alexander returned to the Norwegian Eurovision as composer of the song “I´m with you”, sung by the 18-year old talent Annsofi. The song got to the grand final and ended up a 4th place.
2013 seems to turn out as yet another busy year for Alexander Rybak. Along with his work as a composer, he has been on a concert-tour in Norway, he is working on a musical for children and a new album and he has scheduled TV-performances and concerts in Greece, Norway, USA, Canada, Lithuania, Russia and Turkey. And 2013 has just begun.