Iranian-Norwegian Tooji comes from a close-knit family with a strong passion for music and the creative arts. In May he will represent Norway in Baku with the song Stay, something that he says can provide him with a chance to be heard.
Tooji was born in Shiraz in Iran in 1988. He had his first birthday whilst fleeing to Norway.
The family’s Persian traditions and roots have given Tooji strong references, both musically and personally. A good life with a close-knit family in a new country has influenced his upbringing and life choices since.
With a strong wish to express impressions and feelings Tooji has gone his own creative ways, and after art school and theatre school, it was finally music that became closest to Tooji’s heart.
In addition to devoting himself to his passions, the experience of working in kindergartens and with after-school-activities, young people and asylum seekers, has given Tooji an even more important mission in life: To give a voice to those who would otherwise not have been heard.
Some choices have been more important than others, and working with refugees in asylum centres has made its mark on him.
-“I was incredibly happy that I had my family here, a comfy bed, food and a roof over my head. At the same time it made me very sad too see all these people, children and youngsters, with so much misery and sadness in their eyes. It put things into perspective.”
Tooji completed his studies in child protection, and he now works as a child protection consultant in the department of after-care, a job he finds intense and socially important, challenging and vital. In encounters with youngsters the problems are often similar, regardless of where they come from.
-“When I dedicated myself to causes and people I wanted to help, I knew the political arguments, the rules and regulations – but nobody listened. It was so frustrating! My devotion alone wasn’t enough, and that became an important motivational factor in my burning wish to get a voice that someone would listen to.”
To Tooji it’s all about music making it possible. Music is the driving force. Music can provide Tooji with a chance to be heard.
On February the 11th Tooji wins Melodi Grand Prix, to represent Norway in the Eurovision Song Contest. The people have spoken. His song “Stay” immediately tops iTunes, and Tooji becomes an overnight sensation. Tooji has found his arena, and we want to listen.