RTÉ has announced the five acts and songs that will compete to represent Ireland at the 60th Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna this year. The finalists are: Alex Saint and the MJs; Kat Mahon; Erika Selin; Nikki Kavanagh; and Molly Sterling.
The acts will perform their songs live at Eurosong on the Late Late Show on Friday 27 February.
Zambian-born artist Alex Saint moved to London at the tender age of 15 where he learned his rapping skills. He moved to Belfast where he currently performs in many R&B clubs. The track, 'She's So Fine', is written by Tony Adams-Rosa who has been a Eurosong finalist many times. Alex is accompanied by the MJ's, a young female vocal group hailing from Co Derry. Alex says: 'The Eurovision is a brilliant contest and this song is a real winner. I feel this is the year of the rap!'
From a young age Kat Mahon (28) from Newtownforbes, now living in Drumlish Co Longford, had a keen interest in music. She was one of the singers in the band Lilac Blues which made it to the semi-finals of RTE's The All Ireland Talent Show and has played support for artists including Delerontos and John Spillane. She was also Longford's 2014 representative in The Rose of Tralee. Kat sings 'Anybody Got a Shoulder', which was written by veteran singer-songwriter and previous Eurovision winner Charlie McGettigan. Kat says: 'Charlie McGettigan approached me to do vocals and I jumped at the opportunity to work with him. I am over the moon that it's been selected as one of the final five songs and I'm now eager to get up a perform it!'
Erika Selin (23) is from Sweden. She has participated in the talent shows Idols and Talang. 'Break me up' is an up-tempo pop song, composed by Gustav Eurén, Niclas Arn and Danne Attlerud. Erika says: 'I am very proud to be a part of Eurosong 2015 since Ireland is one of the absolute top nations in the Eurovision Song Contest with a tremendous track record, always producing great songs.'
Nikki Kavanagh has performed at venues including The National Concert Hall and Vicar Street as well as touring extensively in Ireland and Europe. In 2010 she was part of the Irish Eurovision team headed by Niamh Kavanagh and in 2011 she missed out to Jedward to represent Ireland. Nikki's song 'Memories' is written by Lee Anna James, Elena Morosanu, Simon Gribbe, Johnny Sanchez and Dimitri Stassos. Nikki says: 'I'm a huge Eurovision fan; I've been there before and would love more than anything to go back as lead vocalist representing our country. As for our song, it's current, it's edgy and I think it will help us stand out against the rest of Europe.'
Molly Sterling (16) is a self-taught musician from Nenegh in Co Tipperary. She and songwriter Greg French co-wrote 'Playing with Numbers' as part of her upcoming album. The song is about the risks people take every day in love and in life, and the experiences of taking the road less travelled. Molly says: 'As a performing artist it's rare to get the opportunity to represent your country. To be selected to do so would be an honour and a great responsibility that I would proudly embrace.'
The Ray D'arcy Show on RTÉ Radio One will debut the five songs today (Monday, 9 February), from 3pm. The winning act will be selected on Eurosong 2014 on The Late Late Show on Friday 27 February. As was the case in previous years, Ireland's Eurovision entry will be selected by a combination of public and regional jury vote. The Eurovision Song Contest, which celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, will be held in Vienna, Austria. Ireland will compete in the second semi-final on 21 May. The final takes places on Saturday 23 May.
Michael Kealy, Executive Producer Eurovision said: 'This year we've gone back to basics. We did a call out to songwriters in October and got over 300 entries. The five that have been shortlisted represent a range of genres and styles. Eurovision is more than just a big entertaining extravaganza; it offers an exciting opportunity to up-and-coming performers to be seen and heard by millions.'
Song: She's So Fine
Artist: Alex Saint
Composer: Tony Adams-Rosa/Alex Saint
Song:Break Me Up
Artist: Erika Selin
Composer: Niclas Arn/Gustav Euren/Danne Attlerud
Song: Playing With Numbers
Artist: Molly Sterling
Composer:Greg French/ Molly Sterling
Song: Anybody Got a Shoulder
Artist: Kathleen Mahon
Composer: Charlie McGettigan