As Junior Eurovision 2021 gets closer and closer, we had a wonderful chat with Ayana, who will represent The Netherlands in Paris on Sunday 19th. We talked about her first rehearsal and her beautiful trilingual ballad Mata Sugu Aō Ne (When I See You Again), but also about fashion and the importance of friends.
How did the first rehearsal go?
“We had our first dress rehearsal yesterday, and we also saw the venue for the very first time. This year’s Junior Eurovision stage is so huge and beautiful, there are lots of lights and cameras, and it was a lot of fun! When I first saw my stage outfit I was very excited! It was very shiny and glamorous, and I love glitters and shiny things, so I immediately fell in love with all our clothes. We all match, I wear a custom-made kimono which was designed for me, and the dancers wear kimonos as well. Hair and makeup take about an hour: hair-styling is the longest process, because I will be curling my hair for the performance.”
Is this your first time in Paris?
“We were in Paris two weeks ago to visit the city and see the monuments, and we also shot some TV programs. Now we’re in a bubble and we can’t go anywhere due to Covid-19 restrictions, so we made a trip a few weeks ago to know the city a little bit.”
How do you prepare for the performance?
“I practice a lot with my vocal coach and the dancers, but I also like to rest before going on stage. I’m not nervous at the moment, but I’m sure that when I’ll go on stage on Sunday I will be. I think it’s important to be a little nervous, but when I start singing all the anxious feelings are gone. I love performing because it’s fun to be in the spotlight, and I love seeing that people enjoy themselves during the performance. On Saturday there won’t be any audience during the jury vote, but I’m still very thankful that I get to perform.
I have a special ritual before I go on stage: I look at a picture of my grandpa and I tell him all the important things that are happening, and I ask him to wish me luck.”
Who do you see as your biggest competition?
“Everyone is very good, but we haven’t seen all of them yet. We saw Malta and Italy yesterday, and tomorrow we’ll get to see some more. France has a very happy song that everyone can sing along to, and their dancers are so good! In fact, my all-time favorite Eurovision song is Bim Bam Toi by Carla from Junior Eurovision 2019, because it’s such a happy-sounding song and I love songs that you can dance to.”
What's your fondest memory of the National Junior Eurovision?
“When we heard that we won, because I was not expecting it and I screamed so loud! During Junior Eurovision I learned that it’s very important to have a good team, because without them I wouldn’t be here, and it’s also important to have friends to share things with.”
What are your hobbies?
“I love singing and dancing. My favourite artists at the moment are Blackpink, because they’re so good at dancing and singing. I also play the piano and I like sewing and making clothes. Every Christmas I always ask for clothes, shoes and accessories because I’m obsessed with fashion! Then of course I love hanging out with my friends, sleeping, and eating. If I had to imagine myself in 10 years, I see myself happy and healthy, going to college to study what I like, and still singing and dancing.”
Your song is about missing your loved ones in Japan
“I haven’t visited my family in Japan in two years due to Covid-19 restrictions, and that’s what my Eurovision song is about. The paper kite I talk about in the lyrics is a metaphor for wishing to fly to Japan. In the song I also talk about ikigai: it’s a Japanese word that is not translatable in English, it means your motivation to live. My ikigai is my friends, my family, and my music. Even when things don’t go too well, music helps me express my feelings.”
What are your plans for the future?
“I haven’t thought about it yet. Now I need to focus on school again, because there was a lot happening these last months, and I will also hang out with my friends again.
We are already looking forward to Junior Eurovision 2022. Did you know that The Netherlands are now the only country that has participated in all the editions? All kids between 9 and 14 can audition and apply, so we want to spread the word. You’re going to have a lot of fun, make new friends and meet a lot of people. You’ll learn a lot about TV, presenting, and expressing your thoughts. And you will learn a lot about singing and dancing!”
Follow Junior Eurovision 2021 this Sunday afternoon!
Junior Eurovision 2021 will air on December 19th from Paris, and Ayana will be the 15th artist to perform. Is she one of your winners? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section.