04
July
2020

Frans releases first single “On A Wave” from his forthcoming album

Frans releases first single “On A Wave” from his forthcoming album

Frans - On A Wave

Yesterday, Frans launched a new song titled “On A Wave”. It is a relaxed and summery pop song about a lasting relationship that manages ups and downs.

Frans Jeppsson Wall, better known as just Frans, is ready to release his debut album Present. The release date is scheduled for 24th of July this year.

Since his participation at the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest, Frans has been developing his songwriting skills and trying different music styles. On A Wave is a first single from the 21-year old singer’s forthcoming album. The songs is about holding on to a long-term relationship despite all the challenges as love wins in the end. The relaxed atmosphere in the song reminds slightly of Frans’ Eurovision entry If I Were Sorry.

Being a 16-year-old and a part of the incredible success, which my song If I WereSorry had, was fantastic. Today I am 21-years-old and have explored a larger spectrum of sounds and forms of expression that I feel comfortable with. I constantly strive to be better at what I do and it has taken time. I want to give a bigger picture of myself as an artist and songwriter. I am very happy and grateful to release this album. Present is a gift to myself, but also to anyone who wants to listen to my new music.

Frans in a press release from Sony Music

When Frans announced the release date for his debut album, it was also mentioned that three singles will be launched om three consecutive Fridays as a lead-up to the album release: On A Wave (July 3th), Monday (July 10th) and Mm mm mm (July 17th).

See alsoEurovision 1995: Sweden's Jan Johansen in Focus

Frans in the Eurovision Song Contest

Frans represented Sweden on home ground back in 2016 with the song If I Were Sorry after winning Melodifestivalen as the youngest winner in 33 years, and the second youngest winner ever after Carola Häggkvist, who was 16 when she won in 1983.

The Swedish entry was co-written by Oscar Fogelström, Michael Saxell, Fredrik Andersson and Frans. Frans finished 5th in the grand final.

Below, you can watch Frans’ latest video:

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Categories: Eurovisionary

04
July
2020

Eurovision 2008: Poland’s Isis Gee in focus

Eurovision 2008: Poland’s Isis Gee in focus

Tamara Gee (Isis Gee) at the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest

To commemorate this 4th of July we are looking back to the year Poland sent an American artist to Eurovision. At the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest, Poland was represented by Tamara Gee, who went by the name Isis Gee. She qualified to the final, finished in 24th place, but has since expanded her career beyond music.

In February 2008, Poland organised Piosenka dla Europy, their national final for Eurovision. Twelve acts competed in the national final with Isis Gee as the winner. She won both the vote from the Jury and the Televote.

Contents

  • 1 For Life – opinions from fans
  • 2 A mini Biography to Isis Gee

As such Isis Gee represented Poland in Belgrade, Serbia.  Her song, For Life, qualified for the final, but only scored 14 points which gave the country a 24th place. Germany placed 23rd and United Kingdom 25th – both also scored 14 points.

For Life was written and produced by Isis Gee herself.

For Life – opinions from fans

In order to find out what Eurovision fans today think of this Polish entry from 2008, we asked our Eurovision Fan Panel. It includes team members as well as fans from all over the world.

🇲🇹 Christopher D. – I really liked this song way back in 2008. Although I do not usually like ballads, I really thought her song was very beautiful and she had an amazing voice. Her staging was very evocative and strong on visuals. Her last placing was really unfair, gaining only just 14 points. But Poland has a history of undeserved such places and also non qualifiers that were amazing songs. I remember following Isis Gee and buying her new material after the contest. She has a couple of really good radio-friendly songs. Amazing artist.

🇺🇸 Grace W. – Isis honestly sounds like she’s trying to copy Whitney Houston or Céline Dion here. For Life has a pretty chorus, but the verses are way too bland and boring. The song is hardcore 2000s; it didn’t deserve joint last with the UK and Germany, but what was there to expect? In a relatively sound year, such a song would get lost amid the songs of the night. One of Poland’s better entries, but a 5/10 from me.

🇬🇧 🇮🇪 William S. – It’s always interesting to see an American take part in the contest and in 2008 we had more than one, but if I’m honest this isn’t the best. Isis is a great singer and the song is a simple ballad, but it doesn’t have enough dynamism for me and the high note does seem a little forced at the end. Not Poland’s best.

🇬🇧 Michael O. – While this song wasn’t bad, the teeth and fake tan were the most memorable part of this entry. To this date I haven’t a clue what’s she’s singing, but the tune is nice enough.

🇨🇴 🇫🇮 Alvaro S. – Isis Gee’s For Life sounds like a conventional ballad. The problem is that the voice of Isis is not outstanding and the song doesn’t have something particularly interesting. On the opposite, it does not seem to go anywhere. It is pretty boring for my taste.

🇬🇧 Ashleigh K. – I watched the 2008 for the first time recently as I missed the original viewing due to going on a date. I really enjoyed the performance from Poland, a country who never usually stand out for me at Eurovision. Isis Gee gave a wonderful performance with good vocals. I couldn’t believe that she had been placed so low in the voting. She was definitely worthy of a top 10 place that year.

See alsoEurovision 1989: Finland's Anneli Saaristo in focus

🇨🇿 Josef S. – Isis Gee is a very beautiful woman and that’s something that helps when paired with a good song. For Life is not a song that stands out, but it is sung with a lot of emotions and Isis is a good performer. I would put the whole performance among the better half of Eurovision 2008.

🇬🇧 Paul G. – Fantastic singer, beautiful song and my number 2 from 2008.

🇵🇭 Vance T. – For Life by Isis Gee spells Disney everywhere. It gives a Disney-like aura around it, the way it was sung. The music arrangement, it sounds like a song out of a Disney movie.
It was good, it’s sung on point. As for it’s placing in the Grand Finals, I think it was a bit underrated. Should have been higher, bottom 5 is too low for this song.

🇩🇰 Charlotte J. – Unfortunately this is dreadful, in my ears. I find the song boring, her singing isn’t good and she is like a stiff Barbie doll with no emotions. I like the music in the background, but that’s not enough to make up for the bad impression, I am left with.

🇮🇪 Paul K. – Wow, I really like this song! I don’t think there is anything like it tbh, so it definitely has the uniqueness! However, it isn’t a song that I would keep listening to over and over again! It’s a song that I’d listen to once, like it, and then the next time, not so good. Nonetheless, a pretty good entry from Poland which earns a 6/10 from me.

See alsoAnja Nissen's new personal single talks about one last goodbye in uncertain times

Enjoy Isis Gee’s performance from the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest in the embedded video. Below the video, you can read more about Isis Gee.

EuroVisionary

A mini Biography to Isis Gee

Tamara Diane Wimer, better known as Tamara Gee was born in Seattle, Washington in 1972. She represented Poland in the Eurovision Song Contest 2008 as Isis Gee. Tamara is a singer, songwriter, producer, model and entrepreneur. As a singer, she has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show.  A total of six studio albums has been released. The latest album is Love, Tamara from 2014, but more is on the way. According to a Facebook publication from 7th of June, she is currently working on new music.

Tamara Gee has embarked on different entrepreneurship apart from her music career. She is the co-founder of NEBU Milano, an Italian Cosmetic brand. On her own YouTube channel she promotes her brand and make tutorials for her fans.

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Categories: Eurovisionary

04
July
2020

Was Eurovision 2020 The Contest Of The Racial Watershed?

Was Eurovision 2020 The Contest Of The Racial Watershed?

There was always something that felt special about the 2020 Eurovision Song Contest. Looking back, I’m not sure if I started sensing that on August 30th 2019 when Rotterdam – one of the most culturally diverse cities in Europe – was chosen to host at the Ahoy Theatre in Charlois, one of its most culturally diverse neighbourhoods. Perhaps it was on January 10th when Jeangu Macrooy, a black artist born and raised in Suriname was announced as the Dutch representative at said contest.

Whenever it was, I definitely felt it by the time the confetti had rained down at the end of Melodifestivalen on March 7th as five years of solo male (and mostly white) winners had been brought to an end by three black women singing a song packed with hope, love and overcoming adversity.

By that point, we had our full list of artists competing at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest including nine entirely BAME (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic) competing acts (nine and a half if you include half of Ben & Tan).

Eurovision has had BAME representation since Anneke Grönloh competed for the Netherlands in 1964; with BAME performers winning the Contest in 2001 (Dave Benton’s triumph for Estonia alongside Tanel Padar & 2XL) and Loreen’s 2012 victory with ‘Euphoria‘. 2020 was shaping up to be the first time that racial representation at Eurovision wasn’t just sporadic; BAME artists comprised a remarkable 23 percent of the competing acts. Not only that but subjectively, they were all very high quality from a range of different genres around an incredible variety of themes.

Then came March 18… The day when the 2020 Eurovision Song Contest was officially cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Initially, I hoped that the songs and artists from this year’s competition would be automatically carried over to next year so that the Song Contest would not lose this brilliant opportunity to showcase racial diversity. Two days later, the Reference Group confirmed that this year’s songs would not be eligible and each broadcaster would have to make their own decisions about inviting artists to return in 2021.

As a BAME Eurovision fan and writer, I felt robbed of not only high quality songs, a fantastic stage, and a brilliant team of Dutch hosts; but importantly robbed of the opportunity for BAME people like me across Europe and the world to see ourselves on the stage of the world’s biggest song contest.

Then of course, I felt sick for the competing artists. Every artist who won their nation’s ticket to the 2020 Song Contest worked hard to earn that right, but I guarantee that BAME artists worked even harder to ensure that they were recognised and respected in predominantly white nations. That’s before we discuss any personal abuse or prejudice that they may have been subject to.

Black Lives Matter

Which brings us to May 25 2020, the day when George Floyd was asphyxiated by police officer Derek Chauvin who had kept his knee on George’s neck for almost nine minutes. The result was international outrage leading to protests around the world, widespread debate on social media and most vitally commitments from governments, organisations and individuals that they need to do better.

I feel conflicted about this movement. On one hand, it is really positive to see the extent to which people of all ages (particularly young people) care about these issues and seeing that all types of organisations are sitting up and paying attention to the widespread injustice sewn into the fabric of our society. On the other hand, we have all most definitely been here before.

Protestors carrying placards at a Black Lives Matter demonstration in New York City in 2014 (All-Nite Images / Wikimedia)

Protestors carrying placards at a Black Lives Matter demonstration in New York City 2014(All-Nite Images / Wikimedia)

‘Black Lives Matter’, the slogan for the movement against racism that many of you may have seen on social media, was first used in 2013 when George Zimmerman was acquitted of all charges after shooting African-American teenager Trayvon Martin (see the Black Lives Matter). It became nationally recognised in 2014 during the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri after the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson. Now here we are again in 2020 and once more this message is on everybody’s minds again at protests, on social media, and in politics.

Many organisations will make promises during this time to combat racism but for anybody who well and truly cares about racial inequality beyond its current topical relevance, it is our responsibility to hold all of them to account for the promises they make no matter how big or small they are or what their industry is. For BAME people, our struggle against racial inequality will continue far beyond this discussion being topical. I refuse to get excited about the positive effects of this particular edition of the movement until I am able to see and experience change in our society from governmental level all the way down to interactions with people on the street.

For too long, we have been promised that moments like these are a watershed for society and what have the results been? The optimists among us have gotten our hopes up only to seem them dashed when we are inevitably confronted by racism again and the cynics amongst us have lost faith in the commitments and words of organisations in power from top to bottom. The only way that we can move towards peace is if all of us (especially white people) act towards diversifying our society to become more inclusive of those who are marginalised, no exceptions.

The Responsibility Of Eurovision 2021

There’s one last date for you to consider, May 22nd 2021, the day that Rotterdam will (potentially) host the Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2021 that it was destined to host a year earlier. Eight of the aforementioned ten BAME acts have been confirmed to return next year, with Denmark and Sweden sticking to their existing National Final structures to find their 2021 songs. With several internal selections yet to be confirmed and National Finals to be heldl, we could very easily add to that roster.

At that point, the question turns to the quality of the songs, staging and performance.

It is not enough for BAME people to be represented; it is essential that that representation is of all-round high quality. Whilst quality is admittedly subjective, broadcasters across the EBU can all take note of the events taking place around the world and offer the benefit of the doubt to artists from BAME backgrounds. They can work closely with them to understand their artistic vision and how to best bring it to the stage, giving the artists support, investment, and most importantly professional respect.

Jessy Matador (France 2010)

Jessy Matador (France 2010)

As many of next year’s competing BAME acts as possible need to reach the Grand Final so that they can be showcased in front of that global audience of almost 200 million viewers, so that they can express their truth live on stage with their music, and so that maybe, just maybe next year will be the one where we have a third BAME winner of the Eurovision Song Contest.

Maybe then the Song Contest will be able to prove itself as a platform built on cultural diversity where racism is unacceptable and black lives not only matter but are celebrated.

I am too painfully aware that racism won’t be fully taken care of come the next Grand Final. I am also conscious that even with a lot of hard work and the best of intentions, we could be waiting years for a third BAME winner of the Eurovision Song Contest. To quote The Mamas, “there ain’t no mountain baby that I wouldn’t move” to get Eurovision to that point and, with a nod towards Ben & Tan, that is an opportunity and a hope to which everybody should “say yes.”

Categories: ESC Insight

04
July
2020

Anja Nissen’s new personal single talks about one last goodbye in uncertain times

Anja Nissen’s new personal single talks about one last goodbye in uncertain times

Anja Nissen - If We Only Had Tonight

Her boyfriend was in a life-threatening situation in the US. That situation forced Anja Nissen to relate to maybe saying goodbye for the last time. That song, which is her first independent single, was released today. 

“This song was born from the intense and overwhelming feelings I had when my boyfriend found himself in a life-threatening situation. I turned to my piano and this song just poured out of me”. With those words, Anja Nissen describes the circumstances under which her new single If We Only Had Tonight came to be.

Shortly after that scary incident, the couple was once again separated due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Australian born Anja is in Denmark, while her Danish born boyfriend is in the US. The new song became even more relevant.

The thought of us being separated through uncontrollable circumstances triggered the lyrics. Little did I know that soon we’d be separated, not knowing when we’d see each other again.

I am sure others will relate as we’re not the only ones who can’t be together right now. Not knowing what can happen next is why it is so important to live in the moment.

Anja Nissen in a press release

If We Only Had Tonight is produced by Ludvig Brygmann and mixed by Jakob Groth, both Danes. Anja wrote the song herself together with American Brent Baccetti.

In the embedded video below, you can listen to this new single from Anja Nissen. Below the video you can read more about her.

See alsoEurovision 2010: Denmark's Chanée & N'evergreen in focus

Who is Anja Nissen

She is born and raised in Australia to Danish parents. Most Danes had never heard of her when she entered the Danish national final in 2016. They might have seen a small clip in the newspapers two years prior saying that ‘a Dane had won The voice Australia’, but in 2016, she was a well known name in Australia, but unknown to the Danish population.

Her 2016 Dansk Melodi Grand Prix entry Never Alone changed that. Anja finished 2nd, and the year after, when she took part again, everyone did know who she was. Where I Am won the Danish final in 2017, and Anja went on to represent Denmark at that year’s Eurovision Song Contest. After the country had failed to reach the final two years in a row, she changed that. She qualified for the final in, what was later revealed to be 10th and last qualifying spot.

Squeezed in between top favourites Italy and Portugal in the final running order, Where I Am finished in 20th place.

In the video below, you can watch a clip of Anja Nissen performing parts of her two Dansk Melodi Grand Prix entries, acapella:

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Categories: Eurovisionary

04
July
2020

Stefania is ready for “Friday” as the video for her new single drops

Stefania is ready for “Friday” as the video for her new single drops

Stefania Friday

Greece’s chosen act for 2020 Stefania Liberakakis has released her new single ‘Friday’, a teenage BOP very much in the vein of her would be Eurovision entry in Rotterdam. This is her first single since she the release of ‘SUPERG!RL’.

Friday has come and Stefania is ready to celebrate it with her new single, Friday is her latest release and is a mid tempo pop song.  This was her second choice for Eurovision, before ERT ultimately chose SUPERG!RL as the Greek entry, although both songs are similar in structure and sound.  

Friday is summery and flows well, it also has subtle ethnic instrumentation and Stefania’s soft vocals pair well, I can understand why ERT thought that SUPERG!RL would have more impact on stage over this.  It is definitely more of a radio friendly song, than a song that lends itself to a rousing live performance.

The music video shows Stefania working as a cleaner, before the chorus drops and she is seen in a dream like sequence, dancing around in all different colourful outfits illustrating the joy of the weekend having arrived.  As the song finishes she is transported back to her day job.  It is a cute and fun video that is done well given the current global situation and restrictions in place across all professions.

Since the cancellation of the contest earlier this year, Stefania has been busy continuing her studies and getting inspiration from her idol Ariana Grande. In a recent interview with Nikkietutorials she confirmed that ERT had asked her to represent them in the 2021 contest.  

What do you think of Friday? Do you think it would have been a better entry and are you happy to see Stefania come back in 2021?

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Categories: Eurovisionary

04
July
2020

Eurovision 1965: United Kingdom’s Kathy Kirby in focus

Eurovision 1965: United Kingdom’s Kathy Kirby in focus

Kathy Kirby

Hailed as the United Kingdom’s own version of Marilyn Monroe for her blonde locks and figure, Kathy Kirby was selected to represent her nation at the 1965 Eurovision Song Contest in Naples, with the song ‘I Belong’.

Kirby went to the contest as the favourite to win with this upbeat number, it encapsulated her effervescent personality and was the perfect accompaniment for her performance style. Kathy finished with 26 points, 6 points short of eventual winner France Gall and her song Poupée de cire, poupée de son, for Luxembourg. 

Contents

  • 1 I Belong – opinions from fans
  • 2 Kathy Kirby – A mini biography

I Belong gave the U.K. their fifth second place finisher in six years and cementing them as eternal front runners in the early years of the contest. She had a moderate hit at home in the UK where it reached 36 on the charts. 

I Belong – opinions from fans

As a big fan of early contests, I always want to know what newer/modern eurovision fans think of the older contests and entries.  As part of the ‘in focus’ series of articles, I asked fellow team members as well as our fan panel for their thoughts on U.K. 1965.

Kat H.

Being a self confessed modern Eurovision fan, I hadn’t heard this song before so when I was asked to comment on it I was keen to do as much research as possible. After listening to all 18 songs I came to the conclusion  that I Belong was one of the strongest that year and could well have won on a different night. Kathy herself reportedly being the best paid female singer of her generation shows with her professional presentation and flawless vocals delivering a well written song. I was saddened to find out of Kathy’s subsequent mental health struggles but I have definitely found a new excellent UK entry to put on my favourites playlist!
 

Josef S.

 I don’t know much of the older Eurovision songs so UK 1965 is a new song for me. I Belong fits perfectly the genre “Eurovision classic”. Catchy 60’s melody and happy and positive energy. That’s something worth appreciating so I like this combination a lot.

Sara T.

 I always seem to forget about this song, and I can’t say that I particularly enjoy it. I actually prefer all other UK entries from the 1960s over this one, with my favourite being Are you sure from 1961. The verses of I Belong are not memorable enough, and the chorus is annoying. The middle part of the song is all right though, but not enough so to make it a favourite. Luxembourg was the right winner in 1965.

Steinar M.

The 60s spawned some of the best voices and most charismatic performances ever in ESC I think. The good old days when ESC was ONLY about music, not the visuals on stage. I think ESC was better in that respect back then and this song is a great example of it. The song itself is a modern, fresh, jaunty, powerful, catchy, sonorous MOR pop song. Definitely one of my favourites from ESC 1965. Having said that, I think the right song won. France Gall’s winning song was groundbreaking and unique, and it is to me one of the most iconic entries ever. Even if it was many years before I was even born.
 

Michael O.

Poor Kathy coming up against France Gall this year, as her song was a worthy winner too. Very powerful performance and one of the better entries from the black and white era.

Charlotte J.

I am a bit mixed when it comes to this one. There’s something sweet and catchy about it which I like as I hear it, but unfortunately I forget it again basically as soon as I finished listening.

John E.

Clearly a song of its time, Kathy was a huge star and familiar face. I love the orchestra and sincerity of her performance. In those days, there was a sense of elegance, formality and occasion that went with the ESC and it was, yet again, one of the second placings that the UK was to become famous for.

See alsoEurovision 2020 entries: UK – we are discussing My Last Breath by James Newman

William S.

Kathy for me is only one of a few United Kingdom entries I truly love. It is definitely a little less exciting than her other music, but then the view at that time was that Eurovision was a light entertainment programme and something like I Belong definitely felt like a safer bet than songs like Dance On, one of her biggest chart hits. Still a brilliant performance in a by-gone era for the contest. 

Pascal W.
 
I really like the vibe of 60s music, and this song is no exception. Very upbeat and uplifting song and amazing vocals. Deserved 2nd place. 
 

Alvaro S.

 It is a catchy song. Kathy looked very charismatic and she had a powerful voice. If it wasn’t for Poupée de cire, poupée de son which I think is more memorable it would have been a deserved winner.

Ashleigh K.

This song was a Eurovision entry even before my mother was born so this is the first time I have heard it. The song sounds a bit old fashioned even for 1965, it reminds me of something that would be more fitting for the 50’s perhaps? That being said, because of this I also listened to the winning entry from that year and though it sounds more current for it’s time, I do prefer Kathy Kirby’s entry.

Enjoy Kathy Kirby’s performance from the 1965 Eurovision Song Contest in the embedded video. Below the video, you can read more about Kathy Kirby.

Kathy Kirby – A mini biography

Kathy signed to Decca records in 1962 and recorded her first album (He’s a) Big Man, although it was her single Dance  On that brought her flying up the UK charts. She then recorded the Doris Day classic Secret Love from the musical Calamity Jane.  Kirby brought her striking vocals to this up tempo version of the popular 50’s ballad and it reached number four in the charts where it stayed for over five months and was her biggest hit in the UK. At the height of her career Kirby was reportedly the highest paid female performer in the country.

After Eurovision she continued to have success and the The Kathy Kirby show, which was used for her National Final performances in 1965, was recommissioned for a second series. After retiring in 1983 Kirby made very few appearances and only gave one public interview in 2008 as part of a documentary on her life and career.  She passed away at the age of 72 in 2011.

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Categories: Eurovisionary

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