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Testimonies

Prepare For a Good Life Every Day

Sacrificing family on the “altar of career” is considered to be the only way to success among artists. But Friderika, reputable singer and successful housewife, seems to have found the best of both worlds. However, things didn’t always go like this in her life. The Hungarian Semifinal for the Eurovision Song Contest, ‘Grand Prix de la Chanson,’ took place 2 weeks ago. This event was an anniversary for her, because in 1994 she became the winner of this contest, bringing the first remarkable, international success to Hungarian pop music. On this occasion, we asked her about this turning point in her life, about her family and about success.

- This year, Hungarian Television decided to enter Hungarian groups in the competition again. So, we watched the 1994 contest again. I had very interesting, mixed feelings about listening to myself. I know that I couldn't sing that song the same way anymore, but it was sincere then, because I was in a 'God-searching,' struggling period of my life. Whom should I confess
my sins....As the lyrics stated: To whom should I confess my sins, and from whom should I ask forgivness....? As an unknown singer, I believe it was my originality that touched the judges, since vocally, the performance was quite 'unpolished'. This helped me understand at the very beginning of my career that it's not professionalism that counts, but that the audience values performers who sing sincerely and without affectation. The judges didn't even understand the lyrics, since I was singing in Hungarian.

- Where your parents happy about your success?

- Basically, they couldn't do much, since I found myself in the 'world of artists' as a civilian. They just watched my performance on TV. But success brought several important changes to my personal life. I was a bit awkward as a kid. Singing was a means of success for me. Making friends wasn't really important. I didn't really have to make an effort in the field of singing, it came naturally to me. I was reserved and loved to be with my parents, though there were serious problems in my family.

My dad drank a lot, but I loved him anyway. But I couldn't ask them about the 'big questions' in life I was struggling with. I was told I was too young and shouldn't have to deal with such things. At quite an early age, I started thinking about where we came from and why we're here. Since I didn't have a tranquil, as we say, 'marzipan' life, I very quickly began to think about what would make someone happy, would it be worth it and what to do to be successful.

I never saw a good 'recipe' around me, for living happily, freely and morally and staying human in all circumstances. For lack of something better, I started to role-play in order to appeal to everybody, superficially and to avoid confrontations. You can do that for a whole lifetime, but you can't develop personally and you become more and more alien to yourself and will never be able to know who you truly are.

- You instantly became a singer and were asked to perform everywhere. Did it solve the problem of finding your true self?

- I was glad that the sincerity of my singing brought success, but immediately after the festival, we had to produce an album. This was followed by non-stop performances from tents to community centers, on ping-pong tables, on stages - wherever it was possible. I found myself on a wave that I couldn't get off of easily. During the recordings I found myself on a 'rollercoaster' in my everyday life.

I often felt that I should do a turn-around, since I didn't feel well in the role my songs created for me. It's very likely because of my lyrical temperament, songwriters believed that I should represent a depressed, reclusive artist, so they poured their own melancholy feelings into my songs. It's very interesting that this flows so easily from everyone in Hungary. Very few musicians can compose happy songs and the majority of these songs are so artificial.

- So the first "lyrical" song brought more success but also put you in a "box", so you had to tour with all these sad songs?

- It reached its climax in 1996. I sang in nine cities and in Budapest, in The Thalia Theater, where I grieved my audience and myself for two hours. I saw people coming in tired after their Friday workday, so I tried to give everything, even my last heartbeat, to my audience, who honored me by coming to listen to my performance. Then it came to me that I was trying to do something I couldn't. I tried to give them something that wasn't in me nor in my songs.

Without life something happens, that can be called performance, but there's no joy, no sweetness in it. It's just sour and bitter and very "artistic," of course. You either get soaked in this mentality or become schizophrenic: You get on stage, play your role and show a completely different face afterwards. I was not schizophrenic, so after each performance, I often fell into a depression; I wasn't able to sleep, I couldn't breathe, I was afraid of death and I was afraid of the future and where it would lead.

I didn't know how to go on. I wasn't even sure if I should sing anymore. I should rather be a 'one-song' singer, as they say, and go to law school or study architectural design – anything - just to get out of here.

- But instead, you started recording a new album...

- We were planning the recording of my third album, when a young man came to be on the team, who always had a copy of a theological magazine, The New Exodus, with him. I found out that he attends church services. We started talking and I began to feel life starting to seep back into me. Thanks to my success, I became financially independent, so I was free to look for answers to success and family. .....Since this young man was talking to me about something familiar....

Back in 1989, a friend of mine invited me to Faith Church at the Ganz –Mávag Community Center. Though we were sitting in the back and I couldn't even recall the theme of the sermon, I felt I had to do something. I felt so miserable. When I saw people answering the altar call, I started to follow them. I entered into a covenant with my Creator. I cried and was very much moved.

„I Am Happy” AlbumI didn't remain silent for long. I told my parents about what happened to me. As a result of this, I experienced such an obstacle in my life that paralyzed my search for God until 1996. My parents prohibited my church attendance, though they'd not even heard about it earlier. I was living at home and didn't want to confront my parents, so I decided to wait until something happened and I would be allowed to go to church. But during the following years, I lost sight; I forgot that there was someone I could turn to and that I had already known the source of life. It seems though, that God is not so forgetful.

- So you started to attend services and read the Bible?

- Yes, I started to attend church and I felt it was good for me. I was not single at that time; I'd been living with my husband-to-be for two years. I started to read the Bible at home and he looked at me very strangely....Are you always going to read the Bible from now on? But this time I could make a stand for my decision..... not like earlier.

„You’ll Find Home” AlbumLaci (my boyfriend) usually went to play tennis on Folyondár Street where our church had its services at that time. At first, he murmured for a while, then he started to talk to some believers and realized that this was not about some kind of religious, old-lady thing, but something that was worth believing in and following. Finally, we gave our life to God together and were both baptized. I had postponed this in 1989. Since then, we've been going to church without any problem.

We got married, which was also a radical step for me, since I'd never planned to get married. I thought that being a wife only meant lack of freedom and lack of modernity. I was so dedicated to building my career that I couldn't imagine building it and a family together and full-time.

- Then what's the answer? Since you can see that in the life of many well-known people it's either family or success...

- I think a man is not a one-sided being that either success or family life would be enough to satisfy him. Many people who tasted success feel the absence of family, marriage and children. Then they immediately start to focus on the other side only and forget about everything else. I don't think it's a good idea. I don't think it's that or the other.... I believe a person needs to be successful in every area and it is not good to sacrifice one area for the other. I believe that it's the Word of God that can show people what they were created for and how to become a satisfied.

’Gospel’ AlbumEarlier I thought my feelings carried my happiness. When I feel good, I'm happy....But I soon had to realize it wasn't so. During this search you have to step on people, use them again and again and then throw them away. That was the reason I didn't have friends, because I thought human relations weren't important. It was only music that had any relevance in my life. Even my relationship with my husband became stable when I started to go to church services and read the Bible. Since we were living together, he started to notice the difference in me.

I see things totally different today. I value faithfulness and self-composedness very much. Things you don't learn from your father and mother at an early age, you learn later at your 'rebirth,' from your heavenly Father in your twenties – thirties - forties or even seventies. I only knew that I didn't want to live like the other people around me...there's Monday that everybody hates, then Tuesday, then Wednesday....things fall apart...it's not good when the sun shines....it's not good when it rains...nothing's good.....

My view of life now is totally different....I prepare for a good life everyday....there's room for exercising, studying, going to and preparing for church. I want to move on in my profession and what I've learned I don't want to keep to myself, but give it away to young people in the field of music later on. I lay my life down in the Lord; I invest my singing skills, energy and time in the Lord.

- So what is your solution to the career or family dilemma?

- First, my success is not my success. It was exactly what I suffered from earlier that I didn't have anything to give to people because my talent won't make anyone happy, least of all, myself. So because of the EuroVision Festival success, I tasted what it was like to get a gift - and I liked gifts. Getting something from God and then passing it on is totally different when God gives you something and you can give it away compared to striving for the sake of your own success.

Now I have something to say, something that inspires my songs. I came home spiritually, mentally and in every area. A career became a gift I didn't have to chase. If I were chasing it, it probably would have even fled from me. My role isn't exaggerated; our marriage isn't about me being a diva. My husband and I complete each other; we work together, we're partners, share responsibilities, etc. If this works-and this is working-then everything else is good and falls in place.

It's very dangerous to think that success is everything and that someone who is successful can get anybody.... In the meantime, he forgets about people who love him when no one even heard of him. We can find a very realistic picture in the Book of Proverbs where it says," Most people find someone who is good to them, but a faithful man, who can find?" Values are timeless and can draw value from the other person.

The fact that I consider myself a singer has to be credited to my husband. He strengthened me in that role. I was insecure for a long time. Several times I had enough and wanted to quit. Once my mother came to one of my concerts and was wiping her tears as any good parent after watching her child's performance when my husband said to her, " Why are you crying, Mom? Your daughter's a singer!

I've dedicated my life to making his easier. If it's necessary, I go into his office and do anything to help him and free up some time for him. There are times when we sit down and talk for hours about our future. I love when we have a glass or two and eat something, communicate, solve problems and mold together better....

- Nice career...!

-And it's not over yet!

Source: Hetek

Related homepage: www.friderika.com

 

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