Genealogy interview, part 2: Get to know Vahe Tilbian!
For the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest, Armenia will be represented by the newly created supergroup Genealogy, consisting of group members from five different continents.
Vahe Tilbian represents the African continent and has been kind enough to answer a few of our questions!
Hello, Vahe! Thank you for taking the time to speak to us today!
How did you become a part of the Armenian supergroup Genealogy?
I was contacted by AMPTV specifically by the lovely Gohar Gasparyan who asked if I would be interested and available to be part of the group. I immediately wrote back to her saying “most definitely” and after having had to go through another round of auditions I got an official email that said I was in. I could hardly believe it. I still can hardly believe it. It’s like a fairytale.
Coming from Ethiopia, what do you hope to add to the Eurovision Song Contest?
I’d definitely be an addition to the story, to the theme of building bridges. Music is the most universal language in this world. And currently when we see so much negative energy being manifested all over how amazing is it to bring people from all over the world and unite them with music.
Other than that of course being a 4th generation Ethiopian-Armenian, both my Ethiopian and Armenian roots are extremely important to me. My music is influenced by both types of music and as a pop/rock singer I put my own twist on what I sing so I hope a little bit of the Ethiopian Armenian will be added to Eurovision this year. Has there ever been an artist based in Africa, in Ethiopia who has performed at Eurovision ever? I’m stoked!!
Your song is called “Face the Shadow” – what is it about and what was the inspiration?
Our song, “Face the Shadow,” to me is an extremely powerful message about how to approach a relationship of any kind, friendship, romantic, even within families and it is about being open with yourself and with those around you, to not deny the feelings you feel and the emotions you want to show and the words you want to say. That once you have taken that step you will be free and you will have a better and more meaningful life with your soul at ease.
“I think Genealogy will be remembered
for its uniqueness”
What do you hope people will remember you for once Eurovision is over?
First and foremost I think Genealogy will be remembered for its uniqueness. For truly making that move to build bridges to unite us all, Armenian Diaspora with Armenia, the continents to one another. It’s a brilliant initiative. I also know that we are all individually very strong artists with diverse styles but that in itself will be something we will be remembered for. Unity in diversity, in a way.
Also, personally, as I said above I believe people will remember where I come from as it is strange to have an Armenian, born and raised in Africa, in Ethiopia and having the chance to compete in Eurovision under the Armenian flag. My fusion in music also makes me a unique artist I think.
This is the 60th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest, are you a fan and if so how long have you watched?
I am a fan and have watched Eurovision on and off ever since Celine Dion opened the competition in Switzerland after she won the previous year. It’s not easy to watch it live here in Ethiopia as we don’t get it televised and sometimes the satellite channels change around so I have missed many. But I watch performances on YouTube when I can.
Do you have any favorite Eurovision songs?
There are many favorites to be honest. Sirusho’s “Qele Qele,” Modugno’s “Nel blu dipinto di blu,” and of course ABBA is a classic. I’ve grown up with their songs. I used to run around the house singing “Voulez-Vous.”
Have you ever visited Vienna?
No, this will be my first time! I can’t wait!
If you could pick anyone, who would you like to collaborate with in the future?
This list I have in my head is so long but artists like Bruno Mars, Rihanna, Emilie Sande, Sirusho, Mahmoud Ahmed, Zeritu Kebede top the list. I can go on for days!
What music, artists, bands do you listen to yourself? Any favorites?
I listen to such a wide range of musical genre I can’t narrow it down to be honest. Bruno Mars is a personal favorite. Also love listening to India Arie, Emilie Sande, and Kenny Allen’s albums when I’m driving around town. Also Sirusho, Razmik Amyan, Andre, Christine Pepelyan top the list from Armenian artists.
“I am going learn Spanish”
How do you best like to spend your time when you aren’t busy working?
Others will tell you I am a social media addict and I shamelessly agree. But on the side I also enjoy movies, reading, crossword puzzles and Sudoku. I like to write. Spending time with my family is also extremely important to me. They’re the backbone to everything I have done and will continue to do. Also, I am going learn Spanish because after listening and watching Edurne’s video I’m impressed with her voice and beauty.
Besides music, what keeps you happy and motivated in life?
Hands down my family and friends. I cannot describe in words how much their support, encouragement, help, and constructive criticism means to me. Knowingly or unknowingly they drive me to do the best in everything I have ever set foot in, be it school, or hobbies or the decision to go into singing full time. They’re incredible and I thank God every day of my life for surrounding me with such an amazing group of people.
“With education we can tackle
other issues in this world”
Are there any causes that you are passionate about and/or involved with?
I am a huge advocate of education programs. I believe with education we can tackle other issues in this world like racism, sexism, general intolerance etc. When an individual is taught to open their mind then understanding and respect, tolerance and love become clearer and the better choice. At least one hopes so.
Do you have a message for the readers of ESCReporter.com?
I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of the readers, fans, for the support and encouragement and love. It means the world to me to be able to spread to the world peace and love through music. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart and all the blessings from The Almighty to you all.