With the thrill ride that was Eurovision 2018 now over us, we look towards new music from our past contestants. Hot off the heels of their appearance this year, we get new tracks from UK artist SuRie, Italy’s Ermal Meta and Armenian representative Sevak Khanagyan. Also joining the May line up of new music is 2017 Eurovision champ Salvador Sobral, Austria’s Nathan Trent who teams up with J-MOX, Belgian artist Blanche, Sweden’s Robin Bengtsson and a duet from Melfest winner and runner up (and best mates) Benjamin Ingrosso and Felix Sandman.
Nathan Trent and J-MOX- ‘Secrets’
Nathan Trent was ‘Running On Air’ at Eurovision 2017 and finished mid table for Austria. Following that he was giving us ‘Good Vibes’ which was one of our favourite tracks from last year and now here he is again with ‘Secrets’. The song sees him working with British producer J-MOX and is a summer jam with an infectious chorus. The video is a bit of craic with Nathan and his mates having a rooftop barbecue and sees them carry out a fun dance routine.
Sevak Khanagyan ft Lyudmila Sokolova- ‘Я чувствую кожей’
Fresh from his Eurovision appearance earlier this month, Sevak is wasting no time in releasing new music. His Eurovision number ‘Qami’ failed to make it to the Grand Final (the first time Armenia have failed to qualify since 2011). His new duet with Lydmila Sokolova ‘Я чувствую кожей’ is a dull collaboration that lacks any chemistry.
Morland teamed up with Debrah Scarlatt to give Norway one of their best results in recent years back in 2015. The song ‘Monster Like Me’ finished in eighth and since then both singers have gone their separate ways and have had impressive solo singles. Debrah’s song ‘Cyncial Youth’ was one of our favourites from 2017, while we’ve been impressed with Morland’s 2016 releases ‘Make a Sail’ and ‘Skin’. Two years on and he’s been back in the studio and treats us to his latest single ‘Leo’. The song is a beautiful ballad about his son and what it means to be a father.
Benjamin Ingrosso and Felix Sandman- ‘Tror du att Han Bryr Sig’
Best mates and Melfest rivals Benjamin Ingrosso and Felix Sandman team up for new track ‘Tror du att Han Bryr Sig’. The two young guys went head to head at the Swedish selection show in March with Felix losing out to Benjamin by 20 points. Benjamin proved popular with audiences at Eurovision when his song ‘Dance You Off’ came seventh. Putting their rivalry behind them, their new collaboration is a rejuvenating pop song which showcases their friendship and the ease with which they can work with each other. Bromance is alive and well.
Ermal Meta- ‘Dall’alba al tramonto’
Ermal Meta’s 2018 Eurovision collaboration with Fabrizio Moro ‘No mi avete fatto niente’ gave Italy a fifth place finish. Now comes his first release since their great Eurovision result. The song entitled ‘Dall’alba al tramonto’ (‘From Sunrise to Sunset’) takes on less of a political slant and more of a pop rock vibe.
Salvador Sobral- ‘Mano a Mano’
Salvador Sobral has made quite the name for himself. Following his Eurovision win in 2017 he proclaimed that ‘music is not fireworks’ which was seen by many as a criticism of Eurovision and their bubblegum pop music and over the top performances. His comments split fans’ opinions. Many took his comments as him trying to claim that the music he creates is more worthwhile and more artistic than some of the other artists he competed against. He has been out of action in the intervening months between his win and Lisbon hosting Eurovision 2018 mainly due to health issues. His comeback song is called ‘Mano a Mano’. I’ll be clear from the outset that I am not a fan of Salvador. I immensely dislike ‘Amar Pelos Dois’ and don’t see why so many accolades and plaudits continually come his way. Therefore the likelihood of me enjoying new music from him are incredibly slim. Having said that I came to ‘Mano a Mano’ with an open mind and open ears but my preconceptions were proven right. Salvador is just really annoying and places more worth in his music than is warranted. The song just sounds like a boring Elbow album track.
Blanche- ‘Wrong Turn’
Belgium were riding a euphoric wave of top 10 finishes when they selected Blanche to represent them at Eurovision 2017. The young pop princess did not disappoint when her melancholic vocal on track ‘City Lights’ continued this streak placing 4th. ‘Wrong Turn’ is the hotly anticipated follow up track and has Blanche’s trademark vocals stamped all over it.
Zoe has been a busy woman since her appearance at Eurovision 2016. Her song ‘Loin d’Ici’ finished 13th in the Grand Final. Since then she has been invited to assist San Marino with their selection process earlier this year where she not only acted as a judge for 1in360, but she also wrote over half of the songs that were in the running for the Contest including the winning song ‘Who We Are’. Not only has she had songwriting success but she has had success as a singer too, having released the brilliant ‘Dangerous Affair’ last year which was one of the nominees for Best New Song at the Eurovision NI Awards 2017. It appears she has done it again with new song ‘Heartbreaker’. It is an instant hit. The vocals simultaneously remind me of a Kylie Minogue song and Susan Sarrandon in Rocky Horror-esque a la ‘Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch Me’. The lyrics brings to life Zoe’s musings over a relationship where she is awaiting a response from her beau ‘a text will be fine!’.
Kasia Mos and Norma John- ‘Wild Eyes’
Post Eurovision collaborations are proving to be more and more popular. There was girl band supergroup consisting of Tamar Kaprelian, Elhaida Dani, Elina Born, Maria-Elena Kyriakou and Stephanie Topalian, while earlier this year JOWST teamed up with Kristian Kostov for new track ‘Burning Bridges’. Now it is Poland’s Kasia Mos and Finnish duo Norma John’s turn to make music together. The song entitled ‘Wild Eyes’ sees the best of both artists shine through. The hauntingly melancholic vocals from Norma John are well balanced with the more power ballad pop we know Kasia Mos for. The collaboration works really well and gives a country folk sound with some indie electronica thrown in for good measure, think if Moya Brennan was mixed with the Civil Wars. The music video is also outstanding, taking in lots of beautiful scenery; forests, waterfall, ocean, icy landscapes and the Northern Lights.
Robin Bengtsson- ‘Liar’
Robin Bengtsson is proving to be a pop tour de force. He gave Sweden yet another top five finish at Eurovision 2017 with the phenomenal ‘I Can’t Go On’, having already been on our radar since his debut at Melfest the previous year with ‘Constellation Prize’. Since competing at Eurovision he has treated us to two more cracking hits ‘Day By Day’ and ‘Dark Angel’. He seems to be on the money yet again with his latest release ‘Liar’. The song is a moody reflection on a failing relationship. Robin belts out ‘I’m trying to let go! But it’s tough when you’re such a liar!’ in the melodic chorus. The song has a great mix of tender moments in the verses where Robin seems broody, and the great pop hook in the chorus.
Sanna Nielsen- Det Vander Nu’
Sanna Nielsen is probably one of the most persistent pop stars in Sweden. She competed in the Swedish Eurovision selection show a massive seven times before she was finally selected to represent her country at Eurovision 2014 with ‘Undo’. The song was an early favourite from the outset, but managed only third on the night, finishing behind Austria’s Conchita Wurst and Dutch band the Common Linnets. Sanna has released a number of Swedish language songs in the interim including the 2017 singles ‘Inte ok’ and ‘Innan du lämnar mig’. 2018 seems to have more of the same, as she releases new single ‘Det Vander Nu’ which is an out and out schlager ballad. This is the realm where Sanna is most comfortable and most successful, as she proved with past hits ‘Undo’ and ‘Empty Room’.
Severina- ‘Unaprijed Gotovo’
Severina is one of Croatia’s most influential people, a position that was cemented by her 12th place finish for her country at Eurovision 2006. Her song ‘Moja Štikla’ is the culmination of a sustained pop career that has spanned ten albums released over almost 30 years in the business. Her latest effort ‘Unaprijed Gotovo’ is a collaboration with fellow Croatian artist Petar Graso. It sees her draw on Spanish music traditions with the strumming of acoustic guitars and a vocal that almost has the power of a Flamenco song.
SuRie- ‘Taking It Over’
Everyone’s hearts went out to SuRie during her performance at the Eurovision Final earlier this month when ‘Storm’ was interrupted by a stage invasion. SuRie showed her strength when she powered on through the performance and despite only finishing 24th of 26 songs, SuRie became a household name because of her perseverance and fortitude. Her follow up single which was written as part of the UK songwriting bootcamp for Eurovision 2018, but was not selected for the process is called ‘Taking It Over’. The song is a morose but catchy track about taking back control in a relationship. SuRie’s vocal borders on a whisper but is captivating and the juxtaposition with the xylophonic dance backing track is very effective.
Maria Olafs- ‘Haekka Í botn’
Iceland have had a bad run of luck at Eurovision in recent years with strong songs from the likes of Svala, Greta Salome and Maria Olafs failing to qualify for the final. This is a huge injustice as all three songs (but in particular ‘Unbroken’ by Maria Olafs) are all amazing. That said, the three ladies continue to give us hit after hit. Svala with her band Blissful, Greta with her mix of pop tunes and ballads and now Maria Olafs follows up her 2016 releases ‘Baby Take the Wheel’ and ‘Stronger’ with her first track of 2018 ‘Haekka Í botn’. The song which means ‘Rise to the Bottom’ is a fun pop track that wouldn’t seem out of place on an Arianna Grande album.
ManuElla- The Sound
ManuElla attempted to bring country pop a la Taylor Swift to Eurovision 2015 with track ‘Blue and Red’. While unsuccessful in reaching the final, she has continued with her career, applying again to the Slovenian selection show EMA in 2018, although she was not chosen. Her latest track ‘The Sound’ is a moody, melancholic ballad with an uproarious chorus.
Sergey Lazarev- ‘Paparazzi’
Russian Eurovision 2016 participant and all round hunk Sergey Lazarev continues to take the Russian charts by storm. Having finished third with impressive staging and mid-tempo song ‘You Are the Only One’, he has released various tracks since including ‘Breaking Away’, ‘Lucky Stranger’ and a whopping nine other tracks. His latest effort, ‘Paparazzi’ is another mid tempo autotuned Russian language song. The song is okay but doesn’t have the pop hook of previous hits.
Michal Szpak- ‘King of the Season’
Polish singer Michal Szpak stunned Eurovision viewers in 2016 when he jumped from 25th to 8th when the public votes were added to his song ‘Colour of Your Life’. Since the Contest he has joined the judging panel of The Voice of Poland and his musical offerings have included ‘Rosanna’, ‘Tic Tac Clock’ and ‘Don’t Poison Your Heart’. In 2018 he returns with ‘King of the Season’, a lack-lustre song with some piano, slow guitar and a whiny vocal from Michal.
Check back for our next new music round up at the end of June!