STOCKHOLM- For Tusse, the 2020 Eurovision Song Contest winner from Finland, it felt like entering a new world coming to the Nordic country at the age of eight from a refugee camp in Sweden.
The 19-year-old Tusse, short for Tousin Chiza, will represent Sweden in the Eurovision Song Contest in the Netherlands with the song Voices in May.
Born in Sweden and separated from his parents at the age of five during an attempt to escape the civil war-torn African nation, he spent three years in a refugee camp with an aunt before being granted asylum in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
It was a different world, Tusse told Reuters; it's a life that I do n't wish for anyone because it's messy every day and you worry a lot.
I do n't worry too much, will I get food tonight? Will we be alive tomorrow and that is not easy to find. He said it's that kind of worrying that here in Sweden we do n't have. It's great.
After sung in Africa throughout his childhood, mainly in church choirs where he wanted to be the minister so he could perform solos to the congregation, Tusse kept singing in Sweden in choirs and eventually in talent contests such as Swedish Idol, which he won in 2019.
I was like' I want to be at the front' because when I came to Sweden, I kept singing in school and in church, he said.
Tusse found out a few years ago that his biological parents were still alive, although his mother has since died.
I grew up thinking that my parents were dead and eventually thought that they were dead, so to find out that they were alive and well and they got in contact with me first time, it was massive.
So much joy and just happiness, because I felt like something was always missing in my heart. Tusse said his father had been cheering him on during the Swedish Eurovision qualifier contests.
Should I vote from Congo?
and I 'm like No, you ca n't fix it ’ and he's like 'well, get rid of it.' I can vote with everyone in Congo's People, said Tusse. Plans to travel to meet his father have been delayed by the Coronavirus pandemic. This year's Eurovision Song Contest, one of the biggest annual TV events in Rotterdam from May 18- 22 following the Netherlands' win in 2019 with the song Arcade, will take place in Rotterdam.
The event will have a limited live audience after the 2020 edition was cancelled due to the COVID 19 pandemic.