RTÉ ANNOUNCE EUROSONG 2008 FINALISTS
RTÉ today announced the six Eurosong 2008 finalists, as selected from the public competition. The song contest was open to songwriters from outside of Ireland and almost two hundred entries were received from both home and abroad. In a change from the last two years of the competition when composers were invited to write a song for an act chosen by RTÉ, this year entrants were asked to submit the package of song and performer.
These six songs will be performed on Eurosong 2008 and broadcast live from Limerick on Saturday 23 February, when the public will decide who will represent Ireland at the Eurovision Semi–Final in Belgrade.
The final six songs are:
• “Double Cross My Heart” performed by Donal Skehan. Composed by Joel Humlén, Oscar Gorres and Charlie Mason.
• “Irelande Douze Pointe” performed by Dustin The Turkey. Composed by Darren Smith, Simon Fine and Dustin The Turkey.
• “Time to Rise” performed by Maya. Composed by Maja Slatinsek and Ziga Pirnat.
• “Not Crazy After All” Performed by Leona Daly. Composed by Leona Daly and Steve Booker.
• “Sometimes” performed by Liam Geddes written by Susan Hewitt
• “Chances” written and performed Marc Roberts
The songs will be performed in the order above as drawn by independent auditor Michael O’Neill of Price Waterhouse Coopers.
The final six songs were chosen by a judging panel chaired by television producer Bill Hughes and included singer/songwriter Eleanor McEvoy, former Eurovision winning singer/songwriter Charlie McGettigan, showbiz agent/choreographer Julian Benson and RTÉ’s Assistant Commissioning Editor, Entertainment, Julian Vignoles.
Bill Hughes, Chairperson of the Eurosong 2008 judging panel said, “This year RTÉ decided to take a different approach to Eurovision putting emphasis on performance and stage appeal as well as finding a cracking song. The judging panel was delighted with the standard of the entries and each and every one of these six acts would do us proud on the Eurovision stage. Best of luck to all of the finalists. It’s now up to the public to decide who will represent us in Belgrade in May!”
Eurosong 2008 will be presented by Ray D’Arcy and broadcast live from University Concert Hall Limerick on Saturday 23 February. The live show will be broadcast from 7-8pm and voting lines will open (phone and text) only after all six acts have performed. The public will then decide which song will represent Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest on 20 May. The winner will be announced in a live results show at 9.30pm.
RTÉ is inviting members of the public to join the audience for Eurosong 2008 with tickets being made available on a first come first served basis from 9am on Monday 4 February from the UCHL box office.
This year, all countries barring the UK, Spain, Germany, France and last year’s winner Serbia, must compete in one of two Semi-Finals to qualify for the Eurovision Final on Saturday 24 May. Ireland has been drawn to compete in the first Semi-Final on Tuesday 20 May.
Issued: Sunday 3 February.
Contact: Sharon Brady, Senior Press and Publicity Officer, RTÉ Television. Tel: 2083161/087 6858975
INFORMATION ON PERFORMERS AND SONGWRITERS
“Double Cross My Heart” performed by Donal Skehan composed by Joel Humlén, Oscar Gorres and Charlie Mason.
21 year-old Donal Skehan began performing at the age of four. Throughout his youth he performed in numerous school musicals, choirs and local shows. In 2005 Donal beat off hundreds of auditionees to gain a place in the International boyband, Streetwize. Donal set off with the band on a worldwide search for its final member and during this time acted as spokesperson making several TV and radio appearances in the UK, Sweden and America.
After leaving the band in 2006, Donal went on to study TV presentation, production and direction and secured a producing and part-time presenting role in the music channel, Bubble Hits.
Donal says, “music and Eurovision have always been a key part of my life and it was no surprise to my family and friends that I decided to submit a song for this year’s Eurosong. Ireland has an amazing history at Eurovision and I want to bring back that sense of national pride. Let’s show Europe we still have it!”
Oscar Gorres has previously collaborated with international hitmakers such as Bryan Todd (Josh Kelly, Ashley Tisdale) and Jörgen Elofsson (Westlife, Britney Spears). He has also written and produced tracks for Swedish singer Danny Saucedo’s number one album and for top-selling German popstars, Marquess.
A native of Sweden, 20 year-old Joel Humlén is singer, writer and producer and has co-written with artists and composers ranging from Swedish singer Danny Saucedo to KayJ and The Provider. While New Orleans native Charlie Mason has seen his material recorded and released by artists such as American Idol’s Sarah Burgess, Monrose (Germany’s No. 1 girl group), Danny Saucedo and Russian heartthrob Sergey Lazarev.
“Irelande Douze Pointe” performed by Dustin The Turkey. Composed by Darren Smith, Simon Fine and Dustin The Turkey.
Dustin has been a star since the 1980’s when he joined The Den with fellow puppets Zig and Zag. Dustin has already recorded six albums, and performed duets with artists such as Bob Geldof, Chris De Burgh, Ronnie Drew, Dervla Kirwan and the late Joe Dolan. He currently presents “The Once A Week Show” with Sinead Ni Churnain on Saturday mornings on RTÉ Two.
After a number of years in the wilderness Dustin The Turkey says he has decided to return to the recording studio in an effort to restore his nation’s position as the High Kings Of Eurovision. He says it’s a selfless act based on his desire to help his country as he believes there is a direct link between the recent downturn in the economy, his lack of musical output and our poor showing in the Eurovision over the last number of years.
Darren Smith, Simon Fine and Dustin The Turkey have collaborated on “Crazy Turkey” from Dustin’s bestselling album “Bling When Your Minging”.
“Time to Rise” performed by Maya. Music by Maja Slatinsek and Ziga Pirnat. Lyrics by Ziga Pirnat.
22 year-old Maya is one of the most promising and esteemed singers in Slovenia and the surrounding region. She comes from a small remote village in Slovenia and began singing on TV when she was five years old and won several international children’s singing contests abroad. After her first appearance at the Slovenian National Eurovision selection in 2004, she was recognised as one of the most talented young singers in the country. She followed the success of many famous Slovenian singers when she went on to perform and win at the HIT Festival (The Festival of Slovenian Radio Station) later that year. Maya went on to perform at festivals in Slovenia and abroad while studying music at the University of Ljubljana. An accomplished performer, she was a backing singer for many famous Slovenian and European performers and in 2006 she was a backing singer for Slovenia’s Anzej Dezan at the Eurovision Song Contest in Athens.
Maya, who is well known in Eurovision fan community, performed live on TV many times. She sings with symphonic orchestras, big bands, as well as her young pop rock group Fish ’n’ Chips. Maya is also a great fan of Ireland and Irish music. She has always hoped for a chance to perform in Ireland.
The song “Time to Rise” was co-written by Ziga Pirnat. Maya and Ziga met in 2006 when he joined her group Fish ’n’ Chips as the keyboard player and this is their first joint project. Ziga, who was also raised in a village in the Slovenian countryside, started learning piano when he was very young and soon began composing and writing poetry. Ziga says he’s very enthusiastic about the project as he is a great admirer of Irish culture and language. His dream is to someday produce a song as Gaeilge. Maya and Ziga consider their selection for the Irish Eurosong competition to be their “greatest personal victory”.
Ziga says, “the song ‘Time To Rise’ is about unnecessary worries of our everday life. There are many people in the world with much worse problems than our own; with a life that we can hardly imagine. We should think of them when facing our ‘small’ problems and try to find and do those little things that make the world a better place”.
“Not Crazy After All” performed by Leona Daly, composed by Leona Daly and Steve Booker.
Dublin born Leona Daly’s career path has taken her from Dublin to Nashville by way of London. In Nashville, she won the respect and support of Oscar nominated Music Row songwriting giant Sharon Vaughan.
‘I kept going over and back. I love Nashville, it’s just all about music. It was a great place for me to learn my songwriting craft’
That led to a meeting with English songman Steve Booker, who has co-written ‘Not Crazy After All’. Steve’s compositions have been recorded by Stevie Nicks, Natalie Imbruglia, Jack Savoretti and most recently Duffy. Together Daly and Booker have formed a powerful songwriting bond, working with producer Jon Kelly (Kate Bush, Beautiful South, Deacon Blue)
Leona started singing when she was four and she achieved her first chart success when she recorded a cover of Cat Stevens vintage song ‘Where Do Children Play’ for a charity album.
A confirmed Eurovision fan, Leona says
‘It’s a fantastic competition, and one that Ireland has tended to do well in over the years. I hope I can be a part of that success and do my country proud’
“Sometimes” performed by Liam Geddes and written by Susan Hewitt
At just 17 years old, Ballina native Liam Geddes is the youngest performer in Eurosong 2008. Liam has been singing and performing for a number of years in musicals, charitable events and as a guest soloist. In the past twelve months he has sung at the Green Glens Arena, Millstreeet to an audience of over 2000 people. Liam was the highest placed and youngest Irish competitor on X Factor 2007.
Liam says, “It would mean the world to me to represent my country in Eurovision”.
Susan Hewitt from Kilmore in Armagh, was born in Belfast and began her musical studies with piano lessons at 6 years old. She studied music at Queens University before becoming a secondary school music teacher and setting up her own private piano teaching practice. Now a full-time mother of three, Susan is studying classical violin and also enjoys writing. Entering the Eurovision has been on Susan’s “to do” list for quite a few years.
Liam and Susan’s entry is also the only cross-border collaboration in the competition. The song was written specifically for Liam for the 2008 Eurosong competition. They first met in November and the song was composed over the following months. Susan says, “‘Sometimes’ is a love song as all the best songs are”.
“Chances” written and performed Marc Roberts
Talented singer/songwriter Marc Roberts is both the performer and composer of “Chances”. Originally from Mayo and now based in Galway, Marc is no stranger to Eurovision. He previously represented Ireland coming second in the 1997 Eurovision Song Contest with “Mysterious Women” which reached number 2 in the Irish charts.
Marc’s debut album was released in 1998 and featured six of his own original compositions highlighting his writing talent. “Meet Me Half Way” & “Once In Your Life” followed. Marc is currently working on his fourth album which will include co-writes with Jimmy MacCarthy and Winsten Sela from the USA. Marc’s albums are licensed to record companies in both the US and Australia, where he tours regularly.
Marc was also selected to perform alongside Mick Hanly, Sinead Lohan, Charlie McGettigan, Eleanor McEvoy and Jimmy MacCarthy to represent Ireland in a showcase of best Irish song writing talent and impressed a specially invited audience of top music publishers and industry representatives in America. His shows have sold out the National Concert Hall and Cork Opera house amongst others. Marc plans to tour Ireland, Germany, America and Australia later this year,
See www.marcroberts.ie for further details