07
October
2019

Loreen makes comeback with atmospheric new song “Walk With Me”

Loreen makes comeback with atmospheric new song “Walk With Me”

Loreen - Walk With Me

Swedish Eurovision winner Loreen is back with a brand new song “Walk With Me” – two years after her latest release. It is a dark and moody song about diversity and inclusion.

Few days ago, the Swedish Queen of Eurovision, Loreen, surprised everybody with a new track Walk With Me, which serves as the campaign song for the singer’s collaboration with the Swedish fashion brand Ellos.

“I’m so very proud to announce my collaboration with Ellos – Made by Women. It’s been a very powerful experience to work with such fierce full female creators and support and present their collection and stand point. But also I’m very happy to have had the opportunity as female executive producer to give my take on their beautiful campaign song “Walk With Me”. This is a version that sheds light on diversity, the importance of empathy and our common ground – creativity and music.”

Loreen on Instagram

Walk With Me is originally sung by Swedish singer and songwriter Julia Jonas. She released the song in May this year.

Julia’s and Loreen’s versions of Walk With Me are quite similar when it comes to a laid-back atmosphere, they both managed to create. Loreen’s magical vocal and her production skills lifts the song to a whole new level though. The song is quite dark and moody. It all starts with only Loreen’s voice and a piano. Gradually, the singer is adding more and more instruments and production elements as the song reaches its musical climax in the last 60 seconds.

Walk With Me – Lyrics

I’ll take you places you’ve never been
I’ll be waiting and I won’t settle
We see the walls coming down and we breathe in
And for a second there we slow it down
We bring along beauty
And we’ll seek the burnin’ breeze ahead of us
Will you walk with me? Yeah
You won’t imagine we’ve been there before
I’ll tell you where we’ll go
We’ve found the golden window here
The one where colours show
We’re running on the edge of things
No one can catch up now
There’s nothing else we need to feel
We’ll hear the sound of crackin’ ice
We’ll jump feet first on to the ground
And race it all the way till we’re leading
Will you walk with me? Yeah
You won’t imagine we’ve been there before
I’ll tell you where we’ll go
We’ve found the golden window here
The one where colours show
We’re running on the edge of things
No one can catch up now
There’s nothing else we need to feel
Nothing else we need to feel
Nothing else we need to feel
Nothing else we need to feel
We’ve found the golden window here
The one where colours show
We’re running on the edge of things
No one can catch up now
Well, you won’t ima…
You won’t imagine we’ve been there before
So, you don’t…
You won’t imagine we’ve been there before
There’s nothing else we need to feel
Nothing else we need to feel
Nothing else we need to feel
Nothing else we need to feel
Nothing else we need to feel

Below, you can watch the video for Loreen’s latest release Walk With Me

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Categories: Eurovisionary

05
October
2019

Blas Cantó will represent Spain at the Eurovision Song Contest 2020

Blas Cantó

The Spanish broadcaster, RTVE has just announced that Blas Cantó will represent Spain at the Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam in May.

For the past few weeks Spain has been hinting that they will choose a famous singer as their representative this year, leading to rumours that Ruth Lorenzo may be making a return.

However they have instead chosen ex boy band singer Blas Cantó as their representative. The 27 year old singer used to to be a member of the group AURYN.

AURYN were formed in 2009 and are currently on hiatus. The group tried to represent Spain in 2011 with the song, Volver, but were ultimately beaten by Lucia Perez.

Blas has been a fan of Eurovision since he was a child and has always dreamt of representing his country.

Spain At The Eurovision Song Contest

It has now been 50 years since Spain won the Eurovision Song Contest and even then it had to share the win with three other countries. The only time Spain won outright was in 1968 when Massiel took the prize with La La La.

Last year Mike and La Venda continued Spain’s poor run of results by finishing in 22nd place with 54 points.

Below enjoy a video of Blas’s latest song Si Te Vas, while Spain work with him to find a suitable song to send to The Netherlands.

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Categories: Eurovisionary

05
October
2019

The Revelation And The Devastation Awaiting Hooverphonic’s Fans

The Revelation And The Devastation Awaiting Hooverphonic’s Fans

Not a lot of people can say their favourite band is going to the Eurovision Song Contest. Now I can join them.

The Song Contest for me has been a chance to discover amazing talent that would otherwise remain hidden in their respective countries and feeling that awe of hearing someone with immense talent break out on stage. Over the years I have read a number of articles where fans compile lists of dream acts they would love to see on stage. Now I am having the opposite experience, already enamoured by an artist and anxiously awaiting their debut at Eurovision.

Belgian band Hooverphonic – first out of the gate for Rotterdam 2020 – have been a personal favourite of mine for the better part of the last eighteen years. Their song is either going to be a revelation or devastating to me, and I can’t imagine feeling any other way.

Hooverphonic in a Lift Concert (Wikimedia / Nils Mlcknbck)

Hooverphonic in a Lift Concert (Wikimedia / Nils Mlcknbck)

Who Are Hooverphonic?

Right around the turn of the millenium, mainstream music reached peak trip-hop with a wide collection of artists such as Portishead, Tricky, Gus Gus (whose lead singer, Daníel Ágúst Haraldsson, represented Iceland in 1989), Massive Attack, and the aforementioned Hooverphonic.

Their music hit me at a time when I needed a break from the stress of university life, and putting on any of their early albums – ‘A New Stereophonic Sound Spectacular’, ‘Blue Wonder Power Milk’, or ‘The Magnificent Tree’ – created a chill atmosphere to distract me from an abundance of homework I didn’t feel like doing, and made me feel a little bit cooler just for having listened.

But what made Hooverphonic stand out from the others was, unlike artists like They Might Be Giants, their often absurdist lyrics playfully contrasted with their earnest tone. By their third album they were incorporating old voice recordings for ‘Autoharp’, comparing a break-up with getting out a tough stain with ‘Vinegar & Salt’, and commenting on how tremendously hardcore ‘Pink Fluffy Dinosaurs‘ are. Listening to some of their more recent singles, it seems they have toned down the absurdity, but haven’t lost their smooth rhythm.

Just taking a look at the video for ‘2 Wicky‘:

The opening takes a sample from Isaac Hayes’s version of ‘Walk On By‘ to create a sexy-cool synth vibe then juxtaposes it with lyrics that tell the story of a starship traveling through space and the repeated serial numbers of the vessel and orbital weapon. Compare that to their more recent ‘Romantic‘:

Where Luka pleads with her lover just to keep things simple and not try to impress her with grand gestures. It has all the hallmarks of their musical style from vulnerable vocals to the sweeping orchestral backing track, but feels more conventional and approachable than something like the aforementioned ‘Pink Fluffy Dinosaurs‘:

Hooverphonic’s Eurovision CV

Hooverphonic have worked behind the scenes at the Eurovision Song Contest before. Alex Callier, one of the two members who’ve stuck it out over the years behind their half-dozen singers since 1995, co-wrote Belgium’s 2018 entry A Matter of Timefor Sennek. While it was my favourite entry going into Lisbon, I was heartbroken to see her struggle on stage and be relegated the non-qualifiers’ circle.

2018 was also the year France sent Madame Monsieur, of whom the female half Emelie Satt provided the vocals for Hooverphonic’s 2015 single, ‘Badaboum. Given that, writing and performing for a massive television audience should come as second nature even with their protege-turned-vocalist Luka Cruysberghs, whom Callier mentored on The Voice of Flanders.

The band has grown and changed a lot over the years and ten albums. With six different lead vocalists and a wide swath of genres incorporated into their 24-year career, Hooverphonic have been able to adapt to an ever-changing musical landscape. They have toured quite extensively all over the world from Europe all the way to Tokyo, and are on the road right now promoting their latest album,’ Looking for Stars’.

Hooverphonic And Rotterdam

This is something that will set up Hooverphonic for success. The group has been approached before about participating before, but held out until they felt they had the right song. In an interview with Songfestival.be, Callier didn’t hold back on his critiques for Belgium’s recent entrants, and what he saw were successful and unsuccessful choices with Eliot, Blanche, and Sennek.

What’s clear is, he knows what makes a show work and how to connect with an audience. Lead singer Cruysberghs may be at the start of her career, but already has the televised singing competition experience to comfortably take the stage. One of the group’s stipulations was complete creative control over the music and staging, something Callier is very knowledgeable of. He also cites Duncan Lawrence and Salvador Sobral’s wins as inspiring him to pursue entering since more subdued, emotionally-driven songs have proved to be popular with both juries and fans in recent years.

How Hooverphonic Can Succeed At Eurovision

Hooverphonic are the only artist so far in the running. Even without a song, I’m ecstatic to see what they come out with. However, is this going to result in a long-overdue Belgian victory for 2020?

Hooverphonic's Geike Arnaert at Rewind Breendonk 2008 (Wikimedia / Jaak Geebelen)

Former Hooverphonic lead singer Geike Arnaert at Rewind Breendonk in 2008 (Wikimedia / Jaak Geebelen)

Honestly, I’m not so sure. Not because the contest hasn’t awarded a band the win over virtuoso solo performances since 2006’s Lordi (and arguably Ell & Nikki’s 2011 victory duet in ‘Running Scared’), but because the band has never been big outside of Belgium. They have appeared in a handful of films and TV shows and found some success in a few countries, but they’ve never unlocked the wide audience that boosts the chances of a big break. Even long-time fans (including myself) are still lamenting the 2008 departure of their strongest vocalist, Geike Arnaert, and don’t feel like they have been quite the same since.

What do they need to do to grab people’s attention and get votes? It would take a strong song, ‘Eden’ is a good example, one that catches people off guard leaves them reeling.

I’d really like to think they can capture those three perfect minutes, but let’s see. I have no doubt I’m going to love whatever they come out with, will squeal with joy watching them take the stage to rehearse for the first time, and keep it on regular rotation in my favourites playlist long after the Song Contest is over.

I hope that Eurovision is the moment that pushes them over the edge, the moment that helps millions of people across the globe discover an act with an extensive back catalogue they can explore, and is the moment that gets them the attention they deserve.

That would be a monumental victory unto itself.

Categories: ESC Insight

03
October
2019

Eurovision Insight News Podcast: Don’t Take It Away Just Yet

Eurovision Insight News Podcast: Don’t Take It Away Just Yet
http://archive.org/download/escinsight_20191002_653/escinsight_20191002_653.mp3

We have a first for Rotterdam 2020 this week, but we also have a last. It’s a hello to Hooverphonic, but a goodbye to Jon Ola Sand. Just remember that Eurovision really is all about the music we listen to along the way.

Eurovision Insight News Podcast: Don’t Take It Away Just Yet

The latest Eurovision Song Contest news, with notices given, performers offered, and Netflix slogans. Ewan Spence and the team round up the latest news, dates, and thoughts for Rotterdam 2020.

As the season gathers pace, stay up to date with all the Song Contest news by listening to the ESC Insight podcast. You’ll find the show in iTunes, Google Podcasts, and Spotify. A direct RSS feed is  available. We also have a regular email newsletter which you can sign up to here.

Categories: ESC Insight

02
October
2019

First 2020 participant announced: Hooverphonic to represent Belgium

First 2020 participant announced: Hooverphonic to represent Belgium

Hooverphonic

It takes less than two hours to drive from the Belgian capital Brussels to next year’s host city Rotterdam. The country with the shortest distance to go became the first to announce their 2020 Eurovision Song Contest participant. 

While deadline to apply for the national final is still open in some countries, and a few other broadcasters are still to decide whether to use internal selection or a quickly organised public national selection, Belgium just presented their artist for the 2020 Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The announcement took place this evening on the TV station Eén.

Hooverphonic became the first participant announced for next year’s Eurovision Song Contest. The song is not yet known. We know that it will be in English, and of course follow the rules by specified by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) which means less than three minutes and not been made public before the 1st of September 2019. Band members Alex Callier, Raymond Geerts and Luka Cruysberghs are currently working on the right song.

Luka joined the band – and replaced another singer – after her participation in The Voice Flandern. Group founder Alex Callier was her mentor in that show.

Failed to reach the final two years in a row

There will be a lot of pressure on the newly selected participant. Belgium last reached the final in 2017 where Blanche and her City Lights came 4th. She followed two other great results for the small bilungaul country; Laura Tesoro’s 10th place in 2016 and another 4th place in 2015 achieved by Loïc Nottet.

In 2018 Sennek finished 12th in the semi-final and in 2019 Eliot reached a 13th place in his semi. With 10 countries qualifying for the final from each semi-final, they both had to leave the Eurovision Song Contest before the Satuday final show.

Belgium’s last victory dates back to 1986 where 13 year old Sandra Kim won with J’aime La Vie. A few years later, an age rule was introduced to the contest, and as such, she will remain the youngest winner ever of the contest.

To remind yourself of this year’s Belgian entry Wake Up, please watch the video below. This performance is from Eurovision in Concert in Amsterdam just a few weeks before, Eliot went to Tel Aviv, Israel.

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Categories: Eurovisionary

30
September
2019

Executive Supervisor Jon Ola Sand leaves EBU

Executive Supervisor Jon Ola Sand leaves EBU

Jon Ola Sand

After the 2020 Eurovision Song Contest, Jon Ola Sand will leave his position at the European Broadcasting Union. He will return to Norway for a position at the head office of public broadcaster NRK. Mr Sand leaves EBU after 10 years in charge of the Eurovision Song Contest.

He has worked with the Eurovision Song Contest for 20 years, first at Norwegian broadcaster NRK, and the past nine years as Executive Supervisor for the EBU. The 2020 contest taking place in Rotterdam, the Netherlands will be his last. EBU today announced that Jon Ola Sand returns to NRK – and that they will start searching for a new candidate to fill his position.

The past decade at the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has been fantastic and exciting, but it will also be good to come home. I have been involved with the Eurovision Song Contest for over 20 years. First as Head of Delegation for Norway, then as Executive Producer in Oslo in 2010 and I have been privileged to have been the captain of the ship in Geneva for the past 9 years.

Rotterdam will be my 10th Contest as Executive Supervisor and it seems a good time to pass on the baton and take on a new challenge at NRK. In my new role I will work to ensure that NRK continues to be a world-class public broadcaster and will be in the best possible shape for the future.

Jon Ola Sand to Eurovision TV

EBU will now start to look for the right person to take over from the Eurovision Song Contest. Many broadcasters have great candidates so it will not be an easy task.

Jon Ola’s commitment and calm steady hand over the last decade has been invaluable to the EBU and its Members. He has overseen the growth and development of the Eurovision Song Contest over the past decade and created, together with EBU Members, the most advanced entertainment show in the world helping to safeguard the longevity of this much-loved show that unites audiences from across the globe.

Jon Ola will now oversee his 10th Eurovision Song Contest for the EBU in Rotterdam before taking up his new role at NRK.

Jean Philip De Tender, Director of Media at the EBU

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