Yet another Eurovision hopeful, this time it's Georgian entry Nika Kocharov & Young Georgian Lolitaz who faces the questions about their career, Eurovision chances and the like. Although they might as well be fairly unknown across Europe, they have in fact been going a truly respectable sixteen years. Their song 'Midnight Gold' should give them the much deserved attention.
They're an all-male Indie Rock band and so despite the sexist connotations made in the interview, they are sure to win over the hearts of European Indie Rock fans.
As Nika Kocharov & Young Georgian Lolitaz look ahead to their inaugural Eurovision performance at the second semi final, GMA wants to stress that only ten countries can progress from each of the two semi-finals and join the big 5 (UK, Italy, Spain, France & Germany) plus Sweden. Georgia has never won an edition of Eurovision unlike their neighbours Azerbaijan, so perhaps it might be there year. Their best result is a commendable 9th in 2010 and 2011, last year they placed 11th in the final with the super-gorgeous Nina Sublatti.
Here is how the interview panned out:-
Nika Kocharov & Young Georgian Lolitaz, how does it feel to be representing Georgia for the Eurovision Song Contest 2016?
Of course I’m excited. Regarding my expectations, I don’t really know what to think, our strength I feel lies with our live performance.
How have you been preparing for this event? What was your reaction when the GPB chose you as their selected entry?
To be honest I didn’t even know what to think, I never thought I would get an offer to play at the Eurovision Song Contest, but after the first meeting I realized “why not” and now I’m pretty much into it.
Are you excited or nervous? Seeing as you're the first all-male entry to represent Georgia, do you take pride in this fact?
Well it's a bit sexist isn't it? Joking aside, of course we're proud to be representing Georgia.
Please explain the meaning behind your song 'Midnight Gold'.
It’s about what goes on in a persons head after a long night. Basically “hard nights day”
What plans have you got for the rest of the year?
Well at the moment we've got more than enough songs for one album, the plan is to start working as soon as we come back. During the summer, for us is the best time for recording sessions.
Finally have you got any hello's, thank you's, etc you wish to send out?
Love & music will save the world (seriously :) )
(Check out their video below)
Yet another Eurovision hopeful, this time it's Austrian entry Zoë who faces the questions about her career, Eurovision chances and the like. Although she is 19 years old, she has already released a debut album simply entitled 'Debut' and her Eurovision song 'Loin d'ici' comes directly from said album.
Despite her being Austrian she opted to sing in French, which in itself is quite unique but not as unique as her music per se. Yet for such a young musician, to see her album reached #5 in the Austrian charts is remarkable, so we're yet to see what she can really offer us. Previously she attempted to represent Austria last year but only managed third place, so to see her win this time and head to Sweden in May is a fairy tale come true.
As Zoë looks ahead to her inaugural Eurovision performance at the first semi final, GMA wants to stress that only ten countries can progress from each of the two semi-finals and join the big 5 (UK, Italy, Spain, France & Germany) plus Sweden. The last time Austria won the Eurovision Song Contest was back in 2014 when Conchita Wurst set the world alight with her infectious 'Rise Like A Phoenix' and just like ABBA, became a success overnight. Last year Austria qualified for the final only to finish the final on nul points, so Zoë will almost certainly want to avoid the same fate - perhaps even going on to win Eurovision for Austria for the third time!
For Zoë, she is is "really happy and grateful" to be representing Austria at the Eurovision Song Contest 2016, adding that it is also "like a dream is come true", so clearly she is looking forward to it. Now clearly participants have their own ways of preparing for special occasions like this, more importantly is how to contain their excitement, so how did she do this when learning the news that she had won the 'Wer singt für Österreich' competition?
Well for her "it was so overwhelming! You know, it was the second attempt and I could not believe it..it took some time until I realized it!", of course this is just one of the hurdles till Eurovision and the biggest hurdle yet to jump over is the Semi-Final, so with last year's result for Austria being abysmal, is she nervous or excited about the prospect of overturning Austria's misfortune? "I am excited, I can’t hardly wait to be in Stockholm and to perform on stage. Well, yes there is some pressure, of course, but I will do my best and I am really motivated to make my country proud".
To help Zoë get into the Finals, if you are able to vote in the semi-final (only France, Sweden or Spain), then send your vote her way. Your vote can make the difference to whether she makes the final or goes home. Check out her song below:-
What with Eurovision welcoming new countries over the years, some not geographically European such as Israel and Morocco and some like Australia who despite are in this edition, were invited as a guest last year, can we see more non-traditional countries entering?
Well Kazakhstan applied for EBU membership, so we might see them next year. But what does Zoë think about this expansion?
"I think it’s great that Australia participates again and it would be awesome to see other non European countries participating, too. I mean the Eurovision Song Contest is followed by millions of people and has fans all over the world. I could imagine to see Asian countries and countries from Latin America bringing their music on the Eurovision stage, why not?"
Well this year China tried to apply but was denied by the EBU, what with Zoë wanting to see Asian and Latin American countries taking part, along with Iceland's Greta wanting the Faroe Islands to participate, it would seem that the Eurovision Board will need to consider these wishes because clearly there is opportunities to push and market the Eurovision brand worldwide.
Naturally Eurovision enables bands and artists to showcase their wonderful songs and rejoice in unison through music, speaking of which, what does Zoë's song 'Loin D'ici' mean? Well simply put it "is a song about a journey to an imaginary paradise – a place where everyone is happy singing and dancing. It’s not a physical place, more a state of mind. The song is meant to radiate positive vibes to put a smile on the faces of those who listen to it!"
So does Zoë have any parting words? Of course!
"Hey dear readers! I'm really looking forward to the Eurovision 2016 and I cant wait to be on stage and sing Loin d'ici for you! If you like my song and feel happy after listening to it, then of course, I'd be honoured if you vote for me! Kisses from Austria, your ZOË."
Eurovision Semi-Final dates:-
#1 - 10th May
#2 - 12th May
The ESC 2016 Final is on the 14th May.
Another Eurovision hopeful, this time it's Switzerland entry Rykka who faces the questions about her career, Eurovision chances and the like. Although she was born in Canada, she eventually stayed in the Alpine nation after her album 'Straight Line' was released back in 2010. Since then she has gone on to release four albums in title, and now her biggest challenge awaits.
As Rykka looks ahead to her inaugural Eurovision performance at the second semi final, GMA wants to stress that only ten countries can progress from each of the two semi-finals and join the big 5 (UK, Italy, Spain, France & Germany) plus Sweden. The last time Switzerland won the Eurovision Song Contest was way back in 1988 with Celion Dion, and where was Celion born? CANADA. Can lightning strike twice?? Last year Switzerland failed to qualify for the final, so Rykka will almost certainly want to avoid the same fate - perhaps even going on to win Eurovision for Switzerland for the third time!
Some may question Switzerland's choice because of Rykka not being born in Switzerland, but some will recall that Katrina & The Waves represented the UK and they're American! Besides, Rykka's heritage hails from Switzerland through her grandfather. So surely representing Switzerland must be a huge honour for her? Well obviously it is:-
"Being part of Eurovision is such a special adventure! It means a lot to me because Eurovision connects so many great people. It’s so amazing to meet so many amazing people who are connected to Eurovision in some way. Also, I’m so proud to represent Switzerland because it’s really in my heritage and I love it here so much."
So how has she prepared for this momentous occasion? Well Rykka remained focused and dedicated to the task in hand, saying she always aims to think about the positives, however as she went on to explain that at the ESC 2016 – Die Entscheidungsshow competition she didn't worry about winning, because for her it was about "having a great time because everyone backstage was so wonderful and it felt like family". However, she is working on improving her stability and health through strengthening her voice up by harking back to her early days where she "first started singing professionally... making everything strong from the ground up", this includes her mental state; clearing her head.
Obviously she's excited about being there, but she doesn't seem phased by the big occasion expressing that she's ready to give it her best shot and hope for the best, whilst making it a truly special moment in her life. She goes on to explain her feelings about how Switzerland is celebrating 60 years since hosting and winning it:-
"I don’t think there is a formula. I think there is a place for everyone, and that maybe some things work better at a certain time than others. That doesn’t mean that something is better or worse for eternity, just maybe at that particular second in time. Of course it would be absolutely amazing to win ESC and it would also come with a huge responsibility. One that I am capable of accepting and thriving in. I’m absolutely up for it and imagine it all the time, I’m big into visualisation."
Check out her chosen song 'The Last of Our Kind' below:-
Speaking of her single 'The Last Of Our Kind', you might be asking what is behind the title? Because well all songs have a meaning right? For Rykka it's about being yourself, standing on your own two and showing that you care about others in your life:-
"The message of 'The Last Of Our Kind' is to always stand up for love above all. Stand up for yourself and for people and other beings who can’t stand up for themselves. Standing up for love also sometimes means to go against your own ego and really search to find the truth."
Post-Eurovision Rykka is releasing her new album (of which we presume the song 'The Last Of Our Kind' will be included on) and touring with her band. Rykka signed off our interview with her with the following message:-
"I want to thank everyone for their amazing support! It’s such a dream to share this crazy experience with all of you. Sending love out to everyone!"
Eurovision Semi-Final dates:-
#1 - 10th May
#2 - 12th May
The ESC 2016 Final is on the 14th May.
As Iceland's Greta Salóme looks ahead to her inaugural Eurovision performance at the first semi final, GMA decided it was time to turn the interrogation spotlight onto her. Remember only ten countries can progress from each of the two semi-finals and join the big 5 (UK, Italy, Spain, France & Germany) plus Sweden. Last year Iceland failed to qualify for the final for the first time, so Greta will almost certainly want to avoid the same fate - perhaps even going on to win Eurovision for Iceland for the first time ever!
Of course representing your country at Eurovision is such a huge privilege, and for Greta "It´s a once in a lifetime experience that I get to do for the second time so I´m very grateful and happy", her second time round has come about through her winning the Söngvakeppnin 2016 contest which ultimately determines who goes to represent Iceland at the ESC in each edition.
Although this news startled Greta, leaving her surprised and ecstatic, she is looking forward to and excited in joining the 'Eurovision bubble' (as Måns Zelmerlöw put it last year) expressing that she has faith in her song before adding that she "believes in the message behind it and I´m just excited to get that message out there and share my music with the world". Speaking of the world, we asked her what her thoughts of the likes of Australia participating once again, and whether the Eurovision should expand further afield, if so, who would she like to see join in the fun?
"The more the merrier! I´m really happy Australia is participating. It gives the contest even more diversity. I would love to see the Faroe Islands in the contest also. They have so many great musicians there. One of my favourite ones is Teitur."
The Faroe Islands have previously attempted to join the EBU in hopes of furthering their chances of Eurovision participation but have routinely denied due to their current status of being within the Danish Kingdom, which is slightly funny seeing as you have countries like Israel and Morocco who have been it and are not on the European continent yet are in the European Broadcasting area, funny no?
Portal, a Faroese media outlet posted about this news back in June 2015 and can be read here (non-Faroese/Danish readers should use Google translator): http://portal.fo/bjorn+kalso+limaskapur+i+eurovision+er+treytadur+av+at+landid+er+sjalvstodugt.html
Check out Greta's official music video for the Icelandic entry 'Hear Them Calling' below:
For Greta, 'Hear Them Calling' carries an important meaning and message:-
"The message of the song is that we should not listen to the negative voices and influences that we are so exposed to in today´s society. Instead we should focus on the positive voices and be a positive voice to others because they are the ones that will lead you where you need to go."
This resonates within the notion that music should be considered a form of positivity, that we can relate to songs and place them in context with our daily lives, be it pop, rock, metal, electronic music or whatever, music speaks to us and in relation to Greta's song 'Hear Them Calling', as she said we should be concentrating on "the positive voices and be a positive voice to others because they are the ones that will lead you where you need to go", safe to say Iceland's entry is more than just a song, it's a personal statement and it's this type of song that we reckon will finish in the top 5 in the finals... you read it, THE FINALS.
Post-Eurovision, Greta's activities don't stop there as she heads back to Disney in June where she has a contract with them performing on board the Disney cruise ship (which travels between Florida and The Bahamas) "and then will be travelling and performing until September and then it´s concerts throughout the year and new material. So it´s gonna be a big year." So we may yet see Greta reach the UK shores, here is an artist who has an agenda in check, she may well be one of Disney's and Iceland's princesses, but she has the potential to become the Eurovision Song Contest 2016 Queen.
Greta has a message to send out to her fans and fans of Eurovision:-
"Lets now let the negative voices bring us down and listen to the positive voices and be a positive voice to others!"
Eurovision Semi-Final dates:-
#1 - 10th May
#2 - 12th May
The ESC 2016 Final is on the 14th May.
It is that time of year again and Eurovision is already in full swing, with Tuesday's semi-final seeing Montenegro and San Marino go through to the final for the first time in Eurovision history. Furthermore they snatched those two places from countries that you would have expected to go through without any doubt, they are Portugal and Belgium.
But our attention towards Iceland, whose entry Pollapönk made it to the finals (live Saturday night on BBC1 - check your own national broadcaster), they mix punk rock with children's music, this however is overshadowed by the interesting fact that their back-up vocals are split amongst Óttarr Proppé (from Ham) and Snæbjörn Ragnarsson (from the Viking Metal band Skálmöld). You might as well admit that Iceland and Finland have both gone down the rock route this year (we would like to see more of this), what with Ukraine's Gothic pop entry also gone through, there is a little theme going on this year.
Rhys Stevenson managed to catch up with Pollapönk and talk to them about their Eurovision endeavors, their entry 'No Prejudice' and the Icelandic Rock Music scene. Many thanks to Haraldur
Gíslason for talking to us.
"Eurovision is a happy place".
Hey guys, first off how does it feel to represent Iceland in the Eurovision Song Contest?
It is a dream come true to get on to a big stage like this and to get our message out to as many people. We don’t feel any pressure, but we are determined to have fun and do our very best to make Iceland proud.
The song "Enga fordóma (No Prejudice)" is about a young person who has the habit of stuttering around others and fears to be mocked or bullied because of this. With this song it is Pollapönk’s aim to help eliminate all bullying and prejudice as everyone has the right to live in peace and harmony with the rest of the world. We think that the world needs to hear the "no prejudice" message. Especially from middle age, heterosexual, white men like us. Being middle age, heterosexual, white men makes us a group that is most unlikely to be discriminated against and we believe that we should use this opportunity to point out the injustice in this world. Of course we know that it will not instantly make the world a better place. It is our small contribution.
What inspired you to get the suits? Especially in vibrant colors :)?
With different colors we are calibrating diversity. We may look different on the outside but on the inside we are the same. Also we just look very good in these colored suits.
What does Pollapönk mean and why that name?
Pollapönk means two things. Punk for kids and puddle punk.
Could you tell us in the UK a bit more about the Icelandic Rock scene?
The Icelandic rock scene is very good. All the members from Pollapönk come from the Icelandic underground rock scene. There is a lot of good bands coming up and the scene is growing.
Now you have been going eight years, where have you played outside Iceland?
Not so much as Pollapönk. But Heiðar and Haraldur are in a band called Botnleðja that has toured a lot outside Iceland. Once they supported Blur in the UK. Gudni and Arnar are in a band called Mugison that has toured a lot as well. Bibbi or mister Orange as we like to call him is in a heavy metal band called Skálmöld. Our member of parliament Óttarr is also in a band called Ham.
Could you give a brief history of the band and how you met?
Pollapönk was founded in 2006 by guitarists Haraldur Freyr Gíslason and Heiðar Örn Kristjánsson of the Icelandic post-punk trio Botnleðja. They created Pollapönk when graduating as Bachelors of education from the University of Iceland. The purpose was to write and perform music that children and adults alike would enjoy and be able to sing-a-long to. The first album "Pollapönk" was a major hit in Iceland. In 2007 drummer Arnar Þór Gíslason who is Haraldur‘s brother and bass-player Guðni Finnsson joined Pollapönk which then became a quartet. Pollapönk have made two more albums, and played numerous gigs for children and grown-ups all over Iceland. In everyday life Haraldur Freyr is the chairman of the Association of Pre-school Teachers, Heiðar Örn is a Pre-school teacher and Arnar Þór and Guðni are professional musicians.
Finally are there any greetings you wish to send out? Any thank you's?
No prejudice! Spread the word.
The Eurovision Semi Final No.2 is on tonight on BBC3 (again check your national broadcaster) at 8pm and UK viewers CAN VOTE tonight - we'd like Malta, Israel, Lithuania, Finland and Slovenia to go through amongst others - Romania, Ireland, Norway, Poland and Belarus.
The Eurovision Final is on Saturday - BBC1 (again check your national broadcaster) at 8pm we believe.
It is that time of year again and Eurovision is already in full swing, with yesterday's semi-final seeing Montenegro and San Marino go through to the final for the first time in Eurovision history. Furthermore they snatched those two places from countries that you would have expected to go through without any doubt, they are Portugal and Belgium.
But our attention towards Malta, whose entry Firelight employs a unique mix of folk, country and pop music that ultimately is overshadowed by the interesting fact that four of the members are all family members. Moreover front-man Richard Edwards has had his own stint performing across the UK by performing alongside the likes of Leona Lewis, Ray Quinn and more as he had entered the X Factor competition, getting applauds from Simon Cowell and making it into the last 80 before joining the rock band Cast Away, before heading back to Malta in 2009.
Rhys Stevenson managed to catch up with Firelight and talk to them about their Eurovision endeavors, their entry 'Coming Home' and the Maltese Folk Music scene. Answers by Richard Edwards, front-man of Firelight.
Eurovision is "lots of fun and millions of viewers".
Hey guys, so first off how does it feel to represent Malta in the Eurovision Song Contest 2014?
It's a very good feeling. As individuals we have entered the Malta finals several times, but as a band it was fantastic to finally win. We are proud to be proud to be representing Malta in Copenhagen.
And so how did you all meet, and did you all have the same aspirations?
Well four of us are family members -- three brothers and a sister. Two good friends of ours make up the rest of Firelight. We all have a tremendous passion for music.
So how did you all get into music and who inspires you?
Our Dad is a famous singer in Malta. We were brought up in a house full of music. I have many musical heroes from Johnny Cash to Sir Paul McCartney.
And could you tell us in the UK a bit more about the Maltese Folk music scene?
We've tried to create a sound that mixes folk music with rock and pop. It's fusion music. It's proving popular in Malta. We just hope the rest of Europe likes it too.
Now what do you think of the UK entry this year?
It's good. It's a great song and we like hanging out with Molly too. I had my own UK experience when I took part in X Factor. Simon Cowell gave me the thumbs up and I had the pleasure of performing at boot camp with the likes of Leona Lewis.
Please tell us a bit about your song 'Coming Home'?
There was a personal story behind me writing it. It's very much about overcoming difficulties. But I think it will mean different things to different people. All the Poles, Czechs, Latvians etc in the UK know what it's like to be away from family for months at a time. Hopefully, 'Coming Home' will mean something to them.
Finally are there any greetings you wish to send out? Any thank you's?
We love the UK. Our Mum is from Yorkshire. So vote for us and we promise to come to the UK to give you all a big kiss.
Catch Firelight tomorrow night performing in the Eurovision Song Contest 2014 semi-final number two at 8:00PM (GMT) on BBC3 (or your broadcaster linked here). VOTE FOR MALTA!!!!!
_Global Metal Network caught up with the French entry of the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest which is to be held in Baku, Azerbaijan. Although Anggun Cipta Sasmi is originally from Indonesia, she has made a name for herself, having started singing at the age of 7 and recorded her first ever album two years later. 1986 saw the release of her first rock album 'Dunia Aku Punya' and having dueted with Ronan Keating and Julio Iglesias amongst others whilst also having released around 18 albums in French, English and Indonesian respectively and even more becoming the first Indonesian artist to break into the European and American record charts, even leading to her receiving the Chevalier des Arts et Lettres from the French Minister of Culture. 2012 promises to be a big year for Anggun and is sure to make a massive impression at the Eurovision Song Contest.
1. First off, how does it feel representing France at the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest in Baku, Azerbaijan?
I feel greatly honoured and proud of course, I know my name has been circulating over the last few years at France Televisions and in the Eurovision fan-sphere but I was never approached officially until last winter. It was a great surprise for me to be called and asked to represent France at this year’s Eurovision song contest.
2. Who are your music influences and what music do you tend to listen to, how does this influence you?
I have been raised in the love of rock music! I’ve always been a huge fan of metal and Industrial rock. I know this will probably surprise lots of people considering that my music identity is more into pop music, but when I was a teenager star in Indonesia, I was called ‘Lady Rock’.
3. Coming from Indonesia, what can you say about the Indonesian music scene including the Indonesian Metal scene (if you can)?
Indonesia is definitely a country of music. Children at an early age are raised through music and it is very common for Indonesian kids to be part of bands or to sing as a hobby. Music is something that is extremely present on Indonesian TV for example, to the contrary of other countries such as France, where it is very difficult to find TV programs specially dedicated to music and live performances. Indonesia is probably the most Rock-orientated country in Eastern Asia. Some very influential Rock and Metal bands are from Indonesia such as Jamrud, Rotor or Kota. I think Indonesia is in Asia what UK is in Europe in terms of music: people love music and live through music; it’s something in the genes.
4. You recently had a duet with Ronan Keating, how was this for you?
It was a great moment. Ronan is a delightful person and most of all an extremely talented & charismatic performer. I have always been impressed by Ronan’s career. He has been able to build his own musical identity and success after being part of a top-selling boys band. He has been able to evolve and became an influential artist in the pop music scene.
5. From your fifth English album 'Echoes' what is your most favourite song, why and what inspired you to create it?
I love ‘Buy Me Happiness’ because it deals with something very sensitive right now in our over-consumerist societies. The quest for happiness and personal balance is not something you will find in consumption frenzy or in hyper social networking. You do not buy happiness. It’s something you build first of all in your own self and in your inner circle (your family, your love and your closed ones).
6. Your signed to Warner Music / Sony Music, when you were signing to the labels, how did you feel emotionally and musically?
I have been lucky to be supported by major actors in the music industry throughout my career. And when I am not happy I’m leaving. This is what happened a few years ago when I left Sony Music in France. I am very happy with my Warner Music France team. They are working closely with me and we are sharing the same vision, which is I must admit a great chance for any artist.
7. Referring back to the Eurovision, what are you mostly looking forward to and will this be your first European concert?
The Eurovision show will be a few days before the launch of my European tour, with dates planned in France, Belgium, Switzerland but also Poland, Russia, Italy, etc. The contest is the occasion of meeting people across Europe and it’s a fantastic opportunity to meet amazing artists, to listen to great music from lots of countries, and more importantly to share our passion for songs and music with more than 200 million viewers worldwide. It’s an experience not-to-miss!
8. Also on the topic of the Eurovision, how are you preparing for it and will there be anything viewers should be looking out for when your performing?
I am working on proposing something surprising for the Eurovision performance so I can’t tell much details for now but It will be very different from what France has proposed over the last few years. I want something new, entertaining and fresh. It’s Eurovision: people want to have fun and be happy. There will be fantastic dancers and we are working on a stage performance routine that will enlighten the song.
9. What advice do you have for those wanting to develop their singing voice, whatever the genre?
To follow their dream and expectations and never give up. And to work hard. Music industry is a tough business. You have to deal with pressure 24/7. This is not always as shiny as it appears.
10. Finally do you have anything to say to the people of the UK, France and in general Europe?
I hope to come to London and visit you very soon. I hope the UK will give me lots of points (lol). I have a good memory of my first promotional visit to the UK a few years ago when my single ‘Snow On the Sahara’, remixed by Trousers Enthusiasts was Top 5 in the UK Club Breaker Charts. Hope my Eurovision song Echo (You and I).
The Eurovision Song Contest 2012 will be broadcasted on:
The Alternative music interview page features interviews from Eurovision entries to other non-metal music entities.
Please consider a small donation to continue the running of the site