January 19, 2020

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Yesterday, a well regarded fan-site of the Eurovision Song Contest; ESC Portugal published an interview with one of the songwriters invited to compete in the selection process in the western country of Portugal, following their return to the prestigious competition. The individual was none other than Marc Paelinck, a familiar name to the local music industry, having written several songs for Maltese artists along the years.

Marc Paelinck is also recognised in the foreign music industry, having been to the Eurovision Song Contest on four (4) occasions; Sister (Belgium 02), 1 Life (Belgium 04), Solayoh (Belarus 13) and What If We (Malta 09). Whilst he is credited on those four (4) in particular, it is something of a public secret that Malta’s best ever entry at the Eurovision Song Contest, that being with Angel might also be written by him, having been the main producer of the single release, and eventually the follow-up album, Here I Am. 

In the interview with ESC Portugal, Marc stated that he is thrilled to be working with Rui on a song for the Festival da Cancao, with a song offered by Olivier Vanhoutte, an escflashmalta.com editorial team member. This interview is seemingly giving one several hints of what Marc is working on, but many will surely wonder whether it is an uptempo track in the form of Solayoh, 1 Life or Sister or whether it will be more along the lines of Here I Am, Sail Away and What If We. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all the latest news.

Source: ESC Portugal


Alyona Lanskaya, the third female to represent Belarus at the Eurovision Song Contest in ten participations noting that male soloists have somewhat dominated the music scene. It is worth noting that in ten participations, only Dmitry Koldun and Work Your Magic achieved a respectable sixth place within the final with a mixed-gender group managing to make the final a couple of years later with the song Butterfly. escflashmalta.com with the help of Olivier Vanhoutte, part of the Belarussian Delegation this year has managed to get in touch with the female artist and speak to her about a variety of things including last years' attempt, this years' entry and what lies ahead in the future as a vocalist.

Let’s take a trip down memory lane to last year, when you were initially selected by the public and a professional jury to represent Belarus in the Eurovision Song Contest with the song All My Life, a beautiful ballad which would have truly stood out. Nevertheless, there were a number of complications and you were subsequently disqualified. What was the whole reasoning behind the affair and what gave you the courage to return after what had happened?

Well I loved All My Life in last years Eurofest but I believe that everything that happens is happening for a reason. It didn’t break at all my wish to return to national selection and I’m very happy of course to represent now Belarus in the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest.

The return of the Eurofest competition has somewhat proven to be quite successful into acquiring a brand new audience for the Eurovision Song Contest with the general aim rather being at selecting the artist rather than a whole package. In the selection process, you performed the original track entitled Rhythm of Love which won over the public and a professional jury. Did you believe that it was required to select a different song despite the positive comments it was receiving from the fans of the international showcase?

I was obviously very happy to win National Selection last December with the song Rhythm of love penned by belarussian composer Leonid Shirin. I like to perform the song a lot but we had made always made it clear from the start that if we found a more appropriate song for the European audience we would change it. When Solayoh was proposed by Belgian composer Marc Paelinck along with several other songs, a special committee decided with a big majority that this was it, this should be the song to be sung in Malmö.


A thumping beat, shirtless dancers and a flamenco infused genre could somewhat be the best idea of describing the chosen track Solayoh to the audience who will be watching you closely as you represent Belarus in this years’ edition of the competition. The track which has been written by Marc Paelinck and Martin King is quite visual in terms of sound and as a matter of fact, people have compared it to past entries from Turkey. What was your initial idea when you heard the track and what are your plans for the performance?

When I heard the song for the first time, I loved it a lot and knew this was a song with a big potential for the Eurovision. I was very happy that Marc Paelinck and Martin King proposed it to me to be sung at Eurovision. It has indeed these oriental influences and I’m honoured that its put along to many other successful entries from Turkey and others. About the stage act I promise you a great show on stage which is currently being preparing by Serbian choreographer ‘Zile’ Aleksa Raifovic from the Zilenium group in Belgrade. But to know all details you’ll have to wait for Sweden as otherwise it wouldn’t be a surprise anymore! (laughing)

Marc Paelinck is a seasoned songwriter in the music industry having written tracks for Sonny O’Brien, Dana Winner, Xandee, Sergio & The Ladies as well as Maltese songstress, Chiara. It is somewhat pivotal for a composer to have been within the competition beforehand and this is one who boasts not one or two participations by three in total, having always been in the final despite achieving mid-table results. What went through your mind when knowing that you would be working with Marc Paelinck and are you planning any future collaboration?

We started first collaborations shortly after last years Eurofest and have recorded some songs that will also be featured on my upcoming international album. Of course future collaborations are definitely considered. Marc is such a good composer and I’m sure we can reach a good result. Every year is different so I am looking only at myself and our performance, we are working very hard to give Belarus again a place in the final and then who knows what can happen!


One of the obstacles that Belarus has come to encounter throughout the years is surely the semi-final portion having only managed to qualify on two (2) out of nine (9) occasions thus far making is one of the most unsuccessful countries to participate. Nevertheless, according to the fans and the bookmakers, it seems that all that might soon be coming to an end with this particular entry for the simple reason that people have fallen heads over heels for it. Why do you think that the nation has not done well on a consistent basis and how do you view perception on your entry?

I have always supported the previous entries for Belarus and even went to Baku last year to cheer for Litesound, I’m very patriotic so it’s normal to do that. Why Belarus didn’t qualify many times till now I don’t know really. As I told before every Eurovision is different with other conditions and other competition. So I am mostly concentrating on the current moment and working hard to get back to the final on 18th May.

You will be taking part in the first semi-final of this years’ Eurovision Song Contest which ultimately comprises of sixteen (16) entries in total, one less than the second semi-final due to what was coined by the international media as a massive pull out. Nevertheless, the competition is still strong and one of your main exponents is surely Anouk with Birds on behalf of The Netherlands. Have you heard any of the other competing entries, even the Maltese one, Tomorrow which is taking part in the second semi-final and how do you view their chances of success?

To be honest I didn’t really have the time yet to listen carefully to all the other songs as my schedule is so tight with preparations and promotion for the ESC. I have indeed heard that Anouk who seems to be a big name in western Europe will represent Netherlands and looking forward to hear the song shortly. Unfortunately I didn’t hear Gianluca’s song ‘Tomorrow’, but you have made me curious so I’ll be doing this as soon as possible.


Prior to the official announcement of Solayoh as to being your entry for this years’ international spectacle, there were a lot of rumours going about with regards to songs received from foreign songwriters, all of which would have done Belarus proud. This is definitely a vote of confidence in your vocal capabilities. What are your plans following the Eurovision Song Contest and do you intend to continue building your relationship with the German based record label, CAP-Sounds?

Yes true we got several proposals from both belarussian as well as foreign composers, but in the end there was a very large majority to chose Solayoh! As you likely know the international album is almost ready and will be released the coming months, without a specific date set yet. I was very happy that for the very first in Belarussian participation the song was signed to the german record label Cap-Sounds who has already experience on Eurovision with several maltese entries amonst but you surely know.

Would you like to say anything to your fans and our readers on escflashmalta.com?

Hello my dear Maltese fans and readers of escflashmalta.com! I hope that you will enjoy the upcoming Eurovision to the fullest! Be happy also in your daily life, make the most out of it. And in case you have a less good day, then one advice: listen to my song Solayoh, I’m sure you will be in a good mood again! Big kisses from Minsk and hope to see you all soon! Grazzi Hafna for this interview!


Published in Interviews
Saturday, 13 April 2013 02:00

Belarus: Reviewing the track 'Solayoh'

Matt Mercieca, Lina Eriksson and Magnus Kaxe were engaged by the editorial board of escflashmalta.com to listen to the entries competing in the first semi-final of this years' Eurovision Song Contest, passing forth their constructive critique along with an individual and collective grading. All of the information is obtained from the official website of the international spectacle. Pertaining to the running order as decided by the producers, Belarus will be performing in slot number eleven (11) from the sixteen (16) entries competing during the first semi-final. BTRC, the broadcaster responsible for the participation of Belarus in the Eurovision Song Contest will be represented by the song Solayoh which has been composed by Marc Paelinck to the lyrics of Martin King with Alyona Lanskaya providing the vocals.

Alyona Lanskaya was born on September 7th in Mogilev, Belarus. Being an apparent Virgo in the Zodiac, her love for her family and for music always came first in her life. She began studying music at a young age: At school, she sang in the choir, performed as a solo artist and as a part of various art groups. She graduated from the Belarusian-Russian University in Mogilev. "My childhood was a very happy one, and sometimes I’d want to return to it - the loving parents and no worries. I used to live in my own world, dreaming at night, coming up with stories for films, always with a happy ending. Because of the light-coloured hair and snow-white skin, the grandma neighbours always called me a "straw girl" – says Alyona Lanskaya. Her career as a professional singer began in 2005, when Alyona took part in the "Slavianski Bazaar" festival in Vitebsk. 

The singer, who during the first training was hesitant to ski, eventually won in the finals after having just a week to learn this sport. In 2008, Alyona, for the first time, took part in an international music festival, in the town of Dobrich in Bulgaria. In 2010, her first solo album Mazes Of Love was released that included songs in Russian, Belarusian and English. Alyona Lanskaya also brought a victory from USA at the “Atlantic Breeze 2010" festival. In 2011, she was awarded the title of Honoured Artist of the Republic of Belarus - she has been the youngest artist ever to receive it! In the summer of 2012, the songs for Alyona’s new English album were recorded. Also in 2012, she took part in the Belarusian national Eurovision selection, and this year she will go on to represent her home country with Solayoh, written by Marc Paelinck and Martin King.


An announced in the official biography above, Alyona Lanskaya has already taken part in last years' national selection within Belarus but despite finishing as the winner, she was disqualified over apparent tampering with the voting results. Ultimately, Litesound took centre stage with their entry We Are The Heroes, with Belarus failing to qualify to the final once more. Nevertheless, when the finalists for this years' national selection were announced, it was somewhat clear that Alyona would be getting a second chance and indeed, she finished the winner with an even better result, receiving the trust of both the jury and the public. The song which she performed in the national selection was entitled Rhythm of Love and received mostly positive acclaim from fans of the Eurovision Song Contest, despite being chosen relatively early in December. In second place within the national final were the group Nuteki with the song Save Me.

Belarus have been competing in the Eurovision Song Contest for nine consecutive years making this participation quite important because they would be turning over a new page, the start of a new decade, hoping that it will be more successful than their last. My Galileo performed by Aleskandra and Konstantin was their debut entry back in 2004, a year in which the semi-finals had just commenced and indeed, they would have to wait another two years before their first qualification, with the track Work Your Magic sung by Dmitry Koldun, and finishing in sixth place. It would be a one off, noting that their next qualification was in 2010 with the song Butterflies performed by the group, 3+2 finishing in the penultimate position. Betting Odds and fans alike have been extremely positive to this years' representation and therefore, it might be that the nation would qualify to the final for a third time in ten years.

Professional Critics Voice their Opinion

Rating: 63%

Magnus Kaxe: Turkish flavors with vibes from "Every way That I Can" by Sertab Erener from 2003. Even though this song might sound 10 years old, I like it! Simple, catchy and powerful chorus and great performance. This will definitely qualify Belarus to the final.

Lina Eriksson: Well it ain't the first time we hear this kind of Elena Paparizou song in the ESC. Still it tend to appeal to the ESC-voters. I'm guessing it will do well, as long as Alyona pull it of live.

Matt Mercieca (Muxu): Is she singing in english? TYPICAL early 2000's eurovision. It's catchy! I like the ethnic breakdown, and can actually see this doing ok in the festival, but you would not find this on my iPod, …ever…EVER! wow this is exactly the kind of music that makes me cringe.

Source: eurovision.tv


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


Alyona Lanskaya will be representing Belarus with the song Solayoh co-written by Marc Paelinck and Martin King within the first semi-final of this years' Eurovision Song Contest. Following a successful first promotional visit in Romania, where she performed at the National Final, Alyona departed to Istanbul to shoot the videoclip during these days. The director of the videoclip is very known Turkish Senol Korkmaz who has been working with many stars like amongst Britney Spears and Hadise, from the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest.

The choreography is directed by Serbian ‘Zile’ Aleksa Rafoivic who is a very known name in Serbia and who has collaborated with many big stars. He was also the choreographer of the FYR Macedonia entry at the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest. Alyona will also be joined in the video by Serbian dancers. Today the rehearsals for shooting the video are in full swing while recording will be taking place as from tomorrow. The team is promising a great happily clip and a huge surprise which will be revealed in due course! Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for more news and enjoy in the meanwhile Solayoh by downloading it legally through legal platforms like iTunes and amazon. After the recording,  Alyona will leave to Moldova where she will a special guest during National Final.

Source: Press Release (Olivier Vanhoutte)


Tuesday, 05 March 2013 02:40

Belarus: Alyona set to perform 'Solayoh'

Alyona Lanskaya has been flirting with the idea of going to the Eurovision Song Contest for the past couple of years noting that despite being selected to represent her native Belarus in 2012, was disqualified due to apparent voting fraud. She returned as the clear favourite this time round and won the selection with the track Rhythm of Love co-written by Leonid Shirin and Yuri Vaschuk which has now been replaced by a much more contemporary song entitled Solayoh co-written by Marc Paelinck and Martin King. This will be the track that Alyona will perform during the first semi-final of the upcoming international competition which is set to take place in Sweden.

According to several soruces, Lanskaya heard several songs before making this decision as she wanted to make sure that the song selection ultimately reflects on the result achieved abroad. This is an extremely contemporary track which features a lot of ethnic flamenco sound as if coming from Spain or even Mexico. The vocals on the studio version are pristine and this could very much see Belarus achieving their second best result considering that many seem to believe that this years' edition of the international showcase is lacking the quality that was expected. BTRC is yet to confirm the news of the song selection it has indeed been released on iTunes.

As a matter of fact, the cover of the single release clearly depicts the songtitle, the singers' name as well as a logo stating that this is the Belarussian entry for the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest. Copyright and Publishing credit goes to CAP-Sounds, responsible for the release of several Maltese entries at the Eurovision Song Contest, the most recent being One Life by Glen Vella in 2011 and My Dream by Thea Garrett in 2010. An official announcement is expected by the broadcaster and Alyona's management within the next couple of hours but you could still purchase your copy of the Eurovision Version as well as the Karaoke Version from any iTunes store. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news about the Eurovision Song Contest.

Source: YouTube, iTunes