Interview: Quickfire with VICTORIA

The world’s biggest music event, the Eurovision Song Contest concluded last Saturday with what was one of the strongest editions of the competition in recent years. Broadcast live from Rotterdam, an estimated 200 million people around the world watched as twenty-six countries vied for a chance to win that iconic microphone trophy.

While this edition’s victor turned out to be Italy, there’s another nation that has consistently scored well every time they compete; so much so that the announcement of their participation every year is seen as a fan event in it’s own right.

Bulgaria’s reputation at Eurovision is a strong one. Unafraid to buck the traditional pop trends that often flood the Contest, they have been known to opt for artists who are at the cusp of something new and fresh. It’s a risk that seemingly pays off, yielding the Balkan country an excellent run of scores.

This year’s representative was VICTORIA, a hugely talented artist who is already an established name within the Bulgarian music scene. Having waited two years to finally go on stage (last year’s Contest was cancelled due to the pandemic), she garnered 170 points in the Grand Final, securing an impressive 11th place with her performance of ‘Growing Up Is Getting Old’.

Fresh off the success from competing, we managed to secure some time for VICTORIA to do a Quickfire with us… Enjoy!

Firstly, how does it feel now that you’ve finally managed to compete at Eurovision, and scoring so highly in the Grand Final?

It feels great and my team and I are really happy with the result. Bulgaria is also really proud of what we’ve accomplished and I couldn’t be more happy. We’ve been working on this project for the past 2 years and it finally comes to an end. It’s so surreal that I was announced as the Bulgarian representative back in November 2019 and since then I’ve been working non-stop on new music and on my development as an artist and as a songwriter. Eurovision is a great opportunity for young artists to find new opportunities and to grow. I loved every second of this journey, proud of both of my Eurovision songs – ‘Growing Up is Getting Old‘ and ‘Tears Getting Sober‘, my first EP ‘a little dramatic‘, the TV concert we organized to announce my song for Rotterdam and the two songs I released prior to the contest – ‘Ugly Cry‘ and ‘alright‘. All this wouldn’t be possible without Eurovision and I hope one day I will be back.

Why do you think Bulgaria always does well at the Contest?

I think the most important factor is the team behind the project here in Bulgaria. They really understand Eurovision and how to take the best out of this project. I am happy that together with my producer Genoveva Christova from Ligna Studios, who made the Eurovision participation possible for Bulgaria, we will continue to work with the same team from Entiendo in the future. They were guiding us through the world of Eurovision and I think we accomplished a lot. Now we have new challenges in front of us and the first will be a songwriting camp in the summer of 2021. Our partners in the UK Ostereo also are an important factor in our journey and us going to Eurovision. It’s all about the team work.

What inspirations came to you while creating ‘a little dramatic’ EP?

The EP ‘a little dramatic’ is a very dear release to me and I am so happy so many people connected with the stories behind the tracks. I love all 5 songs in it – ‘imaginary friend’, ‘growing up is getting old’, ‘dive into unknown’, ‘phantom pain’ and ‘the funeral song’. The first three are inspired by my personal experiences and I relate them to episodes of my life. The last two – ‘phantom pain’ and ‘the funeral song’ take a dark and surreal turn and obviously are not personal experiences of mine. They all have a special place in my heart and I am privileged I had to work with songwriters from all over Europe to create this EP. All the songs were written with the idea that they might go to Eurovision but we didn’t look for the ‘Eurovision formula’ when we were writing them. We just wanted to create something we will be proud of.

For those who aren’t familiar with the Bulgarian music scene, can you recommend some artists to check out?

I would definitely recommend for you to check Kristian Kostov’s music –  his two EPs that he release under his name and the EP under the name VOSTOK. He is another Bulgarian artist that is aiming at the international market. For the people that want something more out of the box – just write ‘Bulgarian hits’ on any streaming platform and dive into the unknown. :)

Who would your dream collaboration be with?

I really would love to collaborate with artists like FINNEAS, Moses Sumney, Jacob Banks, Ashe and many others. There are also many international songwriters that I would love to write with.

What does the rest of the year have in store for you?

I already started working on new material and we are discussing with my team what should be our next steps. I don’t think I will be taking a break until the end of this year. I am full with ideas and I can’t wait to share my new music with the world.

a little dramatic EP‘ is out now.

VICTORIA

Watch: Eric Saade – Every Minute

I’ve often featured talent from Sweden’s most-watched television event, Melodifestivalen. You’ll be hard pressed to find a famous pop artist from the Nordic nation not to have been involved with the competition at some point in their career. It runs for six weeks and acts as a process to select country’s Eurovision entry.

This year saw the return of the hugely popular Eric Saade – one of the biggest names in Swedish pop from the last decade. And while he was declared as the runner-up eventually, he delivered one of the most experimental and avant-garde performances ever to be seen on the show’s 62-year old history.

New Music: Victoria

Victoria is putting Bulgaria on the world pop map with this sensational release. A talent who initially shot to fame earlier in the year as the country’s representative for the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest (which ended up being cancelled due to Corona), she is now back with a follow-up single that is one of the finest pieces of dark pop that I have listened to all month.

Victoria Georgieva

Duncan Laurence – Someone Else

Did you watch the Eurovision special ‘Shine A Light’ yesterday evening? It was a broadcast that went all across Europe as a replacement to this year’s cancelled Eurovision Song Contest. It was a sombre reminder of the state of affairs that we are all going through now. But it also showed the hope and resilience humanity has, and still found a way to celebrate music. This performance from last year’s winner was quite gorgeous, so I’m sharing it with you all. I hope you enjoy.

Duncan Laurence

New Music: ohFrank

If you are familiar with your Swedish pop you may recognise that one half of ohFrank is Robin Stjernberg, singer and songwriter extraordinaire. This sound marks a slight shift from Robin’s sound, with a playful and lighthearted take on indie pop that is perfect for the summer months ahead.

“We want to give an honest reflection of the world we live in. To inspire culture shifts, invite or force change, to make people think. Music used to stand for something and be the great observer of society – we want to try and bring that back.”

ohFrank

Melanie Wehbe – Nothing

In addition to being a mega-talented songwriter (having worked on the likes of Jasmine Sokko, The Mamas (Eurovision 2020), Leonora (Eurovision 2019) plus two winner songs for Swedish Idol (being ‘Rain’ by Tusse and ‘Treading Water’ by Chris Kläfford), Melanie Wehbe is a talented singer in her own right.

We could be seeing one of the brightest Swedish exports to emerge for some time, with a subtle pop sound that’s easy to connect with, no matter who you are or what you enjoy listening to.

“I think most of us are familiar with the feelings of uncertainty and powerlessness. The frustration that appears when we realise that we can’t change a situation or a relationship. At the end of the day we know nothing at all.”

Melanie Wehbe

KEiiNO – Would I Lie (feat. Electric Fields)

Admittedly this isn’t something I usually feature on the site but it’s such a pop banger that I had to share it with you. Specially in these grim times, a bop like this could lift the spirits a little.

The song features KEiiNO – who placed first with the public vote at Eurovision 2019 with ‘Spirit In The Sky’ while Electric Fields are an ARIA-nominated outfit who merge Aboriginal culture with electro sounds.

KEiiNO | Electric Fields Music

Watch: FELIX SANDMAN – BOYS WITH EMOTIONS (Live at Melodifestivalen)

This song is on a six-week journey to compete as Sweden’s entry for Eurovision this year. Personally I love the concept, so I would be happy to see it win.

FELIX SANDMAN

Didirri – Raw Stuff

“I instantly remembered the half-written song I never finished, and suddenly it all made sense. Part two. ‘Raw Stuff’ instantly falls into two parts. The first half is my side of miscommunication, and the second my reaction to hearing they felt the same.”

Didirri

New Music: Kristin Husøy

Norwegian pop with an essence of bluegrass. This song in particular is competing to represent the country at this year’s Eurovision, and I think it’s got a strong chance.

Kristin Husøy

New Music: Gabrielius Vagelis

I stumbled across this dark pop gem from Lithuania over the weekend (it’s competing to represent the country in Eurovision this year). While it’s sung in its native language it felt too good not to share.

Gabrielius Vagelis

New Music: Jennifer Cohen

Charmingly delicate yet playful Estonian pop. This track is a contender to represent the country in 2020’s edition of Europe’s biggest music show, the Eurovision Song Contest.

Jennifer

Albania’s got a new Dua Lipa… And you should watch out for her!

You may have heard of Eurovision? If you haven’t then check the link and read more about it. Anyway, Albania has competed a few times (with varying degrees of success), and this week saw the start of their competition to select the song that will go on to represent the country for Eurovision in May 2020.

Tonight saw Elvana Gjata perform her entry, and as you can see – it’s not in the budget or scale of a Dua Lipa production but there’s no denying this kid has something special.

We’ll find out on Sunday night if she was successful in having her performance represent Albania at Eurovision.

These songs have made Eurovision relevant again this year…

It’s the start of Eurovision week (i.e. the world’s biggest music show), and for someone who follows the show for the fun rather than the music, this year I’ve been surprised by the number of countries submitting songs that could easily be on radio playlists.

Here’s some which have stood out to me – and as it happens, these are the main favourites to win…. Maybe Eurovision is starting to push for more current sounds again?

Duncan Lawrence – Netherlands (intense, minimal ballad with haunting elements).

Mahmood – Italy (my personal favourite this year from a talent who was featured in the past, this is punchy pop with angst).

Katerine Duska – Greece (the most beautifully melodic indie pop, along the lines of Florence & The Machine with a distinctive vocal).

Conan Osiris – Portugal (the most conceptual and idiosyncratic song this year, this feels better suited to an art installation at Tate Modern than Eurovision).

Michela – Malta (if Dua Lipa had a go at Eurovision, this would absolutely be it).

Hatari – Iceland (this has caused the biggest reaction this year- nothing is off limits with this group… It’s a bold electro/ goth/ synth sound that makes an impact from the start)

John Lundvik – Sweden (gospel pop with a mildly euphoric edge).

Luca Hänni – Switzerland (this is your standard bubblegum pop with big beats and catchy hooks).

And to be honest there’s a few more, but head on over to Eurovision’s website to check them out.

The Semi Final’s are on Tuesday 14th and Thursday 16th May, with the Grand Final on Saturday 18th May. It’s broadcast across most countries globally, so check it out!

New Music: Michela

A slightly unusual post this time… Michela is the latest winner for Malta’s edition of X Factor. Aside from a strong set of vocals on this talent, she’s also been selected to represent the country at this year’s Eurovision with a song that feels quite current for the show.

Michela Pace

Did France find it’s new Adele?

France is in the middle of choosing it’s entry for Eurovision 2019, and last night Seemone was presented as one of the contenders.

She ended up winning the entire heat with a simple and heartbreaking song that clearly meant a lot to the singer. Meaningful and beautiful pop doesn’t happen this often anymore.

The final is next Saturday evening and it’s well worth a watch.

Blanche – Moment

Track of the week. Blanche gained fame last year after representing Belgium at Eurovision.

While she didn’t win (the song she performed was considered ahead of it’s time for a music contest that has a notorious reputation for showing off the Continent’s cheesier side), she has continued to develop her uniquely dark pop sound…

Blanche

Mikolas Josef – Me Gusta

One of the more noted acts emerging from this year’s Eurovision, Mikolas Josef returns with a massive pop effort.

Benjamin Ingrosso – Dance You Off (LiTek Remix)

Benjamin finally gets to represent Sweden at tomorrow’s Eurovision semi-final. It’ll be a good one, check it out!

Benjamin Ingrosso | LiTek

This year’s Eurovision is serving some of it’s most current pop in years…

Let’s get this straight first – Eurovision (to those who aren’t familiar, this is a huge annual TV contest that Europe takes part in every May where one European country – or Australia – tries to win with a song) is notorious for showing off more cheese than edgy music. This year though, truth be told, there is a decent selection of some fun pop tracks…

 

Sweden – Dance You Off

  • Good – This is probably as edgy as Eurovision gets this year. Also, it’s from the team at the hugely successful TEN music production company.
  • Bad – Sweden do so well in this contest that the expectations are always so high for them.

 

 

 

Cyprus – Fuego

  • Good – Catchy, sassy sound.
  • Bad – Probably won’t translate well on a large arena stage.

 

 

Israel – TOY

  • Good – Easy, fun pop.
  • Bad – Chicken sounds?

 

 

 

 

Belgium – A Matter Of Time

  • Good – Belgium is forging a reputation for performing well-produced, minimal pop to this contest.
  • Bad – It’s probably too understated for a show that relies on big performances.

 

 

 

 

The show goes live on the 12th May from Lisbon. Here’s more.