Azerbaijan's Eurovision hopeful believes the world's largest non-sports TV event is an opportunity to "open our hearts to Europe", Azerbaijani participant at the contest Sabina Babayeva said in an interview with Spiegel.
The 32-year-old singer's real life doesn't seem nearly as bleak as in her song: she has a sunny disposition and comes across as an optimist, the magazine says.
"Ever since the first time we took part in Eurovision in 2008, we've dreamt of hosting the contest in Azerbaijan," she says. "I'm really proud that it's finally happening. It gives us the opportunity to open our hearts to all of Europe."
"Europeans must see Baku, one of the most beautiful cities in the world, with their own eyes. Second, if they have never before been to Azerbaijan, they don't know what hospitality really is. And thirdly, they couldn't possibly miss my live performance!" Babayeva said.
It's true: nobody wants to miss that, Spiegel says. In Babayeva's hometown and neighboring states, there is much discussion about the outfit the singer will wear on stage. The dress will be "mostly light, but also very colorful," Babayeva told Ukrainian television.
"It's a huge responsibility. But I'm over the moon that I am allowed to sing on May 26," she said.
Indeed, the short but successful track record enjoyed by the small country of 9 million at the contest is impressive, Spiegel says.
Azerbaijan has only competed four times before and has landed in the Top Ten each time, the magazine stresses.
In Belgrade, the country achieved eighth place, in Moscow third, in Oslo fifth and, finally, in Düsseldorf last year, it took the title, Spiegel says.
Babayeva has competed to represent Azerbaijan several times before, but this year she finally landed the coveted slot. It is a source of great satisfaction to her that she has finally made it, she said.
Born in Baku and the daughter of a pianist, the singer attended a music school and later studied law. She loves jazz and enjoys a long-standing friendship with Anri Jokhadze, who is competing on behalf of neighboring country Georgia.
"I really like him. We've known each other for years and have played at festivals together," Babayeva says.
Babayeva has previously won song competitions in Lithuania and Azerbaijan. She also recorded the soundtrack "Roya Kimi" ("Like a Dream") for an Azerbaijani TV series. She has about 27,000 Facebook fans, Spiegel says.
"Many Europeans don't really know much about our country and have the wrong impression of our traditions and culture. That's a pity. I'm going to do my best to change that," she said.