Category Archives: Eurovision

Eric Saade

Eric Saade is a Swedish artist who I first saw last year when he was representing Sweden in the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest. His entry, “Popular”, was one of my favourite entries. I thought for sure he was going to win, and after half of the countries had awarded their points, Saade was at the top. But finally he ended the competition in 3rd place. But after this year’s Eurovision I decided to find some music from recent contestants I’d enjoyed and I was stumbled upon some Eric Saade magic!

Saade started off in 2007 in Swedish boyband What’s Up! (who I must soon look into to fuel my guilty pleasure of boy band pop!) He left the group in 2009 to pursue his solo career. That summer, Saade hosted the Swedish music competition My Camp Rock, a camp inspirated by the Disney Channel movie Camp Rock. He also hosted the nationwide contest Julia’s Shooting Stars. In January 2010, Saade won one Scandipop Award in the category Brightest New Hope for 2010, marking his breakthrough in the Swedish pop world.

In March 2010, Saade was nominated for one Marcel Bezençon Award (Melodifestivalen) in the category Press Award for “Manboy”. He also won one in the category Artistic Award for the same song. Saade released his first solo album Masquerade on May 19th, 2011, which reached #2 in Sweden and reached Gold status there. After the album’s release, Saade went on his first tour called Masquerade Tour the summer of 2010 with 24 concerts in Sweden. In January 2011, Saade was nominated for six Scandipop Awards in the categories Best Single from a New Artist for “It’s Gonna Rain” and “Manboy”, Best Male Single for the same songs, Best Male Album for Masquerade and Best New Artist. He also won two awards in the categories Best Album from a New Artist for Masquerade and Best Male!

In May 2011, Saade was nominated for two Marcel Bezençon Awards in the categories Artistic Award and Press Award for “Popular”. Also in May 2011, it was announced that Saade would release two albums in 2011 called Saade Vol. 1 and Saade Vol. 2 in Sweden. The first one was released on June 29th, 2011 in Sweden and Norway. The album reached #1 in Sweden, sold over 50.000 copies and reached Platinum status in July 2011 there. It also reached #16 in Finland. This year Saade is nominated for six Scandipop Awards in the categories Best Male, Readers Favourite of 2011, Best Male Album for Saade Vol. 1 and Saade Vol. 2, Best Male Single for “Popular” and Best Remix for “Popular (SoundFactory Remix)”. Saade is also nominated for one Grammi in the category Best Song for “Popular”. From March-April 2012, Saade was on his third Swedish tour, called Pop Explosion Concert 2012 with 15 concerts.

I find Saade’s music absolutely fun Europop! A lot of Youtube videos have comments comparing his to Justin Bieber, and though I’m a Be-lieber myself, I hate the comparison, and I think Eric Saade is much better. You can see his influence from 90s boybands and especially Michael Jackson in his videos, particularly his dancing. His videos are definitely fun to watch. I haven’t listened to his three albums in their entirety but from what I’ve seen and watched I know Eric Saade is magic. “Popular” is definitely one of the best!

Check out his site: Eric Saade

 

 

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Roman Lob

Roman Lob is a German singer/songwriter from Düsseldorf. I first saw him in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, where he represented Germany, and I knew I had to find his album. Apart from this solo career, Lob is the lead singer of the band Rooftop Kingdom, an alternative-rock band from Neuwied (which I haven’t found any info on yet!), and also a founding member of the metal-core band Days of Despite. In 2006, Lob had competed in German casting show Deutschland sucht den Superstar but had to quit due to a vocal cord infection. In 2008, he took part in the competition to represent Germany at the Eurovision Song Contest 2008 in Belgrade, as a part of the boy band G12P – Germany 12 Points, but their song “When The Boys Come” was not chosen to compete in the national final. But this year Lob represented Germany solo, and achieved 8th place in the finals with 110 points.

Changesis Lob’s debut album, released in April this year, after being selected to represent Germany for this year’s Eurovision in Baku, Azerbaijan. It peaked at number 9 in Germany, and as far as I know has only been released in German-speaking Germany, which is just a shame. I absolutely love the album myself. The lead single, “Standing Still”, from this year’s Eurovision is wonderful. As soon as I saw his performance I began a frantic search for his album! I love his voice, it’s just so mellow and beautiful. The album is a light sort of pop/rock and is really just a great listen. It has a vibe that I haven’t heard in a while. I foresee this album being played over and over in my car. I have to say that Germany has given me some great artists including Roman Lob and Lena recently, particularly from Eurovision. Good job Germany!

Check out his website: Roman Lob and more unplugged action:

 

 


Eurovision 2012 – Baku, Azerbaijan

I can’t believe it’s already that time of year, and I can’t believe it’s come and gone! – Eurovision 2012, hosted in last year’s winning country, Azerbaijan. The contest’s 2012 motto: “Light Your Fire”, adapted from the country’s nickname: Land of Fire. As usual the abundance of Europop was awesome! I was incredibly sad to see Poland not participating this year, but many that did were incredible. I thought Finland’s entry by Pernilla Karlsson, “När jag blundar”, was a great song. It was a beautiful performance, and I liked it’s quiet power.

Russia’s entry this year was very amusing. Buranovskiye Babushki, a group of eight elderly grandmothers from the village of Buranovo, Udmurtia, halfway between the Volga and the Urals in Russia. Their disco-esque song, “Party for Everybody”, was actually damn catchy, and this performance was adorable! Best part? The group had entered the contest before in 2010!

I really enjoyed Germany’s entry this year as well. Roman Lob’s “Standing Still” is mellow, catchy, and just a great song! It may be my favourite song from this year, at least I know I’m going to hunt for more music from Roman Lob in the future (it doesn’t hurt that he’s super cute!)  The song came in 8th place in the final round.

But this year’s winner was Loreen, with the song “Euphoria”. This song was incredible. A perfect example of euro-dance/club music. The slow build up, the powerful chorus – it’s just simply epic. There is no doubt this was the year’s winner. Last year Sweden placed third with the song “Popular” (one of my favourite entries from 2011). I can’t wait for more of Loreen’s music! And I can’t wait for next year’s Eurovision!

You can watch the contest online and see all the magic yourselves: Eurovision

 

 

 

 


Vanilla Ninja

Vanilla Ninja is an Estonian girl band which has been pretty popular in many European countries. They are particularly popular in central Europe. The group has also entered to represent their country in Eurovision both in 2003 and 2007 but failed to do so. They did however represent Switzerland in 2005 with their song “Cool Vibes” and finished 8th in the contest that year. They are so popular in Estonia that they have a brand of ice cream and kohuke named after them.

Vanilla Ninja has had four albums in various countries across Europe (all topping the charts at #1 in their native Estonia!): Vanilla Ninja was released in 2003, Traces of Sadness in 2004, and Blue Tattoo in 2005. The group’s fourth album, Love is War, was released in May 2006. The band was originally a four-piece group consisting of Maarja Kivi, Lenna Kuurmaa, Katrin Siska and Piret Järvis. Maarja Kivi left the group in 2004 and was replaced by Triinu Kivilaan. In December 2005 she also left the group to start a solo career and finish school, and the band have decided to continue as a three-piece act.

“Tough Enough” was released as a single in 2003-2004 in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland and helped launch their career in German speaking Europe:

Vanilla Ninja‘s  site (Estonian)


Lena – Good News

You may remember an earlier post featuring Lena and her debut album My Cassette Player, which had the A-mazing hit from last year’s Eurovison: “Satellite”. Well, already Lena has given us a follow up album: Good News. Lena represented Germany again this year in the Eurovision, in an attempt to defend her title. This album features many songs that were sent to Lena from different songwriters for her entry to this year’s contest. The album peaked at number 1 in Germany and was certified platinum.

The album combines all the songs performed by Lena in the national final for the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest, Unser Song für Deutschland (Our song for Germany). Apparently she was sent over 600 songs as possible entries! The album’s first single, “Taken By a Stranger” was chosen to be Lena’s entry to this year’s Eurovision. The album is very cute and fun to listen to! My friend Monique described it and the debut album both as great albums for a sunny day and a nice drive. =)  I still love Lena’s voice and the soulful vibe of the album.

The song “Taken By A Stranger” is super sexy and the performance at Eurovision was great! It also has a good video to go with it! Listening to the album as I write this, I can’t help but smile at songs like “Good News”, “What Happened to Me”, and “Mama Told Me” – the latter two written by Lena herself. “A Good Day” is just the happiest, funnest little song ever! I love it! I really love then entire album, I could say every song was my favourite! I definitely see myself listening to this album a lot in the near future. Good News is a great sophomore album and I really hope to hear a lot more from Lena!

Here is a Youtube channel with most of the album: Good News


Flying Steps

I am still completely blown away by my first Eurovision experience; not only were the competing songs amazing, but so were many of the acts used to fill the time while the votes were being counted. Flying Steps filled that space during the second semi-finals and it was something completely different. They were formed in 1993 by Kadir Memis and Vartan Bassal, and the group has 9 members. They have taken first place in at least 10 major break dancing competitions between 1994 and 2008. They are widely considered one of the most successful urban dance groups in the world.

Their performance during this year’s Eurovision was nothing shy of fantastic. Their choreography was to all classical music, starting with one of my absolute favourite preludes from Das Wohltemperierte Clavier, Buch I: the prelude in C minor – accompanied by solo harpsichord. They continued to dance to some incredible remixes of Bach, including excerpts from the famous Toccata and Fugue in D minor.  I love classical music, and it has been such a huge part of my life, but one thing I hate about being in classical music academia is the narrow mindedness. I have always thought that classical music lends itself so well to modern expression that I think one of my all time favourite genres or styles of music is what I call “classical-fusion” – a perfect example being this remixed Bach (many more artists of this genre will surely be posted soon!).

Flying Steps‘ website.


Jenny Berggren

Remember Ace of Base? If you grew up in the 90s you do. “Beautiful Life”, “Cruel Summer”, “Don’t Turn Around”? These songs are amazing. Ace of Base must have been one of Sweden’s biggest exports of the decade. While looking for new Danish music, I happened upon Jenny Berggren’s – of Ace of Base fame – solo career. I haven’t actually heard her album yet, but I stumbled across this single: “Let Your Heart Be Mine” which was almost Denmark’s entry to this year’s Eurovision! Now the song is great by itself, but I found a video of the Calboy Club Remix, and… just wow! I hunted the Internet for almost an hour trying to find this song, and success! So check it out!

Check out the Ultimate Ace of Base site –  you can download many Calboy remixes of great Ace of Base tracks! Who could ask for more?!


Eurovision Finale!

Well Eurovision is over and it was super fabulous! This was the first year I got to watch it and it was incredibly exciting! I was on the edge of my seat the whole time their were divvying out the points! The surprise winner this year was Azerbaijan: Ell and Nikki with their hit, Running Scared. When I heard this song for the first time in the semi-finals I had to admit that it was super catchy, but I didn’t think that it would win.

Sweden was robbed! While watching the finals, I put two countries on my list for the victory: Sweden and Hungary. Hungary did – to my surprise – incredibly poor, with only 53 points, and it looked like Sweden was going to take the victory but ended up in 3rd with 185.

Georgia was another country I really enjoyed. Eldrine’s One More Day was pretty badass and she did surprisingly well, coming in with 110 points.

I know that many of these songs are going to be popular in my house this summer. Sweden and Eric Saade’s Popular as well as Hungary’s Katie Wolf and What About My Dreams are definitely going to be summer dance hits. And I know Lithuania with Evelina Sašenko’s C’est Ma Vie is going to be my Eurovision ballade. It was a magnificent show and I can’t wait for 2012 in Azerbaijan!


Eurovision 2011

Speaking of Eurovision, if you don’t know this week has been the 2011 Eurovision song contest in Düsseldorf! You may remember my earlier post about Lena, the 2010 winner with her amazing hit Satellite. The first round of semi-finals aired Tuesday (19 countries, including Poland!), and the 2nd round of semi-finals aired Thursday. So far I have some favourites Georgia, Hungary, Sweden, and Slovenia. I can’t wait to see the “Big 5” (France, Germany, UK, Spain, and Italy) in the finals, which is  this Saturday. I think Lena is representing Germany again. You can catch all the earlier semi-finals and the the final on the official Eurovision Website.


Ані Лорак

Ani Lorak is a pop singer from Ukraine. She is another Eurovision contender, competing for Ukraine twice: in 2005 and 2008. In 2008 her song “Shady Lady” won her second place (1st was Dima Bilan from Russia).

Lorak has had 12 albums I believe to date, but the only one I have been able to get my hands on is her 2009 Солнце (Sun). From what I have read this album took more of a departure from earlier albums, having a more European sound, and though I have no knowledge of her earlier work this album is unabashedly Euro-pop (which of course I adore!). The album had 2 singles which both went #1 in Ukraine and Russia: “Солнце“and A дальше” The title track also won “Best Song of the Year” in 2009 at the Золотой граммофон awards in Moscow.

The album is full of great Euro-dance beats. Many of the tracks are great to just dance to like the first track Птица! Many other tracks are more down tempo ballades but they are still beautiful and fun!

And as always, check out her wibesite:  Ані Лорак