Genealogy interview, part 3: Get to know Stephanie Topalian!
For the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest, Armenia will be represented by the newly created supergroup Genealogy, consisting of group members from five different continents.
Stephanie Topalian, known professionally as Stephanie (ステファニー), represents the Asian continent and Japan!
Hello, Stephanie! Thank you for taking the time to speak to us today!
How did you become a part of the Armenian supergroup Genealogy?
It was New Year’s Day, and I was spending time with my family. I randomly opened up my Facebook account to find an inbox message from Gohar Gasparyan (who eventually is the Head of Armenian Delegation in Eurovision), and I could not believe my eyes when I saw the message that was asking me if I was interested in becoming a part of Eurovision, and also to represent Armenia/Japan.
It was so unreal that I thought it was some sort of spam at first! Obviously it was not, so I sent them a video of me singing, got accepted, and immediately was on the plane to Armenia. I just couldn’t believe it when I was landing, because it felt like my life completely changed in one month. I met the members, bonded with them in an instant. Being a part of Genealogy gets more and more interesting each and every day. It’s one of the best things that happened to my life.
Coming from Japan, what do you hope to add to the Eurovision Song Contest?
Indeed it is very unique being half Japanese and half Armenian. Being born with two ethnicities, and being brought up in a multi-cultural environment (I was born and raised in California) it was always very important for me to be in touch with my roots. As I got interested in music, my dream became not only to sing and perform but also to build bridges between countries and spread the word of love and peace throughout my music.
For Eurovision Song Contest 2015, I am representing both Armenia and Japan and not only one side. I feel like my dream is coming true little by little, and I hope to make the most out of this on the stage with the members of Genealogy in Vienna. We all complete one another and I am sure that we will be able to rock the stage together.
“This song gets me emotional
because it reflects everything that I am”
Your song is called “Face the Shadow” – what is your perception of the song?
We can do so many different interpretations for this song. We could be talking about a boyfriend/girlfriend, a family member, a friend, or it could even be about you and the other side of you.
My personal interpretation of the song is about facing something within myself. I believe this song is talking about two forces coming together for something, which for me is my bright side and of course, my dark side. We all have our dark sides and shadows that we want to keep to ourselves and forget about. But the powerful words “Face the Shadow”, is about being honest and facing your difficulties, and ”You and I” is talking about when the two forces come together for love.
I have gone through so much being in music for a long time, both good and bad. Still in the end I am happy for who I am regardless of any darkness that I still have within myself. This song gets me emotional because it reflects everything that I am. I’m sure that a lot of people can relate to it in the same way as I do.
How would you describe “Face the Shadow” musically?
It is like a unique mixture of a mellow ballad and a powerful rock number. Just as the lyrics both have a soft and powerful side to it, musically it has two contrary sides to it as well. I believe that the music is very well synchronized with the lyrics.
What do you hope people will remember you for once Eurovision is over?
Of course I want them to remember me for my unique Armenian/Japanese background, but I also want them to remember me for my music. It would be great if people from all around the world followed me musically even after Eurovision.
This is the 60th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest, are you a fan and if so, how long have you watched?
I definitely knew about Eurovision although it was hard to keep myself updated, mostly because in Japan, we cannot vote and be a part of it. Still, just like a lot of other Japanese people, I knew many songs and artists that emerged from Eurovision and have been listening to them all along. And how amazing is it to be involved in it myself now as an artist. Unbelievable!
Do you have any favorite Eurovision songs?
Right now, I am in love with “Euphoria” by Loreen! (Of course I knew the song from before). From this year’s entries I think Nina Sublatti from Georgia is absolutely amazing. Her voice and image is oh so energetic. It would be awesome if I could get together with other female artists like her to create one really powerful song.
Have you ever visited Vienna?
No, it is my first time, and you do not know how excited I am! I have quite a few friends who have been there to study, and I heard a lot of exciting things from them. I can’t wait to be there in May to see all the wonderful things myself.
“It is my dream to collaborate
with the divas of my life”
If you could pick anyone, who would you like to collaborate with in the future?
I would definitely love to collaborate with each member of Genealogy as a duo, trio, a whole again, you name it. I will for sure keep in touch with these guys, they are not only wonderful human beings, but they are extremely talented musicians, and I would be out of my mind not to be doing anything with them again in the future.
As for artists besides Genealogy, it is my dream to collaborate with the divas of my life, Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, Christina Aguilera, Beyonce…Woah this is getting out of hand (haha)! I know I am being greedy, but hey, it would seriously be a dream come true to be able to collaborate with any of them, because I grew up listening to them.
What music, artists, bands do you listen to yourself? Any favorites?
I am obsessed with Michael Jackson. I think I have listened to each of his songs over a few hundred times, but it’s funny that I never get tired of those songs. Every performance that he has done, every music video or song that he has released…just gets me going crazy. He absolutely uses magic with music. He is a true artist and entertainer, and also my biggest inspiration.
“I actually love staying at home
and being a geek”
How do you best like to spend your time when you aren’t busy working?
Believe it or not, I actually love staying at home and being a geek. I’m always searching for new music, practicing the piano, or putting together ideas for new music. On the other hand when I do go outside, I enjoy taking long walks. Long, meaning really long. Last fall I had walked 40 kilometers with my friend in 12 hours. People thought we were crazy, but it was such a great experience discovering new areas on foot, and being away from the city life just for that moment (since I live right in the middle of busy Tokyo).
Besides music, what keeps you happy and motivated in life?
Family and friends, and all my wonderful fans. I probably wouldn’t even be doing music if it weren’t for them.
Are there any causes that you are passionate about and/or involved with?
I am very passionate about keeping the environment clean. Also anything associated with world peace and nature; I would do anything from my heart to support that.
Do you have a message for the readers of ESCReporter.com?
Thank you for reading this, and thank you very much for your kind support! Please keep an eye out for Genealogy in May, and also for the information about each and every member of the group. We will keep you guys updated (check out our social media links too ^o^)! I am extremely excited for Eurovision, and will do whatever I can to make the best out of it. Love you all, and see you soon!
Learn more about Genealogy: