On May 3rd, 1986 she won the Eurovision Song Contest for Belgium. A 13 year old girl conquered the hearts of millions of people with her catchy song “J’aime la vie”. Since it’s that time of the year again, we had the perfect excuse to sit down with her for an exclusive talk.
The only Belgian win of the Eurovision Song Contest came 31 years ago. After all these years you must have told almost everything we need to know to the press. Is there however one particular moment or encounter you still cherish?
I will never forget the night that we won the Eurovision Song Contest. The emotions running through my body and veins and everything that followed that night are written in my heart forever. I’ve met so many people over the past years: royals, politicians or talented musicians. It’s difficult to just pick out one. Someone who really amazed me was Eros Ramazzotti. I had the opportunity to go on tour with him in Japan. Being around him as a fan but also as a friend was a real blessing.
Throughout your career, this victory has been following you. Besides being the one and only winner for Belgium you also were the youngest winner in history of the Eurovision Song Contest. A record that can never be broken as the new age rules require participants to be at least 16 years old. How do you feel about this?
I’ve never wondered if it was a good idea to let people under the age of 16 participate. At that time it didn’t bother me to perform as a little girl and I wouldn’t change a thing about the entire experience. I was naïve, spontaneous and I ‘m quite sure this was what people loved the most about the entire performance: a little girl coming on stage wearing her pink bow tie, enjoying the performance with her little dance moves and singing about loving life. I would not change a thing. OK, maybe one thing, I would choose a different name, something else than Sandra Kim. My official name Sandra Caldarone was too long and didn’t sound good enough at that time. Of course there are also things I wish I didn’t sing or didn’t say.
It may be quite surprising, but I never had the intention to be famous. For sure, I loved singing, but only by myself with no one around to hear me. Building a career in show business never came into my mind. The entertainment industry is tough, very tough. Today you’re a star, tomorrow people forget who you are and I have mixed feelings about it. Don’t get me wrong, I love singing and I adore music with all of my heart, but this industry is unbelievably despicable. Working in a different area was quite impossible for me as I didn’t graduate from college.
Maybe if I could have chosen my professional life like anyone else, I might have been working as an air hostess. Ever since I first took a plane -the very first time was when I went to Norway for The Eurovision Song Contest- I had such an admiration for those lovely air hostesses taking care of everyone on the plane, serving them at their needs. I’ve always enjoyed helping people and the aspect of travelling and escaping from your normal environment while working really fascinated me. I’m very adventurous and I think I would have been a great air hostess.