BIMM Invasion at Eurovision Song Contest

5 February, 2018

We’ve always been fans of the Eurovision Song Contest at BIMM – our HQ is but a stone’s throw from the Brighton Dome, where ABBA tasted glory in 1974. As it happens, the iconic venue will also host this month’s’ Eurovision: You Decide’ selection show on BBC Two, where one of our very own stars is due to appear!

BIMM London graduate Raya will perform her dance-inspired pop track ‘Crazy’ on stage on Wednesday 7 February in a bid to reach the finals in Lisbon, Portugal this May.

The Doncaster-born singer – who is also a gifted DJ – is hoping to win the public vote for her brilliant song, which was co-written by fellow BIMM graduate Samir Salah Elshafie. Speaking to the BBC, Raya said: “I’m excited, nervous but also up for the challenge. It will be such a great honour to represent the UK at Eurovision.”

If she wins, she’ll be in good company, as BIMM Dublin graduate and singer-songwriter, Ryan O’Shaughnessy, has been chosen by RTÉ to represent Ireland in the competition. Ryan co-wrote his track ‘Together’ with three other songwriters from The Nucleus – a revered collective of Irish songwriters founded by Hamlet Sweeney [Meatloaf, Status Quo and UB40].

Ryan said:

“I plan on doing Ireland proud by bringing a song and performance to Eurovision that we haven’t seen since the days of Rock and Roll Kids. Last year’s winning song from Salvador Sobral was a beautiful, melodic piece, and I think it may have carved the way for Eurovision to revert back to being a song contest, where true songs can flourish. I can’t wait to get onto that stage and perform an honest piece for millions of people.”

His words reflect Eurovision’s vision to move past cheesy Europop, as the show’s organisers look to revamp the contest. But Ryan and Raya aren’t the show’s only BIMM connections.

Interviewing BIMM students

To celebrate the return of ‘Eurovision: You Decide’, which airs next Wednesday on BBC Two, the show’s producers also visited BIMM Brighton to interview our students. The Gogglebox-inspired interviews saw several students critique past Eurovision performances and give their expert opinions on everything from songwriting, singing, production to staging.

Speaking to BIMM about the featurettes, BBC producer Gemma Hodson, said:

“We came to BIMM because you have incredible songwriters on the verge of pursuing their career in music. They’ve got so much knowledge and so much love for what they do. So why not show them a few songs and see if they can tell us what makes a good or a successful Eurovision song?”

To be associated with Eurovision is quite the honour for BIMM and we imagine Raya, Ryan and each one of our students and graduates who has taken part in the upcoming show agrees. Don’t forget to tune in when the show airs on Wednesday 7 February on BBC Two!

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British and Irish Modern Music Institute