We interviewed Malik Harris, who will represent Germany with his song “Rockstars” at the Eurovision Song Contest 2022 to be held in May.
-Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Sure! My name is Malik Harris, I’m a 24-year-old German-American singer-songwriter and multi instrumentalist and I’m going to represent Germany at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest with my song ‘Rockstars’
-How was your talent discovered?
I spent a lot of time playing small shows in bars and at birthday parties in my hometown Landsberg. At one show I played at the bar I used to work at, my now manager Robin saw me and invited me to his studio in Munich where he told me that he really liked my style and that he sees a big future ahead of me if I work hard and give it my all. That’s when I started sleeping on a sofa in the studio and making music 24/7.
-How did you decide to participate at “Germany 12 points”? Did it happen suddenly or was it always a dream for you to compete at Eurovision?
Honestly I never really thought about participating in the Eurovision Song Contest, even though I do like the event. It was mostly my song ‘Rockstars’ that made me want to try it out. A few weeks after I wrote it, Robin came up to me and asked if the Eurovision Song Contest was something I might be interested in. I immediately thought about the song and how great I think it would be to perform this particular song on the massive Eurovision stage because it’s so personal and vulnerable and I‘m sure that there are a lot of people who can relate to the lyrics of the song and who might not feel so alone with their thoughts after hearing it, and that has always been something I want to do with my music. Also, ‘Rockstars‘ is so different than any other song I’ve ever heard Germany send to Eurovision, so I was like: why not go for something new? 😀
-Can you tell us something about the story behind “Rockstars”? It seems to have a personal meaning for you.
Oh yes, ‘Rockstars’ is definitely the most personal song I’ve ever written and the only song so far that made me cry while writing and recording it. I started writing ‘Rockstars‘ after watching an episode of my favorite US show ’The Office’ and hearing this quote: I wish there was a way to know you’re in the Good Old Days – before you’ve actually left them.’ That moment was so intense for me, I immediately started crying and, after whiping away my tears, I began writing this song. It’s about the ‘Good Old Days‘ of my childhood and youth, those lighthearted, mindless times when being happy was so easy and unconditional and how we all somehow leave those days behind at a certain point and get caught up in thoughts, doubts, our everyday lives and so on and so on. That was a very hard realization for me, which is why writing this song was so hard but also so helpful – it felt like a therapy session with myself which made me learn so much about me and my life.
I’m also trying to remind all of us through this song that we should stop always looking for the good old days in the past, but rather try to find them in the present, because they actually never really stop – we just have to change the way we’re looking for them.
-On your Instagram you posted a video where you mentioned that you were a bit worried before releasing the song but were quite overwhelmed by all the positive feedback you got after releasing it. How does it feel to have so many people connecting with the message of the song?
I can’t begin to describe that feeling. Knowing that so many people can relate to my thoughts, my lyrics and my music is the greatest thing for me. I know how much music has helped me throughout my life, as a listener I’ve always found solace in music and lyrics of people who feel the same way that I do and who made me feel less alone in this world and knowing that I am giving that kind of solace to other people now is absolutely beautiful to me and I can’t thank them enough for showing me that.
-The song also includes an emotional rap part. Why did you decide to incorporate such a part? Do you think that you can convey your emotions better through a rap part?
I’ve always been a huge fan of rap music. I’ve always loved the honesty in rap, the way the lyrics don’t ‘hide’ inside a melody, but instead they go straight in your face without any mask or façade. I’m also always trying to incorporate rap in my songs because I often have so much to say that I can’t put all my thoughts inside the structure of a sung verse, but instead I need way more lines and syllables to put all those thoughts in. So when it comes to very deep emotions and meanings in my songs, I always turn to rap as a way of conveying them better and more ‘straight’.
-Your stage performance at the national final was quite simple and conveyed the message of the song. It was announced that you will work with Martin Dietmann for your stage performance at Turin. What can we expect from your staging at Eurovision, do you consider to change some things?
Yes, I’m definitely going to change some things but I can’t tell you too much yet. What I can tell you is that working with Marvin has already been a blessing, he’s an absolute professional who, more than anything, wants the performance to be as authentic as possible, which I love. Also, we’re somehow on the exact same wavelength and our visions have always been super similar so far, so there’s a lot of harmony in our work and I can promise that the performance is going to be a huge level-up.
-During your performance we noticed that you played three instruments. Do these instruments have a special meaning for you? Why did you decide to incorporate them in your performance?
Oh yes, I actually always stand on stage all by myself when I play live. I always use my Loop Station which allows me to play various instruments alone while performing. It’s just the way I’ve always done it and I simply love the fact that I can play all those instruments, make all the decisions and dive into my songs all by myself because it’s just so much fun and I believe it to be something very unique for the people who watch and listen. That’s also something that I will definitely be keeping for the big final performance.
-During your national final performance we also saw your Dad in the audience who really felt the song and was crying of joy. We could see that he is really proud of you. How would you describe your relationship with your Dad?
I’m a family-man for sure. I love my family and I’m so lucky to be that close to all my relatives. My relationship with my Dad is no exception, we talk almost every day and he’s so so proud of everything that I’m doing. Just like the rest of my family, he has always been a huge supporter of my music and when I decided to drop out of university to follow my musical dreams, he backed me up and told me to do what makes me happy. Now seeing them all cry while watching me win the German national final really gives me goosebumps.
-You have lots of fans here in Turkey. Do you have a final message to them?
Unfortunately, I haven’t been to Turkey yet, but knowing that so many people there listen to and enjoy my music means the world to me. So THANK YOU so much to every single one of you for being a fan of what I’m doing, I can’t wait to one day come to Turkey, perform my songs and listen to you guys sing along! Seni Seviyorum and stay safe!
Photo by: Anna Maria Boshnakova