“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 Rybak was born on May 13th 1986 in Minsk, the capital of Belarus. At the age of five, Alexander and his little family of three moved to Norway and settled at Nesodden near Oslo. Alexanders parents are both professional musicians and they taught their son to play the violin and piano from an early age. Soon, 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 practiced with fierce discipline for many hours every day and played concerts with his family and their musician 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. Alexander studied the great classical masters, but was from the beginning also preoccupied with thinking “outside the box”. He began playing jazz and popular standards as well as pop hits. He composed music from an early age. His violin took him to far away places including Russia, The United States and China as a member of various 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”(Norway´s got talent) 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!
The director of one of Oslo’s biggest theatres cast Alexander for a production of “Fiddler on the Roof”. His performance led to a multitude of rave reviews and he was awarded a Hedda Award, the highest acclamation a stage actor can achieve in Norway.
In between all of his engagements, Alexander 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 got inspired to write a song called “Fairytale”and when the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation contacted him in late 2008, he had a plan. 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 viewer 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 the runner-up from Iceland.
“Fairytale”, became a major hit in Europe and was #1 on most European iTunes 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 status in Norway within two months. It has also reached Gold status in Sweden and Double Platinum status in Russia, where Alexander in mid August 2009 was #1 on the Russian Billboard charts.
After his Eurovision-Victory in May 2009, Alexander was requested for concerts and TV-shows allover the world and he went on a long Concert-Tour with his band and dancers and performed in Norway, Sweden, Finland, Poland, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, UK, USA etc. while he kept working and preparing for his future projects
In March 2010, Alexander was awarded with the Norwegian Grammy-award: The coveted music prize “Spellemann of the Year” 2009.
Around the same time, he was invited to the Russian MUZ-awards in Moscow, where he received a MUZ-award as “The Best Newcomer of 2009”.
Alexanders interest in acting led to a character role in the movie “Yohan: The Child Wanderer” and to the Norwegian voice dubbing of the lead character, Hiccup in the animated movies from Dreamworks Animation “How To Train Your Dragon” and “How To Train Your Dragon 2”.
In 2011, Alexander launched a new project: Musical workshops with young musicians from music schools and youth orchestras. Alexander has developed the concept of 3 days of workshop and a final, public concert with him and the young musicians. The workshops have been a huge success in Norway, Sweden, USA and Turkey and with his love of teaching and the inspiration he gets from children, it is something Alexander really loves to do.
In September 2011, Alexander went back to school at Barratt Due Musical Institute to finish his violin studies and get his bachelor degree as a 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 a performer, though with a little less packed schedule. Alexander passed his exam at Barrat Due in June 2012 and got his bachelor degree with a top ‘A’ grade.
In 2014, Alexander sent a song to the American company Dreamworks Animation, who produced the “How To Train Your Dragon” movie and they liked his song, “Into a Fantasy” so much, that they decided to use it for the soundtrack of the second movie in the sequel: “How To Train Your Dragon 2”. It was close to the premier of the movie and it was really too late to add another song, but Dreamworks managed to add “Into a Fantasy” to the soundtrack of the movie in Scandinavia, many slavic and most European countries. Alexander, once again, also did the Norwegian voice-dubbing of the lead-character in this movie.
In 2014 Alexander composed songs for the national Eurovision-selections in Malta and Belarus. In Malta, he wrote the song “Still Here” for the young, talented singer Franklin Calleja and in Belarus, he wrote the song “Accent” for the girl group “Milki”, a group of 5 talented singers he had found himself after having organized open auditions in 5 Belarussian cities. Neither “Still Here” or “Accent” won their national finals, but they got good placements and good reviews. Alexander will continue the collaboration with “Milki”and they have plans about a joint concert tour. .
In July 2015, Alexander took part in a theatre production in Norway, “Soot-Spelet”, where some of the most popular actors in Norway and Sweden were in the cast. Alexander was cast to play the role as one of his big idols, the legendary Norwegian violinist and composer Ole Bull.
For more than 3 years, in between all his other engagements, Alexander has been working on a project, very close to his heart and in September 2015, his efforts were rewarded and he could add the title “Author”to his CV. The Norwegian publisher Cappelen Damm published his childrens book “Trolle og den Magiske Fela”. (Trolle and the Magic Fiddle) The book is about a little Troll, who is a bit outcast and bullied, but when he finds a magic fiddle which gives him magic powers, his life changes. On a deeper level, the story is about the power and importance of friendship and trust and how it can overcome fear and prejudice.
Alexander calls “Trolle og den Magiske Fela” a “Musical-in-a-book”, because the book comes together with 3 CDs with 13 new songs and the story, narrated by Dennis Storhøi. “Trolle og den Magiske Fela” has received great reviews in Norway and foreign publishers have already shown interest. The Danish company Koppelwrite has bought the rights to publish the book in Denmark in 2016.