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Eurovision Q&A: Alessandra, Norway's Queen Of Kings

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Every day this week, we're interviewing one of the favourite acts for the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest.

Today, it's 20-year-old Norwegian hopeful Alessandra Mele, who will be the first contestant on stage at the first semi-final on Tuesday.

She'll be performing Queen Of Kings, a colossal self-empowerment anthem that's fuses Lady Gaga's synthpop to Norse mythology.

It climaxes with the singer belting out a "whistle note" á la Mariah Carey, while dressed in a costume inspired by Queen Elizabeth I.

We spoke to her a day after her first on-stage rehearsal in Liverpool.

Hey Alessandra! You just posted a TikTok of yourself watching rehearsals while scoffing an entire packet of biscuits. Were they good biscuits?

They were too good. I had to write a note for the hotel. I said, "Please don't leave any more biscuits because I'm eating them all!"

Surely you've earned the calories? You did that routine three times in one day!

It's a lot, it's true. I've been trying to eat healthy and nourish my body. Fried food is so heavy, it's not good if you have to dance and be focused on something so big as Eurovision. And I love sugars too much.

You were born in Italy but you live in Norway, When did you move?

Just two years ago. My mum is Norwegian and my dad is Italian. and I moved to Norway because I missed my family so much. My grandparents are my best friends and they're not going to live forever, unfortunately, so I want to be as near them as possible.

How do your grandparents feel about Eurovision?

My grandpa gets so emotional. He always texts me saying he pictured me singing on a big stage, so he loves what I'm doing. He loves music, too. He's a part of a choir at 82 years old.

That's so cool.

He even made them sing Queen of Kings - a male choir version of Queen of Kings. I'm gonna ask for the video of that!

Did you sing at family gatherings when you were young?

I'm going to tell you a funny story. I always did that, like always, and then I had a trauma because once I was singing and, without doing it on purpose, I farted!

Oh no!

On the high note, in front of everyone. It was so embarrassing. I went running and started crying in my room and then my mom came in laughing, while I was crying. And that was a trauma, so I didn't sing to the family for a few years after that.

Well, the good news is if that happens in Liverpool the microphone won't pick it up.

You won't hear it, right!

One of the reasons you went to Norway is to study music, is that right?

Yeah, absolutely. I wanted to study music theory, because I'm a songwriter. I'm learning more about producing and the music business. So it's one year of our life, all the students going to LIMPI ( Lillehammer Institute of Music itemion and Industrie) in Norway to just write music every day.

Did you write Queen of Kings at school?

No, it's because I was on The Voice Norway, and they asked me to be a part of the songwriting camp for MGP (Melodi Grand Prix, Norway's national selection process for Eurovision). I thought, 'Why not? It sounds like so much fun'. And then who would have thought that that would have led me to Eurovision?

Tell me about that session where you came up with the song?

I remember the producer coming up with a melody on the piano and I got this image in my mind of a goddess running in the darkness through the woods, through the trees in a winter storm. She's a strong woman, coming out of a bad period, and you get that running type of energy from the song.

Your vocal range is incredible. Your normal register is quite deep but you hit this incredible high E note at the end.

I didn't even know that I could do that before the session! It was so weird because I was just going around singing like this [breaks into song] and the other writers were like, "You can do a whistle note?' We have to use that!"

Do you know what? That note was so high that Zoom filtered it out, because it thought it was background noise!

That's crazy! Can you hear me if I do it again? [She sings the high note two or three times].

Nope, it mutes it. You're too high for Zoom!

That's super fun, isn't it?

How do you feel about hitting that note on the night?

I've always sung the note without any problem. If you rehearse for it, it's 99 per cent that you get it.

You're the opening act at the first semi-final, that must be exciting.

So exciting. I can't wait. It's going to be so nice to just relax after I've done it and watch the other parties do their stuff.

You have a new costume for Liverpool, right?

Yeah, it's more royal. My style was inspired from Elizabeth I, from the 16th Century, but of course more modern. So we have the corset and the lines that give me a warrior type of energy.

Do you adopt that character when you perform the song?

Absolutely. I have to have that confidence because I'm singing such a powerful song. Even if I felt sad during the day, I have to just act the role.

What's it been like meeting all the other contestants?

So nice. I'm quite friendly, I love talking to people, so I think I've almost become a friend of everyone!

Who's most likely to get you in trouble?

Well, one of the biggest favourites is [Swedish contestant and former winner] Loreen. I think she deserves it all because she's so good at what she does. She's a role model, so I'm just honoured to be part of Eurovision with her. That makes the experience even more 'Wow'.

You've just answered a different question to the one I asked... I meant which of the other acts is most likely to get you in trouble on a night out?

On a night out!! Oh, that's fun. That's interesting.

Those Irish boys seem like they're bad news.

Yes, that! I would say that! Yes! Absolutely!

You've been teasing another song on TikTok called Pretty Devil. What can you say about that?

It''s a song that we're planning to release after Eurovision. So it's gonna be very interesting because, of course, Queen Of Kings was written for the contest - and I feel that Pretty Devil is a good bridge to get to know another part of my being an artist. Because I have a pop/rock side, I have an EDM side. I have a Spanish side. I have a ballad side.

You've done an Italian version of Queen Of Kings, too.

That's true, yeah.

I don't want to tempt fate, but when people win Eurovision they often perform a multi-lingual version of the song to close the show.

Oh, we have to do that. What would you say, then? I would say maybe French, Spanish...

Maybe Ukrainian, too, because it was supposed to be their contest this year.

That would be wonderful to do. I'll have to get Tvorchi to teach me!