It’s the Late Late Eurosong 2014 special this week as this year’s Eurovision entry is decided live on the show. Join host Ryan Tubridy as he introduces the five acts in the running to represent Ireland at this year’s Eurovision in Denmark in May.
Last November RTÉ nominated five mentors with proven experience in the Irish music industry and asked each of them to select an act and a song which they believe has the potential to be a Eurovision winner.
The five acts were announced on 5 Feb and they are Patricia Roe, Eoghan Quigg, Can-linn, Andrew Mann and Laura O’Neill.
Valerie Roe chose her sister, Eurosong veteran Patricia Roe and her self-penned song Don’t Hold On; Mark Murphy selected Eoghan Quigg and The Movie Song, which was written by Karl Broderick; Hazel Kaneswaran chose Can-linn, featuring Kasey Smith, to perform a song called Heartbeat which Hazel composed along with Jonas Gladnikoff, Rasmus Palmgren and Patrizia Helander; mentor Cormac Battle wrote Be Mine for Andrew Mann to perform; and Aslan’s Billy McGuinness chose Laura O’Neill as his act and the song You Don’t Remember Me, which was composed by Don Mescall and Lucie Silvas.
The winning act will be selected on Eurosong 2014 on The Late Late Show on Friday 28 February. As was the case in previous years, Ireland’s Eurovision entry will be selected by a combination of public and regional jury vote.
This year’s Eurovision will be held in Copenhagen, Denmark, with Ireland competing in the second semi-final on Thursday 8 May. The Eurovision final takes place on Saturday 10 May.
Patricia Roe (Mentor: Valerie Roe)
Born in Enniskerry, Co Wicklow, Patricia already has a relationship with Eurovision, having placed runner up to both Linda Martin and Niamh Kavanagh in consecutive Eurosongs in 1992 and 1993; both of the former went on to win the Eurovision outright in their respective years. Patricia also sang for Malta in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1994. When approached by Eurosong 2014 mentor Valerie, after a 20 year break from the competition, Patricia felt it was an easy decision.
Patricia trained as both a dancer and a singer as a child, so much so that her actual singing career started when she was just 14 years old. She has performed throughout the world as both a soloist and backing vocalist from as far east as Singapore to the far western desert plains of Las Vegas, where she lived on two occasions. She has been a professional singer her entire life.
Her mentor and sister Valerie Roe said: ‘My vision for Ireland this year is to go back to our roots with a powerful song and an exceptional singer with strong production and the artistic style that Ireland is famed for worldwide. Don’t Hold On is a compelling and passionate song that makes my heart beat faster but also break a little bit at the same time! I want this opportunity so much for Trisha. She has been so close so many times. I think this will be her chance to finally shine and for everyone to experience her extraordinary talent. Trisha was always my chosen singer, without question. We were so thankful for all the songs we received but in the end we felt that Don’t Hold On had the best chance. Trisha is stunning inside and out and I think her powerful voice, arresting stage presence and beautiful song will capture everyone’s hearts.’
Eoghan Quigg (Mentor: Mark Murphy)
Eoghan Quigg was just 16 when he shot to fame in X Factor but his love of singing started much earlier. From the age of two he sang along to Disney films but really discovered his vocal talent performing as part of his school choir. Just a few years later there he was performing live on TV to millions of viewers. Building up strong support along the way he made it to the final but was pipped at the post. He went on the tour with X Factor Live, released his debut self titled album (which reached number 1) and continued doing what he loved best, performing live. Eoghan also supported Boyzone as special guest on their UK and Ireland tour. Then he made a big decision. Having stepping out of school to follow his X Factor dream, he felt it was time to go back and complete his GCSEs. At the same time Eoghan learned to play acoustic guitar and took up acting but singing and performing continued to be a big part of his life. Now he is looking forward for his next challenge, working with Mark Murphy and hoping to bring The Movie Song, composed by Karl Broderick, all the way to Eurovision.
Karl Broderick is no stranger to Eurovision. His song Love? was the Irish entry in 2005 and spent three months in the charts. In 2011 Karl was involved in the Romanian search for their song for Eurovision too. He has won The Nivita song contest (a competition which was at the time had the highest prize money for any song contest in Europe) and has represented Ireland at both the Alexandria song contest in Egypt and the Cairo song festival. Forthcoming projects include working with top producer Novel (among the artists Novel has worked with are Beyoncé and Leona Lewis).
Mentor Mark Murphy said: ‘Any 15-year-old told ‘You’ve got it’ by Simon Cowell has to have talent and I believe my act Eoghan Quigg has all the qualities needed to represent Ireland at the highest level. Eoghan has proven he is at ease performing in front of millions of viewers and now at 21 years old I feel it is the right time for him to make Ireland proud and represent our country at Eurovision 2014. The Movie Song is a timeless pop song and along with Eoghan’s vocal and performance I feel it is a winning combination.’
Can-linn (Mentor: Hazel Kaneswaran)
Can-linn is a collaborative music act featuring traditional Irish instruments such as the bodhrán and fiddle, complimented by the urban-styled vocals of Kasey Smith, who rose to fame with the BT Music Award nominated girlband Wonderland in 2010 under the tutelage of Louis Walsh and Kian Egan.
Heartbeat was co-written by an experienced team of Irish and Swedish songwriters: Hazel Kaneswaran an Irish singer/songwriter who sang for Dove in 1996 and has since presented numerous TV shows and performed around the country; Jonas Gladnikoff, who wrote two successful Irish Eurovision entries including It’s For You by Niamh Kavanagh in 2010; Rasmus Palmgren, writer of the current Swedish Idol winning song; and Patrizia Helander, Swedish Idol 2007 finalist and experimental artist.
Hazel believes that Can-linn’s entry Heartbeat is a passionate song that reflects Ireland’s will to rise again as a nation and shows why we are recognised globally as makers of fine music.
She said: ‘Being a mentor in Eurosong has been a joy. I chose a great pop song with a Celtic twist as I love traditional Irish music. The name ‘Can-linn’ is derived from the Irish ‘to sing together’. I think that’s appropriate as we want to work together and bring the Eurovision home!’
Andrew Mann (Mentor: Cormac Battle)
Dubliner Andrew Mann immersed himself in his beloved music as an antidote to school, which he hated. He spent hours in his room teaching himself to play the guitar and by the age of 15, he was already writing his own songs. In 2007 a serious accident nearly cost him his life when he fell from a 3-storey building. His recovery involved a long stay in hospital and months more in a wheelchair, uncertain whether he would ever walk again. Despite this, Andrew looks back on this period as a gift: it imbued in him a renewed zest for life and following his complete recovery he took to gigging six-nights a week, all over Ireland, and in London’s ‘100 Club’ and ‘Ronnie Scotts’. In 2010, he wrote and recorded his first album, Hidden in Plain Sight, in 2010. He is currently recording his second album for release this summer. Andrew is known to many people from his appearance on The Voice of Ireland in 2013, when he got to the quarter-finals of the live shows. This is not Andrew’s first foray into Eurosong: he entered in 2012 with the song Here I Am, and came a close second to Jedward’s winning Waterline.
His mentor Cormac Battle is a presenter on RTÉ 2fm. Before joining the radio station he was the lead singer and main songwriter of the bands Kerbdog and Wilt. Both bands had Irish and UK hits across four major label albums.
Cormac said: “Andrew Mann is the real deal. He lives and breathes music 24/7, he gigs six days a week, every week. His level of enthusiasm is absolutely frightening. If he doesn’t go forward to represent Ireland nobody should. Andrew will put us back at the top.’
Laura O’Neill (Mentor: Billy McGuinness)
Laura O’Neill was born in Dublin in 1989. Laura’s passion for music began at the young age of 7 when she joined Ireland’s top performing arts school NPAS. Laura has performed in some of Ireland’s top venues including the Olympia theatre, the National Concert Hall and Cork Opera House. At the age of 17 Laura became a vocal trainer and choral producer a role in which she remained for six years. During her spell with NPAS she spent three years in Cork studying Performing Arts. In 2011 Laura made it to the X Factor boot-camp. Laura describes her experience on X Factor as ‘an emotional roller coaster from start to finish’, but an experience she learnt a lot from and will remember forever. Laura currently fronts a corporate and wedding band called The Firm and is working on her debut EP which is planned for release in spring 2014.
Laura’s mentor Billy McGuinness, a member of rock group Aslan, said: ‘For me it is all about the song and with You Don’t Remember Me, which was written by Don Mescall and Lucie Silvas, I have avoided any gimmicks and concentrated solely on the meaning and emotion of the words and lyrics. Don Mescall is a familiar name to many as he has written songs for acts such as Backstreet Boys, Boyzone and of course Aslan which is how I met him. I first heard Laura O’Neill singing at our bass player Rod O’Brien’s wedding I knew she could deliver this song like no other singer could. When we were recording the song she blew everyone away and I think if she were to release this song tomorrow she would have a massive hit with it. I really feel she has a great future ahead of her.’