It has become customary for the escflashmalta.com 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 #10, we catch up with Belarus (BTRC) who will be represented by Teo with the song Cheesecake composed by Yury Vashchuk to the lyrics of Dmitry Novik.
His passion for all aspects of music was noticed very early, and after four years of learning to play the accordion, he became the international champion after winning the children’s contest Praleska. At only seventeen years old, Yuriy was invited to work with the National Academic Concert Orchestra of Belarus under the tutelage of highly-respected conductor Mikhail Finberg. There he gained experience in solo singing, composing and arranging. These practical skills were enhanced by his studies, earning him a degree in Music from the Grodno College of Arts and Belarusian State University of Culture and Arts.
Song writing extended into co-hosting the TV programme Naperad U Minulae (Forward To The Past) shown on the Belarus 1 channel. Using his non-Eurovision name Yuriy Vaschuk he works alongside Oksana Vecher to rediscover the authentic music culture that still remains in Belarus. Travelling the rural areas of the country to find the singers of the traditional and ancient songs, usually the village grandmothers and grandfathers, a song is selected to be revamped. Teo rearranges the songs to be recorded and sung with a much more modern sound by a well-known artist.
The lure of pop music composing and performing was becoming harder to resist and he participated in the Belarusian national selection for the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest duetting with the singer Anna Blagova. Eurovision continued to exert an influence, as he co-wrote two Eurovision songs in 2010 (3+2 and Far Away), All My Love for Alyona Lanskaya in 2012 and again in 2013 with The Rhythm Of Love. Teo’s love for Eurovision continued unabated despite his already-full schedule. He wrote songs for two singers he was up against in the national finals – Natalie Tamelo and Tasha Odi – before deciding at virtually the last minute (an hour and a half before submissions closed) to enter too.
Professional Critics Voice their Opinion
Greig Watts: Interesting title and that has left me wondering whats coming?? Interesting lyrics, and pronounciation, but rest of Europe wont judge that. Actually I quite like its quirky singalongness (is that a word). Let me see if I think the same at chorus 2, yes, its catchy, interesting that Belarus is going for a western type sound though, moving away from some of the sounds that could appeal to its neighbouring votes. I like the song its fun, hope it comes across that way and does well.
Joseph Zammit: I would have been even more glad glad had I just heard the song and not watched the video. The song itself is quite good but having him trying his best to recreate the (sadly) biggest hit of 2013, by filming it with a girl on a white background, wearing basically the same clothes as Robin Thicke and having the word CHEESECAKE randomly splattered against the screen makes me somehow think of him as less of a person.
Sounds harsh I know, but it shows lack of commitment and passion towards a song that at the end of the day, he is performing. The song is quirky and sweet, with a nice funk riff, though common, and a joyful upbeat rhythm. Also I can’t help but feel it has an element of tongue in cheek to it. All in all …. #Cheesecake.
Sharon Vaughn: Admittedly very cheesecake, but charming in that he pulls it off. Has the “wink”… and I got the humour in it.
John Scott: The singer has a good sense of humor and this is conveyed in the song. In the end, I just don’t like the song that much. It good for one listen, but I don’t need to hear it again.