Nemo: “It is very important that we have a Eurovision that promotes the great values ​​it represents. There is a lot of work to do” | Television

Nemo: “It is very important that we have a Eurovision that promotes the great values ​​it represents. There is a lot of work to do” | Television
Nemo: “It is very important that we have a Eurovision that promotes the great values ​​it represents. There is a lot of work to do” | Television

Nemo means nobody in Latin. And it sounds similar to its German equivalent: niemand. When Nemo Mettler was born (in Biel, Switzerland, 24 years ago), his inventor father and his journalist mother decided that his first name would be a blank canvas. They wanted that from that “nobody” he could become whatever he wanted. At the moment, he is the first person of non-binary gender to win the Eurovision Song Contest since he did it in Malmö in mid-May, in the most controversial edition that he can remember. His victory on behalf of neutral Switzerland alleviated at the last moment the multilateral diplomatic conflict, the image crisis and the high tension generated by the presence of an Israel in full conflict with Gaza and the disqualification at the last moment of one of the favorites to win, the Dutchman Joost Klein.

Such was the physical and vocal waste that he showed on stage that he even aroused the suspicions of conspiracy theorists. There were those who believed it was impossible for Nemo to perfectly tune a song as baroque as The Code while doing pirouettes on a mobile structure without help from the playback Not even magnets in your shoes. The first is prohibited by the Eurovision rules, which do not even allow the use of the autotune. “And I wish I had thought of the magnets; “I would have saved myself a lot of exercises to strengthen my abdomen,” he jokes a few days after his victory from Berlin, a city that, along with Zurich, is the place that he currently considers his home.

Ask. How would you describe the last 10 days of your life?

Answer. Well… It turns out that in the end we won Eurovision! It still seems surreal to me when I say it out loud. He has been a whirlwind, but a very fun one that has opened many doors for me in a very short time and has been full of music.

Q. The Code It’s about breaking the rules and you broke quite a few during your time in Malmö, in terms of genre, sound styles and even musical ergonomics.

R. There was a lot of physical training before each performance. If I thought about it a lot, maybe I wouldn’t have done it. There were many things that could go wrong. One wrong step (in the metaphorical and literal sense of the term) could have ruined everything. So, every time the stage came out, I let myself go and thought only of enjoying the moment and trusting that so much prior preparation would bear fruit.

Q. At the age of 10 he discovered opera and at the age of 13 rap, two very different musical genres that he combines in the song. With them he narrates his process of self-knowledge and liberation from the chains that forced him to define himself as a man or a woman.

R. It was a very intuitive process. It was a way of looking back and summarizing an entire life in three minutes. Everything I have experienced as an artist and as a person finds its place in the same song and, although it may seem contradictory, everything makes sense in it.

Q. Not only in The Codealso on the topic This Body He talks about his personal process. When did you understand that you were a non-binary person?

R. Well, it was not a moment of revelation but a slow process. It was because, although there have been many moments in my life when I already understood that I was a non-binary person, I didn’t know that there was a word that described what I felt. I couldn’t figure it out until I found the right people to reflect on and have the right conversations with.

Nemo, non-binary gender singer who has won Eurovision 2024, in a photograph provided by UNIVERSAL.Ella Mettler

Q. What did it mean then to be a reference, to show yourself as you are (and also take the trophy) in front of almost 170 million viewers?

R. The honor of being able to show others that everyone has the right to listen to themselves, that they have all the time in the world to learn things about themselves and give themselves their space. Many people paved my path, like Alok (poet and activist) and Conchita Wurst (who won Eurovision in 2014), and I hope I have paved it for someone.

Q. After all the tensions experienced in this edition, you dared to sneak a non-binary flag into the final, even though it was not allowed by the organization, and you did not hesitate to say that the festival needs to solve a few problems.

R. There is a lot of room for improvement. This year it was so evident that things at the Malmö Arena were not going as they should that I think even the spectators at home noticed the chaos we were experiencing. Eurovision has to be more transparent. The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has yet to give very specific explanations to clarify some of the things that happened there. I wish this conversation didn’t end here. I want you to continue telling what you think about all those complaints. I am available to contribute my grain of sand. And to find positive solutions for the upcoming edition in Switzerland. It is very important to me that we have a Eurovision that promotes the great values ​​it represents. There is a lot of work to do and we all have to work hard so that the festival can fulfill what it promises.

Nemo, performer of ‘The Code’, the winning song of Eurovision 2024, in a photograph provided by UNIVERSAL.Ella Mettler

Q. Switzerland has only won Eurovision three times in 68 editions. The last time it was done by none other than Céline Dion in the eighties. Do you feel pressure?

R. I would feel this way if they asked me for a song for a new version of Titanic… (laughs). She’s not even Swiss and now I’m listed next to her. Another surreal moment. In recent years, Switzerland has become quite interested in Eurovision again. Some of my predecessors made people believe again that we are not so bad in this contest. I am excited to know that more than a million viewers in a country of eight million people watched my time at the festival at some point while I represented them. And now we are the hosts, so the Eurovision fever is going to skyrocket…

Q. Before Eurovision I was already planning a concert tour and a record release. Have your plans changed after this victory?

R. Everything remains the same, although dedicating more time to promoting these projects and taking them one step higher, further exploring my own limits both on stage and in the recording studio. It’s impossible not to feel enormous motivation when so many new people are becoming interested in what I do.

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