Ireland: Eurosong Interview with Can-Linn’s Kasey Smith

Irish Eurosong preparations are in full swing, with the big night just under 2 weeks away. Amidst all the rehearsals we managed to nab Kasey Smith for a quick catch up.

Many of our readers will remember you from 2013, when you came third with “Kiss Me”. How did you feel afterwards? What have you been up to since?

Firstly, I felt honoured and privileged to be given the opportunity to compete in Eurosong last year, even though I didn’t win. Ryan and Wez’s song was great and you can bet your last euro that I was rooting for them all the way once they got to Malmö.

I’ve been doing a fair bit of gigging over the last year and recording a few tracks here and there – not before I took a nice rest after the Eurosong competition. It was great fun and I got to meet so many lovely people, but it was exhausting too!

Why did you decide to take part again this year?

Because of all the craic I had last year! Honestly though, there was such an incredible buzz last year that I’d have been mad not to grab the bull by the horns again this year. Once I heard that Hazel [Kaneswaran] was producing a song I just knew I had to be involved. I have admired and respected her as an artist since I was a kid. The opportunity to go under her wing was just too good to turn down!

Previously, you entered as a solo artist, whereas now you’re joined by Can-Linn. Could you tell us a bit about the group?

Can-Linn is all about the act as opposed to just the singer. There will be six of us on stage come the 28th and each and every one of us will need to be giving it our all if we are to succeed. I suppose the best way to describe Can-Linn’s sound is a fusion of modern urban style pop fused with traditional Irish elements.

From your time in Wonderland, to “Kiss Me”, to “Heartbeat” we’ve seen you experiment with a lot of different genres. Which genre is your favourite and what artists influence you the most?

Wonderland Kasey Smith Heartbeat

Kasey (far right) back in the Wonderland days

I don’t mean to revert to cliché, but I really don’t think I could nail down one particular genre that I’d be most into. I really do like a bit of everything! Although, if I was to pick out any acts that influenced me a lot it would have to be the likes of Westlife and Boyzone, who I supported back in the Wonderland days. If not their specific music styles, the way they behaved on tour, how they managed themselves in the public eye. I learned a lot from them that way. I can’t thank Louis Walsh enough for giving me that experience.

There is a very strong Celtic element to Heartbeat. Do you think its important for Ireland to have a sense of Irishness in its Eurovision entry?

We’ve got a fiddle and a bodhrán in there and it all comes together really nicely. I think you need that in the Eurovision; something that sounds modern, but with traditional elements that remind people of our Irish heritage and culture.

Are you a Eurovision fan? Could you tell us some of your favourite songs from past contests?

Well, I am a big fan of Ryan Dolan’s “Only Love Survives” from last year – such a catchy tune. If you want to go a bit old school then you can’t beat a bit of Johnny Logan – what a guy! For pure spectacle you’d have to go with Lordi. I don’t think enough people grow wings and fly off stage these days.

Kasey Smith Eurovision 2014 Ireland Can Linn HeartbeatSeveral countries have already chosen their entries for Copenhagen. Have you listened to any of them yet? What do you think?

I haven’t heard them all yet, but there’s some interesting ones alright. Malta’s entry, “Coming Home” has a nice country/barnhouse vibe to it. Ukraine’s entry, “Tick-Tock” is pretty catchy too.

Your Eurosong 2013 performance was quite simplistic and involved just you and 2 backing singers. Are you able to tell us anything about what you’ have for this year’s show?

Nope. Absolutely not. My lips are sealed. Top secret!

Just kidding. I will say this much; it’s a bigger production that will have six of us on stage – the works!

You’ve been getting quite a lot of support on Twitter, including from your former bandmate Leigh Learmont. Has anyone else been in touch and what tips have they given you?

The support has been overwhelming. Wez Devine (who co-wrote “Only Love Survives” – last year’s entry) gave us plenty of tips. It’s always good to hear from someone who has experienced the modern Eurovision first hand. He told us that it’s all about the performances on the night, so just keep giving it your all every time and perform like it’s your last time, because if you don’t it probably will be!

Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us here at wiwibloggs. Before you go, do you have a message for our readers?

Kasey Smith Can Linn Ireland Eurovision 2014 Heartbeat

Be sure to drop us a message on Facebook, Twitter @can_linn or YouTube. We do our very best to reply to as many messages as time will allow. We’re building up a nice and friendly online community. The more of us that are in it the more fun it will be! Oh, and don’t forget to vote Song 3 on the 28th – wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t make that plug. That reminds me, “Heartbeat” is released on iTunes on the 21st so keep an eye out for that!

Do you think Kasey and Can-Linn should represent Ireland with “Heartbeat”? If you do, make sure to vote for them in our poll before 26 February. And keep up with all the Irish news and interviews by clicking here.

Padraig Jude contributed this report from Ireland. Follow him on Twitter at @PadraigJude. And while you’re at it, like our Facebook page to stay up-to-date with the latest Eurovision news and gossip.

Photos: Kasey Smith and Can-Linn