Representing Eurovision 2017 for Slovenia was Omar Naber, a Slovenian-born pop rock singer-songwriter trio who also previously represented Slovenia back in 2005 with the song 'Stop'.
Slovenia, an ex-Yugoslavia state has never won any Eurovision edition with the 'technical' exception of Yugoslavia who won it in 1989 (Slovenia was a part of Yugoslavia back then). Slovenia have never finished as runners-up either.
Sadly Slovenia did not win or finished second at Eurovision 2017, which was won by Portugal. However we still spoke to Omar about his Eurovision experience.
Omar, firstly how does it feel performing at the Eurovision Song Contest for the second time?
"I was very honoured to once again be accepted to participate at EMA 2017. I had no real expectations of winning. I knew that I had a good song and I knew that I could deliver a good performance. But apart from that, it is out of my hands. I was very pleased to win of course and it is a huge honour to be given the opportunity to represent my country again at Eurovision."
Surely this has to be your biggest performance to date? Given your Jordanian heritage, would you like to see Jordan in Eurovision?
"It surely was one of the highlights of my career. To be honest, I wouldn’t mind seeing Jordan in the competition, as there are brilliant musicians and even better singers there. They would raise many ears around the globe."
What does your song 'On My Way' mean?
"Well, it's about my personal experience, when I was lost, lonely and had no path ahead. But I always knew I'll find a way and that there is always a light somewhere ahead even if we don't see it sometimes. I first wrote it several years ago and did not really have a place for it at the time, either on an album or for use in some situation. But I kept returning to it and last year having discussed it with some friends, I decided it could be a perfect track for Eurovision. It is very traditional in the sense of the Eurovision ballad style and when my friend Žiga Pirnat, who is a very talented music composer and arranger, suggested the orchestral arrangement, I knew that the song had become something special."
Is it true Green Day inspired you to get into music? Are you a fan of punk rock then?
"Completely true. The first time I heard the song 'Basket Case', I was mesmerized. That was exactly what was missing from my life up until then. Powerful, melodic rock music. It made me decide to be a songwriter and have my own band immediately. Later on I sure got to discover new bands and artist, but they were the ones to have dragged me into music in the first place."
After Eurovision what plans have you got?
"I am writing many new songs and revisiting old ones so perhaps it is time to get to work on selecting them for my next album which I hope will be available later in 2017. I want to continue to perform both solo and with my excellent band in Slovenia and beyond. And, a holiday might be nice too :-)"
Representing Eurovision 2017 for Switzerland was Timebelle, a pop trio who were a sextet when they attempted to enter Eurovision 2015, but failed to do so having placed second in the finals of the Swiss national selection.
Switzerland won the first Eurovision edition back in 1956 with Lys Assia's song "Refrain" and then the 1988 edition with Canada's Céline Dion and her song "Ne partez pas sans moi".
Switzerland were runners-up in 1958, 1963 and 1986.
Sadly Switzerland did not win Eurovision 2017, which was won by Portugal. However we still spoke to Timebelle about their Eurovision experience.
Timebelle, firstly how does it feel performing at the Eurovision Song Contest?
"It's a great honour and privilege to represent Switzerland at Eurovision. We see it as a great opportunity to meet extraordinary talented people, producers, performers, show-business people who we can learn so much from."
Switzerland has won Eurovision twice, will you make it three?
"I think we have [made] good changes to get to the final. However, it all depends on many things that we cannot control ourselves."
Surely this has to be your biggest performance to date? Who would you liken your music to?
"Our aim is to make Switzerland proud again. It would be fantastic if we went to the final (Sadly they placed 12th in the semi-final). Ideally it would be to get a good spot or even win. But the most important thing, at the end of the day is to able to look at yourself in the mirror after you've finished your performance and say "hey, you did a great job, be proud.""
Is it easy being a musician in Switzerland (what challenges are there)? After Eurovision what plans have you got?
"We are already developing an idea that we had 2 years ago and is growing on us more and more every day. After Eurovision is over and we will be able to focus on our further projects we are absolutely planning on releasing this track as soon as possible."
The Alternative music interview page features interviews from Eurovision entries to other non-metal music entities.
Eurovision Song Contest