OGAE UK President Alasdair Rendall, Vision Editor Hass Yusuf, along with Vision Assistant Editor & Photographer David Ransted, were invited by the BBC for their Meet The Artists event to meet and chat with the six hopeful acts that have been chosen for this year’s Eurovision: You Decide show to be held in The Dome, in Brighton on Wednesday 7th February.
It was a packed event, with the BBC’s joint Head of Delegation, Helen Riddell, giving praise to Alasdair and OGAE UK for helping out with the selection of the song that will represent the UK in Lisbon this year.
Let’s meet the artists:
Asanda, who sings Legends, is only 16 years old but isn’t new to the industry having appeared on Britain’s Got Talent as well a German TV talent show, Superkids. And super she is! Asanda seemed very grounded for her age and told us that she considered Eurovision to be completely on a new level. As soon as her agent suggested Eurovision and she heard Legends, she just knew she had to be in the contest! “This song is beautiful”, is said. She’s also going to do a lot of dancing as well, but is confident that she can dance and still keep her vocals at the same time.
Jaz Ellington, singing You, is really excited about trying to represent the UK at Eurovision. He’s very happy about the build-up for his performance, and as well as the song, there’s the whole presentation to think about. But he is also a bit nervous, as he knows how important this show is. He was extremely pleased to hear that You has received rave comments from many OGAE UK members. He was somewhat surprised, but thrilled to hear that! He wants his performance on stage to be honest and truthful. Jaz previously appeared on The Voice UK and has worked with coach will.i.am.
SuRie, singing Storm, is one of the more accomplished performers for Eurovision: You Decide and already a Eurovision performer! Besides being a backing vocalist and dancer for Loïc Nottet, who represented Belgium in 2015 with Rhythm Inside, she was the Musical Director for Blanche’s City Lights, again representing that country, in Kyiv last year. “It was an amazing time”, she said. Now she’s back again this time trying to represent the UK! While in Kyiv, she met up with the British delegation and was invited to attend their Eurovision ‘boot camp’. Storm was a no-brainer for SuRie as she fell in love with the song straight away! It really fits in well with her style of performing. She says the stage in Brighton is a beautiful design – “There’s no barrier with me and the audience”. Hopefully security will be tight on the night.
Liam Tamne, singing Astronaut, is already an accomplished actor and singer appearing on The Voice UK and being mentored by coach will.i.am. When asked how he got involved with the crazy and mad world of Eurovision, he said, “I don’t think it’s mad or crazy – it’s just amazing!” Who can disagree with that? He was appearing in pantomime back in December last year and his agent rang him and asked if he would like to get involved in Eurovision – “Hold the front door!” was his reply. But first he had to hear the song. And as soon as he heard Astronaut, he instantly fell in love with it. “It’s timeless, relatable and very current – it’s not what people would expect from a Eurovision song”, he added. He’s performed in a project in New York and around Europe in The Rocky Horror Show playing Frank-N-Furter! So we can easily establish that Liam must have stage presence! Even though he’s a very experienced performer – starring in long shows eight times a week, with Eurovision: You Decide he’s only got one shot with a three minute song, so he realises he has to be at the top of his game. But he loves the pressure and challenge – in fact he thrives on it! Kate Bush is a big fan of his and we agreed that with her on board we would win Eurovision in Lisbon! Spoiler Alert: Alas, there won’t be any astronauts on stage…
RAYA, who sings Crazy, has a lot of history performing as a dancer, singer and DJ. She’s originally from Doncaster – but has lived in London for ten years and still kept her accent! Her song was co-written for her by a friend from college. She says Crazy is a pop and dance effort and says she would definitely put it in her DJ set. She likes doing her record mixes. One of the other co-writers of her song is Iceland’s Greta Salóme Stefánsdóttir who gave RAYA lots of tips and an insight to Eurovision. When asked about preparing for the event, she said she was overwhelmed about the amount of work you had to do, but she had to keep up with the social events and meet up with everyone who supports her and her song. But she’s loved all the work even though it has taken over her life for the time being. She would however do this than anything else at the moment. What more could we ask for? She says her performance on the night will be big and powerful, full of high energy. She thinks her entry brings to Eurovision a different sort of pop/dance contribution – a new British urban sound.
Goldstone, singing I Feel The Love, is the only band in the contest. They felt that was an advantage to them as they could feed off each other. The group is made up of Aimie, Rhiannon and Helen. Aimie and Helen met while performing together and decided to start up a band. When they were introduced to Rhiannon, Goldstone was soon formed. While the comparison with Little Mix is easy, Goldstone are very much their own band. All the girls are accomplished performers in their own right appearing on stage and TV. They all revealed that they are fans of Eurovision and are loving the whole experience so far! Their entry came about from the BBC’s Eurovision writer’s camp. They describe the song as “wicked” and have loved the reaction from the fans.
One thing that came absolutely clear on the night is that all of the performers were full of enthusiasm for Eurovision. After meeting them it became very difficult to choose a winner. We want them all to win! But good luck to the eventual winner – OGAE UK will be in Lisbon supporting them and the UK.