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Helena Meraai: Facts about Belarus' entry at Junior Eurovision 2017

Helena Meraai is Belarus' entrant at the 2017 Junior Eurovision Song Contest. Her father is Syrian, but she knows Belarusian and loves Belarusian songs. Here are some fun facts about Helena.

Family

My name is Helena Meraai. I'm 14 years old, and I'm Belarusian. My father is from Syria, he has lived in Belarus for more than 30 years. He knows Belarusian, though not perfect and the history of Belarus. He graduated from the physics faculty of the BSU and became a candidate of science. He is perceived as a Belarusian here. Such a Syrian Belarusian. Mom is a Belarusian, there is nothing to add here.

My father does not like Syrian food and prefers Belarusian cuisine. But sometimes I ask him for something tasty Syrian. For example, falafel, hummus or flat cakes.

Road to Junior Eurovision

The girl dreamed of singing on the stage since childhood. For the first time she performed when she was three years old. The memory of the child captured little, but she clearly remembers: there were a lot of lights.

She studied folk vocal for a year. In the second grade Helena entered music school. Then she was taken to a vocals teacher. Everything started there. Once one of her teachers asked: "Do you want to take part in Eurovision?" Helena did not even think.

The idea came to her in 2010. "I watched the broadcast, saw these happy faces that go on stage and sing as if they do not worry. It is clear that they were nervous, but the hall reacted so well! Of course, I wanted to get there, to become one of the ten participants. But for this it was necessary to work long and hard, including on different TV projects."

In 2015, Helena participated in the Russian project The Voice, in 2016 in the New Wave contest. The girl says that these are important steps on the way to the main dream.

At the children's "New Wave", held in the Crimea in the summer of 2016, Helena appeared in the trio which represented Russia.

“I initially applied from Belarus. But the organizers said: "Only 15 people can go. From each country there will be one person. Ruslana Panchishina has already passed from Belarus. Questions?"

Helena needed to save the situation, because she knew what kind of experience the "New Wave" could give her. It happened that she applied from Russia. They performed very well and brought first place. Helena won a certificate for a one-year training in a podium studio.

Appearance

“I inherited from my dad the hair color, the dark skin and of course the nose.

The first question people often ask is: "Is it false hair or yours?" Second: "What master grew your eyelashes?" I answer: eyelashes are mine, I did not do anything with my hair, I never even cut it.

The name is said to be beautiful. As for the surname, many ask how to correctly pronounce it. Some joke over my facial features. Mostly classmates, although I love them very much.”

People’s reaction her aspirations

"I faced different reactions, from misunderstanding to empathy. Most teachers offered to pass all tests and go where I want. Some did not understand, they asked: "What is singing? Knowledge is the main thing." However, when the program "Voice" went on the air, I came to school and noticed how the attitude of some classmates and teachers changed. They became kind and understanding.  I'll take exams when I have time, all at once.

For me, anyway, the vocals and music are a priority. I understand that education is necessary. But my soul is eager for other things, not for a career of a dentist. The stage is what I want.”

Singing in Belarusian or Russian?

To sing in Belarusian is not suitable for me personally. Many people look at me and do not believe that I took part in the Olympiad in the Belarusian language, that I know the history of Belarus well. But when I start speaking in Belarusian, it does not look natural, so to say.

Helena will sing her Eurovision 2017 song I Am The One in Russian.

She loves Beyonce and Marilyn Manson

"I am a music lover. I listen to classics, rock, hard rock, and pop. I like Marilyn Manson, Beyonce, Rita Dakota, Eminem and Tupac. Also Linkin Park and Neighborhood. From the classics I adore Russian composers - the whole composition of The Mighty Handful. My favorite opera is Eugene Onegin. I'm in a state of free flight, it all depends on my mood. Today, for example, I wanted to listen to some Stromae (a Belgian singer and rapper). I'm lucky that I treat any music with respect.”

Hobbies

Apart from music I've recently had nothing that interested me seriously, no hobbies. But recently I have fallen in love with photography. I like dressing up in something new, I like the new atmosphere that comes with every new shot.

In music, everything is simple: you turn on the microphone, tune to the sound and sing. But here everything is new and that’s exciting.

Photo: Eurovision-Spain

Helena Meraai: Facts about Belarus' entry at Junior Eurovision 2017