Monday, October 23, 2017

WEEKLY DOSE OF EUROVISION STARS SOCIAL MEDIA AFFAIRS; TRAVELS AND STUDIOS

Sergey did Rome
 Il Volo did Venice
Lena is still in LA
Ruslana has a holiday after working all summer
Demy still enjoys late summer sun
Måns did Gdansk, Poland
So did Alma, visiting Michal
Michal is also joining the Loreen/Conchita look-a-likes
Juri and Elina, the Tallinn toilet selfie
Sanna is promising a new single this week
 Norma John are also working on new music
 
... as is Emma.
... and Justs is shooting a new video
And Nina joins the stars with autumn color photos.
How was your week?

WEEKLY DOSE OF EUROVISION STARS SOCIAL MEDIA AFFAIRS: COWBOYS, SHOWERS, MEETINGS...

Kati Wolf had a casual coffee at home
Andras walked his dog
Compact Disco cooked something
Cascada met Jane
Eric met Kikki
Amir had tongue in cheek fun on stage
Douwe - the city cowboy
Michal undressing
Vaclav in shower
Valentina and Monica aka Harem B as Kesslers
Zoe - the girl with a guitar
Lucia at a Hawaii themed birthday party
Jamala, the horse girl
JOWST are up to something
Senhit celebrates Gucci's decision to stop using furs
Imri's last night before back to school
Gabbani is feeling Foglie al gelo. Winter is coming
... and beware: CAROLA IS BACK!

FINLAND: FROM PARADISE OSKAR TO INTERNATIONAL SONGWRITER - AXEL EHNSTRÖM

Today's birthday boy Axel Ehnström gave an interview to Helsingin Sanomat last month, being part of the new generation of artists/songwriters reaching out and having success abroad. 
He shot to the spotlight after wining the last Euroviisut (before it was rebranded and revamped as UMK) with Da da dam, and had a very succesful Eurovision song contest 2011 adventure all the way to the final where he was drawn to sing first. Busted! He had already won the Marcel Bezençon Press award and placed third in the semifinal, but in the final dropped to 21st. Da da dam certainly wasn't a song to open the show. 
After Eurovision he got to release his solo album as Paradise Oskar but soon he realized writing songs is what he really wants to do. He studied music, and especially studied how to write hits reading interviews by succesful writers and practised writing techniques forcing himself to write a song every day. For inspiration he might go to library and check the book covers and build stories around the titles. He says once the technique is on spot, one can write songs easier when the feeling is right and one has inspiration. 
And to become a succesful songwriter one needs contacts. He was lucky enought to be included in Music Finland's Fact Track program that includes also Alma, Isac Elliot and Saara. Music Finland is funding their export efforts. They also have songwriting camps and Axel has been even to Los Angeles but having a few Eurohits under your belt isn't enough. "In America it's all about names. Only once you have written a hit to some big name, they notice you" he says.
He has written mostly electronic pop to other artists but he would most preferably write country music! He says his musical roots are in Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen and JImmy Webb. "A song must have a good story, good lines, a great punch line to come early enough and a lot of feeling" Maybe that's why most Ehnström songs sound like EMD arranged Americana, standing out from the generic Europop. 
He also says it's not artist's fauult if every artists today sounds the same. "Record label may ask you to write a song in Finnish to an artist that sounds like Brithey's Toxic. Who does it best without sounding like a copy but is close enough is the winner." He's not into copying but admitss the best songs are those that sound instantly familiar but haven't been copied in any way from other song. "On the other hand if I try to create something new, but someone else writes a Despacito copy that one will be a hit, not my song."
Despite having already over 20 songs published abroad, mainly in Germany, he says he goes on by loans, grants and  scholarships. "Even if I get my song on some big artist's album, it won't even pay my one month's rent" he says. "But this is what I want to do. One day it will pay off!"
This blogger sends best wishes for Axel on his birthday and is confident he will hit the big one any time soon now.....

FINLAND: HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO PARADISE OSKAR

Happy birthday to Axel as he turns 27 today.
Congratulations!

Axel Ehnström aka Paradise Oskar Dada dammed for Finland in Eurovision 2011 winning the Marcel Bezençon award and placing third in the semifinal and gaining praise from left and right. However, he never intended to become a singer himself and after his debut album (#4 in Finland) he has created a succesful songwriting career.
Some of songs he has co-written:
Isac Elliott - New way home (#1 Finland, #4 Norway)
Kasmir - Wowowow (#4 Finland)
Anna Abreu - Bandana (#5 Finland)
RAF Camora - Mein Leben (#3 Germany, #12 Switzerland)
Alle Farben - Bad ideas (#4 Austria, #7 Germany)
Lost Frequences - All or nothing (#10 Belgium) - Also vocals - 

Sunday, October 22, 2017

GREECE: GREEK SOUNDS IN GREEK - WHO'S RUMORED UP TO THE CHALLENGE?

Greece is having a national final again and rumors who have maybe submitted a song are widely spread. ERT is aiming for a song in Greek, with Greek elements and this is manna to this blogger's ears, especially as similar news have come also from other countries. Maybe the Portuguese win has its effect on entries in 2018, and instead of Swedish bubblegum pop and songs without any identity will be replaced by songs with more ethnic elements and local flavour and language. As it should be. While waiting for that miracle to happen, et's get back to Greece. 
While the submission period has been extended - maybe they still haven't found what they are looking for? - below are some singers rumored to have sent a song. But this is Greece, maybe in the final we will have none of these names - or maybe all of them..... Certainly they sound better than most their recent entries....
Areti Ketime (Αρετή Κετιμέ)
Stereo Soul ft. Dj Koncept
Panagiotis Tsakalakos (Παναγιωτης Τσακαλακος)
Vassiliki Stefanou (Βασσιλική Στεφάνου)
Giannis Moraitis (Γιάννης Μωραΐτης)
Dimitris Kiklis (Δημητρης Κικλης)
Kristina Salti (Χριστινα Σαλτη)
Horostalites (Χοροσταλιτες)
Giorgos Papadopoulos (Γιώργος Παπαδόπουλος)

And what will Panagiotis Koufogiannis (Παναγιώτης Κουφογιάννης) do?



SWEDEN: CAROLA RELEASES TIL' THE END VIDEO

 
Carola has released a video (her first since forever) to her latest single Til' the end (also her first for years),  the song she wrote together with her current boyfriend. In other news it is reported they have found their dream house and will be moving in soon. One wonders if this video is shot there.....
Hopefully she will now walk straight to the stuio as well and record a new pop album asap. 


Saturday, October 21, 2017

EUROVISION 2018: 43 COUNTRIES TO TAKE PART

 
RTP has revealed today there will be 43 countries taking part in Eurovision song contest 2018 in Lisbon. That means those three countries (Macedonia, Moldova and Russia) that haven't yet officially confirmed are in as expected. 
43 is however a troublesome number as it has been reached before but then dropped to 42 for various reasons, like EBU kicking Romania out in 2016. But twice before this record number has been reached: 2008 in Belgrade thanks to debuts of Azerbaijan and San Marino, and 2011 in Dusseldorf thanks to return of Italy.  In 2018 sadly Bosnia & Herzegovina and Turkey still stay out and no new record numner is reached.

Participating countries in Lisbon 2018:

Albania, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceand, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom

Friday, October 20, 2017

MUSICAL FLASHBACK: FAFÁ DE BÉLEM - DOCES PALAVRAS

 

In the series of duting off some old CDs I had a real nostalgy trip today. I was introduced to the music of Fafá De Bélem, one of the biggest MPB (Musica popular brasilaira) stars through a friend while in Portugal in early 1990's. I fell in love instantly with her voice and melodic songs and Brazilian Portuguese. Relistening the album brings so back memories, and the music is still great providing several sing-along moments of tsong that I didn't remember existed. Human brain is a weird thing. 
Sadly I haven't followed her career further than this album and a greatest hits of her earlier music, but I see online she's still around and continued her career with success. Below is the whole album, with my favorites like Doces palavras, Amor de minha vida, Vou brigar com o mundo. Oh, paixão!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

EUROSOUNDS: IVAN, SEREBRO, SUNSTROKE PROJECT AND OLA SALO

 
Belarusian Ivan goes from Eurovision wolves to Aliens in his latest, Чужая. A midtempo rock song with enough drama to keep you watching the video til the end...... Errr.... what was that?
Russian Serebro from Eurovision 2007 in Helsinki are unstoppable and have released в космосе or In space, despite being in the middle of recruiting a new member. It's another pop tune in pure Serebro style. Love it.
Sunstroke Project that took Moldova to the surprise podium at Eurovision 2017 is back with another saxxy hit, Sun gets down. Maybe they should have released this a month or two earlier to score late summer hit..... In rainy dark Finland this feels like a slap in the face instead......
Ola Salo, who sung for Sweden with The Ark in Helsinki 2007 has went solo ages ago and has released a new single, I call your name. I wonder if he's really calling for the safety word as he seems to be performing in a sexclub where all sort of things are going on. Oops, did I see full frontal?! This said the song's a real earworm after a listen or two..... Beware!

EUROVISION 2018: CHEAP, CONTEMPORARY, CREATIVE, INCLUSIVE AND POSITIVE - DESIGNING PORTUGAL

 
RTP is not planning to spend too mcuh on hosting Eurovision song contest 2018, despite waiting for some 50 years to host it.  Instead Gonçalo Reis, the Chariman of RTP is boasting to have "the cheapest Eurovision ever!"

"I can say today that we are going to make the Eurovision Festival the cheapest ever and I am confident that our creative teams will develop one of the most interesting Eurovision ever, Our creative teams are developing the concept to convey the image of a contemporary Portugal, a Portugal open to the world, a culture of inclusion, a culture of tolerance, a positive culture. This will be a mobilizing project for all creative industries, for Lisbon and for Portugal, that will design the country and help it go with this flow of great notoriety, this positive wave that the country as a whole is having, in terms of international projection, Eurovision is a spectacle, it is an event that goes beyond RTP. RTP has all the conditions to produce a major television event to promote our creative industries, the entertainment industry, Now Eurovision is something that involves the city, tourism, the whole country," he concludes.

Hosting Eurovision has generally costed about 25-40 million euros in the resent years, unless you are a country like Azerbaijan or Russia having problems with modesty and will to show the world you have millions to spend for nothing. The result on screen hasn't been any better than those events arranged with even smaller budgets in Sweden, Finland and Norway over the years.
This blogger hopes RTP indeed manages to bring on screen and on stage all the wonderful things Portugal has to offer, with their rich culture and recognizable style and image, leaving us all well aware Eurovision 2018 was in Portugal and nowhere else. Altice Arena (as MEO Arena was rebranded just awhile ago) has all the makings of a great venue, with its surroundings. Bring the nearby sea, overseas, conquistadors and rich history on stage, too! Give us some lusitan passion with amor de agua fresca, calling for music and conquistadores! Of course not fogetting love for two!





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