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(Photograph Courtesy of http://www.123people.se)

Today we had the pleasure of meeting the beautiful “Monika Hoffman who attempting to be become the Hungarian representative at Eurovision 2013 with the song “Hullocsillag”.

Thank you Monika for taking time out of your busy rehearsal schedule to meet Eurovision Ireland today.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and background and musical career to date?

I sure can and I’ll try to give you the short version, my life in music is kind of crazy :) Well it all started in my mothers belly. She was playing the French horn in symphony orchestras and when she blew her horn the vibrations made me move around so much that she got an extra vibrato in her tone. She proudly tells this story to everyone. So I think that the vibrations branded me for life, I can’t escape wanting to be around music all the time. My mom gave me a violin when I was 3 years old and I’ve played it ever since, along the way I also learned how to play the piano and the saxophone. I sung from a very early age, I think I sang for an audience for first time when I was 5 years old. It was for Hungarians at their annual Mothers day gathering in Malmö, Sweden (where I grew up).

With playing the saxophone came my love for jazz and Latin music and with the violin came classical and Hungarian folk music. So music and love for cultures is a part of my life. My father is born in Sweden but grew up in Los Angeles, his father was German and his mother born is Sweden yet of Latvian decent. My mother on the other hand was born Hungary and grew up in Serbia (former Yugoslavian republic). After my primary, middle and high school years I decided that I needed a break from Sweden and I also got a warm recommendation from my piano teacher at that time, he said, “Monika you have such a good voice, you are a very stupid girl if you don’t use it!” With these words I took my chances and applied to the Berkley College Of Music World Scholarship Tour and believe it or not I travelled to Dublin for an official audition. It went fantastic, I was lucky to get a scholarship and my dream of going to America to study music came true.
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(Photograph Courtesy of www.myspace.com)

After Berkley I attended the Music College in Malmö but I felt I needed yet another break after 2 years, so I auditioned for the Hungarian version of “Idol- Megasztár”. It went so well that I found myself living in Hungary for just about 4 years singing, performing, recording music and landing one of the leading roles in the rock musical “56 drops Of Blood” that was made into a movie showed at Cannes and screened in the US. Tables turned again and I felt the need to finish my studies at the music academy in Malmö. Now I’ve finished all of my studies and I’m a music/vocal teacher also specializing in music production. Nowadays I’m a proud vocal teacher at my old music high school as well as going on tour with various different bands. I’m planning a tour in Prague in April with one of Prague’s best saxophonists Matous Kobylka.

How did it come about that you and your song came together for the selection in Hungary?

I really fell in love with a song that was presented to me by Jonas Gladnikoff, Michael James Down, Primoz Poglajen and Johnny Sanchez and I told them that if I sang it I would send it to the Hungarian Eurovision selection. And I did and I’m very happy with that decision.
(YouTube Video Courtesy of BigOCreativeStudio)

Hullocsillag, what does the song mean in English and if you win the chance to go to Malmo will you sing it in Hungarian or English?Hulló is “Falling” and “csillag” is star. The lyrics are written by Peter Puskás who is an old friend of mine from my time in Megasztár and he writes beautiful Hungarian lyrics, so there wasn’t any question about who I would ask to write the lyrics to our song. I’m torn with the language question. I think that the Hungarian language is so special so that it should be sung, but the English lyrics are really great as well, but as we all know the Show decides in what language it will be sung in, in the end and I would be really happy with both.

You seem to have sung some other songs written by the composer Jonas Gladnikoff, namely ‘Higher Ground’ and ‘When the World Turns’. Can you tell us how you and Jonas came together musically?

Yes dear Jonas, the world is wonderfully small sometimes. Jonas lives close to Stockholm and I live about 6 hours away by car, so if we didn’t have a common friend we would have never met. My Hungarian childhood friend Bettina is an old classmate of a songwriter (who also is Hungarian) Henrik Szabo and he and Jonas have written many songs for together. He brought Jonas and I together one “beautiful day”.
(YouTube Video Courtesy of ikuoz)

Your song is a very beautiful atmospheric ballad which would not sound out of place in a film score. Is this sort of song the kind you like to sing usually?

I love to sing anything that is truly dynamic and “Hullócsillag” is just that. My voice craves the kind of music where my soul is totally exposed.

What would it mean to you personally if you were given the chance to represent Hungary at Eurovision this year?

Boy oh boy it would mean the world, honestly mostly becuase I would make so many people proud, my students look up to me and I know they will even if I don’t win but I would love to make them extra proud. It’s also such a great place to be, the show is always incredible and I would love to be a part of it.

Who has influenced you most musically in your life so far?

It’s not so much who than what. Life events, people I’ve met, cultures I’ve gotten to know. My studies in Boston helped me bloom and I learned how to let go on stage and that’s the most important thing for an artist, to be who you are, letting yourself and others enjoy.

Are you a fan of watching previous Eurovision Song Contests and do you have a favourite song from the past shows?

Yes, quite a few! But I really fell in love with Albania’s contribution in 2009 “Carry Me With You In Your Dreams”, there were actually so many good songs that year, it’s me and my sister’s favourite year.

(YouTube Video Courtesy of eurovisionfan1994)

Thank you so much for your time today Monika. We here at Eurovision Ireland wish you the best of luck with your song “Hullocsillag” at the Hungarian Selection “A-Dal”. If you get to represent Hungary at Malmo – maybe you can show us about the city?

Author – Andrew James Main

Source – Eurovision Ireland

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