EUROVISION 2013 SUBLOGO3 April 28

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EUROVISION 2013: 39 COUNTRY PROFILES

EUROVISION 2013 SUBLOGO3The 2013 Eurovision Song Contest is gearing up and on may 18 we ill know the 58th Eurovision Song Contest edition winner. In this post we start presenting you the Eurovision 2013 entries and their official profiles with an estimation by oikotimes.com for the future in the scoreboard of the semifinals and the final. This year we skipped the tradition of hosting a Eurostar commenting and reviewing the songs, a feature which was firstly implemented on the world of eurovision fan sites by oikotimes.com in 2008.

ALBANIAWATCH THE OFFICIAL VIDEO CLIP
Adrian Lulgjuraj & Bledar Sejko – Identitet
Adrian Lulgjuraj and Bledar Sejko are two well-known musicians in Albania. They will bring heavy rock sounds to the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest with their entry Identitet, which is sung completely in the Albanian language. Adrian Lulgjuraj (32) was raised in an Albanian family in Ulcinj, Montenegro. He loved Rock & Roll music since he was 13 years old. When he got his degree in law, at the age of 26, he dedicated more time to his passion – singing. He describes himself: “I do like my job as a lawyer, but when I am on stage, I feel like a beast, a different person, a Hulk.” In 2011 he published his first track called Te mori nje det at Top Fest 8 in Albania.With his second single Evoloj he won the award as “The best male artist” in Top Fest 9. Adrian worked as an assistant coach in the TV show The Voice of Albania, in the 2012-13 season. During his career he has has given many concerts in Montenegro, Albania, Kosovo and FYR Macedonia. Bledar Sejko (42) was born in Tirana, Albania. He started to sing and play guitar when he was 12 years old. It was his father who noticed his interest in guitar and thus Bledar started taking lessons at an early age. He was always attracted to rock music but in his young years, following this style was not always possible in communist Albania. In 1987, he first took part in an international music festival, in Turkey, as a guitarist. His first performance on TV was in 1989, when he won the second prize with Qeshu Rini in the Festivali i Këngës, which still serves as the Albanian national selection for the Eurovision Song Contest today. He went on to participate also in the 1992, 1993, 2005 and 2007 editions of the competition. 1990 was the most difficult year for the Albanian people, and Bledar participated in the change of system, he was part of student movement in December 1990 that brought the fall of communism in Albania. But mostly he contributed in the music scene. 1990 was the year that he created his hard rock band Megahertz. In 1997 Bledar left Albania for Italy where he lived for six years. Bledar played more with traditional Italian bands as a guitar player and singer during this period. In 2011, he supported Aurela Gaçe as a backing artist in the Eurovision Song Contest, playing the guitar. This year, he will finally take the lead as an artist, together with Adrian Lulgjuraj.

ARMENIAWATCH THE OFFICIAL VIDEO CLIP
Dorians – Lonely Planet
The most popular Armenian rock band Dorians represents Armenia in the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest, with the song Lonely Planet, written by Tony Iommi, the guitarist and songwriter of Black Sabbath, and Armenian lyricist Vardan Zadoyan. “Dorians” consists of five musicians: Gor Sujyan (lead vocal), Gagik Khodavirdi (lead guitar), Edgar Sahakyan (bass guitar), Arman Pahlevanyan (keyboards) and Arman Jalalyan (drums). Gor Sujyan, the front man of the rock band, took the decision to become a musician when he first listened to the song Stairway To Heaven by Led Zeppelin, which has been symbolic and, perhaps, fatal. In a very short period of time the young man who never ever took music education has recorded outstanding achievements in the music industry together with his friends Gagik, Arman, Edgar and Arman. Led Zeppelin had a big influence on the process of formation of Dorians. In 2008 when the boys gathered together they created a band called Gor and Friends and they began to perform the songs of Led Zeppelin. In six months they decided to perform not only cover songs, but also their own songs and decided to rename the band from Gor and Friends to Dorians. At the beginning the band was performing songs only in English, but soon Dorians made a great revolution in their repertoire presenting their fans the song Yes Kulam which means I’m Crying in Armenian. The song became very popular because “it’s about a greater love”, as Gor explains. Dorians first studio album called Fly was released in 2011. In August, 2011, the band performed during the opening ceremony of Serj Tangian’s concert in Yerevan. But the most important concert for the band took place in September 2010, when Glenn Hughes and Derek Sherinian performed on the same stage with Dorians in Yerevan.

AUSTRIAWATCH THE OFFICIAL VIDEO CLIP
Natália Kelly – Shine
Despite her young age of only 18 years, Natália Kelly, can already look back at more than ten years of professional experience as a singer and pianist. Shine might be Natália Kelly‘s debut single, but it would nonetheless be hard to describe her as a newcomer: The 18-year-old from Lower Austria, who has US American and Brazilian roots, has been adding to her stage experience for the past ten years, thanks to a wide range of performances, and by participating in numerous music competitions. Quite a few juries have been impressed by Natália Kelly’s abilities as both pianist and singer. This early success is not solely due to her unique voice: her artless and self-confident flair have also given Natália Kelly’s music an individuality that juggles playfully with contrasting elements from pop and R’n’B. Produced by Austrian hit factory songwriter Alexander Kahr, Shine will be Natália Kelly’s musical business card, bringing together her national experiences with international elements, and thus reaching out to her promising future. She will be releasing her debut album right in time for the Eurovision Song Contest. Talking about her participation in the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest, Natália says: „It is an honour and a great pleasure to be able to represent Austria. An international competition like the Eurovision Song Contest is an amazing opportunity for an artist to gather important musical experience and to develop further on a personal level.“

AZERBAIJANWATCH THE OFFICIAL VIDEO CLIP
Farid Mammadov – Hold Me
Farid, age 21, has effortlessly proven that he is one of the finest vocalists in Azerbaijan. To win the national final Farid provided a touching performance of the song Hold Me a very strong romantic ballad. The song is composed by Dimitrios Kontopoulos, who previously produced Eurovision songs for Ani Lorak, Sakis Rouvas and had 27 number one hits in Greek national airplay charts. The main source of inspiration to Farid has been Azerbaijani music as well soul, jazz, and pop. He was raised on Mugham, a form of traditional Azerbaijani folk music and very complex vocal art. Meanwhile, since the age of eight Farid got engaged to the soul and jazz music, in particular Stevie Wonder. At his very first concert he performed Wonder’s all-time-hit I Just Called to Say I Love You. He is also a talented songwriter. At the semi-final of the national selection Farid performed his own song Gel Yanima (Come to Me). His competitive spirit is also shown in Farid’s strong passion for sports. He enjoys participating in freestyle wrestling, which is regarded as the Azerbaijan’s national sport, and Brazilian martial art capoeira. There is no doubt that he inherited sporting abilities from his parents. Farids mother was a silver medalist for the Soviet Union in gymnastics. Not to mention both parents are also into music with Farid’s mum playing piano and his father used to sing and play keyboards in a rock band. By the age of 21 he has already got a considerable experience as a member of many Azerbaijani legendary music bands, such as Eastern Stars (Şərq ulduzları) and Nightingales (Bülbüllər). Farid was honoured to work with such outstanding mentors in his country as Vagif Gerayzade and Aybeniz Hashimova before he became a mature solo singer. Although it was his dream to sing for Azerbaijan, he previously had never participated in national selections to the Eurovision Song Contest, as he felt like the time was not right for him. Over the last few years he has developed his singing ability to the point where he was ready to succeed. Farid managed to win not only the jury vote in the final, he also gained the highest number of televotes from the audience during the qualifying rounds. In autumn 2012, as many other finalists of the Azerbaijani national selection, Farid took part in the casting process for the new international music talent show The Big Stage (Böyük Səhnə). In the show top-rated songwriters, producers, choreographers and vocal coaches from Azerbaijan, USA, the UK, Greece, Sweden and Ukraine worked closely together to create a very special artistic environment for young performers with the only aim to polish their skills and help the emerging talents. There at the creative campus of the show Farid came to the Dimitrios Kontopoulos’ attention – the composer of Hold Me. Dimitrios was impressed by Farid’s charismatic performance, stage presence and vocal ability and composed the song Hold Me especially for him. In his own words: ‘it was a perfect match of the singer and the song.’

BELARUSWATCH THE OFFICIAL VIDEO CLIP
Alyona Lanskaya – Solayoh
Alyona Lanskaya is a versatile artist and true TV celebrity in Belarus. At her third attempt, she gained the honour of representing her home country in the Eurovision Song Contest this year. Alyona Lanskaya was born on September 7th in Mogilev, Belarus. Being an apparent Virgo in the Zodiac, her love for her family and for music always came first in her life. She began studying music at a young age: At school, she sang in the choir, performed as a solo artist and as a part of various art groups. She graduated from the Belarusian-Russian University in Mogilev. “My childhood was a very happy one, and sometimes I’d want to return to it – the loving parents and no worries. I used to live in my own world, dreaming at night, coming up with stories for films, always with a happy ending. Because of the light-coloured hair and snow-white skin, the grandma neighbours always called me a “straw girl” – says Alyona Lanskaya. Alyona prefers a healthy lifestyle – sports, at least three times a week, no smoking, little alcohol, moderate diet. She loves reading and learning new things. Alyona believes that Belarus has one of the most amazing beauties of nature in the world and so, in her spare time, she enjoys traveling around her native land. She loves animals, and she has got a rabbit, Nikki, living at her house, the name of which was chosen by her fans. The singer has got many violets around her house, and also she has recently started collecting orchids. Her career as a professional singer began in 2005, when Alyona took part in the “Slavianski Bazaar” festival in Vitebsk. The first music video was released in 2008. Alyona demonstrated a remarkable sense of work and dedication while participating in a sports reality show “The Magnificent Seven”, dedicated to biathlon. The singer, who during the first training was hesitant to ski, eventually won in the finals after having just a week to learn this sport. In 2008, Alyona, for the first time, took part in an international music festival, in the town of Dobrich in Bulgaria. In 2010, her first solo album Mazes Of Love was released that included songs in Russian, Belarusian and English. Alyona Lanskaya also brought a victory from USA at the “Atlantic Breeze 2010″ festival. In 2011, she was awarded the title of Honoured Artist of the Republic of Belarus – she has been the youngest artist ever to receive it! In the summer of 2012, the songs for Alyona’s new English album were recorded. Also in 2012, she took part in the Belarusian national Eurovision selection, and this year she will go on to represent her home country with Solayoh, written by Mark Paelinck and Martin King.

BELGIUMWATCH THE OFFICIAL VIDEO CLIP
Roberto Bellarosa – Love Kills
Roberto Bellarosa is originally from Wanze, Walloon part of Belgium and his childhood was ruled by the number of football goals scored by the men in his family. At age 9, realising that Roberto would never become a sporting hero, his parents enrolled him at the Music Academy of Huy to study the rudiments of music theory. During singing lessons, his teacher was impressed with his voice and encouraged him to pursue his training at a higher level. Roberto followed this advice and took on singing lessons. After acquiring more technique, he enrolled himself in a few singing talent contests, and decided to participate at The Voice Belgique. Backstage, he used to claim that his singing is mainly aimed to convey emotions to the audience. His young age, his soft and fragile tone of voice, seduced an increasing audience who largely voted for him during the rounds. As the first winner of the Belgian edition of The Voice, Roberto benefited from a large exposure in the media. He then pursued his musical adventure and artistic career by touring with the “Tour des Restos du Coeur Belge” (including Patrick Fiori, Amel Bent, etc.) and by participating to The Voice tour. This was followed by the release of his first single Je Crois and his first album in September 2012, Ma Voie was written by Quentin Mosimann, an international artist and his former coach in The Voice. Initially announced as an album of classic French popular music, Ma Voie evolves along its tracks. It unfolds a subtle balance between pop and modern, reflecting this young 18 year old thoughts and questions about the mystery of mankind, love, and the world surrounding him. And dreams can really come true as it happened for Roberto when he was selected to represent Belgium at the Eurovision Song Contest. After submitting three songs during a radio contest, Love Kills was selected as the Belgian entry for that annual international prestigious event. Roberto’s musical inspiration came from new influences he met during his recent encounters and experiences, like for example his participation in the TV programme “We Love Celine” dedicated to Celine Dion, one of the most beautiful voices in Eurovision’s history and for whom he performed the song Ce n’était qu’un Rêve. We are now in presence of a young man who has gained in confidence and who knows what he wants and firmly believes in his dream of becoming a recognised artist through his work and for his talent. The Eurovision Song Contest is offering him the opportunity to explore new horizons and opening him to a wide range of new experiences. It is in that context that he boarded on a plane for the very first time to travel to Helsinki for the final recording of Love Kills, and will be again traveling to Sweden to go to Malmo in May. Roberto also felt the greatest pleasure and pride when performing I Dreamed a Dream during the opening night of the movie Les Misérables in Brussels. He was able to convey to the press and the public present at this special occasion, his emotions and excitement of being able to realise his own dream and wishing everybody to pursue their own.

BULGARIAWATCH THE OFFICIAL VIDEO CLIP
Elitsa Todorova & Stoyan Yankoulov – Samo Shampioni
Elitsa Todorova & Stoyan Yankulov are multi-talented musicians, bringing together the best in terms of vocals, styles, and instruments. They are famous especially for their innovative ways of combining traditional singing, percussions and modern influences. Elitsa Todorova was born on 1977 in Varna. She studied music, specialising in authentic folklore singing and in percussions. She attracts the attention of both the audience and the critics with her specific voice – strong, deep-toned, clear and hardy, the tone-quality being one of a beautiful and rich ornamentation. She worked at the State Dance and Music Ensemble in Varna, in the choir The Mystery of the Bulgarian voices, and the Cosmic Voices of Bulgaria choir where she performed authentic Bulgarian folk songs, and compositions in Yiddish and Sanskrit. In 2003 Elitsa Todorova began working with Bulgaria’s most popular and renowned drummer and percussionist Stoyan Yankulov. The unique Elitsa Todorova-Stoyan Yankulov Duo turned into a phenomenon in no time. Elitsa Todorova develops a percussions-playing style of her own, combining quick ostinate rhythms on the tarambuka with synhronised tarambuka with synchronised playing and singing. The result is a mosaic of unique vocal movements and impeccable musical improvisations. She plays traditional percussion instruments in a most non-traditional way. The singer easily mixes traditional folklore with jazz, drum and base, ethno-motifs, classics and spontaneous improvisation. The result is fascinating. In her repertoire Elitsa Todorova plays instruments like the tarambuka, drums, maracas, clavess, old silver coins, shepperd’s chimes, horses’ bells, a magical thunder-wand, guirro, chimes, but of all musical instruments the best, in her opinion, is human voice. Through combining authentic Bulgarian folk songs with the energy of percussions Elitsa Todorova presents in a most touching way the core, the potency and the emotional power of Bulgarian culture. Stoyan Yankulov was born on September 10th in Sofia. At the age of eight he started taking piano lessons. At the same time he showed interest for percussion instruments. Since a young age he was the base of musical bands as a drummer, and he eventually graduated majoring in percussion instruments. Yankulov plays with rock and jazz bands, with folklore ensembles and with jazz-rock and fusion bands. Stoyan Yankulov has already won many highly-ranked prizes. He records jazz, pop and ethnic music. This has significantly influenced his unique playing style. He manages to produce orchestral sound on percussion instruments. Sometimes the listener has the impression that there is more than one percussionist playing. “The acquisition of other techniques – from bass, piano or other instruments is useful in this process. For me to play means to communicate”, Stoyan describes his very own style. Yankulov breaks and stretches the traditional way of playing drums, tupan, percussion by applying new techniques and non-standard musical ideas. Combining authentic folklore with new ways of expression with percussion instruments Stoyan Yankulov reveals the unlimited variety and emotional intensity of the unique Bulgarian culture. Elitsa & Stoyan have already performed together on the Eurovision Song Contest stage together in 2007, gaining the fifth place in the Final with Voda – the best placing for Bulgaria to date.

CROATIAWATCH THE OFFCIAL VIDEO CLIP
Klapa s Mora – Mižerja
Klapa singing is a traditional Croatian form of vocal music originating from Dalmatia, in southern Croatia. In December 2012, UNESCO inscribed klapa singing on its list of world intangible heritage of Europe. This year Croatia has formed a special klapa for the Eurovision Song Contest made up of singers who are young, but rich in experience.

MARKO ŠKUGOR – First tenor
Marko Škugor was born on October 25th, 1989. He had a lovely childhood in Dubrava, near Šibenik where he lived with his parents and two younger sisters. After graduating from the secondary school in Šibenik he went on to study at the Faculty of Economics in Zagreb. He has only four exams and the final examination left. He started singing in a klapa only a little over two years ago, when his cousin persuaded him to give it a try. He is now a member of the Kampanel klapa and his dreams are not related to economics but to opera. He has been taking singing lessons with the former lead singer of the Zagreb Opera, Stojan Stojanov.

ANTE GALIĆ – Second tenor
Ante Galić was born on September 3rd, 1987 in Split. He grew up with his mother and spent a lovely childhood filled with the usual mischief, football and basketball. He took up football at the age of seven and this was the reason he didn’t enter a university. He played for minor league clubs: Junak, Hrvace, Radnik from Velika Gorica, but his career was brought to a halt by injury. He got involved with singing by accident. On some party a singer from the klapa Cambi happened to hear him and was delighted with what he had heard. The next logical step was multipart singing in the Sinj klapa, since he lives in the small town of Turjaci near Sinj.

NIKŠA ANTICA – First baritone
Nikša Antica was born on May 9th, 1976 in Split where he had a happy childhood living with his parents and his younger brother. Nikša completed his entire education in Split, where he also earned a law degree. He came to Karlovac when he married a local girl, and now considers this his home town. Although he works in a bank, his career in music is very extensive. After children’s choirs and the Brodosplit men’s choir, between 1996 and 2002 he was a member of the Split Croatian National Theatre Choir and took singing lessons with Professor Marija Bogaverdes. He sang in the following klapas: Šufit, Cambi Kambelovac, Iskon and Sagena. He has been a member of the Kampanel klapa for seven years now.

LEON BATALJAKU – Baritone
Leon Bataljaku was born in Zadar on June 13th, 1980. He had a happy childhood, which he shared with his younger sister. He completed elementary music school, majoring in piano. After graduating from the secondary school in Zadar, he studied at the Faculty of Economics in Rijeka. It was there that he met the guys from Rijeka and Crikvenica with whom he formed the Crikvenica klapa in 2001, and went on to successfully perform in it until 2009. Today he sings for recreation, as he put it, in the Niko klapa from Zadar, which does not have any big ambitions but they did perform several times in their hometown. He lives with his wife and two small sons.

IVICA VLAIĆ – Basso
Ivica Vlaić was born on July 12th, 1979 in Šibenik. He grew up with his parents and a younger brother. He graduated from high school and entered the Faculty of Maritime Studies, but didn’t get a degree there because he started working for the Croatian Army. Six years later he transferred to the Naval Police station, where he now works as a naval policeman. Sometimes he stays out in the field for four days at a time. He spends those days on a ship, where he cooks and cleans, and works 12-hour days, occasionally even 24-hour days. He is a basketball aficionado: he used to play in Šibenka until he was 19. He entered the world of klapa multipart singing in 2000, by complete accident: “Five friends gathered and founded the multipart singing klapa Teuta.” Their only motive was to spend some time together, but that didn’t stop them from winning festival awards. Today he sings in the Sebenico klapa and lives with his wife and little daughter.

BOJAN KAVADŽIJA – Basso
Bojan Kavedžija was born on June 14th, 1973 in Zagreb. He spent a happy childhood with his parents and his sister. He graduated from high school for tourism management, but never worked in his field of expertise. One summer on the Murter island he met five girls who sang and danced in a folklore group. They persuaded him to join them and so he spent two years as a dancer in the folk dance ensemble Venčec from Dubrava. Afterwards he was accepted into the National Folk Dance Ensemble Lado and with them he travelled literally around the world. As a dancer he already performed on the Eurovision stage in 2006, when he appeared with Severina. He sings in the Grdelin klapa. He is not married.

GORAN TOPOLOVAC – Composer
Goran was born on 29th June 1975 in Karlovac. He lives and works in Duga Resa, where he went to school. He graduated from elementary music school in Karlovac, where his instrument was the piano. His first appearance was in 1989 at Glas Mladih (Voice of Youth), a festival of amateur singers in Duga Resa, where he, with the group Amsterdam, took the jury’s third prize with his own song. He went into the studio for the first time in 1993 to record the first song he had ever sent in to any contest: the Split Festival, highly respected in Croatia. Afterwards he began to work more intensively on composing.

At the end of the 90s he met the distinguished Croatian pop music composer, Zrinko Tutić, who directed and instructed him, pointing out his mistakes. Their reunion, a decade later, saw visible progress.
He considers his first great success to be the song Ring Of Gold, which was performed at the Croatian Radio Festival of 2007 by Karlovac singer Željko Golik. In that same year, the same singer also performed his song I Die For You at the Herzegovinian Radio Festival. He entered the world of klapa singing thanks to Klapa Furešti (Foreigners). Some of the songs he wrote for this group also received awards, and the music videos of them are watched enthusiastically on local TV stations and specialised music channels.

CYPRUSWATCH THE OFFCIAL VIDEO CLIP
Despina Olympiou – An Me Thimasai
Despina Olympiou was born and raised in Limassol in Cyprus. However she studied in London where she obtained her degree in piano and music theory. Olympiou started singing professionally in 1992 and she collaborated on stage, with great Greek performers such as Charis Alexiou, Giorgos Dalaras, Mimis Plessas, Marios Tokas, Glykeria, Demetris Mitropanos and Michalis Hadjiyiannis. Her debut album was released in 2000 entitled Ton Mation Sou I Kalimera ( The good morning of your eyes). Her single Vale Mousiki (Put some music on) was released in 2003 and it was certified platinum. Her second album entitled Ehoume Logo (We have a reason) was released in 2004, and her third album entitled Afto Einai Agape (This is love) was released in 2005. Her single Pes To Dynata (Say it loud) which was a great success was released in 2007 and there followed her fourth album entitled Mazi Horista (Separated together) which was certified gold. Her album Mia Stigmi (One moment) was released at the end of 2009 with eleven songs, the music which was composed by Michalis Hadjiyiannis. She went on tours in collaboration with top singers in the United States, Australia and Europe, singing in famous theatres and concert halls. This year, she will participate in the Eurovision Song contest representing her country with the song An Me Thimáse (If you remember me).

Andreas Giorgallis studied music and sound engineering in London. His career begun in 1988, as a producer and sound engineer. In 1996, Giorgallis was the composer of the song Mono Gia Mas (Only for us) performed by Constantinos Christoforou, with which Cyprus participated in the Eurovision Song Contest. Zenon Zintillis was born in Nicosia and studied and worked in the United Kingdom. His song represented Cyprus in the Eurovision Song Context in 1998 in Birmingham as a lyricist with the song Genesis performed by Michalis Hadjiyiannis.

DENMARKWATCH THE OFFICIAL VIDEO CLIP
Emmelie de fOREST – Only Teardrops
Emmelie de Forest is just 20 years old, but has quite an impressive story to her name already. On the14th of May Emmelie de Forest will fly the Danish flag in the first semifinal of the Eurovision Song Contest 2013. Growing up in the town of Mariager in the North Denmark region, Emmelie started singing professionally from an early age. Since she was 14, she has been touring all over Denmark with the Scottish musician Fraser Neill, performing both own songs and folk/blues-versions of hits from e.g. Nirvana and Johnny Cash. An important part of Emmelie’s stage performance has always been her footwear – or the lack of it. “I have always preferred singing without wearing high heels or shoes. Being barefoot makes me feel closer to the ground, the earth and makes me feel more relaxed, Emmelie says. Now based in Copenhagen, Emmelie only has to cross Øresund to enter the stage at Eurovision Song Contest with her song Only Teardrops, which won an impressive victory in the Danish national final, gaining 50 percent of the televotes in the finale. “As soon as I heard the song, I fell in love with it. It has a melancholic feeling to it, and it is about war and peace, both in a relationship and in the world as a whole. I believe these are issues that people all over the world can relate to”, she says.

Lise Cabble is a Danish songwriter and used to be the songwriter and lead singer in the former girl band Miss B. Haven. She has had 12 songs in the national grand prix and has won it 3 times. The latest one was this year with Only Teardrops performed by Emmelie de Forest. First time in 1995 with the popular song Fra Mols til Skagen. Second time in 2011 with the song New Tomorrow. Both songs went Top 5 in the Eurovision.

ESTONIAWATCH THE OFFICIAL VIDEO CLIP
Birgit Õigemeel – Et Uus Saaks Alguse
“New Beginning” is not just the translated title of Birgit Õigemeel’s Eurovision entry, it also describes the recent developments in her life very well. She is not only facing the challenge of performing in an international arena, she is also expecting her first child! Birgit Õigemeel is without doubt one of the happiest people in the world right now. Her life is full of love and great expectations: the challenge of performing in an international arena, settling in to her new home in Tallinn, and looking forward to the birth of her first baby. There could be no more exciting time for her to be taking part in Eurovision than now, when she and her partner Indrek Sarrap are expecting their first child. And she’s not alone – composer Mihkel Mattisen is about to become a parent for the first time, too! It’s clearly fate that Et Uus Saaks Alguse (known in English as ‘New Beginning’) is representing Estonia at the Eurovision Song Contest. Children have played a big role in Birgit’s life throughout her professional career, which began in 2007 when she won the first ever series of Estonian Pop Idol. A year later she set up the Tähelaps (‘Starchild’) charity with politician and good friend Margus Tsahkna in support of the education of children from orphanages. Born in the small Estonian town of Kohila, Birgit has three sisters: two older and one younger. Her father is a furniture maker, but it’s her mother – a singing teacher – whose footsteps she has followed, teaching children to sing in one of her older sister’s song and dance studios. In 2009 she teamed up with the internationally acclaimed deep house production duo Rulers of the Deep on the album Teineteisel Pool (‘The Other Side’). A showcase of intelligent club music, it won her the award of the Female Artist of the Year 2010 in Estonia. In 2010 she took the role of Maria von Trapp in the ‘The Sound of Music’ in Estonia. She has also taken part in the national selection for Eurovision on two previous occasions, in 2008 and 2012. Birgit is only too aware that resting on your laurels is a step backwards, which is why she’s studying music therapy at Tallinn University. “I’m interested in the deeper effect that music has on people,” she explains. “I’ve been studying music therapy for four years now, and I’ve realised that music can have a very positive therapeutic effect. I know from experience that you can use it to help people.”

FYR MACEDONIAWATCH THE OFFICIAL VIDEO CLIP
Esma & Lozano – Pred Da Se Razdeni
Esma Redzepova Teodosievska was born on 8th August 1943 in Skopje, F.Y.R. Macedonia as the fifth child from six her parents, Ibraim and Canija, had. As a child she was interested in art, so the biggest joy for her was going to the cinema and theatre. She started her education in a primary school “Goce Delchev”, where she recognised for the first time that she was different from the others. Children ignored her because she was Gypsy and nobody liked to sit at the same desk with her. But with the teacher’s help, this barrier was broken down. In school Esma for the first time saw that there was a Red Cross organisation, an institution that supported poor people. From the Red Cross she took a scarf, gloves and a pair of socks as a present. That made a little girl very happy, and she promised herself that one day if she would have something more than she needs she’ll help people who need help. Esma started her career when she was a schoolgirl. First she performed in all school events, and one day she was nominated by the Principal of the school to represent the school on one very popular radio show called “The microphone is yours”, organised by Radio Skopje. That was in 1957 and Esma took the first prize in the competition and she received a large sum of money, but in that time of happiness she was also upset because she didn’t tell her parents where she was going, and was ashamed to tell them, and was afraid that her mother would find the prize money. In the end, Esma told the truth to her family. In that competition she was seen by Stevo Teodosievski, very famous musician and composer, who worked in Radio Skopje. He was fascinated by her voice, and came to her house asking her parents to allow her to be his student and a member of Ensemble Teodosievski. Her career expanded rapidly and she became very famous all over the world. In 1960 she performed in Paris Olympia. In 1958 she recorded her first record, with the legendary song Zoshto Si Me Majko Rodila, and after that her greatest hit Chaje Shukarije. In 1976 in India, in a city of Chandigarh, on the First Gypsy World Festival, she was crowned as the Queen of Gypsy. That certificate was given by Indira Gandi. Esma has been awarded with many, many awards and certificates.

Vlatko Lozanoski – Lozano is a Macedonian singer from Kičevo – F.Y.R. Macedonia. His first public appearance was as a participant in the talent show Mak Stars (September 2007 – May 2008). A month later when the show was over, he won the Grand Prix on the first Macedonian Radio Festival called Starry Night where he sang the song Take Me Back, that was his first official single. In October 2008, singing only his third official single At The Time If Time Could Stand Still, Lozano was awarded, by the jury, the Debut Prize at MakFest, the most prestigious music festival in F.Y.R. Macedonia. Two days later, on the final evening, Lozano won the MakFest Grand Prix, awarded by the audience. The Sun Doesn’t Shine On Me was his next single that became his greatest hit and it was officially declared the biggest Macedonian radio hit of the year, having won the first place at the Macedonian Radio Festival Mars in November 2008. In February 2009, he participated in F.Y.R. Macedonia’s national selection for the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest singing his fifth single Close To Me and was placed fourth. In July, he participated on the Slavyanski Bazar Festival in Vitebsk, Belarus and won the second prize. Next, Lozano performed I’m Your Angel along with Magdalena Cvetkoska on the Golden Wings Festival in Moldova, and they won the second prize. He was also awarded the Best Male Voice. His first album named Lozano was released in early 2010. In February 2010 he participated in the Macedonian national selection for the 2010 Eurovision Song Contest singing I’m Flying Towards You. He ended up in the fourth place. In July 2010 Lozano performed at the International TV festival Sea Songs in Sevastopol, Ukraine, along with the best young singers from 17 countries. After performing I’m Flying Towards You and This Love he found himself among the best five European singers. In the final evening he won the fourth place. His single When You Won’t Have Me was officially declared the biggest Macedonian radio hit, having won the first place at the Macedonian Radio Festival Mars in 2011. The second album Over Seven Seas was released in June 2012, and the hit There’s No Day, No Night won the second place at the Macedonian Radio Festival Mars 2012.

FINLANDWATCH THE OFFICIAL VIDEO CLIP
Krista Siegfrids – Marry Me
Krista Siegfrids came to prominence following her energetic performances at the tv-show The Voice of Finland. Subsequently, the multitalented Krista has taken Finland by a storm, winning the nation’s adoration with her catchy tunes, extravagant and stylish shows and her outspoken and sunny personality. This is a woman who DARES and DOES according to her own catch phrase MORE IS MORE! Krista Siegfrids and her fabulous #TeamDingDong are representing Finland at the Eurovision Song Contest with the super catchy song Marry Me! When I was five, I was totally obsessed by Carola’s Fångad Av En Stormvind. I used to sing and perform it all the time! My favourite was the wind machine and I used the hair dryer as one! So my show at ESC will surely include a huge wind machine! ”We have this ongoing party going on! Happiness, craziness, open-mindedness and rainbow colours! Everybody is welcome, just join #TeamDingDong! We have the best parties because we love everybody! You gotta live life to the max and be the unique great you that you are!” Krista states. Krista combines music, dancing and acting in an unique way. She has performed in musicals and cabarets as well as many gigs and shows around the Nordic countries. The show is important. I want to entertain and it is important that everybody is having fun! The bigger the better, the crazier even better! This ever-energetic sunny whirlwind and #TeamDingDong is preparing for a true blast at the Eurovision Song Contest in Malmö, Sweden. ”This is a dream come true for me. I have been a big fan since I was five and I have followed ESC every year. It is the biggest and craziest party in the world and we will make it even bigger and crazier! #TeamDingDong will make Europe go DingDong!” Krista’s debut album is released on the 10th of May. ”The record is one big party! It’s energetic pop-rock with many party tunes. Different themes and strong tracks. Music that makes your feet and your mind move!”

FRANCEWATCH THE OFFICIAL VIDEO CLIP
Amandine Bourgeois – L’enfer Et Moi
Amandine Bourgeois’ voice has a story. One of a girl who fell in love with music at an early age, completely in phase with her family’s dominant passion. The child dreamt of a duet with Whitney Houston, took music theory lesson, then flute lessons at the Nice Conservatory. She later on integrated a pop band, before choosing the tough road of cover bands, with which she performed in all the bars of the Toulouse area. In 2008, Amandine wins “La Nouvelle Star” (French Pop Idol). The audience instantly fell under the spell of her warm and hoarse voice, both powerful and fragile at once. In 2009, her debut album 20m² is certified Gold. For her second album Sans Amour Mon Amour in 2012 she records in the famous Abbey Road studios in London, with Amy Winehouse and Plan B’s staff. Amandine uses her inner emotions to sing, to write and feed her inspiration. Amongst some of her most beautiful memories: a duet she performed with Scorpions, and opening for Johnny Hallyday’s concerts in the historical Royal Albert Hall venue in London. Amandine is proud and honoured to represent France at the ESC. She wanted to offer the audience a song she felt completely at ease with, a song close to who she was. L’Enfer Et Moi, written by Boris Bergman and composed by David Salkin, is in perfect harmony with her personality. For her fans and for the Eurovision Song Contest, she swears to give it all!

GEORGIAWATCH THE OFFICIAL VIDEO CLIP
Nodi Tatishvili & Sophie Gelovani – Waterfall
Sophie Gelovani was born on March 21st, 1984. She studied piano at the Musical School. In 2005, she graduated from the Ilia Chavchavadze State University, Faculty of International Relations, and afterwards she studied at the Musical School named after Zakaria Paliashvili. Today she is a teacher in the Musical School named after Iakob Gogebashvili. Sophie Gelovani’s first TV success was her victory in the talent show Morning Star in 1999. She continued to win prizes in several international festivals, including the first place at the international musical contest Do-Re-Mi in Yerevan, Armenia in 2000 and the Grand Prix of the Songs of the World contest, which was held in Chisinau, Moldova in 2006. In 2007, Sophie won the Grand Prix at the Vesna Romansa festival in Saint Petersburg as well as the first place at the Moscow International Contest. Most recently, she has participated in the TV project 10+10 in 2011/12.

Nodi Tatishvili was born on November 5th, 1986. He graduated from Tbilisi Musical School and Georgia’s Technical University, faculty of Public Administration. In 2011, he graduated from the Institute of Contemporary Music Performance at Burlington School in London. Nodi Tatishvili took part in many international musical contests, including the International Music Festival and The Amber Star in Lithuania, Astana 2007 in Kazakhstan, World Star Quest, Slaviansky Bazar in Belarus, and Golden Voices in Moldova. Apart from that, his is the winner of the Geostar talent show in 2009. Nodi is a versatile singer, which is proved by the fact that he sang several main roles in musicals, like Aleksandre Basilaia’s Chkhikvta Kortsili as well as Melodies of Vera District by Giorgi Tsabadze and Giorgi Shengelaia. He was the member of the choir at the Sameba (Holy Trinity) Cathedral in 2008/09. In 2011, his debut album was released under the title I Am Georgian. His first solo concert was held at the Tbilisi Philharmonic Hall in 2011.

GERMANYWATCH THE OFFICIAL VIDEO CLIP
Cascada – Glorious
Front-singer Natalie Horler and her team of producers and writers Yann Peifer (Yanou) and Manuel Reuter (Manian) have topped charts in more than 20 countries with their irresistible dance-pop songs. Collecting numerous awards (e.g. the World Music Award in 2007) throughout their career, they have established themselves as one of the top European dance floor acts of the present. Bonn-based Natalie grew up in Germany. The daughter of David Horler, an acclaimed jazz musician and arranger who worked with likes of Quincy Jones, Stan Getz and Tony Bennett, Natalie grew up around music, though was more influenced by stars like Maria Carey and Whitney Houston. At age 18 she started doing studio work and recorded several tracks for different DJs. In 2004, through her studio work, she met Cologne-based producers Yann Peifer (Yanou) and Manuel Reuter (Manian) who invited her to front their new project, Cascada. Within 18 months, together they found international fame with their huge debut hit Everytime We Touch. A smash in the States before the band even toured there, the song quickly caught on across the globe, followed by a multi-platinum selling album of the same title. The success of the album gained the World Music Award in the category World’s Best-Selling German Artist. The second album Perfect Day (2007), led by hit single What Hurts The Most, continued Cascada’s reign as one of the world’s Top Ten selling dance acts.

German authors and producers Yann Peifer (aka Yanou) and Manuel Reuter (aka Manian) have shared a career path for many years. They met virtually by accident in 2004 in a recording studio in Düsseldorf and have been working together ever since. One of their first songs is Miracle, which in 2004 lead to the foundation of the Cascada project with lead singer Natalie Horler. In 2005 they produced the worldwide smash hit Everytime We Touch, which also gave the project its breakthrough and eventually won the World Music Award in 2007.

GREECEWATCH THE OFFICIAL VIDEO CLIP
Koza Mostra feat. Agathonas Iakovides – Alcohol is Free
Ilias Kozas: Lead Singer
As the lead singer of the band Cabaret Balkan, one of the best Greek Balkan Bands, in their most creative period. Kozas had a restless mind with many significant collaborations, and he sought a more personal way of expressing himself. He realised his goal by forming the band Koza Mostra, which became one of the most famous Balkan, ska bands in Greece.

Agathon Iakovidis: Lead Singer
Agathon Iakovidis is devoted to rebetiko music, loyally serving it since 1973, refusing to sing any other –even more popular- styles. He is a keen collector of vinyl records of rare rebetiko recordings. In 1977, Iakovidis created the Rebetiko band of Thessaloniki and he released two records. In 1981 he moved to Athens, where he worked with famous musicians such as: Kostas Papadopoulos, George Koros, Vassilis Soukas, Lazaros Koulaxidis, Nikos Filippidis, Nikos Chatzopoulos and many others. He has toured all around Greece, Europe and USA.

Christos Kalaitzopoulos: Accordion
Born on February 22nd, in Ptolemaida, Northern Greece. He started studying accordion with Aleksandar Tchuev. He has twice won the first prize in the Greek Accordionists competition and once the second prize at Star Ways, Kragujevac. Co-founder of the group “Los Mujeros” he participated at a very young age in several gigs such as Schoolwave 07, 08, 09. Worth mentioning are his appearances in Rockwave 2008 supporting Manu Chao and Patti Smith and in Ojos de Brujo and Tonino Carotone concerts.

Vassilis Nalbantis: Trumbet
Vassilis Nalbantis was born in Kozani. He had the opportunity to play and record as a full member or guest artist, with bands and orchestras from almost every music gender: A funk-reggae band called Orchestra Sonora, the Balkan-swing band Melios Balkana Mama, pop-RnB band Elements, surf band Meanwhile in Mexico, reggae band Global Vibe, electronica-dub trip-hop band Auditors Domination, and the Balkan-ska-punk band Koza Mostra.

Alex Archontis: Drums
Alex Archontis was born in Thessaloniki, on May 23rd, 1984. In 2005, he joined Cayetano’s live band and performed all over Greece. Succeeding the tour with Cayetano, he joined the band Emigre as a session musician and he participated in the recordings of three albums. Finally, in September 2011 he met with Ilias Kozas and joined the newly formed band Koza Mostra.

Stelios Siomos: Guitar
Stelios Siomos was born in Thessaloniki, on December 16th, 1980. He discovered his passion for music at a very young age and he formed his first band James Down playing soul, funk music and participating in local gigs. Further down the road he joined Koza Mostra where he performs as a musician.

HUNGARYWATCH THE OFFICIAL VIDEO CLIP
ByeAlex – Kedvesem
Alex Márta, alias ByeAlex, is a 29 years old guy from a small town called Fényeslitke in the Eastern part of Hungary. In his everyday life he works as a journalist: he is editor at Tattoo Magazine and holds a masters degree in philosophy, which has always been an intriguing subject to him, next to this passion for music. Alex made first attempts to write songs when he was a teenager. When he finished high-school, he formed a band called Love Story Bar, which did not get too far though. His first success as musician came after his university graduation: his first single Csókolom! was regularly played by national music channels, followed by his next singles Láttamoztam and Messziről which was a joint composition with radio listeners. The story of ByeAlex becoming the representative of Hungary in the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest is quite unusual yet simple: it was a „veni, vidi, vici” phenomenon. ByeAlex never thought that it could happen. He did not even want to enter his song for the contest, his managers did it for him. He thought that he didn’t have enough stage experience needed for such a show. But it seems like his performance clicked with the audience, their votes got him through from the heats to the semi-finals, to the final and to victory with a persuasive majority of 40%, overtaking well-known talent show stars. ByeAlex says he still can’t fully comprehend what he got himself into. There has never been a Hungarian Eurovision entry which caused such a stir. While some of the Hungarian celebrities made one nasty remark after another publicly, the supporters of Alex celebrated the values he and his song Kedvesem stand for. A pure and honest song about love, sung by a humble, intelligent, sensible man. ByeAlex is determined to perform Kedvesem in Hungarian. He believes that the people who have voted for him throughout the show would take it as an insult if he didn’t. The version of the song which won the Hungarian national selection show A Dal and which he will sing in Malmö is a remix by the Hungarian producer and DJ Zoohacker.

ICELANDWATCH THE OFFICIAL VIDEO CLIP
Eythor Ingi – Ég Á Líf
Music was clearly a major part of Eyþór Ingi’s childhood; he used to sing Elvis Presley songs while still in kindergarten and he also loved acting. In 2004, at the age of fifteen, he won a part in the Icelandic version of the musical Oliver!, which turned out to be one of the most successful theatrical works ever staged in Akureyri, the capital of northern Iceland. This was only the beginning of his theatrical career as he was offered a part in Óvitar in 2007 as well as taking the leading role in a college staging of the musical Jesus Christ Superstar. Eyþór Ingi won the College Song Contest in the spring of 2007 and was selected to compete as a contestant in TV talent show ‘Bandið hans Bubba‘. After winning the show in early 2008 he soon began working as a professional singer, musician and sound technician. Eyþór Ingi founded the progressive rock group Eldberg and in 2010 joined the renowned Icelandic band Todmobile, contributing to their seventh album, which was also entitled ‘7’. In 2011 Eyþór Ingi was nominated as best singer in the Gríman Theatrical Awards for his role as Riff Raff in The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The following year he played hippie leader Berger in the musical Hair, He also featured in the cast of Les Misérables as law student Marius Pontmercy, when the musical was staged in Þjóðleikhúsið, the National Theatre of Iceland, in 2011-2012. Eyþór Ingi was inspired to start singing by the music of Jeff Buckley and is also a big fan of David Bowie, Thom Yorke, Ian Gillan and Freddie Mercury. He has been a member of a Deep Purple tribute band and performed in the Freddie Mercury Tribute Show in Harpa Concert Hall in 2011-2012. This was Eyþór Ingi’s first time in Söngvakeppnin and he’s very much looking forward to participating as Iceland’s 26th entrant in the 58th Eurovision Song Contest in Malmö.

IRELANDWATCH THE OFFICIAL VIDEO CLIP
Ryan Dolan – Only Love Survives
Ryan Dolan is a young singer-songwriter from Strabane in Co. Tyrone. He has played support to many acts over the years including Tinchy Stryder, Jedward and many more. Dolan has been described as one of the most exciting homegrown musical talents to be discovered in Ireland in recent years. His YouTube channel has received over 800,000 hits. Dolan said, “I am thrilled to have been chosen to represent Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest. I’d like to thank my family, friends and my mentor Stuart for all their support over the last few months. It’s such an honour to have been chosen to represent Ireland at Eurovision. I can’t wait to perform in Malmő in May.” Co-composer Wez Devine is a 34-year-old songwriter/producer originally from Malahide, Co. Dublin now based in Lifford, Co.Donegal. So far the fruits of their labour include being featured on BBC Radio1 in the UK in 2012 – their track titled The Secret by Zenemy DJz featuring Dolan found great support and was daytime play-listed by the giants of the station Sara Cox, Hugh Stevens and Scott Mills. They are hopeful that their latest composition Only Love Survives will bring Eurovision back to Ireland for the eighth time. Dolan’s Eurovision mentor is Spotlight Productions director Stuart O’Connor. O’Connor is the man behind all Jedward’s live tours in the last three years. He devised the performance of Waterline at last year’s contest. O’Connor recently produced and directed The Best of Eurovision Show with six previous winners Johnny Logan, Linda Martin, Niamh Kavanagh, Dana, Charlie McGettigan and Paul Harrington. He was a judge on RTÉ’s Supercrew and choreographed the highly acclaimed RTÉ Big Music Week Lipdub YouTube video.

ISRAELWATCH THE OFFICIAL VIDEO CLIP
Moran Mazor – Rak Bishvilo
“I was born and grew up in Holon a suburb next to Tel Aviv. 40 years ago my parents migrated to Israel from Georgia, my family and myself love the Georgian culture and language. I am the eldest daughter to my parents Nana and Rafi and then came to the world my two little brothers, Eliad and Ohad. At the age of four I started learning classical piano and continued until the age of 18. I always loved to sing but only as a hobby. At the age of 12, I was accepted to the town music trend, and the director discovered the singing talent in me. Since then I took part in all activities of the trend, as pianist and as a singer. At the age of 17 I was accepted to the military band of the Air Force even though I really wanted to study Pharmacology as a reservist. After a full year at the military service I went for auditions for the first season of the program “Eyal Golan is calling you” a reality TV show that discovers talents, where I won first place. Then I started working on my first album along with Eyal Golan, and I accompanied him on a special tour across Israel with my original songs. Recently I was chosen to represent Israel in the Eurovision Song Contest in Malmö and now my first album is coming out which I am very proud of. The last few months were very successful and exciting for me! For me to take part in this amazing Eurovision Song Contest is a dream come true. I am proud to represent Israel and I am sure I will bring honor to my country, family and friends.”

ITALYWATCH THE OFFICIAL VIDEO CLIP
Marco Mengoni – L’Essenziale
After seven years of musical formation which includes not only singing but also working as a sound technician, Marco wins the third series of X Factor in 2009 and his first EP Dove Si Vola becomes his first success. Only months later he participates in the 60th edition of Sanremo with the song Credimi Ancora and finishes third. His “Re Matto” EP is released. After a successful tour launch Marco wins the TRL Award in the category “Man of the Year”, the Wind Music Awards and his debut releases are certified Platinum. He then releases the Re Matto live album hitting #1 in Italy. In November 2010 Marco Mengoni wins the “Best Italian Act” Award at the MTV European Music Awards and he also gets the “Best European Act”, as the first Italian in 17 editions to win the award. In September 2011 he releases a new single Solo and the concept album Solo 2.0. The Solo Tour previews in Milan and Rome are both sold-out. In 2012 he embarks on a theatre tour created by Marco Mengoni, Elisa and Andrea Rigonat. Marco is also the special guest of the event “Premio Leggio d’Oro”, where he gets an award for his dubbing of Onceler, a cartoon character from the movie The Lorax. Earlier this year Marco wins the 63rd Sanremo Music Festival with his song L’Essenziale and a month later the new album #PRONTOACORRERE is out on Sony Music. Now, besides his new tour, his next challenge is in Malmö: representing Italy at the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest!

LATVIAWATCH THE OFFICIAL VIDEO CLIP
PeR – Here We Go
Both of the biggest Latvian festivals – the Baltic Beach Party and Positivus have shared their stages with PeR in 2009. In the summer of 2010 beatbox band PeR was one of the many contestants in festival New Wave, but before that they visited Estonia to perform in the Reiu Rock festival. PeR have been the warm-up guys before Dub FX in three of his concerts. The feedback from PeR’s performance before Dub FX in Lithuania in November 2011 was amazing. Music critics, bloggers and fans were surprised by PeR’s ability to electrify the entire crowd with their songs and pure energy that never stops! 2011 was successful for PeR not only in Lithuania, their single Go Get Up peaked no. 2 in Denmark’s Chart Base TOP 100 and PeR were also nominated in this independent music chart as ‘Best New Artists’ and the video of the song was nominated in the category of ‘Best European Alternative Video’ and they won in both categories. In the end of 2012 PeR released their self-titled debut album which was nominated as the ‘Album of the Year’ in Latvia. PeR have three main objectives for Malmö. Firstly to qualify for the Grand Final. Secondly to win the Eurovision Song Contest and thirdly to hopefully, get to know some producers and other musicians so they could expand the PeR movement, and get to perform in more countries. “It would be amazing if we could establish some contacts in Sweden.” In the semi-finals of the Latvian selection this year, Ralph was ill and had a 38 degrees temperature. However, that wasn’t a big problem for him and most of the people didn’t even notice that he was feeling sick. “That’s the magic about music – on stage, no matter what has happened to you, you become a complete different person. You just have to hide all your problems, because nobody cares.” What does the Eurovision Song Contest mean to PeR? “The thing about Eurovision is that we think that the contest is getting more cheesy and cheesy every year. As years pass, some things have changed, but the biggest problems still have remained the same – the songs are made few weeks before Eurovision, new ‘once in a lifetime’ projects take action in the contest just to get more votes. I’m not a fan of what Eurovision has become; I’m a fan of what it could be”. “We think that Eurovision is not as a ‘one song contest’, but an opportunity for artists like us, which have their material. and which have something to say. That’s why our song wasn’t written especially for Eurovision, it’s just a song from our debut album. When Eurovision comes, the voters should stop thinking in the category ‘Is this suitable for Eurovision?’ and start thinking in the category ‘Is this good music?’

LITHUANIAWATCH THE OFFICIAL VIDEO CLIP
Andrius Pojavis – Something
His first band at school was called “No Hero”. After moving to Vilnius he played with some other bands. With one of them, The Hetero, won EuroRock 2006. He started his career as a songwriter in Ireland were he lived for one year. Astuoni (Eight) is the title of his debut album. As the title suggests, the album has eight tracks and is a good representation of the artist style. Astuoni was recorded in Massive Arts, Milan, in 2012. Now Andrius divides his time between Italy and Lithuania. His first single Traukiniai (Trains) arrived in a good position in the Lithuanian Top 20. His next plans include to do a tour around Lithuania while he keeps on writing new songs for the next album.

MALTAWATCH THE OFFICIAL VIDEO CLIP
Gianluca Bezzina – Tomorrow
Although fully committed to what he describes as his vocational calling, music has always served as a good break for the singing doctor, who has very adeptly found a balance between his daily ward rounds and his passion for music. Gianluca is the front man of a local band, whose dynamic performances and recent single releases have propelled it to the forefront of the island’s music scene. While funk and indie elements characterise the band’s distinctive sound, Bezzina draws on a wider variety of influences as a solo artist. He is mostly inspired by Michael Bubé’s brassy standards, John Mayer’s modern blues, the nu-folk style of Mumford and Sons and Noah and the Whale, while also being deeply captivated by Chris Tomlin’s contemporary Christian music. Gianluca is a regular singer with his prayer group and has also spent time doing voluntary work among children in Turin, Cairo and Palermo, with the sisters of Mother Theresa. He started off his music career by playing the piano accordion, eventually shifting his focus to singing in various charity concerts around Malta, including the popular biannual Voices concerts and Rockestra, a yearly event organised by the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra and held under the Patronage of the President of Malta. It was through one of these charity events that songwriters Boris Cezek and Dean Muscat approached Gianluca with the intention of collaborating. Originally intended to be a radio hit, Tomorrow’s feel-good factor combined with its simple yet meaningful lyrics, possessed all the necessary ingredients to take it to the Eurovision stage this year. Gianluca looks forward to broaden his experience through the Eurovision Song Contest as he feels it will give his career greater potential for growth and exposure, while allowing him to make further contacts with foreign music professionals. It is indeed an honour for Gianluca to be putting his rigorous routine on hold for a while, as he represents his country in Malmö… definitely an opportunity not worth leaving till Tomorrow!

MOLDOVAWATCH THE OFFICIAL VIDEO CLIP
Aliona Moon – O Mie
Aliona Munteanu was born on the 25th of May 1989 in Chisinau. Ethnical Moldavian songs and lullabies sung by her mother cultivated Aliona’s love for music. Since her childhood Aliona was a member of lots of artistic collectives, where she performed both music and dances. As their member, Aliona participated at different contests in Hungary, Belarus, France, Romania, Bulgaria and of course in her motherland Moldova. Later she was involved in the talent show Fabrica de Staruri 2 (Star Factory) where she gained the third place and the title of the public’s favourite. With two of her ex-colleagues from Star Factory Aliona formed the pop band Thumbs Up. The band existed for two years until the break-up in 2011. After that, Aliona took some trophies at international musical festivals as a solo artist, most notably at the “Martisor Dorohoian” and “Dan Spataru” festivals, which were held in Romania. Aliona considered it a great experience to be Pasha Parfeny’s backing vocalist for Lautar in the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest. It encouraged and determined Aliona to participate in Moldovan national selection for the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest as a lead artist. Aliona’s talent and luck earned her the honour and right to represent Moldova in Malmö this year. Her song O Mie was written by Pasha Parfeny, who is also Aliona’s producer.

MONTENEGROWATCH THE OFFICIAL VIDEO
Who See feat. Nina – Igranka
The group was created in early 2000s, recording their first demo track titled Dim Po Dim (Puff After Puff). In 2007, the group released their debut album, “Sviranje kupcu“. After two years of preparation and recording, the band released their second album Krš i Drača in 2012, the Who See single Reggaeton Montenegro conquered the charts in the Adriatic region and spent five weeks at number one of the MTV regional Top 20 chart. This hip-hop duo is known for their humour and funny videos, and they are making history as the first band from Montenegro ever to be nominated for a MTV EMA! For song Reggaeton Montenegro, Who See won MTV EMA award for Best Adriatic Act 2012 and MTV Video Play Award 2012 – Double Platinum. Video for the song ‘Reggaeton Montenegro’ in 2012 were aired over 800 times on the MTV. Otherwise, Dedduh is married and works as a salesman in a toy store, while Noyz has his own studio in which he successfully works on video editing and graphic design. The official CD / DVD cover for the Eurovision song Igranka was made by Noyz. Nina Zizic started with musical career in 2003. Her first single was Odlazi and after this she recorded six more singles. She has participated in many music festivals in the region and won a few prizes. At 2006 she participated in Montenegro’s selection for Eurovision Song Contest with the song Potraži me. Djordje Miljenovic was born on December the 10th 1980 in Belgrade. To the audience he is more known as Wikluh Sky, as one of the members of trio Bad Copy, beside Ajs Nigrutin and Timbe. Wikluh Sky works as a performer himself and lately as a composer for other artists. He is mostly into hip-hop, reggae, dub-step, R&B.

NORWAYWATCH THE OFFICIAL VIDEO
Margaret Berger – I Feed You My Love
It’s not difficult to understand why. Margaret embodies all the essential ingredients for a worldwide super star, one with the real possibility of a colourful career in front of her, the kind of potential longevity rare in the current popular music climate. With classic beauty, songs, the elusive “x-factor”, and an indescribable aura in the mix, this artist is being likened to a captivating blend of her Nordic female counterparts like Björk and The Knife with the delicious, all-important essential of strong, timeless electro-pop songs in her back pocket to substantiate comparisons with these iconic idols. Of course, this Trondheim born “overnight sensation” has been a work in progress ever since she was five years old, as an artist and songwriter in her own right. Behind this schooled musician and artist is a paradox: a person so unique and yet so relatable. Now at 27 years of age, her time in the music business to date is already interesting, successful and not without its heart-breaking setbacks. In 2004, at the young age of 18, she was voted runners-up in Norway Idol, released her debut album Chameleon and was nominated for a Norwegian Grammy as best newcomer. In 2005, Berger won the Norwegian Grammy award for the engaging and somewhat controversial video of her single Lifetime Guarantee and in 2006, her critically acclaimed, much loved Pretty Scary Silver Fairy album, did not reach the commercial heights she had hoped for. But Berger was onto something bigger and unbeknown to herself, was creating a popular “brand”, from which she is now enjoying the fruits of – through fashion projects, DJ-ing and being a unmistakable presence and name in the Norwegian underground electro scene. Margaret can even admit herself that she’s always played life in a “quirky way” and has always made a statement not by meaning to, but by simply being who she is. So perhaps who she really is, is a perfect marriage of contrasts, and by no accident, describes her music in the same fashion: edgy but beautiful, tough and playful, experimental but grounded, layered and authentic.

ROMANIAWATCH THE OFFICIAL VIDEO
Cezar – It’s My Life
He participated in many master classes with prestigious names of the music world, such as: Viorica Cortez, Jordi Savall, Sara Mingardo, Bobby McFerrin, Magda Olivero. Cezar is often invited to sing in the most important festivals and on well-known stages in the country as well as in Europe. He performed next to famous conductors like Fabio Biondi, Alan Curtis, Corrado Rovaris, Emanuelle Villaume, Ottavio Dantone, Diego Fasolis, Jean-Christophe Spinosi, Werner Ehrhardt, George Petrou, Sergio Ciomei, Sergio Azzolini, Nicolae Moldoveanu, Vlad Conta and Ketil Haugsand. His repertoire is very large, starting with vocal-symphonic music and up to a great variety of opera roles that he plays on the biggest stages in the world. Born in 1980 la Ploieşti, Romania, in a family of musicians, Cezar Ouatu started studying piano when he was six and graduated the piano and choir classes at Carmen Sylva Art High school, in his native town. In 1998 he started studying canto and baroque music and soon became well-known, due to his voice, natural legerity and less common vocal limits. In 2001 he was accepted in the Giuseppe Verdi Music Academy in Milan, and in 2004 he graduated with maximum grades on the final exam at one of the most prestigious music academies in Europe. His first pop-opera single Cinema Paradiso was released on Christmas Eve, in 2012. For 2013, Cezar has already planned two international duets, with Andrea Bocelli and Angela Gherorghiu, as well as a single written especially for him by the legend of electronic music, Vangelis. Presently, Cezar works at his first pop-opera album The Voice, dedicated to love. It’s My Life is the second Eurovision entry for Cristian Faur, the Romanian composer and writer. His first one proved to be a successful choice, as he was the first Romanian composer whose song entered the top three in the Eurovision final – that was in 2005, when Luminiţa Anghel & Sistem’s Let Me Try was highly appreciated by the public and jury.

RUSSIAWATCH THE OFFICIAL VIDEO
Dina Garipova – What If
Dina was born on March the 25th 1991 in the city of Zelenodolsk (in the Republic of Tatarstan), to a medical family. From the age of six, she took classes in singing at the Golden Microphone Theatre. Now, Dina is a student of journalism at the Kazan University. Dina is a proud prizewinner of different musical contests: the Firebird Russian National Song Contest (1999), the Republican Festival “Constellation” (2001), International Contest in Estonia (2005). Dina Garipova as a member of the Golden Microphone Theatre participated in the International Contest in France where their musical won the Grand Prix. In 2010 Dina’s first solo concert took place in her home city Zelenodolsk. In 2012 Dina Garipova won the reality talent show The Voice. As a winner of the show, Dina received the main prize – a contract with Universal Music, one of the largest music corporations in the world. Talking about her participation in the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest, Dina says: “I’d worthily like to represent my country at the Eurovision Song Contest, to sing the song in such a manner that would touch people’s hearts. I want the Eurovision Song Contest to be a real festival of talents! I want all viewers to have a wonderful time! It’s a great honour to be a participant in the Eurovision Song Contest. I’ll do everything I can to turn in a good performance and leave a favourable impression of my country!”

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