Jurijus will represent Lithuania at Eurovision 2019. Here are 10 Things About…Jurijus!
1. Jurijus Veklenko was born on 6 July 1990 in the Lithuanian town of Klaipėda. He is also sometimes known simply as Jurijus.
2. Jurijus grew up in a family of musicians and so since early childhood he has always been surrounded by music. This spurred him on to join the school choir when in eighth-grade where his love and interest for music gained strength.
3. After moving to Lithuania’s capital Vilnius, Jurijus submerged himself in musical activities and participated in various music shows. He soon joined the band Rollics, but left the band in 2017 to pursue a solo career.
4. Jurijus currently works at an IT company and he says that ‘IT and music make up for a perfect combination, where monotony is being replaced by music and vice versa’.
5. In 2010 Jurijus auditioned for the TV show ‘Lithuania’s Got Talent’. He made it to the finals but only finished in ninth place. The winner of that season was the accordion player Martynas Levickis.
6. Jurijus also participated in second season of ‘The Voice of Lithuania’ (‘Lietuvos balsas’). After performing songs like Justin Timberlake’s ‘Rock Your Body’ and ‘Blurred Lines’ by Robin Thicke, he advanced to the top 12, but was eliminated before the final. Paulius Bagdanavičius was named the winner.
7. Jurijus won the popular Lithuanian TV show ‘We Are One Blood’ and subsequently released new music including the track ‘Kataris’.
8. Jurijus has a long history with Eurovision. He entered Eurovizijos in 2012 and 2014, however was eliminated in the first phase on both occasions. He has performed at the Eurovision Song Contest 2015 as one of the backing singers for Monika Linkytė and Vaidas Baumila in their performance of ‘This Time’ and along with the three other backing singers, he took part in a same-sex kiss as part of the final performance.
9. In 2017, Jurijus performed the main vocal for lip-sync drag-act Lolita Zero in her Eurovizijos national final entry ‘Get Frighten’. The performance came under criticism as the main performer didn’t actually sing the vocal live on stage. Eurovizijos producer at the time explained that in accordance with Eurovision rules, all the performance vocals were live and were only performed by the six people seen on stage.
10. In 2019 Jurijus returned to Eurovizijos in 2019, this time as a main solo act. His song ‘Run with the Lions’ finished in first place in the third heat, topping both the jury and the public vote. He achieved this feat again in the semi final and eventually won the final, again with maximum points from the jury and the public.