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Wednesday, 10 April 2013 02:30

The Netherlands: Reviewing the track 'Birds'

escflashmalta.com has enlisted the aid of six professional music critics including producers, songwriters and even performers to pass their judgement on the songs which will be competing in this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest. All of the information is obtained from the official website of the international spectacle and indeed, pertaining to the running order as decided by the producers, The Netherlands will be performing in slot number eight (8) from the sixteen (16) entries which will be competing during the first semi-final. TROS, the broadcaster resposible for the participation of The Netherlands  in the Eurovision Song Contest will be represented by the song Birds co-written between Tore Johansson, Martin Gjerstad and Anouk who will also be responsible for providing the vocals.

In 1997, Anouk Teeuwe stormed the Dutch musical world with her single Nobody’s Wife, an explosive rock anthem about independence that stayed high on the Dutch charts for weeks. Holland massively fell for Anouk's powerful, clear voice, and the expression with which she poured out her heart and soul. A rock star was born. The singer from The Hague, then 22 years old, was already well-known in Dutch musical circles. Two years before her big break, she was a student at the Rotterdam School of Music when she came into contact with Golden Earring singer Barry Hay, with whom she sang a few songs live at a festival in The Hague. He was so impressed with her singing that he offered to write material for her, which resulted in a first single: Mood Indigo. A little under a year later Nobody’s Wife was released and everyone in the Netherlands knew who Anouk was.

Now, sixteen years later, Anouk is still one of the most popular performing artists in the Netherlands. No less than seven of the eleven albums she released are high on the Dutch album chart, and thirteen singles made the top ten. Over the years she has received many awards, including an impressive nine Edisons (the Dutch equivalent of the Grammy). In 2001 she won the Pop Award, a prestigious Dutch annual music award that is presented to a performing artist who has made an important contribution to Dutch pop music, and both in 2005 and in 2006 she won an MTV Europe Music Award for Best Dutch Act. Between 1997 and 2011 Anouk released seven studio albums, resulting in dozens of hits. Initially, the wilful singer from The Hague was mostly known for her explosive rock songs like Nobody’s Wife and R U Kiddin’ Me, but she has also made small and fragile songs like Lost and Michel, and in later albums she has experimented with soul, funk, and hip-hop. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3RaHTDNude4

But there is always that voice, like a recurrent theme - that voice that stands like a rock. The voice that can flatter, spit fire, touch your heart or blow you away. That is sometimes raw, and at other times fragile. Anouk's often painfully outspoken lyrics strike a chord in her fans, who identify with her personal stories. Anouk is internationally successful as well. Nobody’s Wife was a great hit in Norway and Sweden, and the singer scored a number one hit in Denmark with Lost. In Albania the single One Word ended up at the top of the chart. Anouk's albums are released in Belgium, Scandinavia, Israel, Turkey and Italy, and she works with reputable international names like Glen Ballard (producer for Michael Jackson, Alanis Morissette, Celine Dion), Reggie Perry (Jay Z, John Legend), and Ryan Lesie (Mary J Blige).

In the olden days, The Netherlands was one of the countries which always performed well within the international spectacle taking into account every aspect of their participation and seeing them achieve four victories in total. The last unfortunately was thirty-eight (38) years ago when the group Teach-In reached the top of the table with the track Ding-A-Dong. Since the introduction of the semi-final system back in 2004, things have not been successful for the nation noting that whilst they managed to qualify on that occasion with the track Without You performed by the group Re-Union, they have not managed to do so once more. For this simple reason, they have changed their broadcaster and ultimately also their method of selection. Anouk has been a target for several years and she is hoping to take The Netherlands back into the final as well as the top five if possible.

Professional Critics Voice their Opinion

Rating: 67%

Magnus Kaxe: Unusual song for Eurovsion. Lovely melody and lyrics with an amazing harmony progression.  To make the song shine it needs a great artist performance. And who could do it better than Anouk? Nobody. This is going to fly high like birds in the contest. Maybe all the way to number one.

Lina Eriksson: To be honest this wasn't what I expected when I learned Anouk was representing The Netherlands. A beautiful melancholic song but I don't think it'll work in the Eurovision Song Contest and this is on what I am basing my opinion.

Matt Mercieca (Muxu): She is so cool, I would love to hang out with her, her speaking voice and singing voice are so different, it sound like a movie soundtrack. I love this, it has an old school vibe, I don't know how eurovision fanatics will respond to it, but I Love it, its so quirky, and so different, I am definitely a fan, and hope this does well, but man I love it, its so different, not commercial at all, it sounds like a soundtrack, I love it, what the hell I am going to give it a 10, it gives me a good old school vibe and makes me happy.

Source: eurovision.tv

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vtOwHHDAFc

Published in Editorials
Tuesday, 09 April 2013 03:45

Ukraine: Reviewing the track 'Gravity'

A professional panel of experts from the local and the foreign music industry have been summoned to listen to all of the competing entries in this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest. The tracks are supported by biographies, other music from the respective performers involved along with a background on the participating country. The formal introduction of each entry continues. All of the information is obtained from the official website of the international spectacle and indeed, pertaining to the running order as decided by the producers, Ukraine will be performing in slot number seven (7) from the sixteen (16) entries which will be competing during the first semi-final. NTU, the broadcaster resposible for the participation of Ukraine in the Eurovision Song Contest will be represented by the song Gravity composed by Mikhail Nekrasov, penned by Karen Kavaleryan with vocals provided by Zlata Ognevich.

The elements of water and rock attracted Zlata from an her early age. She likes to swim and dive while storms rage at the sea. Being a kid, she frequently ran away from home, spending hours in the rocky cliffs in order to sing, keenly listening to the mountains echoing her voice. Zlata liked the extreme from the childhood: diving into water, she vanished there for a long time; developing the ability to hold her breath that, however, became very useful for her: now she can sing in one breath 5-6 high notes of maximum length. After finishing two schools, comprehensive and music ones, at the age of 18, Zlata went to Kyiv, where her professional singing career started. Here, at the R.M. Glier Kyiv State Higher Music College, she refined her pop vocal skills. Then she continued her studying in the Kyiv Institute of Music, but that time at the department of jazz. In the race for success, Zlata gained an invaluable experience in The State Song and Dance Ensemble of the Armed Forces of Ukraine where she is still a solist.

To be a singer in Ukraine is not a unique profession. Without exaggeration you can say that almost everyone sings there. To become famous and show your talent is a very difficult task. But in Zlata’s occasion, the "blood code" worked: parental Serbian and maternal Italian roots. This "cocktail" showed the best merits of the singer: the Balkan unrestraint and sense of freedom, the Italian affectivity and beauty, the Ukrainian heartiness and tunefulness. And the severe northern land reflected in Zlata as an indomitable will and pursuit of goals. Zlata has already five videos in her creative baggage. The numerous wins that she has received in a remarkably short period, say a lot about the incredible talent of the young singer. Zlata has a special message for all her fans: “Love more, laugh more, open your heart and have no fears!” About her personal relationship to Eurovision Song Contest, the Ukrainian representative says: “For me the contest associates with an enormous job, not only of the artist, but also of hundreds of people off screen.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fs_PIZ4dA-s

About the specialty of her entry Gravity, Zlata says: “The most special is the song itself. We’d like to bring the idea that life is fragile and there’re a lot of things making us feel the weight of responsibilities. But one should always find strength in oneself to open the wings and soar, overcoming the difficulties. We’d like not to disclose the performance, it is under a painstaking work process now, but the efforts of the team are being made to make it interesting." Zlata gets her inspiration in travelling, in human spirit, in interesting acquaintances. She adores nature. At her leisure she cycles, jogs in her favorite park with a small lake, sit with her friends on the highest bridge and lights sky lanterns. This track was not selected internally but had to get through a national selection, one of the first organised in preparation for this years' edition of the international spectacle but nevertheless, according to pundits they did get it right.

Ukraine is one of the most successful countries to compete at the Eurovision Song Contest noting that they first entered in 2003 and managed to garner their first and thus far only victory within the following year as Ruslana and Wild Dances rose to the occasion. Nevertheless, this is an Eastern country which has never failed to get through to the final even when at times people thought that their record might have been in jeapordy. It is quite interesting to see that both countries which have a sterling record in semi-finals have been put back to back in terms of performances with Russia performed straight before. In 2011, Mika Newton and her song Angel was the surprise of many when she finished in fourth place but the disappointment of last year with Be My Guest was clearly felt at least from Gaitana who had received positive response throughout. The jury managed to lift it up to fifteenth position, the second worst result for Ukraine.

Professional Critics Voice their Opinion

Rating: 53%

Magnus Kaxe: If Eurovision would be all about having the most key modulations in a song this one would win, easily. Great chorus and good production. But I'm afraid the corny structure and arrangement is too complicated for the average listener. One's losing interest after a while. However - it will make it through to the final.

Lina Eriksson: Zlata's an amazing singer but I got dissapointed when the verse was over and the chorus started. And why that ending?

Matt Mercieca (Muxu): The way the song starts is good, but then it suddenly changes and I'm not so in love with it anymore, this also reminds me of a movie soundtrack, like a children's movie. but every time i think I'm about to start liking it, it changes, and i have to get used to something else. it changes way to much, and doesn't let you just enjoy the song

Source: eurovision.tv

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-onH40yB2uk

Published in Editorials
Tuesday, 09 April 2013 03:20

Italy: New Single by Marco Mengoni

Italy has been extremely successful since returning to the Eurovision Song Contest and it seems that the trend will indeed continue as Marco Mengoni takes to the stage in Sweden with his entry L'Essenziale which he co-wrote with Francesco De Benedittis and Roberto Casalino. Sanremo, the annual festival of music in Italy is known to be a boost in the industry but Mengoni is exceeding all expectations. His winning entry has already been certified double platinium and is at the top of the singles chart for the sixth consecutive week.

L'Essenziale is part of the sophomore album #PRONTOACORRERE, released by Sony Music Italy and the management think that it is best to continue promoting Marco as a versatile artist and lead in with a brand new single, the title track of the studio album. In a video chat with TG1 on Rai Uno, it was said that the decision was unanimous because an uptempo track always follows a ballad. Nevertheless, this is not just any ordinary track having been penned by none other than Mark Owen of the popular group, Take That. As a matter of fact, an English demo of the track has also been released whilst a special version of the song has also been included on the album. This Saturday night, Marco Mengoni will be one of the guests of the Eurovision In Concert alongside Gianluca. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for more news.

Source: Rai Uno, Ilkar.blogspot.com

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v6w8dbu2Hs4

Monday, 08 April 2013 06:45

Russia: Reviewing the track 'What If'

escflashmalta.com has engaged a professional panel to listen to all of the competing entries. The tracks are supported by biographies, other music from the respective performers involved along with a background on the participating country. The formal introduction of each entry continues. All of the information is obtained from the official website of the international spectacle and indeed, pertaining to the running order as decided by the producers, Russia will be performing in slot number five (6) from the sixteen (16) entries which will be competing during the first semi-final. C1R, the broadcaster resposible for the participation of Russia in the Eurovision Song Contest will be represented by the song What If co-written by Gabriel Alares, Joakim Björnberg, Leonid Gutkin with vocals provided by Dina Garipova.

Dina was born on March the 25th 1991 in the city of Zelenodolsk (in the Republic of Tatarstan), to a medical family. From the age of six, she took classes in singing at the Golden Microphone Theatre. Now, Dina is a student of journalism at the Kazan University. Dina is a proud prizewinner of different musical contests: the Firebird Russian National Song Contest (1999), the Republican Festival “Constellation” (2001), International Contest in Estonia (2005). Dina Garipova as a member of the Golden Microphone Theatre participated in the International Contest in France where their musical won the Grand Prix. In 2010 Dina’s first solo concert took place in her home city Zelenodolsk.

In 2012 Dina Garipova won the reality talent show The Voice. As a winner of the show, Dina received the main prize – a contract with Universal Music, one of the largest music corporations in the world. Talking about her participation in the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest, Dina says: “I’d worthily like to represent my country at the Eurovision Song Contest, to sing the song in such a manner that would touch people’s hearts. I want the Eurovision Song Contest to be a real festival of talents! I want all viewers to have a wonderful time! It’s a great honour to be a participant in the Eurovision Song Contest. I’ll do everything I can to turn in a good performance and leave a favourable impression of my country!”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUecw-tIMq8

Russia participate within the international competition with a certain pride using the showcase to promote either some of their most contemporary talent or something traditional which is rather well respected. With two broadcasters in tow, it seems that their conditions are well predefined according to who gets the next nod and as a matter of fact, C1R are known to choose their artist internally. Last year, a national selection involving twenty-five participants took place and ultimately, Party for Everybody performed by the 'Grannies' (Buranovskiye Babushki) finished in second place. Expect the unexpected from the nation in the far east of the continent but always expect positive results in return along with assured qualification. 

This year, Dina Garipova was chosen internally but nevertheless, the representative of the broadcaster said that around a million people chose her as the winner and thus chosen by the public. Russia first entered the Eurovision Song Contest in 1994 and finished in ninth place with their entry Vyechniy stranik performed by Youddiph. Success was stalled and following futher disappointment in 1997, the country withdrew only to return with Alsou and her entry Solo in 2000 finishing as the first runner-up. Since the millennium, Russia has finished in the top ten on six occasions with their most recent being last year as noted above but failed to keep their record between 2009 and 2011. Dima Bilan and his entry Believe is the only winning act from the nation.

Professional Critics Voice their Opinion

Rating: 83%

Magnus Kaxe: Best ballad of the evening. Efficient and elegant verses, that nicely build up to an amazing chorus. My immediate feeling is just WOW! I love it and really hope it will get the same attention from Europe.

Lina Eriksson: Fantastic singer, beautiful song. Sometimes less is more!

Matt Mercieca (Muxu): I LOVE THIS! its a nice strong ballad, lyrics are a little cheesy , very beauty pageant , but I love how the song builds up , super powerful bridge. The music arrangement/strings are beautiful. and I love her voice, the end of the video is so cheesy, it made me cringe a little, but the song is so nice.

Source: eurovision.tv

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1VwzdeRNjtA

Published in Editorials
Sunday, 07 April 2013 03:55

Croatia: Reviewing the track 'Mižerja'

A professional panel of individuals from the music industry have been engaged by the editorial board of escflashmalta.com to listen to all of the competing entries in this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest taking place in Malmö, Sweden. The tracks are supported by biographies, other music from the respective performers involved along with a background on the participating country. The formal introduction of each entry continues. All of the information is obtained from the official website of the international spectacle and indeed, pertaining to the running order as decided by the producers, Croatia will be performing in slot number four (4) from the sixteen (16) entries which will be competing during the first semi-final. HRT, the broadcaster resposible for the participation of Croatia in the Eurovision Song Contest will be represented by the song Mižerja written by Goran Topolovac and performed by Klapa s Mora, a group made up of Marko Skugor, Ante Galic, Niksa Antica, Leon Bataljaku, Ivica Vlaic and Bojan Kavadizija.

Klapa singing is a traditional Croatian form of vocal music originating from Dalmatia, in southern Croatia. In December 2012, UNESCO inscribed klapa singing on its list of world intangible heritage of Europe. This year Croatia has formed a special klapa for the Eurovision Song Contest made up of singers who are young, but rich in experience. Marko Škugor was born on October 25th, 1989. He had a lovely childhood in Dubrava, near Šibenik where he lived with his parents and two younger sisters. Ante Galić was born on September 3rd, 1987 in Split. He grew up with his mother and spent a lovely childhood filled with the usual mischief, football and basketball. Nikša Antica was born on May 9th, 1976 in Split where he had a happy childhood living with his parents and his younger brother. Nikša completed his entire education in Split, where he also earned a law degree. He came to Karlovac when he married a local girl, and now considers this his home town.

Leon Bataljaku was born in Zadar on June 13th, 1980. He had a happy childhood, which he shared with his younger sister. Ivica Vlaić was born on July 12th, 1979 in Šibenik. He grew up with his parents and a younger brother. He graduated from high school and entered the Faculty of Maritime Studies, but didn't get a degree there because he started working for the Croatian Army. Bojan Kavedžija was born on June 14th, 1973 in Zagreb. He spent a happy childhood with his parents and his sister. He graduated from high school for tourism management, but never worked in his field of expertise. One summer on the Murter island he met five girls who sang and danced in a folklore group. Goran was born on 29th June 1975 in Karlovac. He lives and works in Duga Resa, where he went to school. He graduated from elementary music school in Karlovac, where his instrument was the piano.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B801bIEW9GA

Internal selections have somewhat become extremely common in recent years with the focus of the participation put on promotion rather than the actual selection of the track. Croatia is one of the countries which is seeking to return to the final and in order to carry out this task, they have enlisted a completely different type of entry. As a matter of fact, Mižerja is known to be a Klapa, a traditional form of music which is part of the nations' heritage and recognised even by Unesco. When one does look back at past results, the country has been somewhat unlucky and despite finishing in third place within the semi-final back in 2008 with the song Romanca performed by Kraljevi Ulice & 75 Cents, they could only managed twenty-first position in the final and indeed, Croatia continued their trend of not making the top ten. The last time that they reached that position was in 2001 at the hands of Vanna with the song Strings of My Heart.

Croatia will be the second ex-Yugoslavian country to perform during the first semi-final noting that Slovenia will be performing in the third slot hence why the review was published yesterday. The history of both nations is somewhat similar and as a matter of fact, Croatia has failed to make it through to the final of the Eurovision Song Contest for the past three years, despite having extremely high hopes in 2010 when represented by the group Feminnem and the track Lako Je Sve as well as last year, in 2012 when Nina Badric took to the stage with the beautiful ballad entitled Nebo. The tracks finished in thirteenth and twelfth place respectively. Croatia is one of the nations yet to win the international spectacle despite reaching their best results in the nineties, finish in the top ten on five occasions including top number four finishes coming in 1996 with Maja Blagdan and her song Sveta Ljubav and in 1999 with the track Marija Magdalena performed by Doris Dragovic.

Professional Critics Voice their Opinion

Rating: 30%

Magnus Kaxe: Man-band with pop-opera ambitions. Sounds like a Eurovision song from 1987 or a musical song from the same decade. This is not my cup of tea. I rather go to the kitchen and make a cup of tea of my own.

Lina Eriksson: I think these charming gentlemen will have a hard time making it through the semi. Extra credit when singing in native tounge but this charming, oldschool song is a little bit too oldschool.

Matt Mercieca (Muxu): Very ,very good harmonies, but song is super out-dated, and gets a little boring after a while, the instrumental breakdown….. why? che miseria…but love the harmonies

Source: eurovision.tv

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qdESBf3UFQI

Published in Editorials

Malmö, Sweden will be hosting this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest as it had done back in 1992 when Linda Martin romped to victory with her ballad, Why Me? In 2013, escflashmalta.com has engaged a panel of professional individuals to assess the competing entries. The tracks are supported by biographies, other music from the respective performers involved along with a background on the participating country. The formal introduction of each entry continues. All of the information is obtained from the official website of the international spectacle and indeed, pertaining to the running order as decided by the producers, Denmark will be performing in slot number five (5) from the sixteen (16) entries which will be competing during the first semi-final. DR, the broadcaster resposible for the participation of Denmark in the Eurovision Song Contest will be represented by the song Only Teardrops co-written by Lise Cabble, Julia Fabrin Jakobsen, Thomas Stengaard with vocals provided by Emmelie de Forest.

Growing up in the town of Mariager in the North Denmark region, Emmelie started singing professionally from an early age. Since she was 14, she has been touring all over Denmark with the Scottish musician Fraser Neill, performing both own songs and folk/blues-versions of hits from e.g. Nirvana and Johnny Cash. An important part of Emmelie's stage performance has always been her footwear - or the lack of it. "I have always preferred singing without wearing high heels or shoes. Being barefoot makes me feel closer to the ground, the earth and makes me feel more relaxed, Emmelie says. Royal roots: Emmelie is very much down to earth, despite her family tree. She is the great-grandchild of none other than Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom. "Her son, Edward VII, had many children outside marriage. One of them was my grandfather, whom he had with an Austrian princess of the Habsburg family. 

My grandmother descends from old Swedish nobility, so thanks to that link, I have spent much of my childhood in Stockholm, where my brothers and sisters still live. I see Sweden as my second home", Emmelie explains. Now based in Copenhagen, Emmelie only has to cross Øresund to enter the stage at Eurovision Song Contest with her song Only Teardrops, which won an impressive victory in the Danish national final, gaining 50 percent of the televotes in the finale. "As soon as I heard the song, I fell in love with it. It has a melancholic feeling to it, and it is about war and peace, both in a relationship and in the world as a whole. I believe these are issues that people all over the world can relate to", she says. Lise Cabble is a Danish songwriter and used to be the songwriter and lead singer in the former girl band Miss B. Haven. She has had 12 songs in the national grand prix and has won it 3 times. The latest one was this year with Only Teardrops performed by Emmelie de Forest. First time in 1995 with the popular song Fra Mols til Skagen. Second time in 2011 with the song New Tomorrow. Both songs went Top 5 in the Eurovision.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yZxZKf9C32k

The Dansk Melodi Grand Prix has become an annual spectacle for both local and international viewers noting that the competition is organised in extremely high quality ranking amongst some of the best selection procedures in the continent. At the end of the submission deadline, 692 entries were entered for the Dansk Melodi Grand Prix, making it one of the highest number of submissions ever dating back to at least, 1988. 15,000 people were in attendance during the final in Herning to watch ten acts competing against each other to represent the Scandinavian country at the Eurovision Song Contest taking place in a town which is practically reachable by bridge. Simone with the song Stay Awake was the second runner-up behind Mohammed Ali and his entry Unbreakable. The latter track for the favourite of the jury but the public overturned the result giving Emmelie the victory with Only Teardrops.

1957 was the first year in which Denmark took to the stage of the international competition and started on a high having managed to finish in third place with the track Skibet skal sejle i nat performed by Birthe Wilke and Gustav Winckler. The first victory would eventually come with the track Dansevise performed by another duet made up of Grethe and Jørgen Ingmann. In 2000, the Olsen Brothers and their stunning track Fly On the Wings of Love surprised pundits and bookmakers when it managed to overcome strong competition to finish on top. Since the introduction of the semi-final system, Denmark has only failed to qualify on two occasions whilst finishing in the top five in two of the past three years. They are the outright favourites to win this years' edition of the international spectacle. 

Professional Critics Voice their Opinion

Rating: 83%

Magnus Kaxe: The favorite this year according to all betting companies. Emmelie sings very well with a Björk-ish vibe. Folk-music intro and swirling verse bursts into a simple and child-song-like chorus - in a great way! This will definitely be a strong candidate for the overall victory this year.

Lina Eriksson: I simply love this song and Emmelies characteristics voice.This kind of hybrid of Irish folklore meets popmusic is close to my heart. Good lyrics, good topline. I like it a lot!

Matt Mercieca (Muxu): I like the folky beginning, I think this is such a good mix of the usual typical eurovison sound, but still has something that is current. The more I hear it, the more I like it. I love the bridge, the way it opens up, this one should do well.

Source: eurovision.tv

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k59E7T0H-Us

Published in Editorials

escflashmalta.com has engaged a set of professional individuals who are getting through all of the entries competing in this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest. The tracks are supported by biographies, other music from the respective performers involved along with a background on the participating country. The formal introduction of each entry continues. All of the information is obtained from the official website of the international spectacle and indeed, pertaining to the running order as decided by the producers, Slovenia will be performing in slot number three (3) from the sixteen (16) entries which will be competing during the first semi-final. RTV SLO, the broadcaster resposible for the participation of Slovenia in the Eurovision Song Contest will be represented by the song Straight Into Love co-written by Hannah Mancini, Gregor Zemljic, Erik Margan, Matija Rodic and Marko Primuzak with vocals provided by Hannah.

Hannah, singer, composer and lyricist, has appeared on Slovene musical stages and on TV screens for a number of years. She also appeared in international music theatres like the Radio City Music Hall, the Universal Amphitheatre and on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. She has worked on numerous Disney movies, collaborating with top music authors and producers, such as Todd Chapman and the Grammy Award winner, Larry Klein, as well as the highly acclaimed American group Haute Chile, who used to perform as the opening act for Sheryl Crow and Seal. She has also worked as a backing vocalist with stars like Luis Miguel. Hannah, who is American-born and is currently busy writing music in Europe and Slovenia having moved here from the USA six years ago after marrying a Slovenian.

During this time she has appeared on the international productions of various albums and compilations, collaborating with DJ Umek (Vice Grip, Circle Records 2009; Dementia, Hell Yeah Records 2009), the DJ and producer Sare Havliček (three singles from the album Toscana Nights, Nang Records 2010: Dreams in Light, Pleasure Storm and In/Out, and a single from her latest album Vibe on You, Nang Records 2011). Hannah has been the lead singer of the Xequtifz group for a number of years now, and with them she has recorded the Slovene and English versions of three radio hits. In 2011 she took part in the EMA Contest for the Slovene representative at the Eurovision Song Contest, performing the pop song You're The One (Sylvain, Mike Vale & Hannah). She didn't win, yet the song was a huge radio hit in Slovenia. She is currently working on her upcoming international albums (Don't Give A Damn by Mike Vale and Connect Us by Beltek).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YquctqSclFI

This year, the country decided in favour of an internal selection for the simple reason that recent results have not been hopeful and despite going through the issue of an extremely long national selection process last year, it did not yield a positive outcome. Following weeks of voting, a casting show selection, which was extremely popular in Slovenia saw the creation of a young idol, one whose name was Eva Boto. Ultimately Eva was competing against two twins and when the specially designation songs were put forward in front of the public and the jury, the choice was somewhat well adjusted to select Verjamem co-written by Vladimir Graic and Hari Mata Hari. The latter represented Bosnia & Herzegovina in 2006 whilst the former had composed the winning entry for Serbia in 2007. In the end, thirty-one (31) points and non-qualification saw Slovenia suffer for yet another year. Hannah will be hoping to turn the result around with her dubstep inspired track.

Eighteen participations reflect the history of Slovenia at the Eurovision Song Contest with the best result at this point in time still being a seventh place finish on two occasions, the first time in 1995 at the hands of Darja Svajger with the track Prisluhni Mi and then in 2001 when Nusa Derenda had done the honours with the song Energy. This is a nation which has not been so successful since the introducition of the semi-final system back in 2004 noting that qualification has only come on two (2) occasions out of a possible nine (9). The first time being in 2007 with Alenka Gotar and her operatic track Cvet z Juga and the second time being in 2011 when Maja Keuc, a newcomer took to the stage with the song No One. The nations' success has always been somewhat resounding for the simple reason that the music of the balkans is known to be somewhat similar and therefore a split vote has always been the case with countries such as Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Serbia for example.

Professional Critics Voice their Opinion

Rating: 60%

Magnus Kaxe: Verses are promising and the melody in the chrous is good but gets lost because of the bad house production. Get back to the production room.

Lina Eriksson: Strange with a dupstep intro... Hannah's got a great pop-voice. I'm sure we'll hear this tune on the dancefloors this summer. Still, this song feels more like a remix than an original song. It doesn't really get under my skin.

Matt Mercieca (Muxu): It starts off very Dubstep, Don't like the dress. first verse is a little slow, but chorus is so strong, I REALLY like this, its something that if i heard it in my car I would put this up. don't like the way it suddenly ends, but love the rest of it. very catchy, its gonna be interesting to see how she performs this live.

Source: eurovision.tv

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SqL0SP3zARg

Published in Editorials

Yesterday, Austria was the first country to receive the critique of the reviewers that escflashmalta.com has engaged in support of the participants in this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest. More preview videos are being added with the release of those from Austria and Belarus in the past couple of hours. The formal introduction of each entry continues. All of the information is obtained from the official website of the international spectacle and indeed, pertaining to the running order as decided by the producers, Estonia will be performing in slot number two (2) from the sixteen (16) entries which will be competing during the first semi-final. ERR, the broadcaster resposible for the participation of Estonia in the Eurovision Song Contest will be represented by the song Et Uus Saaks Alguse co-written by Mihkel Mattisen and Silvia Soro with vocals provided by Birgit Õigemeel.

Birgit Õigemeel is without doubt one of the happiest people in the world right now. Her life is full of love and great expectations: the challenge of performing in an international arena, settling in to her new home in Tallinn, and looking forward to the birth of her first baby. There could be no more exciting time for her to be taking part in Eurovision than now, when she and her partner Indrek Sarrap are expecting their first child. And she's not alone - composer Mihkel Mattisen is about to become a parent for the first time, too! It's clearly fate that Et Uus Saaks Alguse (known in English as 'New Beginning') is representing Estonia at the Eurovision Song Contest. Children have played a big role in Birgit's life throughout her professional career, which began in 2007 when she won the first ever series of Estonian Pop Idol. A year later she set up the Tähelaps ('Starchild') charity with politician and good friend Margus Tsahkna in support of the education of children from orphanages.

Born in the small Estonian town of Kohila, Birgit has three sisters: two older and one younger. Her father is a furniture maker, but it's her mother – a singing teacher – whose footsteps she has followed, teaching children to sing in one of her older sister's song and dance studios. In 2009 she teamed up with the internationally acclaimed deep house production duo Rulers of the Deep on the album Teineteisel Pool ('The Other Side'). A showcase of intelligent club music, it won her the award of the Female Artist of the Year 2010 in Estonia. In 2010 she took the role of Maria von Trapp in the 'The Sound of Music' in Estonia. She has also taken part in the national selection for Eurovision on two previous occasions, in 2008 and 2012. Birgit is only too aware that resting on your laurels is a step backwards, which is why she's studying music therapy at Tallinn University. "I'm interested in the deeper effect that music has on people," she explains.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_EJEuPc-xSA

Eesti Laul is the national selection procedure in Estonia and it has proven somewhat successful in recent years following a revamp which was put forward by the broadcaster. A professional jury made up of people from the music industry along with the public both have a stake in selecting the best two tracks competing in the selection process but nevertheless, the public would then vote for the best act. Preceding the final round are two semi-finals, which comprise of ten songs each and once more, both the public and the jury decide on which five (5) songs from each semi-final should make it through. Estonia is known to be a nation with one of the most alternative selection processes when it comes to song genre and have been described by fans and critics as extremely avante-garde. In the first round of tele-voting, Birgit was actually third but having obtained the second best score of the jury, had managed to get her through to the super-final. 

The contender there was Päästke noored hinged sung by Grete Paia who had achieved top marks by the public as opposed to fifth place by the jury. The voting in the super-final was extremely close and in the end it was Birgit who prevailed with 51.1% of the vote as opposed to 48.9% for the first runner-up. Estonia will be taking part in the Eurovision Song Contest for the nineteenth time and have managed to qualify to the final on three occasions from nine possible entries, all of which coming within the last four years. Their best result was a victory with the song Everybody by Tanel Padar & Dave Benton in 2001 whilst they also managed to finish in sixth place during last years' edition with the track Kuula performed by Ott Lepland. They will be hoping that this ballad, the second one in a row to be performed in the national language will reach the final against current odds published online. Õnn Kaasa!

Professional Critics Voice their Opinion

Rating: 33%

Magnus Kaxe: A ballad with country vibes. Birgit sings nicely but the total package doesn't tickle my ears. It's just - boring. This would sound better if the lyrics were in English because Estonian is not a musical language for ballads.

Lina Eriksson: A typical oldschool Eurovision Song Contest ballad. Will it work in 2013? I don't think so. Birgit is a great singer but this sweet song is out of date, production wise as well as melodically.

Matt Mercieca (Muxu): The way it starts is ok, nothing special. there are some country influences which is rare for eurovision. She is gorgeous reminds me a little bit of Adrianne Curry , ok sorry I went totally off topic, i guess this says a lot about the song, very boring , and never seems to go anywhere.

Source: eurovision.tv

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=02uHFbCN2JI

Published in Editorials

Alyona Lanskaya will be representing Belarus in the upcoming edition of the Eurovision Song Contest taking place in Sweden with the song Solayoh composed by Marc Paelinck and penned by Martin King. Ten participants put their name forward to represent the eastern country in the esteemed music event but at the end of the evening, both the public and the jury selected Alyona to take on the role. She selected a track that encompasses the best of more than one genre and creating a Turkish flavour in a year when the country is missing might have been quite ideal. Solayoh has been receiving positive acclaim across the board and has also been doing resoundingly well in the betting odds.

Our colleagues at oikotimes.com exclusively published the official preview video that will be accompanying the track and whilst the focus is definitely on the slick choreography also most likely transcendent on the stage of the Eurovision Song Contest, the key interest is a special guest star. Alexander Rybak, winner of the 2009 edition of the music edition on behalf of Norway is supporting his home country this year and thus makes a cameo within the preview video. Solayoh has been released internationally on digital stores such as iTunes through CAP-Sounds, the same music label which houses two time Eurovision Song Contest representative, Fabrizio Faniello amongst others. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all the latest news.

Source: oikotimes.com

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5JqI9Tvu2P8

Thursday, 04 April 2013 01:00

Austria: Reviewing the track 'Shine'

All of the preview videos for the competing entries in this years' Eurovision Song Contest were formally presented to the European Broadcasting Union during the Heads of Delegation last month and therefore, formal introduction of each entry will start taking place on our portal. All of the information is obtained from the official website of the international spectacle and indeed, pertaining to the running order as decided by the producers, Austria will be opening up the feature from the first semi-final where sixteen countries will compete. ORF, the broadcaster responsible for the participation of Austria in the Eurovision Song Contest will be represented by the song Shine co-written by Andreas Grass, Nikola Paryla, Alexander Kahr and Natália Kelly, who also offers vocals.

Despite her young age of only 18 years, Natália Kelly, can already look back at more than ten years of professional experience as a singer and pianist. Shine might be Natália Kelly‘s debut single, but it would nonetheless be hard to describe her as a newcomer: The 18-year-old from Lower Austria, who has US American and Brazilian roots, has been adding to her stage experience for the past ten years, thanks to a wide range of performances, and by participating in numerous music competitions. Quite a few juries have been impressed by Natália Kelly’s abilities as both pianist and singer. This early success is not solely due to her unique voice: her artless and self-confident flair have also given Natália Kelly’s music an individuality that juggles playfully with contrasting elements from pop and R'n'B.

Produced by Austrian hit factory songwriter Alexander Kahr, Shine will be Natália Kelly’s musical business card, bringing together her national experiences with international elements, and thus reaching out to her promising future. She will be releasing her debut album right in time for the Eurovision Song Contest. Talking about her participation in the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest, Natália says: 'It is an honour and a great pleasure to be able to represent Austria. An international competition like the Eurovision Song Contest is an amazing opportunity for an artist to gather important musical experience and to develop further on a personal level.' As a matter of fact, it is worth noting that Natalia Kelly was selected to represent Austria following a national final procedure which saw another four act compete. Shine was selected by a mixture of public and international jury voting.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2O0lziuq8A

As mentioned before, Natália Kelly had to go through a national selection in order to achieve the role of representing her own country in the Eurovision Song Contest and heading into the competition, she was not perceived as the public favourite. ORF, the broadcaster responsible for the organisation of this selection had in mind the result of the year before when selecting the possible entries and indeed setup a professional commission who went to look for performers and suitable songwriters. Indeed, the line-up was mixed and the show was organised in a very high standard. Ultimately, following a mixture of public and jury vote, Natália Kelly was decided as the winner with a twenty point advantage in the final tally. Her closest competition was Feels Like Home by Yela.

1957 is the year in which Austria first started to take part in the Eurovision Song Contest and despite finishing in last place on three occasions prior to achieving their best ever finish, that being in 1966 with the song Merci Cherie sung by Udo Jürgens. As a matter of fact, Udo had already represented his country on two other previous occasions and his results just got better each time. Nevertheless, Austria would never finish within the top three ever again and since the millennium, their best result was achieved back in 2003 with the track Weil der Mensch Zählt performed by Alf Poier. Following a break between 2008 and 2011, the nation returned with Nadine Beiler and her entry The Secret is Love making it to the final, finishing in eighteenth place before facing another disappointing result last year. 

Professional Critics Voice their Opinion

Rating: 50%

Magnus Kaxe: Random song and production that need a strong vocal performance to come through. Natalia Kelly's voice is unfortunately a little bit weak (I can even hear some false notes here and there). Instead of shining, Austria, stays in the shadows tonight.  

Lina Eriksson: Natalia is sweet but I'm missing some edge to this chorus. It's a bit boring to be frank. The risk is people will forget about this song cause it doesn't really shine and leaves one yearning for more.

Matt Mercieca (Muxu): I like the tone of her voice, and the vibe throughout the whole song is very current, I wish the chorus had that extra kick, I think the sudden key change at the end isn't needed , a couple of big ad-libs over normal chorus would have been cooler. I like the song personally, but don't think it will make a huge impact on the festival.

Source: eurovision.tv

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1RPLzJ5hqYc

Published in Editorials