Vocal pedagogue Etienne Levy is one of the most emotional members of the team, whom every participant trusts and relies on every year for their singing and mental training.
In an extremely frank conversation with Anelia Popova from “SHOW” newspaper, Etienne Levy, who is also a long-term lecturer at the New Bulgarian University, reveals shocking moments for each of the star participants in this season, left behind.
– Was it difficult to adapt on the move to all the restrictions related to the epidemic situation in the country due to COVID-19?
– To tell you the truth about me, no, because I have been extremely disciplined since I was a child. I was a very violent kid because I loved to play, but at the same time infinitely disciplined, which I regret a little today, because if it weren’t for that, maybe today I would be much more successful. And probably, of course, I would have quarrels with the judiciary, government agencies, etc. The former gamens and hooligans then became businessmen…
– ..do you see any pattern between Gamen behavior and success?
– Well, yes, there is such a thing. I was quite violent and naughty, but in the good sense of the word. I got so caught up in ball games, for example, that I forgot to go home. Many times my grandmother warned me not to sweat because I often had tonsillitis because of the tonsils, but I forgot about those words and when I finally got home, I sat in the cold and fluttered my sweater, I was short of breath. to home. She caught me right away, of course, but overall I was quite executive.
That’s why I didn’t have a problem with the measures imposed now because of the pandemic – be it related to the mask, gloves or hand washing, I don’t know how many times a day. But this is not just about me, but about the discipline and sense of responsibility of all participants and the entire team of “Drops”. I will tell you most sincerely that from the very beginning Maggie (Maggie Halvadjian) gathered everyone and said: “I want you to know one thing – people are waiting for our show. It is a matter of reason, personal responsibility and discipline to overcome all this!
Anyone who can be in the requirements and comply with them is welcome and we move forward. Who can’t and thinks it will be a walk, knows where the door is, I don’t stop anyone. ” Extremely correct on his part. And, of course, no one left. Those who work in this format are a team of responsible, sensible and thinking people. Everyone knew very well that if only one of the team had gotten sick or, God forbid, was a carrier of this virus, we would all be in quarantine and the transmission would be stopped.
“I guess we’re talking about outright fear here, aren’t we?”
– In the beginning, there may have been those who were more stressed – especially by the participants. But then, when we found support in each other, that feeling passed. All measures were strictly observed. The guards measured the temperature of everyone who came, no matter who they were. Then they checked for gloves, for a mask. There was alcohol, disinfectants. Discipline that was absolutely necessary at that moment.
– From the participants’ point of view, however, it was painful, to put it mildly, to sing in front of empty chairs, for the first time without an audience…
– In the interest of truth, many of the artists have told me just that. I talked to each one individually, and they are great professionals all, that even if there are two people in the hall and they are service staff, whether they are 20, 200, 2000, 20 000, the attitude to the show should be absolutely the same. . Because outside the TV audience of Nova TV exceeds a million and a half. And in this case, “Like two drops of water” has certainly exceeded over two million viewers. Unique viewership!
People stopped me on the street to tell me that they are looking forward to every Monday, because this format is a bright ray in their lives, because from morning to night they only listen to how many are infected, where are the outbreaks, how many are died, how few were cured… Great stress is this! It was also a big test for the performers themselves, even for me, who has so many years of experience on stage. I trembled for every breath of each of them, I knew when what they had to do to get everything to the last detail.
– Which participant managed to surprise you in a purely vocal aspect this time?
– The only people from the performers this time that I did not know were the wonderful Dimitar Marinov and Antoan Petrov-Andi. Mitko Marinov is a fantastic man and actor. A man who glorified Bulgaria and who, despite being persecuted and imprisoned for wanting to flee his homeland, did not even think about coming out with the Bulgarian flag. This man showed everyone a huge class, a different presence, an extremely high moral and human level. But because he was so natural with everyone, no one felt this indisputable difference.
This is an Oscar winner, he’s a Hollywood celebrity! And a unique, great man. The other is Andy, who also surprised me with his qualities, as did Toto from SkandaU. Toto and I became very good friends. He had told me, “Man, you inspire so much love and faith in me that I’m just angry that I can’t justify what you want from me.”
But he has a lot of potential in himself, and if he had started dealing with himself a little earlier, he would be on another level today. There were times when Hilda would tell him, “Toto, you sang, man!” And he refused to believe until the end what I had not told him and done to prove to him that he could.
Well, Luna, which many probably associate with her oddities. But she turned out to be a very spiritual person who can get into arguments with someone, argue, but always ends with the following: “I do not like to fight, I do not like to gossip, I hate intrigue, please, I am a spiritual person, I want to love each other ”.
In the end, we all hugged and exchanged love.
Galya, on the other hand, kept coming to work out the details. Very diligent. Finally he said to me: “Master, you are golden, without you I could not do it!” And I told her that I would always support them wholeheartedly. He also added that he and Miro have to do even one song together again because they caused great excitement. And the song will be a hit again!
As for JJ – this is a man who has proven himself since the boys’ group “032”, and recently in “Eurovision”. He has a very bright individual sound, he tried very hard to make the symbiosis between singing, dancing and purely acting. Jorko is one of the young vocal pedagogues and I accept him as a colleague whom I will always support.
– What do you think about the big winner Fiki Storaro?
– Oh, my relationship with Fiki is a little more special. Many years ago I was invited by Mrs. Milka Miteva, former director of the Music School “Lyubomir Pipkov”, which I graduated in the distant ’77, to teach. When I accepted the invitation and went to school, it turned out that Fiki was in my class. So I’ve known him since he was a student. And even then he was terribly respectful, as he is now. Fiki is a fantastic boy, extremely polite, emotional and well-meaning.
People who don’t know him have said to themselves, “Well, come on, another folk singer they’re pushing.” Few of them knew that Fiki was an educated musician who graduated from the Music School with a degree in Pop and Jazz Singing. Fiki plays great in pop and rock music, which he showed in form. Do great!
– Would you encourage him to develop in a genre other than pop folk?
– Absolutely yes! And now I will tell you what I supported him in, from which you will surely fall! He proved that he could sing both pop and rock. Pop folk is one thing – there is rapid popularity and more money. Subculture is currently respected, but that doesn’t mean Fiki doesn’t have skills in other genres. I felt the potential and told him directly: Fiki, you will be very wrong if you do not go to classical singing lessons!
– How does he react to this?
– At first he was puzzled by what he heard. But then he said: “I love you very much, you have always supported and appreciated me. I will listen to your advice. Do you know how long it took me to get him to tell me Etienne, not sir? A terribly respectful man. And his father is the same. Amazing people with a high value system.
Fiki turned out to have an exceptional range, like an uncut diamond. And he can make an incredible career as an opera artist, if he works in this direction, I declare it most responsibly. And I don’t know if I have the right to say it, but when I sent it to a colleague for a consultation, people from Austria called later and wanted to take him to study there. Can you imagine what this is about!
– In the final, together with Fiki, Maggie Dzhanavarova was on the stage, whom you also know for years and who doesn’t seem to trust her talent enough…
– Yes exactly. I’ve known Maggie since I was a child. She has always been like that – an extremely modest and shy person, who may have not yet understood what qualities she has. If there is a good team around her, Maggie can make a world-wide career. I sign with both hands under it! I don’t care at all what this or that “specialist” will say. Yes, Maggie reached the final in “Drops” thanks to this brutal talent, but not because Mitko Marinov gave up, he gave way.
I was one of the first to know about his decision, which he shared with Maggie Halvadjian. Mitko is on another level, he is already big enough. His return to Bulgaria was not only because of “Drops”, but also to establish a theater academy, where he wants to support young people. And Maggie brilliantly defended his idea with the imitation of Whitney Houston. Dara turned out to be just as serious as a human being.
– Yes, because otherwise she creates a different impression with her temperament on stage…
– Absolutely. But Dara is a very sensitive person and has nothing to do with the idea that she is a lunatic who is just crazy. When he performed the imitation of the song of the great Maria Neykova “Two”. I told her a lot about Maria Neykova, with whom, God forbid, we were friends. In ’84 we performed a song of “Golden Orpheus” with her and “Trick”, then she was on the jury when my song went to the competition. I will not forget her extremely well-meaning and charming smile. That’s why Dara was so excited.
Well, her performance of the emblematic song of “Riton” – “Jalma”. It was fantastic! And what Zdravko did from Riton is worthy of respect – he supported her in the most professional way, knowing perfectly well what the adrenaline is and what is in her heart. Because others come out, who supposedly support, but emphasize themselves. And Katya motivates her even more with her praise after the performance. Great! If we have more respect for each other, our music will go up very quickly and to a completely different level. But it’s gone, that’s the bad thing.