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"It has been a dream come true to come to Hungary" - interview with Joni

This is a story about a young, kind and very talented girl, Tóth Johanna aka Joni. Joni was voted forward to the semi-finals by the jury at „A Dal”. Her song „Waterfall” has been very appreciated by the viewers, behind its success stands the professions of international musicians. After the show I had a talk with the Swedish/Hungarian singer/songwriter.

I was very happy when I saw you´re one of the first artists who went through to the semi-finals.
Joni: Köszönöm szépen! It was a great feeling walking up on that stage, I have been on stage so many times before but very rarely with my own songs, so it was important it felt authentic and not pretending.

Were you nervous or excited about the competition?
Joni: I wasn’t nervous at all before the show, but as you could hear on my voice, unexpected nerves caught me off guard when I started singing. I’m only human and its a part of life to accept all your flaws, this was my first big performance in Hungary but its only one out of many to come. I wanna get back on that stage and kill it, cant wait.

How have you been adapting to the Hungarian society? Was it difficult? How have you been handling interviews, media and all other situations?
Joni: It has been a dream come true to come to Hungary and get such a huge opportunity to reach so many people with my music. When I came in October I didn´t know anyone, didn´t know what to expect. But this rollercoaster with interviews, all the media and meeting so many talented songwriters and artists has made me feel very privileged. From a Swedish perspective I can see that the Hungarian people have high morals and Ive always been welcomed with open arms. And even though my Hungarian isn´t perfect, the language of music has been carrying me.

You spent a lot of time together with the other competitors; is there someone special that you got to know or like?
Joni: I was sharing a dressing room with Bogi, and shes so humble, down to earth and intelligent. I´m happy we both got through!

The music video for your song „Waterfall” was directed by Puskás Peti. How did you meet? Did someone connect you with him or did he get in touch with you?
Joni: I was talking to Hoffman Monika and she recommended him as he did her video last year. So I wrote to him and he was up for it. I explained all my ideas and he and the team embraced me as an artist and my music. It was such a great experience and I was so happy with the outcome.

I  have listened to your song many times now. The tunes, the rhythm, the lyrics sounds a little bit like One Republic and Daniel Powter in my opinion. What musician, singers, or bands have inspired you? 
Joni: To me the most important thing in a song is the lyrics. I was brought up with Eva Cassidy, Don Mclean, Bee Gees and a lot of Disney and musical songs. The raw acoustic sounds mixed with the dramatic musical/Disney influences and a dash of modern electronic production is what my music sounds like. But I love all music and always have an open mind when I write.

Like all the other contestants you were asked what you would do if you would win and go to Copenhagen. What was your answer?
Joni: If I win I will eat a whole table of nokedli csirkepörkölttel (Hungarian dish)!

How are you feeling now? Do you think you will win?
Joni: I would like to thank every single comment Ive gotten, this is a great competition where people come together for music and to see their favourite go through. I feel like Ive already won so much by just getting this far. I´m focusing on improving my next performance but I´m also writing new material at the moment. I cant wait to get back on stage next week!!

Rosta N. Napsugár

[2014.02.07.]

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