In 2022, Romania snapped a three-year long non-qualification streak with WRS’ “Llamame”, which placed 18th in the grand final. This year, Romania hopes to continue their newfound momentum with Theodor Andrei, who won this year’s Selecțiă Națională with the song “D.G.T. (Off and On)”.
D.G.T (Off and On) plays with different ideas–whether it’s love and lust, desire and rationality, even with English and Romanian languages–to tell a compelling story only Theodor Andrei can.
The spotlight is not an unfamiliar place for this singer; he competed in the Voice Romania Junior and made it to the semi-finals, then participated in the Romanian X Factor. Recently, he won the Teleorman Pop Fest 2022 and the Mihaela Runceanu Festival 2022; despite his young age, he’s on his way for a promising career.
EurovisionFam.com is honored to have him answer a few questions about is Eurovision song, his influences, and his hopes for the future!
What were your earliest memories of Eurovision? What are some of your favorite
songs from previous contests?
“Eurovision is my childhood dream. I remember that every year I watched Eurovision with my family when I was a child and I kept telling myself that I would be there too. And I tried 3 years in a row.
“Initially, everyone told me that I was crazy, that I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, that it would be difficult and that everyone would criticize me. I feel that I have taken a big step towards realizing my dream. I tried to make a song like our country has never sent to the grand final. I tried to make a fusion of several genres that would be beautiful for both Romanians and foreigners, and “D.G.T (Off And On)” – the song I wrote together with Luca De Mezzo, Mikail Jahed and Luca Udateanu – it ended up being highly appreciated by the foreign audience. Above the language
barrier – the record has an atmosphere of its own and the fact that it has reached the souls of people both in the country and abroad makes me extremely happy.
“I think this is what art is really about – not about things that are quickly consumed, waves, trends and other ephemeral concepts, but about message, emotion, about souls, about the way a score moves your heart along with the notes, about the way it changes your mood, about what it awakens in you. Music is about people, not influences. People feel the music as much as the music feels them. Music is everywhere with
you, and yes…the songs of the moment are lovely and have their place and their role. But people always come back to the songs made from the soul for the soul and I think that this is my mission and for the people who understand the message of the song, they like the way it sounds, they find themselves, it is worth making any sacrifice so that my show is as good as possible.
“From the whole history of Eurovision, because I’m quite an old-fashioned guy and I have a special love for more retro music like that, I would say that the moments closest to my heart would be Johnny Logan – Hold Me Now (Ireland 1987), Mikel Herzog – “Que Voy a Hacer Sin Ti?” (Spain 1998) and, even if it didn’t go to the Grand Final of Eurovision in the end – Ovidiu Anton – “Moment Of Silence (Romania 2016)” – it’s a song that touched me in a different way during the time when it came out because I was still a constant victim of bullying at school and this song helped me relieve myself a
What were some of your favorite songs from this year’s Selecția Naționala, other than
“The songs in the selection were clearly very different from each other, which is great and I think this thing created a very nice atmosphere for us and a difficult mission for the viewers. I made a medley on my YouTube channel in which I sang a bit of each song from the National Selection Final and I honestly think that this cut the competition between us a bit and brought us to a position in which we were more like friends, like at a show, than in a rivalry.
“Of all the songs, if it hadn’t been mine in the competition, I would have chosen “Hai vino” – Maryliss’s song. It seems to me that it has a retro atmosphere, cute, very close to the heart, the chords are simple and the lyrics very sincere, as if coming from the soul. And I believe that music must leave the soul and reach another soul. I follow this in my music.
“Many have said both about my song and about Maryliss’ song that they are not “Eurovision songs”. I don’t believe in such a thing. Eurovision is so diverse and
complex that you have to be naive or ignorant to believe that there is a “Eurovision song”. Every year they look for something else. Just because a song resembles something that has been heard before does not make it the ideal song for the contest. On the contrary. Because it is an interpretative art contest with music, show and feeling, it is not a recipe contest.
“My process of composing is not a predetermined one, most of the time I let myself be guided by what I feel both in terms of instruments and in terms of melodic lines and in the case of lyrics and I think it is felt when the performer is also a composer and I think that it gives a different relationship to the viewer because of the sincerity. When you express your thoughts and ideas, you assume that people will listen to your fun or your vulnerability, and artists are still human. People understand art to the extent that art understands them.”
What was the songwriting process like for D.G.T?
“The song “D.G.T (Off And On)” stages a love story where reason is in conflict with instinct, where passion and safety duel – a song about a love that becomes an addiction with both its good and bad sides as well as the pleasure of returning to something harmful, where love is grounded and adrenaline makes decisions, a necessary evil with love and all that it means – passion, sex, tears, smiles, childhood, maturity, trust, risks, truths and lies.
“D.G.T (Off And On)” started as a game – I started making the instrumental of the song out of boredom and then I started adding elements and I started to like it, and then I started writing lines for the chorus. I recorded the chorus in the form it was then and sent the project to my friend Luca De Mezzo, with whom I wrote the 2 pre-choruses and part C of the song. I did all these 3 on a video call, and then I wrote the first verse myself and finished the instrumental of the song in just one week. I sent the instrumental to my friends Mikail Jahed and Luca Udateanu and together we wrote the 2nd verse of the song, in its original form – the one that is full in Romanian – which can be found on my album “FRAGIL.” in duet with Luca Udateanu.
“For the Eurovision version, I chose to do the 2nd verse in English because I
felt that it gives a nice dynamic to the song and it is among the few songs that I know where this combination does not disturb. Of course, I was inspired by 2 songs that I really like, namely “De La Capat (All Over Again)” – the song that was performed by Voltaj in Eurovision 2015 – which also used both Romanian and the English languages, and “Pe-o Margine de Lume” – the superb song by Andrei Tudor, which Nico and Vlad Mirita sang in Romanian and Italian at the 2008 edition of Eurovision – this is also one of the favorite songs of my mother =))) I also sang it at one point when I was younger.”
How did you come up with the staging? Should we expect any changes when we get to Liverpool?
“I tried to combine as many elements from my world in it as possible – from which a certain theatricality resulted that delighted some, and others less so… I put my opinions and ideas at the moment.
“We have 2 undresses – once I am undressed by girls and once by boys – which is a
reference to acceptance, understanding and equality. We have a moment of sign language that was not meant to attract attention, I put it especially for those who can understand it, to make a moment for everyone, in which no one is discriminated. It is true that we tried to reinterpret Michelangelo’s famous picture with God and Adam almost touching their fingers and some understood, some did not. I was saddened by the fact that some people summed up my moment in emptiness and vulgarity, when in fact the message was a deep one – namely that only when we realize that we are ultimately just pieces of earth (like Adam) can we understand that the only things what differentiates us are the circumstances and the choices, but in us identical hearts beat,
with 4 chambers, with smiles and tears.
“I am not the very religious type, but I felt that it is an appropriate message for the moment and respects the principle that guides me – namely that I do not want to be just a name in a list of participating countries, I want to do something that will remain time. Only when we take off our clothes, ideologies, assumptions and prejudices can we
get to the truth – that’s why clothes kept coming off.
“The message “Make Love Not War” was put there for several reasons. And because it had a direct reference to the lyrics of the song that describe an inner war of returning to a necessary evil of love, (so this war in love) and because the current situation in the world we live in needs such an exhortation for us humans as well we are in
a continuous war between us because we judge each other, because we discriminate against each other, because we do not appreciate each other enough and, last but not least, because it is a quote from John Lennon, a member of The Beatles, an emblematic band for Liverpool. Maybe I didn’t illustrate too clearly either, maybe it was too much and didn’t have its place. I do not know. I don’t regret it, but I certainly learned something from it, and the Liverpool show will keep the message but the approach will be different. I thank those from home who voted because without them I would not have won and I would not have gotten closer to my dream today. The show for
Liverpool will be extremely different.
“We work every day for 7-8 hours for this moment and we have things almost ready already because we mobilized ahead of time. It was more difficult at the beginning because I had my vision as the director of the moment and as the composer of the piece
compared to the vision of the director from TVR, but we managed to keep the best of everyone’s ideas and, I think, to create exactly what I wanted – a show like never before at Eurovision – something memorable. Some things will be kept, others we have given up, it is certain that the moment will also have Rock’N’Roll and metaphor and mystery, but above all this a lot of soul.”
D,G,T, in your words, deals with the conflict between “safety and instinct” in the
context of love. Did you ever have that experience, and how did you handle it?
“So D.G.T was originally a full Romanian song included in my debut album “FRAGIL.” which was released in October 2022. That album means a lot to me. It has 13 tracks and it presents 13 chapters and love stories, most of them about a specific one that really
messed me up. A relationship that flew me high up with the clouds and the stars and then threw me to the ground until I broke into pieces.
“It’s not something I can easy talk about. I just put my thoughts and feeling into the music after being lied to, cheated on for months on end whilst I felt guilty for the way she was treating me and then she’d say she loves me and she doesn’t want me to leave but still I was the problem somehow. It was such chaotic that I lost myself trying to find her love again, cause there was a time when I really felt she loved me and it felt wonderful and genuine and I felt blessed, but suddenly it was more of a
curse. I used to hear about the things she was hiding from all of my friend yet only believe what she was saying and she was always denying. In time I got so tired of being in a relationship but loving her and having her say she loves me but don’t act like there’s love because she was not ok…
“One time she cheated on me with my best friend and that was the worse thing I’ve ever felt in my life. When I found out it was already 2 months after it happened and she told me she was so afraid and so guilty that she tried to hurt herself and I did forgive her…then it all repeated couple of times, even with different guys and I
thought I was the problem and so I started drinking too much at parties just as my “Gheata-n Pahar” lyrics says
“I just want some ice in my drink just enough so I don’t think about her
and her barefoot dances”,
“I had a period of suicidal thoughts in which I wrote the song “Nu
Renunta la Noi” that has this lyric “I promise you I’ll send you my love using the rain” (and everytime it rains from the sky, you’ll know I’m up there and I still love you). It was a chapter in my life that I got passed to, I accepted it and all this music came out of it, even D.G.T which Is sort of a Rock’N’Roll, blues, sexy resume of this holy story.”
—How do you combine your joint loves in music and theater?
“When I was 13 I’ve been to a casting for the first musical with teenagers in Romania. I’ve played that show the whole year and then I’ve decided to go to the Acting Section in the National College of Arts “Dinu Lipatti” in Bucharest. Ever since, my life has changed.
“Just a week before the National Selection Final, I was awarded at the “Stefan Mihailescu-Braila” Comedy Festival with the Grand Trophy for my individual repertoire and the 1st Prize for the first theatrical play directed by me – “O Floare De Zapada” – adapted from “Zapezile de Altadata” by Dumitru Solomon. I also got an award for Best Actor in a Leading Role in last year’s “Grigore Vasiliu Birlic International Theatre Festival” for my role (Eduard) in “Paravan. Doua Telefoane” a Romanian
comedy written by Matei Lucaci-Grunberg, directed by Petru Georoiu and coordinated by Julieta Georoiu and Radu Solcanu, the leaders of “Victory Of Art” – the acting group I’m a member of.
“I received the “Best Director” award at the 2022 “Festin” National Theatre and Film Festival for a short-film I made called “NeIntentionat” (Unintentionally). In my life, I believe that music and theater go perfectly together and wouldn’t resist one without another.”
If you could be cast into any musical, which one would it be and why?
“It would have to be either “Moulin Rouge” or “Notre-Dame de Paris” ‘cause those are my absolute favorites even when it comes to the music, even when it comes to the actual story.”
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
“Having a beautiful career, having concerts all over the world and acting in wonderful
plays maybe even at the National Theater, that would be nice and having released some
more albums, which is my absolute favourite thing in the world.
“The day I released my debut album and the day I won the National Selection were the best days of my life. Releasing an album is like the ending of a chapter, I only write about my experiences and things I’ve lived and felt, so when I put something out – that’s definitely been in my heart for some time.”
Besides music and theater, what other hobbies do you enjoy?
“I love playing pool with my friends. I find it very relaxing and elegant at the same time
and as Mozart says in the “Amadeus” play script – “it is a game of virtuosity””
What are your favorite subgenres of rock, along with your favorite artists in the genre?
“I am really passionate about Rock’N’Roll, Rockabilly type songs, such as Little Richard’s “Good Golly Miss Molly” or “Lucille”, or even “Great Balls Of Fire” by Jerry Lee Lewis, and of course classics of Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry. I love the 80’s period with the beginnings of Bon Jovi and Aerosmith. In fact these are my favourite bands of all time.
“I’m also a big fan of the more Blues Rock type of music, and I’m talking Gary Moore and Joe Bonamassa. I adore their style, especially in live concerts. And I try to keep the best parts of the music I’ve talked about in the previous sentences in my music. Making
modern Blues Rock go evergreen.”
If you could have anybody’s career trajectory, whose would it be and why?
“I don’t believe in idols. I grew up having role models, of course, but I never aspired to be someone else or to live like someone else. I just enjoy living my way and being myself and I wouldn’t trade this for anything.”
Who is your favorite writer and/or painter?
“My favorite writer…that’s a tough question. I like Charles Dickens’s books a lot and I
read most of his famous books, my favourite was “The Great Expectations”. I liked
Hector Malot’s “Sans Famille” and I was in love with “Paper Towns”, “The Fault in Our
Stars” and “Looking For Alaska” by John Green. Those were my childhood treasures.
“And talking about painters, I admire the 1654 “The Goldfinch” by Carel Fabritius and the 2019 movie talking about the story of this painting impressed me a lot and it was my
favorite movie for a long time.”
EurovisionFam.com is a website with content made by non-European fans. What do
you have to say to your fans, and why should people from non-participating countries check out Eurovision?
“It’s time to believe in the youth, time to believe in change and time to believe in the strength to go pass the boundaries and insecurities and accept ourselves and love each other freely. It’s time for the rebellion and spirit of freedom and Rock’N’Roll. And that’s why I make “D.G.T” my statement and I encourage people to vote for Romania in this year’s Eurovision. Make love, not war! Love freely! That’s the answer to all of the questions. Long live Rock’N’Roll!”