GET TO KNOW THE 2019 EUROVISION SONG CONTEST PARTICIPANTS
The Eurovision Song Contest 2019 will be the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest. The contest is scheduled to take place in Tel Aviv, Israel, following Israel’s victory at the 2018 contest in Lisbon, Portugal, with the song “Toy”, performed by Netta. The contest will be held at Expo Tel Aviv, the city’s convention centre; the show will consist of two semi-finals on 14 and 16 May, and the final on 18 May 2019. Forty-one countries will take part in the contest, with Bulgaria and Ukraine absent, both for the first time since 2015. The contest will take place at Expo Tel Aviv’s 7,300-seat congress and convention centre called “Bitan 2” (Pavilion 2), which was inaugurated in January 2015. Located on Rokach Boulevard in northern Tel Aviv, the convention centre serves as a venue for many different events, including concerts, exhibitions, trade fairs, and conferences. The fairground has ten halls and pavilions, plus a large outdoor space. The new pavilion hosted the 2018 European Judo Championships from 26–28 April.
Jonida Maliqi participated in the televised music competitions Top Fest and Festivali i Këngës in Albania and took part in various international festivals all over Europe. Jonida not only performs as a solo artist, but has also starred in various musicals in Albania. Besides being a singer, she is also a presenter, hosting several musical and dancing shows on Albanian television. With her 435,000 Instagram followers she is a well known influencer and fashion icon in her home country.
Shortly after X Factor Armenia came to an end, Srbuk began playing small local concerts together with her band. Focussing mainly on covers of American songbook standards, jazz, soul, R&B and contemporary pop, they quickly developed a strong following. Srbuk has become one of the most popular musical acts in Armenia, constantly taking part in music festivals, televised programs and public events. Over time, Srbuk began developing her own unique artistic style, drawing from her influences which encompassed a wide range of musical styles and heroes. Her influences range from legendary and classic vocalists such as Aretha Franklin, Etta James, and Ella Fitzgerald, to the soul and R&B influences of artists and performers like Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles and Michael Jackson. All of these influences and experiences have culminated into her debut single as a solo artist titled Yete Karogh Es which was on top of the Armenian charts for weeks. Last year, Srbuk participated in The Voice: Ukraine where she reached the final and became one of the most popular contestants. Later that year, Srbuk released her single entitled Half a Goddess.
Kate’s previous albums include Nightflight, which reached number two on the Australian chart, and Curiouser, which reached double platinum sales in Australia and spawned the multi-platinum hits The Last Day On Earth and Caught In The Crowd. In 2009 she won the Grand Prize in the International Songwriting Competition for Caught in the Crowd, becoming the first Australian to do so. Trained as a classical singer at the Queensland Conservatorium, Kate has performed several roles for the English National Opera and the Metropolitan Opera in New York, and appeared in Jerry Springer: The Opera at the Sydney Opera House. Her debut opera as a composer, The Rabbits, was commissioned by Opera Australia and premiered at the Perth Festival in 2015, followed by sold out seasons in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. It won 4 Helpmann Awards including Best Score and Best New Australian Work. In 2015 Kate broke into national television, starring in The Divorce, a four-part ABC musical mini-series. In 2016 Kate released the first retrospective of her work, The Best Of Kate Miller-Heidke: Act One, a two-disc set which, alongside tracks from early EPs, all four studio albums and various other singles, featured a new song written for International Women’s Day, You’ve Underestimated Me, Dude. In 2016, Kate performed a suite of her songs with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra at Mona Foma in Hobart, with visuals created by artist Amy Gerhardt. The show won the Helpmann Award for Best Australian Contemporary Concert for 2016, and has since been performed in cities around Australia. Her three concerts with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra were recorded and the resulting album, Live at the Sydney Opera House, was released in 2017 and nominated for several ARIAs including Best Classical Album. With her collaborator Keir Nuttall, she has written the music and lyrics to Muriel’s Wedding: The Musical, which premiered at the Sydney Theatre Company in November 2017, and will play a return season in Sydney and Melbourne throughout 2019. It won five 2018 Helpmann Awards, including Best Original Score. At Australia’s first ever national final for the Eurovision Song Contest, Eurovision – Australia Decides, on the Gold Coast in February 2019, Kate won both the jury and public votes to become Australia’s representative at the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv, where she will perform her latest single Zero Gravity, written by herself and collaborator Keir Nuttall. Kate is currently working on material for her fifth studio album. Kate’s previous albums include Nightflight, which reached number two on the Australian chart, and Curiouser, which reached double platinum sales in Australia and spawned the multi-platinum hits The Last Day On Earth and Caught In The Crowd. In 2009 she won the Grand Prize in the International Songwriting Competition for Caught in the Crowd, becoming the first Australian to do so. Trained as a classical singer at the Queensland Conservatorium, Kate has performed several roles for the English National Opera and the Metropolitan Opera in New York, and appeared in Jerry Springer: The Opera at the Sydney Opera House. Her debut opera as a composer, The Rabbits, was commissioned by Opera Australia and premiered at the Perth Festival in 2015, followed by sold out seasons in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. It won 4 Helpmann Awards including Best Score and Best New Australian Work. In 2015 Kate broke into national television, starring in The Divorce, a four-part ABC musical mini-series. In 2016 Kate released the first retrospective of her work, The Best Of Kate Miller-Heidke: Act One, a two-disc set which, alongside tracks from early EPs, all four studio albums and various other singles, featured a new song written for International Women’s Day, You’ve Underestimated Me, Dude. In 2016, Kate performed a suite of her songs with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra at Mona Foma in Hobart, with visuals created by artist Amy Gerhardt. The show won the Helpmann Award for Best Australian Contemporary Concert for 2016, and has since been performed in cities around Australia. Her three concerts with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra were recorded and the resulting album, Live at the Sydney Opera House, was released in 2017 and nominated for several ARIAs including Best Classical Album. With her collaborator Keir Nuttall, she has written the music and lyrics to Muriel’s Wedding: The Musical, which premiered at the Sydney Theatre Company in November 2017, and will play a return season in Sydney and Melbourne throughout 2019. It won five 2018 Helpmann Awards, including Best Original Score. At Australia’s first ever national final for the Eurovision Song Contest, Eurovision – Australia Decides, on the Gold Coast in February 2019, Kate won both the jury and public votes to become Australia’s representative at the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv, where she will perform her latest single Zero Gravity, written by herself and collaborator Keir Nuttall. Kate is currently working on material for her fifth studio album.
PÆNDA explains “Being aware of the moments where I needed a break was a process for me. It was a long and at times difficult road to learning my own limits.” The song expresses her vulnerability. At the same time, it conveys the message that it is important to believe in yourself in order to find your own way. The highest premise: no limits. The same applies to PÆNDA’s music, while she creates various sounds in her home studio, she passionately plays with stylistic restrictions and narrowing genres. Her style is a mix of electronic, hip-hop, pop and techno, avoiding pretentiousness or cliché. The native of Styria in South Austria started her project in 2016 and has since been experimenting meticulously with her unique sounds. PÆNDA is building bridges by connecting the worlds of underground and mainstream music. Her singles Waves and Good Girl are good examples for her inclination towards blending a subtle form of avant-garde with the fleet-footedness of pop. PÆNDA also has someone special to help her find her sounds, she says: “My sister is a good indicator: If she doesn’t sing or hum the hook line right after I played her a new song, I know that the melody isn’t powerful enough. Her new album Evolution II is brimming with 10 self-penned and self-produced powerful songs, PÆNDA presents herself as more accessible and catchier than before. She left behind the fear of being too straightforward in her style of composing and unfolds as a contemporary pop artist with the right sensitivity for refined melodies and a knack for comprehensible sound structures. The range of topics covers the themes of confidence, self-determination, perseverance and self-awareness. Album tracks like So Loud, Everything I’m Not or Like a Domino encourage listeners to not get sidelined by society or self-proclaimed advisors, while still leaving room for vulnerability. PÆNDA: “There were so many times where someone would try to lead me astray or cause insecurity. Thankfully, I can always count on a few people who truly support me. It was tough, learning how to stay true to and trusting in myself. But it was about time.” The album’s opener, fittingly titled I Like the Way You Hate Me, is a metaphorical one-finger salute to internet-detractors, while Love Myself is a catchy ode to self-love and believing in one’s own abilities. “For a long time, I tolerated too many things and backed down a lot. I learned so much from these experiences. Now I know what I want and what is really important to me.” This makes Evolution II an album without compromise, but with a lot of feeling.
At the age of 13, Chingiz moved with his mother and his brother to Baku, where eventually he was invited to audition for the Azerbaijani version of Pop Idol. Chingiz won the competition thanks to tremendous support from the jury and viewers of the show. His victory turned him into a rising star in the Azerbaijani music industry and by 2013, he was already representing the country internationally at the New Wave festival in Jūrmala, Latvia. Three years later, he took part in The Voice Ukraine. Chingiz loves the company of his dog, kung fu and yoga. He always enjoys getting a breath of fresh air while backpacking or doing outdoor meditation.
As she grew as an artist, ZENA developed a strong musical repertoire and has released more than 20 songs and 10 music videos. No stranger to the Eurovision stage, ZENA was a finalist at the 2015 Junior Eurovision Song Contest in Minsk and came in third place in 2016. Last year, she was asked to co-host the 2018 Junior Eurovision Song Contest which was held in Minsk once again. ZENA is a social media star in her own right, with more than 93,000 subscribers on Instagram and 48,000 subscribers and more than 15 million views on YouTube. In her personal time, ZENA enjoys dancing and drawing.
Eliot Vassamillet was discovered in season 7 of The Voice Belgique. After his first live show, he was contacted by Pierre Dumoulin who was enchanted by Eliot’s voice and presence. Eliot explains: “Pierre invited me to his home in Liège. I told him about my background and my hopes. Having been given my first guitar aged 7 and with 2 years of music theory, my passion is for English pop and melancholic songs. Pierre made me listen to a demo of what Wake Up would become, and I loved it straight away. We talked about the song’s themes together. Wake Up is a call to young people to be active and rally together for a better world. We want to send that positive message of friendship and open-mindedness.” After The Voice, Eliot performed at several concerts across Belgium. Still just 18 years of age, Eliot also is currently finishing his secondary schooling at the Collège Saint-Stanislas in Mons.
Roko became nationally recognised in 2011 through Croatia’s Got Talent where he reached the final of the show and came second. He was mentored during the series by Jacques Houdek, a member of the jury and Croatia’s 2017 Eurovision Song Contest entrant with The Dream. This year, Roko won Dora 2019, winning both the jury and audience vote. Dora is Croatia’s national selection for the Eurovision Song Contest and was broadcast by HRT (Croatian National Television). Becoming the Croatian representative is a dream come true for Roko.
The press usually refers to Tamta as a fashion icon and as a modern Cinderella due to her fashion choices and the extraordinary achievements in her life and career. Up until today, she has released 4 studio albums, 12 digital singles and 26 music videos. Tamta has won a lot of awards and numerous award nominations. Most of her singles topped in the radio charts throughout the years. Parallel to her stunning music career she has starred in acclaimed musicals such as Rent (as Mimi) and Cabaret (as Sally Bowls), being chosen for the leading role of the musical and receiving the best reviews from the audience and theater critics. Between 2014 and 2018 she was one of the judges in the talent show X-Factor both in Georgia and Greece, an experience that accelerated her popularity and fame to high levels in both countries. Tamta has performed at numerous festivals and in various clubs and music events all around the world, from Georgia to Australia. Additionally, she has cooperated with outstanding artists and producers from all around the world including Alex P., former Eurovision Song Contest winner Helena Paparizou, former Eurovision performers Sakis Rouvas, Mikolas Josef, Mihai Traistariu as well as Yacoub Rami and Gravitonas, all of which have accounted for an increasing number of fans both in Greece and abroad. She is also an active supporter and ambassador of Breast Cancer prevention and a supporter of Save A Greek Stray.
CZECH REPUBLIC 🇨🇿
Shortly after the release of their first single Always June on BBC London, Lake Malawi opened for Thirty Seconds to Mars in Prague (2014). In 2015, the band performed at The Great Escape festival in Brighton and released the EP We Are Making Love Again – the single Chinese Trees won the new music Audition Poll on Amazing Radio. Lake Malawi later caught the attention of both The Kooks’ and Mika’s managers, which secured the band a support slot at both acts’ Prague arena shows. After an extensive period of recording, the band released their first full-length debut album Surrounded By Light in 2017. The critically acclaimed record included the singles Paris and more alternative Prague (In The City). Lake Malawi have played over 300 gigs in Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Austria, and teh United Kingdom. Their music appeared in Czech films and was featured in a major rail carrier advertisement. Currently, the band consists of Albert Černý (lead vocal, guitar), Jeroným Šubrt (bass and keys) and Antonín Hrabal (drums). Albert Černý was born on 17th of February 1989 in the Czech steel-making town of Třinec on the Slovak / Polish border. Albert is the author of music and lyrics of Lake Malawi songs (as well as of his previous act Charlie Straight). He received four Czech Music Academy Awards Anděl, two Slavík awards and an MTV Award for his work.
Music has always been a big part of Leonora’s life, but at the age of 15 she became more serious about music and started training her voice, playing the guitar and writing songs. In her song Love Is Forever, with which Leonora won Melodi Grand Prix, the Danish selection for the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest, she effortlessly sings 4 languages in the 3 minute duration of the song. The song is mainly in English, but changes in the third verse to French, then has a part in her mother tongue Danish, followed by a line in German, to conclude with the last chorus in French and English. The use of multiple languages emphasizes the song’s message that love is for everyone and forever, no matter where you are born and believe in.
In 2015 Victor competed in Melodifestivalen, the Swedish national final for the Eurovision Song Contest, alongside Swedish-Iranian rapper Behrang Miri with the song Det rår vi inte för, making it to the second chance round. In 2017 he had a big hit alongside Swedish-Norwegian duo Tungevaag & Raaban with the song Coming Up, which has been streamed over 18 million times on Spotify. In 2016 Victor met Estonian Stig Rästa during a songwriting trip to Stockholm, where they instantly connected. Shortly afterwards, Stig invited Victor to Estonia and they have been working together ever since – meaning many, many trips to Estonia for Victor. Storm was created during one of Victor’s visits to Estonia. The verses came first, but it was many months before the right chorus was crafted for the song. The song was completed just as Eesti Laul, the submission for Estonia’s Eurovision Selection, opened, and it was at Stig and the rest of the songwriting team’s suggestion that the song was entered into the competition. Victor feels his song Storm should be open to the interpretation of the listener, but describes it as a song about: “weathering hard times – and knowing that they will eventually come to an end. “Representing Estonia is a huge honour for Victor, which he does not take lightly. He is currently based in Estonia and is challenging himself to learn one new Estonian word every day. He was pleasantly surprised and humbled by the amount of love he has received from the Estonian public and is hoping to make proud the country that has welcomed him so warmly. When he is not performing, Victor likes to play tennis and ice hockey and has recently been able to practice with current and former members of the Estonian National Ice Hockey team. He also loves to sail around the Stockholm archipelago in his motorboat, playing the classic game Counter-Strike and always makes sure to find the time to meditate twice a day.
Darude is a multi-platinum, award-winning producer and DJ, who to date has released 4 critically acclaimed studio albums with most recent being Moments (2015). Adding to his stellar discography and remaining as fresh and exciting as ever, recent releases including Surrender and his end of 2018 single Timeless. Darude’s résumé of accolades is a testament to the exponential growth of his profile as an international artist. Hailed as ‘Finland’s biggest musical export’ and in an illustrious career that has seen Darude win prestigious awards including 3 Finnish Grammy Awards, he has continually flown the ‘siniristilippu’ (‘Blue Cross Flag’) of Finland wherever he has travelled. He has appeared at some of the world’s biggest festivals and headlined iconic clubs across the globe. One of his proudest DJ highlights has to be his New Year’s Eve countdown set in Helsinki, where Darude ushered in 2017 with a performance in front of 100,000 people as part of the celebrations of 100 years of Finnish independence. His ongoing support of his native home during his travels as a DJ is, in part, what led to his country asking him to represent Finland at the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest. Darude performs his nation’s chosen song Look Away with featured vocalist Sebastian Rejman. The multitalented Rejman, who wrote the original song, is both a musician and actor. He’s known from the band The Giant Leap and for his role in one of Finland’s most popular drama series, Syke. His voice will be familiar to Darude fans all over the world, with Rejman singing the vocals on Darude’s releases Moments and One Lifetime. The charismatic Rejman will bring a fresh vitality and admirable live element to Darude’s musical backdrop.
Bilal is more than just a regular artist: he hosts a YouTube channel with funny, memorable videos that get viewed by more than 2 million people, especially in French-speaking countries. He opens every video with “Bonsoir Paris!”, and colourfully chronicles his daily life in them. His covers of Djadja by Aya Nakumura and Made for Now by Janet Jackson have attracted the attention of their respective performers and received strong endorsements from the two women. Bilal’s childhood story started in France in 1999. He was raised to the sound of Freddie Mercury, David Bowie and Michael Jackson. His influences also include 90s divas such as Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston. Besides that, Bilal has been nurturing a passion for the Eurovision Song Contest since he watched Loreen perform Euphoria on stage in 2012. In 2015, he demonstrated his charisma with a cover of Conchita Wurst’s Rise Like a Phoenix. Bilal is the symbol of those millions of young people all over the world that want to be free and unashamed to be outside the box. Roi contains a vibrant message about self-acceptance where urban pop meets the great tradition of the French chanson.
Oto Nemsadze is best known for winning the fifth season of Geostar in 2010, he received the most points from the Georgian audience to be crowned the winner. In 2012 Oto was a contestant in the international music contest 10+10, broadcast by Georgian public broadcaster GPB. A year later he released his first album Fiqrebis Zgva, performed his first solo concert in Tbilisi and won the Bravo Music Contest. In 2014, Oto moved across the Georgian border to participate in The Voice of Ukraine and finished in second place. In 2016 he reached second place again, this time in another tv show called Your Face Sounds Familiar. Two years later, Oto performed at rock band Okean Elzy’s concert at the Lviv Arena in Ukraine. This year, Oto managed to win Georgian Idol and automatically became Georgia’s representative in the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest as part of his prize. Currently, he is working on his second album and sings at various large music events in Georgia.
Carlotta Truman was introduced to the public when she was 9 years old. She was a finalist on the German talent show Das Supertalent, followed by a 3-week live tour through all the major cities in Germany. Carlotta performed live on national television multiple times as well as being awarded the German Rock and Pop Prize for the Best Singer in Germany at the age of 12. She finished second in The Voice Kids in 2014 and followed up with a performance at the Papenburg Festival in front of a crowd of 25,000 people. Carlotta has numerous solo appearances every year, but she also works with renowned bands and orchestras. In 2017, Alex Christensen invited her to participate in his album project Classical 90s Dance. At the start of 2018, Carlotta started the year with a live performance on the televised show Willkommen 2018 at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin in front of 75.0000 spectators. In October 2018, Carlotta started a university course on Popular Music at the Pop Institute at the University of Hannover. Laurita Kästel is from Königsau in the Rhineland-area in Germany and now lives in Wiesbaden. Her mother, Teresa Kästel, is a Philippine-born singer. Her father, Christoph Kästel, is a renowned keyboard player. Being part of a family of musicians, Laurita made her first steps on stage – together with her elder sister Jenniffer – at the age of four. In 2002, at the age of 10, she won ZDF’s Kiddy Contest and finished in fourth place as a contestant on Star Search. After finishing school, Laurita began to work as a full-time musician and started writing her own songs. She got her first jobs as a back-up vocalist on tour for The Voice of Germany. She also worked as a back-up vocalist for artist like Lena, Stefanie Heinzmann and Sarah Connor. Nowadays she is in the process of composing and producing songs for her first album.
Katerine’s musical style channels the dark sonic timbres of Lykke Li and Jessie Ware and her trademark soulful rasp has earned her comparisons to Amy Winehouse. She rose to indie star status with her hit song One in a Million and her cover of Arctic Monkeys’ Do I Wanna Know. She has since collaborated and shared the stage with artists like LP, Albin Lee Meldau, Tom Baxter, Yasmine Hamdan, Oddisee, Kadebostany and has performed in prestigious venues and festivals across Europe such as The O2 Academy, Rockwave Festival, SNFCC, Megaron Concert Hall and Sofar Sounds/Amnesty International’s global festival Give a Home.
Joci’s road to fame was not an easy one: coming from a poor family he struggled to get recognised through various television shows. He tasted success after appearing in a talent show in 2005, but the breakthrough did not happen at that time. He was on the verge of abandoning his dream to become a mainstream artist, stopped listening to music for a whole year – and all this desperation lead to the composition of the song Origo in 2016. And the rest is history. Joci won the Hungarian Eurovision selection show A Dal 2017 and finished 8th at the 62nd Eurovision Song Contest in Kyiv as the first gipsy musician with a song that features elements of traditional gipsy music. This stellar achievement placed him on the top shelf in the Hungarian music scene with sold-out concerts all around the country and music videos with tens of millions of viewers. He returns with his instantly recognisable voice to the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv in 2019 singing Az én apám (My Father) in which he pays homage to his beloved father and his roots, while also stressing the importance of safeguarding and appreciating our personal and family relations.
Hatari is a political, multimedia project that aims to take the lid off the relentless, unfolding scam that is everyday life. They explain: “We cannot change things, but we can unveil the anomie of neoliberal society, the pointlessness of every minute spent in the futile race, and the low price for which man now sells himself ever more blatantly. We can scream at our own impotence, scream at our collective sleepwalk through routine, and implore our audience to unite, shoulder to shoulder, and dance. Dance, basically, or die. Hatari represent a considered reflection on hope and hopelessness, power and repression, of image, individualism, despotism, exposing the contradictions that arise when everyone is embedded within the same system and struggling to fight against it. We are Hatari. We are all Hatari.” Hatari was founded in Reykjavík, Iceland in 2015 by Klemens Hannigan and Matthías Tryggvi Haraldsson with masked drummer Einar Hrafn Stefánsson joining shortly after. Joining them on the Eurovision Song Contest stage to dismantle capitalism are dancers/choreographers Sólbjört Sigurðardóttir, Andrean Sigurgeirsson, and Ástrós Guðjónsdóttir. Also on their way to Tel Aviv are graphic designer Ingi Kristján Sigurmarsson, video artist Baldvin Vernharðsson and costume designer duo Karen Briem and Andri Hrafn Unnarsson, all of whom have already established themselves as an integral part of Hatari’s multimedia performances. Hatari’s participation in the Eurovision Song Contest is the group’s first bold step in their global plan to orchestrate the inevitable downfall of capitalism. The Hatari team brings together diverse corners of Iceland’s musical and artistic world. Matthías Tryggvi Haraldsson is a journalist and writer. He graduated from the Iceland Academy of the Arts as a theatre and performance artist, and has been highly commended as a playwright. Klemens Hannigan is a musician, cabinetmaker, and designer, currently studying fine arts at the Icelandic Academy of Arts. Einar Hrafn Stefánsson is a musician, producer, and sound engineer who has played with a variety of Icelandic bands in the past. Sólbjört, Andrean, and Ástrós have all studied contemporary dance at the Icelandic Academy of Arts and have been very successful on the Icelandic dance scene. Hatari invite you all to join them on their nihilistic journey to the centre of the earth.
Sarah is an only child and has a 2.5-year-old daughter Mia who also loves to sing. After graduating from secondary school in 2011, Sarah took a pre-nursing course in Ennis, County Clare. She then went on to study Music Technology at Limerick Institute of Technology after which she took a break from education and worked in retail. Sarah has also worked as a makeup artist. In November 2014, after getting through the blind auditions on The Voice of Ireland, without ever doing any gigs, Sarah set up her own band called The Jeds. The band performs at weddings and gig around Clare and Munster. Sarah plays traditional violin, guitar, ukulele, piano and tin whistle. Last year, Sarah competed to represent San Marino at the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest in Lisbon with a song called Eye of the Storm written by Swedish song writers and identical twin sisters Ylva and Linda Perssons.
Even though Kobi pursued acting growing up, Kobi had no real professional music experience until he decided to participate and compete in the hit reality show Rising Star. Throughout the show, Kobi gained more and more public attention for his unique style and vocal capabilities, which ended with him reaching the finals, winning this year’s competition and along with it, the chance to represent Israel at the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv. Since he became the Israeli representative, Kobi has become the nation’s sweetheart. His soulful singing has brought him ‘home’, which is the title of his participating song. The song was written especially for him, bringing his personal story and struggles to the stage.
In 2018 Mahmood released his first EP Gioventù Bruciata with Island Records, produced by Ceri, MUUT and Katoo, which includes the duet Anni ‘90, another collaboration with Fabri Fibra. Title track Gioventù Bruciata won Sanremo Giovani 2018 and as a result Mahmood got to take part in the Sanremo Festival along with the other established contestants. In February 2019 Mahmood managed to win the Sanremo Festival with the song Soldi, written and produced with Dardust and Charlie Charles. The track immediately became a megahit in Italy, resulting in a certified platinum status and reaching the number 1 position in all the Italian charts including airplay, the official singles chart, iTunes, Spotify, Apple Music and even charting in the Spotify Global Top 50. In March, Mahmood released his full Gioventù Bruciata album, which debuted at number 1 in the FIMI/GFK Albums Chart.
The duo dared to dream in 2019 when they took part in Supernova, Latvia’s national Eurovision Song Contest selection. With their vintage, stripped back, romantic track That Night Sabine’s gentle warm vocals blends with Marcis’ musical artistry and they won the competition and the ticket to Eurovision in Tel Aviv. The duo has now become a quartet with the addition of Stanislav Judins on double bass and Mareks Logins on drums, bringing a distinctive vibe and sound. Carousel are currently working on their debut album and are looking forward to taking to the big stage in Tel Aviv, seeing this as a fantastic opportunity to showcase their talent to an international audience.
Jurij has tried his luck in the national selection for the Eurovision Song Contest more than once and has twice performed as a backing vocalist at the Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest (with Andrius Pojavis in Sweden in 2013, and again in Austria for Monika Linkyte and Vaidas Baumila in 2015). This year Jurij has decided to pull out all the stops and appear as the lead vocalist at Lithuania’s national selection with the song Run With The Lions and it paid off with victory. Born on 6 July 1990 in the Lithuanian port city of Klaipėda, Jurij grew up in a family of musicians. So from his childhood days he has always been accompanied by music. While being an eighth-grade student at high school, he joined a church choir, where his love and interest for music gained strength. After moving to Lithuania’s capital Vilnius, the young artist submerged himself in musical activities, participated in various music shows and later joined the Rollics (Rolikai) band. In 2017, after a break, Jurij appeared on stage with his first song as a solo performer. Alongside his artistic career, he got his dream job with an IT company, where he currently works. Jurij says that IT and music make up for a perfect combination, where monotony is being replaced by music and vice versa. At the end of 2018, Jurij met the writers of Run with the Lions and decided to try his luck in Lithuania’s national selection for the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest. Throughout the selection in early 2019, he topped the chart and gained the highest points from both the jury and the viewers.
As a then-unknown talent in Malta, she exploded on to the X-Factor stage, leaving the judges speechless. Michela won the final as if it was the only thing she was born to do. Previously, she had won the Music Talent League in Lithuania, was a finalist in the Baltic Voices competition and attended the Ultimate Artist development programme in Hertfordshire London, where she worked with Rihanna’s producer. Michela describes herself as an average teenager. She explains: “… but when I start singing, it’s as if my voice takes over my entire being. Aretha Franklin once said that you sing soul with your whole body. I know exactly what she means.” Michela is currently signed to Sony Music.
Anna Odobescu will represent Moldova at the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv. She is from Dubasari, on the left bank of the Nistru River in Moldova. Anna graduated from the Academy of Music, Theater and Fine Arts in Chisinau and says that she finds peace and inner silence in music.
D mol will sing ‘Heaven’ for Montenegro at the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv. They are a young Montenegrin vocal group of six singers that was formed at the private music school of Daniel Alibabic. Alibabic, who acts as the group’s mentor, is a former member of No Name, Montenegro’s participant for the 2005 Eurovision Song Contest in Kyiv.
NORTH MACEDONIA 🇲🇰
Tamara’s debut album Sino (Blue), with the lead single 1003, was released in 2005 to commercial and critical success throughout the region. Her second album Eden na Eden (One on One) cemented her position as one of the region’s most profound artists and has produced high-charting hits such as Tesko Bez Tebe (It’s Hard Without You), Tazna Ljubov, Srekna Pesna (Sad Love, Happy Song) and Brod Sto Tone (Sinking Boat). Tamara’s first solo concert in 2015 in Skopje’s VIP Arena Boris Trajkovski is considered a significant breakthrough for her in the country’s music scene. Tamara has won numerous awards for her timeless hits, including Best Performing Artist and Best Song. The North Macedonian singer will dedicate her entry Proud to her 2 children and everyone fighting for their dreams and believing in their own greatness.
Spirit in the Sky is inspired by the Sami belief that nature gives you strength in times of trouble. It is composed and written by the band in collaboration with Finnish hit-producer Henrik Tala, German producer R. Schramm and lyricist Alexander Olsson. KEiiNO won Melodi Grand Prix (MGP), Norway’s televised pre-selection for the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest, by a landslide. Their song has already skyrocketed to the top of the Norwegian charts. Alexandra Rotan finished third in last year’s MGP in a duet with former Eurovision representative Stella Mwangi. The 22-year-old made it onto Norwegian music fans’ radars with her success in MGP Junior and Norwegian Idol. She has since toured extensively as a supporting vocalist for Alan Walker. Fred Buljo is a 30-year-old native of the northern Norwegian town of Kautokeino. He burst on to the Norwegian scene in 2008 when he competed in Norway’s Got Talent with the Sami rap group Dulova Duottar. He has since played numerous live shows all over Scandinavia and Russia, and is widely considered one of the Sami music scene’s most talented performers. Tom Hugo Hermansen is a seasoned songwriter whose CV includes hit pop songs performed by groups across Asia. The 39-year-old has had radio hits in Norway and Germany as a solo artist, and MGP fans will remember his previous appearances in 2013 and 2018. Hermansen has written top hits for K-pop supergroups EXO, SHiNee and TVXQ, as well as German Echo-nominee Y’akoto.
Tulia’s music is a combination of classical characteristics mixed with folk music and modern production. The group’s cover of David Podsiadlo’s song Nieznajomy brought fanfare that resulted in over 10 million views online. Listeners from all over the world were taken by the magical atmosphere of the music video and the spotlight on Polish culture. 2018 was an important year for the band. Tulia performed at the Fryderyki 2018 Gala – the most important award show in the Polish music industry – together with Natalia Nykiel and Pianohooligan. Shortly afterwards, the band’s debut album was released and won three prestigious awards during the legendary National Festival of Polish Song in Opole. Tulia then performed at the Top Of The Top Sopot Festival 2018 and Lato z Radiem Festival 2018 in Gdynia. Tulia’s debut album has already gone platinum in Poland. The double album features 20 tracks, 7 of which are original compositions that showcase the group’s artistic potential. Guests featured on the album include Polish superstars Kasia Kowalska and Marcin Wyrostek. On 23 November Tulia’s fifth single, Pali się, was released. The inspiration for the song came from one of Poland’s most beautiful movies in recent years, Cold War by Paul Pawlikowski. Tulia is composed of the voices of Joanna Sinkiewicz, Dominika Siepka, Patrycja Nowicka and Tulia Biczak. These young but experienced artists sing a unique style of Polish folk called ‘śpiewokrzyk’, which means ‘white voice’ or ‘screaming sing’.
Not only can Conan sing, but he is also a self-taught dancer, songwriter, composer and producer. While he formally studied Art and Design, he claims to have more closely examined people’s lives – perhaps that is why he has also worked at the most iconic sex shop in Lisbon. Conan had his recording debut in 2014 with an instrumental album called Silk. Then, in 2016, he released the Música Normal (Normal Music) album about which he stated: “Normal music is any music that can be absorbed by a living being. Normal music is the kind of music suited for whatever you want to do: to laugh, to cry, to dance, to travel, to take a shower…” In December 2017, Conan released his third record, Adoro Bolos (I Love Cakes), and in 2018, he made his TV debut on RTP’s popular late-night show, 5 Para a Meia-Noite. The show is hosted by Filomena Cautela, one of the hosts from the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest in Lisbon. In late 2018, he was invited by RTP to compose a song for Festival da Canção, Portugal’s national selection for the Eurovision Song Contest and he decided to sing his song himself. Telemóveis won the competition with the maximum number of points form both the jury and audience.
Ester started to study jazz singing at the age of eight, and when she returned to Romania four years later, she enrolled in the piano section of Dinu Lipatti School in Piteşti. At age 13, she transferred to classic guitar until the ninth grade, when she continued her studies at the classic singing section. In 2013 she enrolled at the Music Interpretation Faculty in Bucharest where she studied jazz. A year later, Ester began composing music for artists such as DJ Rynno, Sylvia, Tamy and Pepe, both in the mainstream and underground. In the winter of the same year, Ester released Cuminte de Craciun, alongside Ana Baniciu, Puya, Doddy, Vescan and Mahia. She released covers such as Derniere Danse (Indila), My Heart Is Refusing Me (Loreen), and, in 2015, her first single Sub aripa ta (Vescan) conquered the music charts and gathered over 16 million views on YouTube. Also in 2015, the artist continued her collaboration with Vescan and launched the track Oameni with him, Alan and Kepa. In 2016, she collaborated with Phelipe and released 1000 de motive, track and video that generated nearly 3 million views on YouTube. In the summer of 2016, Ester went in her first tour, Noi sa fim sanatosi!, alongside Puya, Vescan, Doddy and Anastasia, organized in the big cities of Romania. In 2017, Ester dedicated her time to music and she has written pieces for different artists, but also for herself. At the beginning of 2018, she released Dig It, an EP containing 4 tracks: On My Way, So Fine, Leaving Tomorrow and Dig It, and a few months later, Ester alongside Alexandru Şerbu and Ioana Victoria Badea wrote On a Sunday, her winning song in Romania’s national selection for the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest. The single combines the guitar sound with the fresh lyrics that complement the dark mood with a message: Love becomes dangerous when it is given to the wrong person. Currently Ester continues her singing classes and is working on her first album, to be released in 2019.
Sergey’s success as an artist began at a young age and his rise to fame been watched by the whole country. Sergey was born on 1 April 1983 in Moscow. At the age of 4, he was already competing in and winning artistic gymnastic competitions. However, his parents soon noticed that Sergey was more interested in music. At the age of 8, he began singing in classical choir, and soon thereafter joined the popular children’s singing group ‘Neposody’ (where Yulia and Lena from globally famous (and former Eurovision Song Contest competitors t.A.T.u also began their careers). Sergey has been participating in and winning various music contests since the age of 12. These include Italy’s Bravo Bravissimo International Contest and the prestigious Morning Star TV Music Contest. In 2002, he joined forces with fellow ‘Neposody’ singer and friend, Vlad Topalov, and created the hit duo Smash!! More awards followed, with 2015 becoming one of the most successful years in Sergey Lazarev’s music career; he won multiple prestigious music awards, such as Best Singer (RU.TV Channel Award), MUZ-TV (Best Male Video) and Russian Music Box (Singer Of The Year) as well as Russian National Music Awards (Best Popular Music Performer) (Best Pop Music Singer). During the ceremony, it was revealed that he would represent Russia at the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest 2016 in Stockholm, where he won the international televote and finished third place. After Eurovision, Sergey won the MUZ-TV Award as the Best Performer and World Breakthrough Of The Year. Additionally, Sergey won the International ESC Radio Award for Best Song and Best Male Artist. In November, one week before his 100th concert of The BEST Tour (and the second Moscow concert with this program), Sergey won The Real Music BOX Award — Singer of the Year on the stage of the Crocus City Hall. A day later, he won The Golden Gramophone Award, and the album The BEST went gold. Sergey has also been actively involved in various charity events and welfare projects, cooperating with the Line of Life Foundation helping children with dangerous diseases that require high-tech medical care. His charity concerts in Moscow have raised money for expensive heart surgeries to be performed on many children.
SAN MARINO 🇸🇲
Serhat’s television career began when he hosted Riziko, the Turkish version of hit the American quiz show Jeopardy. He produced the show himself and won ‘Best Television Presenter’ and ‘Best Television Producer’ in Turkey two years in a row. In 1997, Serhat founded the National and International High Schools Music Contest and has since then been guiding and coaching young talented musicians.
Having mastered the art of dentistry and television, Serhat turned his eye to performing music, launching Total Disguise, a duet with French singer Viktor Lazlo, as his first single. He went on to record three songs with Russian/Georgian star Tamara Gverdtsiteli in both English and Russian and they toured together across Russia, Belarus and Moldova. Serhat has based his music career in Germany since 2013 and had another international dance hit with Je M’adore which hit the dance charts in several European countries and topped the German DJ and Dance Chart for five weeks. His awards include the ‘Golden Key of the City Alexandria’ for his international artistic career and ‘Fair Play Grand Prize’ awarded by the Turkish National Olympic Committee. But to Eurovision fans, Serhat is best known for representing the Republic of San Marino at the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest in Stockholm with I Didn’t Know. Although Serhat did not make it to the Grand Final, the song reached the 25th position on the Billboard Dance Charts in the United States. The new recording of I Didn’t Know featuring legendary Martha Wash from the United States. And in 2018, he released a new version of Total Disguise featuring former Eurovision Song Contest winner Helena Paparizou. Serhat’s new album has been produced in Sweden, Germany, Belgium and France will be released in May 2019. Serhat has been chosen by San Marino RTV to represent the Republic of San Marino for the second time at the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv. This time he is not only the artist but the composer and lyricist as well.
Nevena was born in Kosovska Mitrovica, Serbia on 15 June 1994. She completed elementary and high music school specialising in piano (Instrumental Music Department – piano) and gymnasium (socio-lingual sciences), and then she enrolled at the Music Academy at the age of 16. This year Nevena specialized in solfeggio at the Faculty of Music of the University of Belgrade. She has performed at many music festivals and competitions since her first Eurovision adventure at the age of 13. She finished in third place at the 2007 Junior Eurovision Song Contest with Write to Me. In 2008 she was awarded a silver medal by the President of the Republic of Italy, Giorgio Napolitano, for the best voice in the Festival in Battipaglia, Italy and in 2009 she won the ‘Sunčane Skale’ Festival in Herceg Novi. In 2010, she won the award for best debut in the Festival in Vrnjačka Banja and made it to the finals of the first series of the first season of The Voice of Serbia. Nevena made her first appearance at the Eurovision Song Contest in 2013 as one of the band members of ‘My 3’, finishing 11th in the first Semi-Final with Ljubav Je Svuda. Nevena Božović was a jury member in the Serbian national finals to choose the country’s 2015 Eurovision Song Contest entry and represented Serbia in 2007 at ‘Slavianski Bazaar’ in Belarus where she finished in third.
Zala started by playing covers and soon after began writing her own songs based on gentle narration and soft, melodic vocals. Gašper started playing the guitar at a young age and when he reached his teens, his music led him to Prague, where, under the wing of Faust Records studio, he studied to become an audio producer and a composer. After 2 years, on a quest for new inspiration, he decided took a cycling trip through Europe where he wrote the chorus for the duo’s first single Valovi. The singers first met on Instagram: when Zala’s videos were shared with Gašper, he knew he had found the right vocalist for his new song. Valovi was a huge success, taking over radio stations across Slovenia and winning the Slovenian annual music award Zlata piščal for the best song of 2017. The duo returned in 2018 with 2 new songs, each showcasing Gašper’s gentle electronic pop style and Zala’s soft voice. The band’s fourth single Sebi was presented on Evrovizijska Melodija 2019. Zala and Gašper brought their charm and authenticity to the stage, and they won the ticket to represent Slovenia at the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest. The duo remains calm and confident as they approach the contest, believing that there is no challenge they could not face together. In the meantime, the duo has released an EP with their first 4 singles, aptly named Štiri (Four). When Gašper and Zala are creating new music, they try to be as honest as possible and pass on a meaningful message to their listeners. With their songs, they hope to find people for whom the music means something. The most important creative bond is their combined desire to tell stories with their songs and their ability to write and interpret each other’s music.
Born in 1996 in Terrassa, Spain, Miki Núñez has learned a lot through practice, although he does not think of himself as a self-taught musician. Miki started studying music as a child because of his parents’ dedication to providing him with instruments, even though his home was not particularly musical. The musical training he had under his belt by the time he was in college helped him gain experience on various talent shows. With those skills, Miki carries an uplifting song like La Venda, with a critical and yet integrating twist, as a proposal for self-knowledge to value one’s own gifts. After years of practice, the ardent and versatile performer can deliver an impressively wide musical range. A musical landscape where Catalan rumba and Latin percussion flow together with warm horn arrangements is not foreign to Miki, given his time as frontman of the cover band Dalton Bang. The 6-piece band, formed of his high school best friends, was profoundly influenced by the booming mestizo Catalan scene, but also took inspiration from soul, ska, reggae and Latin pop. The band spent almost a decade on the roach delivering high energy performances that made the audience feel like they were attending a fiesta. When it was time to join Operación Triunfo, Miki proved he had what it takes!
Too Late For Love received a lot of attention, reached the number 1 position in Sweden’s top 50 and is currently one of the most played songs on Swedish radio. John Lundvik is an incredibly authentic singer who, with intimacy and great musicality, raises the level of the Swedish music scene. After his breakthrough in 2018, John had an exciting and hectic year during which he received the prestigious assignment to sing at a tribute concert celebrating Sweden’s Queen Silvia’s 70th birthday. After that he made TV-appearances at the National Day and Victoriadagen, an annual event celebrating the birthday of Sweden’s Crown Princess Victoria. John performed in the biggest TV shows in Sweden and did various gigs and a successful summer tour. At the start of 2019, John was already contracted to participate in one of Sweden’s largest summer tours and also for an upcoming Christmas tour. As a songwriter, John got his big breakthrough and recognition in 2010 after writing the Crown Princess Victoria’s and Daniel’s wedding song When You Tell The World You’re Mine performed by Björn Skifs and Agnes. In the 2014 edition of Melodifestivalen, John went directly to the final as the composer of Anton Ewald’s entry Natural. John’s track record also includes music for films like Empire and Fast Cash and songs for artists such as Sanna Nielsen and Isac Elliot. John has also written the official Swedish Olympic song All About the Games. In Tel Aviv, John will be representing both Sweden as a singer and songwriter and the United Kingdom as a writer and composer, since he has also worked on Michael Rice’s Bigger Than Us.
In addition to his music career, Luca creates clothes for his own model label and his merchandising shop, stars as a model himself in front of the camera, and publishes his own magazine, Stories. He is also deeply committed to his role as an ambassador for children suffering from epidermolysis bullosa. In 2017, Luca discovered his love of dancing, and won the German dance show Dance Dance Dance the same year. At Christmas 2018, he featured on entertainment star Helene Fischer’s show, where they performed a sensual contemporary dance together to his song Bei mir. Luca says: “Dancing is a central part of my life. It lets me convey my passion and the stories behind my songs even more strongly.” Despite his life in show business, Luca remains down to earth. Spending time with family and friends means a great deal to him, and he loves nature, particularly when walking his dog Nala, a chihuahua. Luca is also very athletic and is happy to take on challenges such as the various Ninja Warrior shows. In fact, challenges are what keep him going: including now, the Eurovision Song Contest. He previously acted as the Swiss spokesperson in Kyiv, and this year he wants to take his country into the Grand Final. Luca enjoys everything he does: “Getting the chance to perform on such a huge stage in front of an audience of enthusiastic fans in the venue and millions of people at home is definitely one of the high points of my life.” ‘Dare to dream’, this year’s motto, could not be more appropriate.
THE NETHERLANDS 🇳🇱
Duncan Laurence will represent The Netherlands at the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest with the song ‘Arcade’. Duncan explains: “I grew up in a town where music was a stranger. Music had no part in the regular school system. But that couldn’t keep me from making music. Somehow I was drawn to its magical ways to express myself and tell my own story. We had a small local theatre and an old music school. I played the piano every single day, wrote my own songs and poems. I remember that time as if it was yesterday. I was certain: I was going to be a musician.”
UNITED KINGDOM 🇬🇧
Michael started performing at a young age when his grandma would take him busking. His career started when a video of him singing a Years & Years song went viral. Michael is well known to the UK public as the winner of the first series of the BBC Entertainment show All Together Now which he won in 2018. During the series, he got all 100 judges – including Spice Girl Geri Halliwell – up on their feet. Michael put most of his £50,000 prize towards his mum’s The Waffle and Crepe Shack in Hartlepool. Michael is currently working on his debut EP with producers Pete Boxsta Martin and Dantae Johnson who have written and produced tracks for Jessie J, Missy Elliott and James Arthur.