Here’s ten new tracks from your Eurovision faves to get your ears around! Back with new tracks this month are: Zoe (Austria, 2016), Mandinga (Romania, 2012), Frans (Sweden, 2016), Francesco Gabbani (Italy, 2017), Eric Saade (Sweden (2011), Jamala (Ukraine/Winner, 2016) as well as some of our faves from selection shows Samir och Viktor (Melfest) and Margaret (Krajowe Eliminacje 2016).
Zoe- ‘Dangerous Affair’
Zoe represented Austria at Eurovision 2016 with ‘Loin d’Ici’ which saw her take on the girl next door persona with a prim floral backdrops and a coy performance. The song finished in 13th place and helped to undo the MakeMakes’ nul point fiasco of the previous year. For her follow up single Zoe has changed tact. Instead of dancing in a field of luminous flowers, she’s dancing in a club. She’s exchanged coyness for sexiness and the result is a resounding success. The song ‘Dangerous Affair’ is a pop phenomenon and it reminds me of some of my favourite 00s artists like Holly Valance and Rachel Stevens.
Margaret- ‘What You Do’
When Margaret was in the running to be the Polish entry at Eurovision 2016 with her song ‘Cool Me Down’, she was responsible for Poland riding high in the bookies’ ranking. However when the broadcaster opted instead for Michal Szpak’s ‘Colour of My Life’, their odds plummeted drastically- a reaction perhaps to one of the greatest travesties in recent Eurovision history. Not perturbed by the result, Margaret’s career has gone from strength to strength with hit after hit including ‘Elephant’, ‘Blue Vibes’ and now this banger ‘What You Do’!
Mandiga’s ‘Zaleilah’ gave Romania a twelfth place finish in 2012. Since Eurovision Mandinga released a string of singles in 2013 including ‘Papichulo’, ‘The Mac Mac Song’, ‘La Vita E Bella’ and ‘Cinema’ but since then all has been quiet from the band. This changed this month when they unveiled new song ‘Besame’ and it’s one worth a listen. The melodic, Latino beat with drums, rap and repetition of ‘Besame (Kiss Me)’ will have you wanting to chill by the pool with a rum cocktail. If you’ve played out Daddy Yankee/Bieber’s ‘Despacito’, this is a nice chill alternative.
Francesco Gabbani- ‘Tra le granite e le granate’
Francesco Gabbani has ditched the gorilla that accompanied him for Eurovision 2017 hit ‘Occidentali’s Karma’ and has gone for a more summery beach vibe on new single ‘Tra Le Granite E Le Granate’. The song’s title literally translated into English as ‘Between the Granite and the Grenades’ is an odd choice in title given the completely chilled out vibe, triumphant fanfares and raspy vocals from Francesco. Despite this it is a solid effort and an improvement on his Eurovision attempt that felt gimmicky and underwhelming (still better than Portugal though!).
I don’t know how much I can convey how much I detest Frans. His greasy topknotted hair, his smug little millennial face, his poor vocal range, his nonsensical lyrics. As a result he received four nominations and two award wins for the bad categories at our first ever Eurovision NI Awards in 2016. His style of pop ripped off from Justin Bieber offers nothing new and what’s more ‘If I Were Sorry’ is just a terrible song. Needless to say I was less than enthused when he announced that his next single ‘Liar’ is a sequel to that very song. However, I must eat my hat at this point. The song is actually a lot better than expected and I would even go as far as saying I like it. Don’t tell anyone!
Nina Zilli- ‘Mi hai fatto fare tardi’
Nina Zilli registered on my radar following Eurovision 2012, where her song soulful, jazzy song ‘L’amore e feminina’ was easily one of my favourites in the field that year. She ultimately lost out to Loreen’s ‘Euphoria’ and she placed ninth for Italy. Since Eurovision Nina has released two LP albums ‘L’amore è femmina’ in 2012 and ‘Frasi & fumo’ in 2015 and is back with the lead single ‘Mi Hai Fatto Fare Tardi’ from her next album. The song is similar in style to her Eurovision song, however instead of having trumpetty jazz, it sounds a bit more contemporary and poppy.
Samir Och Viktor- ‘Kung’
‘Bada Naka’, ‘Groupie’, ‘Saxofuckingfon’, ‘Fick Feeling’ forms our favourite Melfest cheeky chappies Samir and Viktor’s already impressive back catalogue of hits. The first two of these songs competed in Melfest 2015 and 2016 and the latter two are their subsequent releases. There was a period of worry when we thought the duo had gone their separate ways, when they had announced a hiatus to focus on solo careers, but this was short lived as they have now got back together for this their comeback single ‘Kung’. We couldn’t be happier! ‘Kung’ has whistles, chanting vocals and topbantz from the sexy pair!
Jamala- ‘I Believe In U’
It is a recent tradition that the reigning Eurovision champ return to Eurovision a year later in their home country to perform their follow up single as part of the Eurovision live shows. Loreen came back with ‘We Got The Power’ in 2013, Emmelie De Forest debuted ‘Rainmaker’ in 2014, Conchita gave us ‘We Are Unstoppable’ and ‘Firestorm’ in 2015 and Mans returned with ‘Fire In the Rain’ last year. All eyes were on Jamala, as she continued this tradition when she took to the Eurovision 2017 stage to perform ‘I Believe In U’ the follow up to her Eurovision winning song ‘1944’. Distancing herself slightly from the serious content of ‘1944’, ‘I Believe In U’ is a much more traditional pop song, again it highlights her powerful vocals but has a more old school soul/R n B ballad vibe.
Ilinca yodelled her way to a Eurovision top ten finish last month with partner Alex Florea (remember that awkward kiss?). Their song ‘Yodel It!’ captured the hearts of Eurovision audiences internationally and gave Romania one of their best results in recent years, finishing seventh. Now begins Ilinca’s solo career with new tune ‘Amici’. ‘Amici’ is a melancholic ballad about jealousy and the video features her Eurovision partner Alex Florea (with no eyes) and Ilinca arguing on a mountainside road.
Eric Saade- ‘Another Week’
Eric Saade is possibly my favourite Eurovision participant every. He impressed me when he sang ‘Manboy’ during Melfest 2010 and went one step even further when he represented Sweden in 2011. He was robbed of a victory by Azerbaijan’s Ell and Nikki when ‘Running Scared’ beat ‘Popular’. Since Eurovision Eric has released a number of delightfully pop filled albums and has spawned the hits ‘Killed By a Cop’, ‘It’s Gonna Rain’, ‘Masquerade’, ‘Break of Dawn’, duets with Tone Damli ‘Imagine’, J-Son ‘Hearts In the Air’ and Dev ‘Hotter Than Fire’, returned to Melfest with ‘Sting’ in 2015, sang the Women’s UEFA Euro Cup song ‘Winning Ground’ in 2013 and had a string of hits in 2016 including ‘Colors’ and ‘Wide Awake’. He returns in 2017 with ‘Another Week’, a chilled, autotuned pop song in a similar vein to Bieber’s ‘Sorry’.