Bilal Hassani will represent France at Eurovision 2019. Here are 10 Things About…Bilal Hassani!
1. Bilal Hassani was born on 9 September 1999 and is a French singer and YouTuber.
2. Bilal was born in Paris to a Moroccan Muslim family from Casablanca. His mother is a naturalised French citizen, while his father lives in Singapore. He has an older brother, Taha, who was born in 1995. He started singing at the age of 5 in front of his family, then began singing lessons.
3. In 2015, his friend Nemo Schiffman (who won the previous season) encouraged Bilal to try out for the second season of The Voice Kids. Bilal performed Conchita’s ‘Rise Like a Phoenix’ for his blind auditions and joined the team of judge Patrick Fiori. He was subsequently eliminated in the battle rounds when he went up against Lenni-Kim.
4. On 23 June 2017, Hassani publicly announced his homosexuality on social networks the day before he went to Paris Pride. Bilal is a noted LGBT role model. He was included in the LGBT magazine Têtu’s ’30 LGBT+ People who moved France’ in 2018. The magazine described him as ‘an icon for French LGBT+ youth’.
5. Bilal 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.
6. Bilal counts Freddie Mercury, David Bowie and Michael Jackson, as well as ’90s divas such as Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston among his major influences. He has covered songs like ‘Djadja’ by Aya Nakumura and ‘Made for Now’ by Janet Jackson, both of whom have seen the performances and reacted very positively, praising the singer’s ability.
7. While Bilal has yet to release an official album, he has put out music like the tracks ‘Wanna Be’, ‘Follow Me’, ‘House Down’, ‘Shadows’ and collaborations ‘Heaven With You’ (with Anton Wick), ‘Hot City’ (with Leon Markcus ) and ‘Mash Up’ (with Copines x Tout oublier).
8. On 6 December 2018, Bilal was announced as one of the 18 candidates participating in Destination Eurovision, the French national selection process for the Eurovision Song Contest 2019. He qualified from his semi final to the final and won the final of the contest with 200 points. 150 of these points came from the public televote, almost three times more than any other competitor in the contest.
9. Bilal’s song ‘Roi’ was co-written by duo Madame Monsieur who won Destination Eurovision the year before with their song ‘Mercy’. They note that the song is all about self-acceptance.
10. Shortly after the announcement that he was to compete in Destination Eurovision, Bilal began receiving harassing messages on social media. The cyber-harassment messages included racist and homophobic abuse and death threats. In response to this, the organizations Urgence Homophobie and Stop Homophobie joined forces to take legal action against anyone who has insulted, discriminated against or threatened him on social networks, including Twitter. By 27 January 2019, the two organizations already identified 1,500 insulting, discriminating or hateful tweets because of his sexual orientation and/or physical appearance.