The Netherlands is one of a number of countries debuting in the Turkvision Song Contest and we caught up with the man representing them this year, Elcan.

The Netherlands are to participate in this years Turkvision Song Contest represented by the singer Elcan Rzayev. Elcan will be representing the country with the song “Ana vətən”. The song will be performed in Azerbaijani and has been written and composed by the singer himself. Elcan was born in the Capital of Azerbaijan, Baku, singing and music has been an integral part of the singer’s life so far. We spoke to the singer about his career so far, his expectations in the contest and what it means to be given an opportunity to compete in the contest.

Firstly thanks for talking to us Elcan, how does it feel to be the first singer to represent the Netherlands at the Turkvision Song Contest?

I am very pleased that this year The Netherlands will debut in Turkvision 2016, and I am very happy that i have got this opportunity and honour to represent this country, I’ll be the first singer representing The Netherlands at this competition.

When did you find out that you would be representing the Netherlands and how did it all happen?

First of all, a sense of happiness, and then a sense of responsibility.

Now you were born in Azerbaijan and studied there before moving to the Netherlands. What was it that drew you to the Netherlands?

Obviously it was my fate and destiny to stay here. In The Netherlands I continued my musical studies, then got an offer – a contract to work together with Dutch musicians, later I received Dutch citizenship.

You’ve been performing for nearly two decades what was that made you decide to be a singer?

Actually I started as a keyboard player and composer. Partly I was rehearsing with the singers. Once, during a rehearsal I was heard by an honoured Artist of Azerbaijan – singer Natavan Sheikhov, she told me “You have a very nice voice and charisma in your voice, Why do not you sing?” 🙂 After her comment I’ve got the stimulus to start my solo career (I sing since 1995).

You will be performing the song “Ana Vatan” can you tell us more about it?

The song “Ana – Vatan” translated “Motherland” is written by me. All that pent-up in my heart, all my love, melancholy and boredom of the homeland, all sung in this song.

What does it mean to you to be able to perform to viewers across the world as part of the Turkvision Song Contest?

It’s a big responsibility and it is an honour because I am Azerbaijani, and I will sing in my native language, despite the fact that I have been living in Holland for 10 years, and I have a chance to build a bridge between the two cultures.

How do you think it will feel when you step out on stage at the contest to perform your song?

Well, of course in the first place I am very excited about everything, but what very important and what gives me really good feeling about what I am doing is that I will sing in language that is understandable for many people.

Finally do you have a message for your fans and Eurovoix World readers?

Finally I want to thank for the time and attention, and I want to thank all the readers for their attention and interest in my performance. With best regards, Elcan Rzayev.

The Turkvision Song Contest was first held in 2013 in the Turkish city of Eskisehir. The contest which is open to Turkic nations and regions such as Turkey, Kazakhstan and Yakutia. The contest follows a similar format to the Eurovision Song Contest, with songs limited to being 4 minutes long. To date Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan have won the contest.