ESC 2014: An In-Depth Review of Ireland


It has become customary for the editorial board to engage professional individuals from the music industry to assess the songs competing in the Eurovision Song Contest as presented to the European Broadcasting Union during the Heads of Delegation Meeting. Greig Watts, Joseph Zammit, Sharon Vaughn and John Scott from the United Kingdom, Malta, Sweden and the United States have been entrusted with the second semi-final, comprising of sixteen songs and set to take place on the 8th May 2014 at the B&W Hallerne in Copenhagen, Denmark. Making use of the running order and moving onto number #9, we catch up with Ireland (RTE) who will be represented by Canlinn ft. Kasey with the song Heartbeat co-written by Hazel Kaneswaran, Jonas Gladnikoff, Rasmus Palmgren and Patrizia Helander.

Kasey Smith is 23 years old and hails from the northside of Dublin. She is from a known family of singers going back to her grandfather who was a showband singer. She rose to fame with the BT Music Award nominated girlband Wonderland in 2010 under the tutelage of Louis Walsh and Westlife’s Kian Egan. After Wonderland, Kasey travelled to Nashville, Tennessee where she focused on her solo career, writing songs and getting as much on-stage experience as possible in the city’s vibrant music scene. Upon her return to Ireland, Kasey competed in the 2013 Eurosong competition where she finished third place with the song Kiss Me. In the 2014 contest, Kasey went one better, teaming up with traditional Irish music act Can-linn and winning the right to represent Ireland at the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest in Copenhagen.

Heartbeat is a passionate song ‘that shows why we are recognised globally as makers of fine music’ says Kasey’s mentor Hazel Kaneswaran. The song was co-written by Hazel, who sang for Dove in 1996 and has since presented numerous TV shows and performed around Ireland; Jonas Gladnikoff, who wrote two successful Irish Eurovision entries, Et Cetera in 2009 and It’s For You by former winner,Niamh Kavanagh, in 2010; Rasmus Palmgren, writer of the current Swedish Idol winning song, and Patrizia Helander, Swedish Idol 2007 finalist and experimental artist.

Ireland is known to be the darling of the Eurovision Song Contest, having been triumphant on no less than seven occasions, the last one being back in 1996 when Eimear Quinn performed The Voice which in turn has no co-relation to the current television series. Since the introduction of the semi-final system, Ireland has had mixed fortunes at the event, failing to qualify in 2005, 2008 and 2009 and having managed to make it through to the final for the past four consecutive years with acts such as Niamh Kavanagh, Jedward and Ryan Dolan. RTE is definitely banking on this act to continue their recent bout of qualification whilst hoping to improve on the result achieved in the final.

Professional Critics Voice their Opinion

Rating: 63%

Greig Watts: I like the start and the vocal has grabbed me, so I am wondering where the song will take me. Is it going to be dance or heavy chorus??? I bit of a mix, and all there’s an irish fiddle or something in there too for extra value. I guess its one of the naturalist flowing songs so far (to my western ear), will this be a song that hasn’t got enough else to make an impact, if it was just a song contest it could do well, but not sure that’s the case. Like the song though

Joseph Zammit: Oh Ireland. Poor poor Ireland. The emerald isle with the beautiful songs, whatever happened to you? You used to produce beautiful ballads, strong songs, and smile inducing melodies. And now you give us this. The equivalent of what a fading pop star would write and produce to have one final shot at a hit for the clubs to play but fails miserably. 

But please dear reader, do not mistake this song as any Euro-dance track, oh no no. Because even though they do not fit with the rest of the song, she decides to throw in a fiddle and a flute  to remind us that deep down she is still Irish. All she needed to do was bring in a leprechaun to do a rap bit in the bridge. Apart from that it has a generic yet catchy chorus in the middle that unfortunately, makes it very easy for it to get stuck in your head.

Sharon Vaughn: This story holds the track and her performance is strong yet not over-done. The song is current yet remains true to its Celtic roots.

John Scott: Interesting instrumentation for the song. The chorus is good, but I liked some of the other folky songs better.



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