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'I can sing but I'd sign if I went to Eurovision'

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'I can sing but I'd sign if I went to Eurovision'
Swedish signer Tommy Krångh. Photo: Private
12:23 CET+01:00
Swedish TV signer Tommy Krångh, 48, talks to The Local about his global YouTube success, growing up with deaf parents and his dream of performing alongside Celine Dion.
How does it feel to have become an instant celebrity after clips of you signing for Melodifestivalen (Sweden's Eurovision prequel contest) went viral?
 
I am overwhelmed, happy, thrilled. Actually I haven't really understood it yet. There has been so much love from everywhere. I have heard that people have been talking about it on TV in Hong Kong, Australia and the United States, Belgium, Portugal, Spain...But so far only the Swedish papers and a few newspapers in the UK have called me up.
 
There's an internet campaign to get you to represent Sweden at Eurovision instead of Melodifestivalen winner Måns Zelmerlöw. Would you go if you were asked?
 
Wow, I didn't know it was an international thing. I have heard that people in Sweden have said that I should go with or instead of Måns. But I think he is going to do a very good job. If I go to Eurovision it will be as a signer and I have had some conversations about this, so it is a possibility. The song is very good. I think the lyrics are really nice. It is about everybody being a hero. Even if you are getting bullied at school you should come out and be a hero and find the strength and courage and responsibility to stop it.
 
Have you had any other international offers yet? Some UK fans want you to sign for the BBC.
 
Well every country has its own sign language and I only really know Swedish sign language so that would be difficult for me. But maybe I could have an interpreter who could help me out!
 
What might your new fame do for the deaf community?
 
I hope that people will understand that sign language is important. Children should learn it and be proud of it. In Sweden we have rather good laws but we want them to be even better and in other places there isn't enough protection for sign language. I also hope that people will learn it even if they don't have a hearing problem.
 

Tommy Krångh. Photo Private
 
How did you get into signing?
 
I have been on the stage for over 40 years. I can't remember anything else. I started performing as a child - my parents are deaf so it is my mother tongue and I started to use it when I was nine months old. It is in my blood.
 
Can you sing as well?
 
Yes! Two years ago I was an actor in Fame in Örebro, my home town, in a performance where people who could hear and were deaf or hard of hearing were together on stage. I was singing and dancing and the whole show was a mega success.
 
What about singing in next year's Melodifestivalen?
 
If I do it next year I will do it in sign language when I perform on stage, but I could do some recordings as well. I have not been asked, but I would do it. It's time for sign language in Melodifestivalen!
 
You put a lot of effort into your performances. How do you prepare?
 
I listen to the song of course, so I get the right feeling, so I understand what the artist wants to say with the music and the song, the character in the voice. I prepare for 20 to 30 hours for each song and also look at the video and think about visualising the sounds and how to move my body and make the right shapes.
 
If you could sign for any other international artist, who would it be?
 
Celine Dion. I saw her last year and it was amazing. Also George Michael, I really like his music.
 
Why are Swedes so nuts about Eurovision and Melodifestivalen?
 
I think they have made it into a very good TV show. Melodifestivalen is on primetime for five weeks. It is something you either love or hate in Sweden, there is no in between. I think in general Swedes love music very much and we are very proud of our music in Sweden and about what we compose. And the show is a good thing to talk about on Mondays at work!
 
What's your favourite Melodifestivalen song of all time?
 
Abba's Waterloo. Without a doubt. I am a really big fan of Abba, I know every song.
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