Today, Mooney's very own EuroGuru, Paul G. Sheridan, is in studio to talk us through the five songs that are in contention to represent Ireland at the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest, which will take place in Denmark this May!
RTÉ have announced the five Eurosong 2014 contenders, as decided by five mentors selected internally late last year. These five songs will be performed live on The Late Late Show Eurosong 2014 Special, hosted by Ryan Tubridy, on Friday, February 28th. They are as follows, in order of appearance:
DON’T HOLD ON
mentor: Valerie Roe
THE MOVIE SONG
mentor: Mark Murphy
Hazel Kaneswaran, Jonas Gladnikoff,
Rasmus Palmgren & Patrizia Helander
(feat. Kasey Smith)
mentor: Hazel Kaneswaran
mentor: Cormac Battle
YOU DON’T REMEMBER ME
Don Mescall & Lucie Silvas
mentor: Billy McGuinness
The winner will be decided by both regional jury vote, which will make up half of the overall marks (the juries are located in five regions: Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick and Sligo) and the public televote which will account for the other half of the overall result.
The five mentors responsible for selecting their artists and songs are: Valerie Roe (on behalf of her sister, singer Patricia Roe); Mark Murphy (on behalf of Eoghan Quigg); singer/songwriter Hazel Kaneswaran (on behalf of Can-Linn featuring Kasey Smith); RTÉ 2fm disc jockey Cormac Battle (on behalf of Andrew Mann); and member of Irish rock band Aslan, Billy McGuinness (on behalf of Laura O’Neill).
The Late Late Show Eurosong Special will be broadcast on Friday, February 28th and hosted by Ryan Tubridy, with the winner being announced at the end of the show after the national televote results and the verdicts of the five regional juries.
Two Eurovision Song Contest semi-finals will take place – on Tuesday May 6th, and Thursday May 8th. There are already six direct finalists – the 'Big Five' countries: United Kingdom, Spain, France, Germany, Italy, plus last year's winners Denmark, will proceed directly to the Eurovision 2014 Final on Saturday, May 10th. The contest will take place in Copenhagen, the Danish capital, where the Contest has been hosted twice before, in 1964 at the Tivoli Concert Hall (won by 16-year-old Gigliola Cinquetti for Italy), and in 2001 in Parken Stadium (won by Estonia’s Tanel Padar, Dave Benton & 2XL). The remaining 31 countries will compete in one of the semi-finals in order to win a place in the aforementioned Final. Ireland will compete in the second semi-final on Thursday, May 8th. Live coverage will be on RTÉ Two for the semi-finals, and on RTÉ 1 for the Eurovision 2014 Final, with commentary provided – as ever – by Marty Whelan.
SONG 1: DON'T HOLD ON
Composer/Lyricist: Patricia Roe
performed by PATRICIA ROE
Born in Enniskerry, Co Wicklow, Patricia already has a relationship with Eurovision, having placed runner-up with her own songs to both Linda Martin and Niamh Kavanagh in consecutive Eurosongs in 1992 (2nd with Your Love) and 1993 (3rd with If You Changed Your Mind), both of the former went on to win the Eurovision outright in their respective years. Patricia also provided backing vocals for Malta in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1994. When approached by Eurosong 2014 mentor Valerie, after a 20-year break from the competition, it was an easy decision. Few people will remember that Patricia and Valerie were members of the band Romance, who participated in the 1980 National Song Contest, placing fifth with the Ken Stewart-penned Love Is All There Is – the winning song that year also went on to win Eurovision (Johnny Logan singing Shay Healy's What's Another Year?)
Patricia trained as both a dancer and a singer as a child, so much so that her actual singing career started when she was just 14 years old. She has performed throughout the world as both a soloist and backing vocalist from as far east as Singapore to the far western desert plains of Las Vegas, where she lived on two occasions. She has been a professional singer her entire life.
Her mentor and sister Valerie Roe said: 'My vision for Ireland this year is to go back to our roots with a powerful song and an exceptional singer with strong production and the artistic style that Ireland is famed for worldwide. Don't Hold On is a compelling and passionate song that makes my heart beat faster but also break a little bit at the same time! I want this opportunity so much for Trisha. She has been so close so many times. I think this will be her chance to finally shine and for everyone to experience her extraordinary talent. Trisha was always my chosen singer, without question. We were so thankful for all the songs we received but in the end we felt that Don't Hold On had the best chance. Trisha is stunning inside and out and I think her powerful voice, arresting stage presence and beautiful song will capture everyone’s hearts.'
SONG 2: THE MOVIE SONG
Composer/Lyricist: Karl Broderick
performed by EOGHAN QUIGG
Eoghan Quigg was just 16 when he shot to fame in The X Factor but his love of singing started much younger. From the age of two, the boy from Dungiven, Co. Derry, sang along to Disney films but really discovered his vocal talent performing as part of his school choir. Just a few years later there he was performing live on TV to millions of viewers. Building up strong support along the way he made it to the final but was pipped at the post. He went on the tour with X Factor Live, release his debut self titled album (which reached number 1) and continue doing what he loved best, performing live. Eoghan also supported Boyzone as special guest on their UK and Ireland tour. Then he made a big decision. Having stepping out of school to follow his The X Factor dream, he felt it was time to go back and complete his GCSEs. At the same time Eoghan learned to play acoustic guitar and took up acting but singing and performing continued to be a big part of his life. Now 21, he is looking forward for his next challenge, working with Mark Murphy and hoping to bring The Movie Song, composed by Karl Broderick, all the way to Eurovision.
Dubliner Karl, 42, is no stranger to Eurovision. His song Love? was the Irish entry in 2005 and spent three months in the charts. In 2011 Karl was involved in the Romanian search for their song for Eurovision too. He has won The Nivita song contest (a competition which was at the time had the highest prize money for any song contest in Europe) and has represented Ireland at both the Alexandria song contest in Egypt and the Cairo song festival. Forthcoming projects include working with top producer Novel (among the artists Novel has worked with are Beyoncé and Leona Lewis).
Mark Murphy, tour manager to Olly Murs, said: 'Any 15-year-old told "You’ve got it" by Simon Cowell has to have talent and I believe my act Eoghan Quigg has all the qualities needed to represent Ireland at the highest level. Eoghan has proven he is at ease performing in front of millions of viewers and now at 21 years old I feel it is the right time for him to make Ireland proud and represent our country at Eurovision 2014. The Movie Song is a timeless pop song and along with Eoghan's vocal and performance I feel it is a winning combination.'
SONG 3: HEARTBEAT
Composers/Lyricists: Hazel Kaneswaran, Jonas Gladnikoff, Rasmus Palmgren & Patrizia Helander
performed by CAN-LINN featuring Kasey Smith
Can-Linn is a collaborative music act featuring traditional Irish instruments such as the bodhrán and fiddle, complimented by the urban-styled vocals of Kasey Smith, who rose to fame with the BT Music Award nominated girl band Wonderland in 2010 under the tutelage of Louis Walsh and Kian Egan.
Heartbeat was co-written by an experienced team of Irish and Swedish songwriters: Hazel Kaneswaran an Irish singer/songwriter who sang for Dove in 1996 and has since presented numerous TV shows and performed around the country; Jonas Gladnikoff, who wrote two successful Irish Eurovision entries including It's For You by Niamh Kavanagh in 2010; Rasmus Palmgren, writer of the current Swedish Idol winning song; and Patrizia Helander, Swedish Idol 2007 finalist and experimental artist.
Mentor Hazel Kaneswaran believes that Can-linn’s entry Heartbeat is a passionate song that reflects Ireland’s will to rise again as a nation and shows why we are recognised globally as makers of fine music.
She said: 'Being a mentor in Eurosong has been a joy. I chose a great pop song with a Celtic twist as I love traditional Irish music. The name 'Can-Linn' is derived from the Irish 'to sing together'. I think that’s appropriate as we want to work together and bring the Eurovision home!'
SONG 4: BE MINE
Composer/Lyricist: Cormac Battle
performed by ANDREW MANN
Dubliner Andrew Mann immersed himself in his beloved music as an antidote to school, which he hated. He spent hours in his room teaching himself to play the guitar and by the age of 15, he was already writing his own songs. In 2007 a serious accident nearly cost him his life when he fell from a 3-storey building. His recovery involved a long stay in hospital and months more in a wheelchair, uncertain whether he would ever walk again. Despite this, Andrew looks back on this period as a gift: it imbued in him a renewed zest for life and following his complete recovery he took to gigging six-nights a week, all over Ireland, and in London's '100 Club' and 'Ronnie Scott's'. In 2010, he wrote and recorded his first album, Hidden In Plain Sight, in 2010. He is currently recording his second album for release this summer. Andrew is known to many people from his appearance on The Voice Of Ireland in 2013, when he got to the quarter-finals of the live shows. This is not Andrew's first foray into Eurosong: he entered in 2012 with the song Here I Am, and came a close second to Jedward's Waterline.
His mentor Cormac Battle is a presenter on RTÉ 2fm. Before joining the station he was the lead singer and main songwriter of the bands Kerbdog and Wilt. Both bands had Irish and UK hits across four major label albums.
Cormac said: "Andrew Mann is the real deal. He lives and breathes music 24/7, he gigs 6 days a week, every week. His level of enthusiasm is absolutely frightening. If he doesn’t go forward to represent Ireland nobody should. Andrew will put us back at the top."
SONG 5: YOU DON'T REMEMBER ME
Composers/Lyricists: Don Mescall & Lucie Silvas
performed by LAURA O’NEILL
Laura O'Neill was born in Dublin in 1989. Laura's passion for music began at the young age of seven when she joined Ireland's top performing arts school NPAS. Laura has performed in some of Ireland's most illustrious venues including the Olympia theatre, the National Concert Hall and Cork Opera House. At the age of 17 Laura was promoted to vocal trainer and choral producer where she remained for six years. During her spell with NPAS she spent three years in Cork studying Performing Arts. In 2011 Laura made it to the The X Factor's boot-camp. Laura describes her experience on that show as 'an emotional roller coaster from start to finish', but an experience she learnt a lot from and will remember forever. Laura currently fronts a corporate and wedding band called The Firm and is working on her debut EP which is planned for release in spring 2014.
Laura’s mentor Billy McGuinness, a member of rock group Aslan, said: 'For me it is all about the song and with You Don't Remember Me, which was written by Don Mescall and Lucie Silvas, I have avoided any gimmicks and concentrated solely on the meaning and emotion of the words and lyrics. Don Mescall is a familiar name to many as he has written songs for acts such as Backstreet Boys, Boyzone and of course Aslan which is how I met him. I first heard Laura O’Neill singing at our bass player Rod O'Brien's wedding I knew she could deliver this song like no other singer could. When we were recording the song she blew everyone away and I think if she were to release this song tomorrow she would have a massive hit with it. I really feel she has a great future ahead of her.'
Co-writer Don Mescall also participated in Eurosong 2011, and finished third with the song he co-wrote with Ronan Hardiman, Talking With Jennifer.
IRELAND’S EUROVISION RECORD 1965 – 2013
Since Ireland’s first participation in 1965, we have finished as follows:
1st place: 7 times – 1970, 1980, 1987, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996
2nd place: 4 times – 1967, 1984, 1990, 1997
3rd place: once – 1977
4th place: 3 times – 1966, 1968, 1986
5th place: 3 times – 1978, 1979, 1981
6th place: 3 times – 1965, 1985, 2000
7th place: twice – 1969, 1974
8th place: twice – 1988, 2011
9th place: twice – 1975, 1998
10th place: 4 times – 1973, 1976, 1991, 2006
Note that all of Ireland’s Top Five placings occurred between 1966 and 1997.
The 1990s became Ireland’s most successful decade, having won four contests in five years – and the year in between (1995) featured Irish violinist in the Norwegian-Irish collective Secret Garden.
The 2000s has been the country’s worst decade in terms of our track record.
The best placing was at the start, in 2000, when Millennium Of Love, finished sixth.
2001 saw our entry Without Your Love finished third last, and put Ireland out of the 2002 contest. Ten years ago, the You’re A Star format of selecting a Eurovision entry for Ireland was introduced, and Mickey Harte gave us a credible eleventh (joint) position in Riga in 2003. Chris Doran (2004) and Donna & Joe McCaul (2005) were less successful – the latter performers did not even qualify for the final. Brian Kennedy temporarily restored fortunes in Athens, 2006, when his own composition finished tenth in the Final. In 2007, the trad band Dervish, however, gave us our first bottom placing! Dustin won the national heat in Limerick in 2008, and went to Belgrade hoping to make it eight victories – it was not to be, especially as he didn’t make it past the semi-final stage. 2009 saw the girl band Sinéad Mulvey & Black Daisy narrowly miss a place in the final in Moscow with Et Cetera.
Now we’re in the 2010s, and former winner Niamh Kavanagh went to Oslo with a strong ballad, It’s For You, but finished way down the field. Former The X Factor contestants from Lucan, John & Edward Grimes, aka Jedward, won the national selections in 2011 and 2012 – mainly due to the huge under-16 female vote. The first of their entries, Lipstick, gave us a worthy eighth place in Düsseldorf two years ago. And the following year in Baku, Azerbaijan, the twins fared even worse, when Waterline plunged to nineteenth place on the night. As for 2013 in Malmö, Ryan Dolan plunged to last place in the Final with Only Love Survives.