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Introducing: Michela for Malta

Introducing: Michela for Malta

🇲🇹 Malta 2019 / “Chameleon”

Photograph by Jonathan Brincat

Grand Final | 14th Place | 107 points

Semi Final 1 | 8th Place | 157 points | Qualified

Michela Pace, who will go by just Michela at Tel Aviv 2019, will represent Malta with the song “Chameleon” after winning the inaugural season of the X Factor Malta. She is only eighteen, but she has competed in several music competitions across Europe. “Chameleon” is her first original song in her arsenal. 

“Chameleon” is a contemporary pop song about adapting to life as it comes at you, no matter what you may face. The music video exemplifies Michela’s Mediterranean upbringing by bringing a bright, vibrant, and tropical aesthetic.

Michele was born and raised on the Maltese island of Gozo, but she’s traveled across Europe and competed in several music competitions. Her accolades include winning the Lithuanian Music Talent League and finishing as a finalist in the Baltic Voices. She has also taken apart in an artist development program in London.

After qualifying and coming 14th in the final, Michela has returned home to Malta where she continues to perform and work on new material.

Watch “Chameleon” below, and follow Michela on Instragram, and Twitter. Stream “Chameleon” on Spotify.

Introducing: Bilal Hassani for France

Introducing: Bilal Hassani for France

🇫🇷 France 2019 / “Roi” (English: King)

Photograph by Fifou

Grand Final | 16th Place | 105 points | Prequalified

Bilal Hassani, a Moroccan-French singer and YouTuber, won Destination Eurovision with his song “Roi” and thus is the representative of France at Tel Aviv 2019. He originally came to light via YouTube and has built himself a strong social media following in France. It’s also known that he is a big Eurovision fan and was particularly inspired by Eurovision winner Conchita Wurst (Austria 2014).

“Roí” is a song about self acceptance and loving yourself in spite of what difficulties you may face. For Hassani, this is an especially personal message, as he is a queer Muslim and has dealt with numerous homophobic and islamophobic messages. The song was written in collaboration with Madame Monsieur (France 2018).

Hassani is the son of Moroccan and naturalized-French parents, currently living with his mother as his father works in Singapore. He appeared on French version of The Voice Kids, whereafter he began to build his social media following and rise to fame. Hassani has released his debut album, Kingdom, prior to Tel Aviv 2019.

After finishing 16th, losing out a place to Slovenia due to receiving less points from the televote, Hassani has gone on to perform throughout Europe.

Watch “Roi” below, and follow Bilal Hassani on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Listen to his debut album, Kingdom, on Spotify.

Introducing: Luca Hänni for Switzerland

Introducing: Luca Hänni for Switzerland

🇨🇭 Switzerland 2019 / “She Got Me”

Photograph by SRF and Lukas Maeder

Grand Final | 4th Place | 364 points

Semi Final 1 | 4th Place | 232 points | Qualified

Luca Hänni has been chosen internally by Switzerland‘s public broadcaster SRF to represent the country at Tel Aviv 2019 with his song “She Got Me”. He is an accomplished singer and dancer, winning the German edition of Idol, Deutschland sucht den Superstar, and  competing several reality competitions. With four albums under his belt and a successful modeling career, among other side projects, Hanni is well prepped to be a favorite at Tel Aviv.

“She Got Me” is a well-choreographed uptempo Europop song, detailing a sensual encounter with a woman that brings the two to a proverbial dance floor. The song was written between Hänni and a group of writers at a song writing bootcamp, and was designed to showcase a broad range of Hanni’s talents. 

Born in Bern, Hänni originally had begun work to be a bricklayer, but relied on music as his backup plan has the labor demand fell through. Competing on Deutschland sucht den Superstar at the age of 17, Hänni became the youngest and first non-German to win the show. His debut single, “Don’t Think About Me”, peaked at the top of the charts in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland, and his debut album, I Am Luca, did much the same in Switzerland and Germany. His success was followed with his next three albums, Living the Dream, Dance Until We Die, and When We Wake Up, each released one year after another. He later won in the German dance competition Dance Dance Dance in 2017 and competed in the German edition of Ninja Warrior. Additionally, he designs clothes, models, and publishes his own magazine. Tel Aviv will not be Hänni’s first Eurovision experience, as he served as Switzerland’s spokesperson at Kiev 2017. 

By coming in fourth in the final, Hänni achieved Switzerland’s first top ten placing since Vanilla Ninja‘s eighth place with “Cool Vibes” in 2005 and its first top five result since Annie Cotton‘s “Moi, tout simplement” in 1993. With his reentry into music, performing all across Europe, including making a special guest appearance on Greece’s MAD TV’s MAD Video Music Awards where he performed a duet version of “She Got Me” with pop star Vangelis Kakouriotis.

Follow Luca Hänni on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Listen to his extended discography on Spotify.

Introducing: John Lundvik for Sweden

Introducing: John Lundvik for Sweden

🇸🇪 Sweden 2019 / “Too Late for Love”

Photograph by Sotarn

Grand Final | 5th Place | 334 points

Semi Final 1 | 3rd Place | 238 points | Qualified

John Lundvik, a singer, songwriter, composer and former athlete, competed in and won Sweden‘s popular Melodifestivalen music festival with his song “Too Late for Love” and thus will represent the Scandinavian country at Tel Aviv 2019. He came in third in Melodifestivalen in 2018 and boasts a number of writing credits across Europe.

“Too Late for Love” is a gospel pop song that is relatively self explanatory. The song’s lyrics largely revolve around Lundvik speaking to someone who’s in a dark place and encourages them that he will be by their side to bring light to their proverbial abyss.

Born in London, Lundvik was put in foster care until he was adopted by Swedish parents and moved to Sweden. He was previously a sprinter, competing in races and relays before he turned to music. With numerous writing credits to his name, some of his more notable songs include Crown Princess Victoria and Daniel Westling’s wedding song and fellow competitor Michael Rice‘s entry for the United Kingdom.

Before his performance at Eurovision, Lundvik released his debut EP, My Turn, featuring “Too Late for Love” and the title single “My Turn”.

Watch “Too Late for Love” below, and follow John Lundvik on Instagram and Facebook. Listen to his discography on Spotify.

Introducing: Sergey Lazarev for Russia

Introducing: Sergey Lazarev for Russia

🇷🇺 Russia 2019 / “Scream”

Photograph by Daniil Velichko

Grand Final | 3rd Place | 370 points

Semi Final 2 | 6th Place | 217 points | Qualified

Pop star Sergey Vyacheslavovich Lazarev returns to represent Russia again at Eurovision, three years after finishing first in the public televote and third overall at Stockholm 2016, being internally selected with the song “Scream” to compete at Tel Aviv 2019. A former boyband member, Sergey Lazarev is a major pop star in Russia and is adored by Eurovision fans.

“Scream” was written and composed to showcase a more emotional and human Lazarev, against the sensual and idealistic one he showcased at Stockholm 2016. Produced by 1995 Russian representative Phillip Kirkorov, the song had all the hallmarks of a dramatic stage show, featuring a dark and stormy atmosphere on stage with Lazarev surrounded mirror of himself in various stages of anguish.

Getting his career’s start as a part of the award winning boy band Smash!!, Lazarev split his solo career off from the band in 2004 and continued to see his popularity soar. With six albums and over sixty singles under his belt, Lazarev has one of the most expansive discographies of any recent Eurovision artist. Though he represents Russia and is proud of his country, he is also deeply critical of it, expressing solidarity with Russia’s queer community when the country enacted their anti-gay propaganda law and disavowing the forced Crimean annexation. His appearance and top finish at Stockholm 2016 with “You Are The Only One” only further endeared him to greater Europe, and he is poised to do much the same at Tel Aviv 2019.

Follow Sergey Lazarev on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Listen to “You Are The Only One” and his extended discography on Spotify.

Introducing: Nevena Božović for Serbia

Introducing: Nevena Božović for Serbia

🇷🇸 Serbia 2019 / “Kruna” (English: Crown)

Photograph by Alek Živković

Grand Final | 18th Place | 89 points

Semi Final 1 | 7th Place | 156 points | Qualified

Nevena Božović won Serbia‘s music festival and national selection process Beovizija with her song “Kruna”, allowing her to represent Serbia once again since previously competing on her own in 2007 at Junior Eurovision and as apart of the trio Moje 3 at Malmo 2013.

The titular crown of “Kruna” is the weight and prestige of the love of the one whom Božović places it upon, an ultimate declaration of her love. Božović wrote the song and solely intends for it to represent how she loves, placing her significant other on pedestal of themselves and decorating them with a declaration of herself to them.

Božović’s musical talent started at a young age when she studied piano in primary school before enroll at Serbia’s Music Academy when she was 16. Throughout her youth she performed in many long festivals and competitions before coming to represent Serbia at Junior Eurovision in 2007 at just 13, where she finished third. She continued to build her music career in Serbia prior to her appearance as apart of Moje 3, where theyfinished eleventh in their semi final and just missed on qualification. Prior to her return to Eurovision, Božović was a Serbian jury member at Vienna 2015 and taught at the University of Belgrade, with solfeggio being her area of expertise.

Following her eighteenth place finish, Božović and the Serbian delegation began accusing the other former-Yugoslav nations after their juries largely did not vote for her, singling out North Macedonia in particular as their jury did not award her any points.

Follow Nevena Božović on Instagram and Facebook. Listen to her discography on Spotify.

Introducing: Ester Peony for Romania

Introducing: Ester Peony for Romania

🇷🇴 Romania 2019 / “On a Sunday”

Photograph by Cat Music

Semi Final 2 | 13th Place | 71 points | Did Not Qualify

Ester Alexandra Crețu, who performs under the name Ester Peony, is the representative for Romania at Tel Aviv 2019 after winning the national selection process Selecția Națională 2019 with her song “On a Sunday”. The Romanian national selection was controversial, however, as neither the artists nor the audience really understood the voting division between the televote and the jury, with the jury holding a large majority of the vote, and the appointment of two members of Wiwibloggs, a Eurovision news site and channel, drew particular scrutiny over the integrity of the jury and the journalist ethics of the two jurors.

On a Sunday” recants when a love left Peony in September, a dark, moody, gothic atmosphere of melancholy and twinge of animosity. The break up was sudden blindsides her, the longing intones almost unsure if what had come to past truly happened. A sultry darkness pervades the song, posing a contemporary and distant song of separation.

Peony was born in Câmpulung in 1991, but emigrated to Montreal, Cananda in 2001 for four years before returning to Romania. She took an interest in music at an early age, studying piano, and upon her return to Romania she began studying music at several universities. In 2014, she released her debut single “Cuminte de Crăciun” as Ester and begun posting covers on YouTube before being signed to a label. Her debut EP, Dig It, was released in 2018. She has been in a relationship with “On a Sunday”‘s producer, Alexandru Şerbu, for several years, and is devoutly religious.

Though she ultimately did not qualify, and has been only the second of Romania’s sole and consecutive non-qualifications, she has not let the disappointment get her down, continuing to perform while working on a debut album slated for a release in late 2019.

Follow Ester Peony on Instagram and Facebook. Listen to her debut EP, Dig It, on Spotify.

Introducing: Conan Osiris for Portugal

Introducing: Conan Osiris for Portugal

🇵🇹 Portugal 2019 / “Telemóveis” (English: Mobile Phones)

Photograph by Royal Contemporary

Semi Final 1 | 15th Place | 51 points | Did Not Qualify

Tiago Miranda, known by his stage name Conan Osiris, won Portugal‘s annual song festival and national selection process Festival da Canção 2019, making him the representative of his country at Tel Aviv 2019 with his song “Telemóveis”.

Watch “Telemóveis” below, and follow Conan Osiris on Instagram and Facebook. Listen to his newest album, Adora Bolos, and the rest of his discography on Spotify.

Introducing: Tulia for Poland

Introducing: Tulia for Poland

🇵🇱 Poland 2019 / “Fire of Love (Pali Się)”

Photograph by Grzegorz Gołębiowski

Semi Final 1 | 11th Place | 120 points | Did Not Qualify

Polish folk band Tulia, consisting of Joanna Sinkiewicz, Dominika Siepka, Patrycja Nowicka, and Tulia Biczak, were announced by Poland‘s public broadcaster TVP to have been selected to represent their country at Tel Aviv 2019 with a mixed-language version of their single, “Pali Się”.

Watch “Pali Się” below. Follow Tulia on Instagram and Facebook. Listen to their self-titled debut album on Spotify.

Introducing: KEiiNO for Norway

Introducing: KEiiNO for Norway

🇳🇴 Norway 2019 / “Spirit in the Sky”

Photograph by Julia Marie Naglestad

Grand Final | 6th Place | 331 points

Semi Final 2 | 7th Place | 210 points | Qualified

KEiiNO, a pop supergroup consisting of Fred Buljo, Alexandra Rotan, and Tom Hugo, won Norway’s national selection process, Melodi Grand Prix, with the song “Spirit in the Sky” and will represent their country at Tel Aviv 2019.

Watch “Spirit in the Sky” below and listen to the single on Spotify.