Belgium 2024: Mustii
Photo: Lennert Madou

Mustii from Belgium: "My song has a feeling of urgency"

INTERVIEW Mustii will represent Belgium at Eurovision 2024. The Belgian triple threat takes us through his life, career, friendships and, of course, his song: "Before The Party's Over"

Thomas Mustin, or simply Mustii, will represent Belgium at the Eurovision Song Contest 2024 with his powerful song "Before The Party's Over." And while the hectic Eurovision agenda may be demanding, it's something he has gotten used to.

He's done two seasons as a judge in Drag Race Belgique, has his third album coming out (which will include his Eurovision entry), and a thriller movie in production, as well. Amongst all of this, he managed to find time for a talk with Eurovisionworld about this new chapter of his journey:

– I have no more life and I don't sleep a lot but I am not complaining, it's really what I wanted, Mustii firmly assures.

– That's the reason why I am living. It is to experience different and extreme emotions, that's exactly what I love to do. I get to be on a show like Drag Race and, at the same time, I am on a set of a thriller where I am playing a bad boy with no hair and a metal teeth. You never get bored.

But you must get tired...

– I know it's a cliché to say this, but I have good people surrounding me: my family, friends and my boyfriend. It's really important to always come back to what's more important in life and that's your people. It's where I go when I need to recover my energy.

Belgium 2024: Mustii – "Before the Party's Over"

With such a huge curriculum that covers music, TV, theatre and cinema, what's still on Mustii's to-do list?

– To direct. I am writing stuff and I really want to direct a movie. It's been a dream for the longest time but I know you need a lot of space in your life to carry a movie on your shoulders and I am aware that it is currently impossible but it's always in my head. I know it will give me a completely different perspective from being an actor.

With Eurovision on the way, it certainly doesn't look like the right time. Besides its crazy agenda, the show brings an excessive amount of attention and requests to its contestants. Some become famous in a matter of days. When we speak of such, Mustii brings Blanche (Belgium 2017) into the conversation:

– I was actually talking with Blanche recently about it and when she was asked to do it, she was just 17, she was very young. I have so much respect for those artists who take this challenge so early on. I couldn't do it.

Belgium 2017: Blanche – "City Lights"

Mustii reverses my question when I ask him what advice he could share with the upcoming new artists:

– I don't have any. I think I should be the one asking them how can they handle all of this. I guess when you're younger, you don't really overthink stuff... But I am not that old, the 33-year-old singer jokes.

– Maybe I'd say to not overthink, to live each experience, and to give all of your energy.

A song to unite the world

That kind of goes along with the message of his song "Before The Party's Over." The song has an explicit message of resilience amongst struggle:

– It's a song from my own DNA. It took me some time to find resilience and to fight to be exactly whoever I wanted to be and that's the story of my song. It's sort of divided in a few parts, he says.

– In a first moment, we acknowledge the struggle we're going through, but at one point we realize we need to look for our inner fire to fight it because we are running out of time.

Before he continues, he acknowledges some online criticism about the repetition of the lyrics towards the end of the song ("before the party's over, I got a soul on fire"):

– It is indeed a repetition but it was made that way on purpose because that's the idea of the song. It's the feeling of urgency, of the more I go into life, the more I have. We don't have time and it's so fragile and violent out there.

– When they asked me to do Eurovision I accepted the challenge, but I knew I had to go with a strong message. I thought that if I was really going there, it would be to unite people.

In fact, "Before The Party's Over" features not only vocals from Mustii but also from 1,000 other people from all over the world. A few weeks prior to the release of the song, RTBF – the Belgian broadcaster – and Mustii launched a campaign to get fans to sing the song's final part:

– I was in the studio with Pierre Dumoulin and that specific studio is located underground in a building mixed with other companies. On this afternoon, I already had a melody in my head and I had these three or four lines that aren't the same as you hear today on the record but it was based on the title of the song, Mustii tells.

When they asked me to do Eurovision I accepted the challenge, but I knew I had to go with a strong message. I thought that if I was really going there, it would be to unite people.Mustii

– We started working on it but towards the end, I just felt like we needed a bigger effect, like a group effect. That's when Pierre suggested we'd go up on the different floors and ask random people to help us... He knew a few of them but I was unsure they'd stop whatever they were doing to help us.

They did manage to get around 20 people. From there, family and friends were invited to jump on the song and finally the vocals from the rest of the world:

– The idea was to have a somewhat of a messy choir, we didn't want good singers nor professional ones because we were focused on the unity and energy. David Bowie's "Memory of a Free Festival" inspired me to do this.

Speaking of which, David Bowie and Madonna are two of Mustii's main musical references:

– They are so important to me. Bowie on a more intellectual side whereas Madonna really helped me through my teenage years, I needed an icon I could relate to.

– David Bowie's album "Outside" was a shock for me and helped me to develop my artistic side. It's so inspiring to watch his work and diving into it.

I wonder if we will see references from any of them in Malmö:

– It's unconscious, I digest their art. I guess you can feel it in some moves or instinctive moves, I mean I've watched hours of Depeche Mode, Bowie, and Iggy Pop. Those are great references, and if you can see the Bowie vibe in myself I will be flattered.

I stay on "moves": Will there be a choreography?

– I am not going to say too much because I want to keep it as a surprise but I'd describe it as a "Florence and the Machine" sort of vibe. I don't like it when it's too choreographed and there's no life into it. I am more of a rock spirit, I like to have space to risk it and be instinctive, but that doesn't mean there will be no choreography at all.

To the question if he'll be joined on stage, he'd rather keep it as a surprise but given his dream of directing a movie, one can only imagine how involved Mustii is in the creation of his performance:

– Oh yes, everything from like the start until the end... Maybe too involved in everything. I need to trust people, and that's also important when you're an artist but you cannot forget who'll be on stage and whose message it comes from, so you have to be fully aware of what's going on and how you want to put it into the world, he says.

I like to have space to risk it and be instinctive, but that doesn't mean there will be no choreography at all.Mustii

Eurovision bully

We were still in August when Mustii was announced as Belgium's representative, he initiated the season as the first announced artist for Eurovision 2024:

– I hope I am not ranking last. In Belgium, we have a saying that the last ones are always the first ones, he jokes.

Even though the news broke then, the invitation happened way before, more specifically during the shooting of the second season of Drag Race Belgique where Mustii serves as a permanent judge. In Eurovision, the roles will be reversed:

– Yes! Every time I see a drag queen I always tell them: "You can judge me now, let's go!"

– It's the game rules, I am not thinking too much about that though. I am focused, instead, on the joy that it will bring my way. I am going to perform on one the world's biggest stages and meet new incredible people.

This leads us to speak about bullying:

– We have to understand that people are doing their best and they're working. We don't know what's behind their story or act.

We remember the run of last year's Belgium representative, Gustaph who was criticized after his national selection victory:

– We have spoken about it and the main advice he gave me was to never read the comments people do. It's about choosing your well-being or going that route but he is the sweetest. He told me to call him whenever I needed or wanted, regardless of feeling depressed or not, it's like I have an angel with me.

Belgium 2023: Gustaph – "Because of You"

He continues:

– It wasn't a nice start for him but it turned out to be a beautiful story and he finished top 10.

"Before The Party's Over" was not written with Eurovision in mind and would be included on Mustii's upcoming third album, regardless of the contest. Was any other song potentially submitted?

– Maybe people were expecting something more upbeat from my side but I kept on coming back to this song. It's a midtempo with a contrast and a fight between melancholy and energy and there's also evolution and progression, he explains.

– I admit I did try to write especifically for Eurovision but there was no soul in those, I am really honest with everything I do.

In fact, if you take some time to listen to Mustii's music, you'll understand that "Before The Party's Over" fits not only sonically but lyrically. Many songs deliver a message of resilience, strenght and community:

– When I was a child, I was really stuck in a bubble and it took me so long to connect with the rest of the world. I also had an uncle who suffered from schizophrenia and it inspired me to see things differently. He was like extraterrestrial, some kind of an alien, and that's how I also felt.

– Those are the people I like the most, the ones who don't follow the rules of society, who always have a feet outside of this world for different reason... Maybe due to a disease or because they feel rejected.

He goes on to reference Hamlet in Shakespeare, movies of David Lynch and Werner Herzog. That brings us to an important quote Mustii made sure to feature in his press kit:

The time will come, and everyone will know the meaning of all this, why there is all this suffering, and there won't be any mysteries, but meanwhile, we must go on living.Three Sisters, Anton Tchekov

Have you gotten it all figured out yet? How's it going for you?

– I think you take all of your life to figure that out but I can say that nowadays I am freer. I wouldn't be here at Eurovision before. I still have some struggles but I don't hide myself anymore: I write albums about myself and my story when before I'd always hide beneath another character like my uncle.

– Concerning that quote, I am not sure we'll ever find solutions or clues to solve the mysteries or violence of life. We have to go on living and that's the sadness in the quote but also why I love it. You can feel she won't have the answer ever but that's alright, let's take this sad energy and live to the fullest, he concludes.

Mustii goes on to say that the mood in Anton Tchekhov's drama is linked to the mood of the song and that's also part of the reason he quoted it.

Amongst so many names already mentioned from David Bowie to Anton Thekhov, we also spoke about Måneskin (Italy 2021) as a turning point for him:

– I am not sure if I had never thought about doing Eurovision, I think I didn't dare to think about it because it was maybe too big? But it changed when I saw Måneskin's performance a few years ago. I wanted to be there with them, they seemed completely free.

Italy 2021: Måneskin – "Zitti E Buoni"

We go on to speak about this year's songs. The Belgian singer mentions Switzerland's Nemo and France's Slimane as his favorite songs, but agrees that it's a strong year.

Before we wave goodbye, he concludes:

– My goal is that people identify themselves with my song. I want everyone to feel connected by music and I hope I can help someone with my music. I love human beings a lot and I like to share things in real life. I hope I will meet many of the fans throughout this crazy process and I wish everybody love.

– Oh! And come to Brussels, there's a lot of big parties!

Mustii will compete in the second Semi-final of Eurovision 2024 with "Before The Party's Over" on 9 May.

About the author: Pedro Santos (Portugal)

authorPedro comes from Lisbon, Portugal. He's 30 years old and graduated in journalism. He has attended Eurovision Song Contest three times live - 2018, 2019 and 2022 - and covered the show twice more (2021, 2023) but his first Eurovision memory takes him back to 2007 when Sarbel delivered his catchy "Yassou Maria" performance. Pedro's favorite Eurovision song is Albania's 2015 "I'm Alive" by Elhaida Dani which is also his favorite Eurovision edition.

Eurovision News