Valdis Melderis: "Most powerful tools in communication - a voice, a look, a presence"
To introduce Valdis Melderis to new audience let us begin with a kind of blitz blurb. He is 45 years old and has dedicated last 25 of them to hosting radio shows - people still hear his voice on Radio Skonto on their way to work in the morning. He is also a television personality and (the most important thing for Best Baltic Events Blog) an entertainer supreme, mastering all kinds of ceremonies - from very high profile ones to more intimate club events. Capable of wicked deeds: from appearing on “Sex Guru” juicy comedy show to building up a meter-something long flower statue just to make passing people smile. People seem to adore him and he seems to adore motorcycles and sixties psychedelic music.
So, you’re going to Tallinn to perform as a presenter on the first of the Baltic For Events Forum’s two days. What should we expect from Valdis Melderis on day one? And, what’s even more important - what does Valdis Melderis expect from this upcoming gathering?
I don’t know! Because normally I go in, I smell the air, I talk to the people - and only then I do know what to talk about and how to put things together. So, it’s all about the feeling that I get on that day - and of those people. That’s how normally it’s done. Why? Because you have to understand them - the public, the audience. You have to speak their language. Only then they are ready to listen.
You’ve got this very impressive professional pedigree, you’re perfectly well experienced in communicating with all kinds of audiences, so - what kind of events you like to host most? Or, to put it more accurate - what kind of audience fits you best?
I’d like to consider myself an emulator. Because look - I’m hosting events on a horse, on a motorcycle, on a tractor... Now I have also a tractor driver license for I’m hosting Tractor Day two-day event in Latvia, every spring. I can also host, like, “16+1” ministers forum - I’ve done that couple of times. I would say I really enjoy all possible sorts of events. I’ve done a wedding where there were just eight people around the table including me hosting it. No matter how awkward it sounds. I’ve been falling face down in cakes at much bigger posh weddings, eating cake without a spoon among the big crowd, inviting the others to join. My dream for now still is the one event I haven’t done yet: I’d like to host a demolition party! The party where everything goes wrong - that’s my dream. The craziest things are my kind of thing. I’m open to everything and anything.
Are there any fundamentally new challenges for an entertainer in this digital era, are there new goals? When MTV started broadcasting in 1981, the very first music video aired was “Video Killed The Radio Star”, definitely a straightforward manifesto. What still keeps radio alive these days?
It’s still the most important and the most powerful tool in communication - a voice, a look. A presence. Can you imagine - people still come to conferences. Why should they do it while they can sit at home, at their offices and engage in it through Internet? But they still get together. So, it is about human touch and human presence. You know when you write an SMS and forget to put a smiley - that’s it, a relationship can be ruined. You have to hear a voice tone, its warmth.
It’s still the most important thing.
Who are your heroes in your professional field?
My heroes are real people. The biggest challenge for a host or a star is to be genuine, to be himself. It’s so easy to slip away from yourself trying to be someone else, trying to be more special. People still really seek for natural personalities. That’s the best you can give. Once you start to lie - the show is over. So, if the show must go on - you have to be yourself.
Any crazy event story? Please.
Like I said - I have hosted all sorts of weddings. Russian, English, Persian (!), Latvian and so on. At one wedding the set up was like this: before the cake-cutting all the men had to search for the cake, hidden outside the palace, in the garden (a huge park). So, first you have to find the cake, then get it to the venue. And the wedding’s scenario was: once the guys approach the cake - it blows up! The cake was stuffed with explosives, but they got wet inside so only one part of the cake blew off. Nevertheless all those specially dressed men were covered in cake. And all the girls were sitting inside the venue watching the show on a big screen. You can imagine what a nice surprise it was to see how the cake blew up, even just from one side! But everything went smoothly and no one got killed or injured. I would say it almost went by the plan.