Linda Martin Interview Brendan Murray ireland Eurovision 2017

On Tuesday, a host of Eurovision fans descended on Maynooth University for the first ever Eurovision Conference. Amongst those in attendance was Ireland’s Eurovision 1992 winner Linda Martin.

We caught up with her for a wide-ranging chat, discussing the Irish plans for Kyiv and of course her own career.

Linda holds Brendan Murray — Ireland’s 2017 — representative in high esteem.

He’s got the voice. He’s got the look. People do like him, because he’s a lovely young fella. The song I do like very much.

And Louis Walsh isn’t the only one looking after the Irish entry. Linda reveals that she’s chosen five backing singers to support Brendan on stage. Excitingly, his stage show will be designed by none other than Nicoline Refsing, who’s worked with the likes of the Common Linnets, Aminata and Dami Im in recent years.

I’ve got five backing singers going with Brendan because I was asked to pick them. I’ve got five big voices going with him. They provide a gospel type choir in the background. Staging is being done by Nicoline who staged Australia last year… That’s going to be quite spectacular. And RTÉ are actually spending money!

But will he be able to end Ireland’s three year non-qualification streak? Linda is hopeful.

If Brendan can sell his soul on that stage, I think he has a good chance of getting out of the semi.

As for where it’s gone wrong for Ireland since the 1990s glory days, the “Why Me” singer cites a number of reasons. There’s no variety or cabaret shows to nurture new talent, high calibre songwriters are unwilling to submit songs, and record labels don’t see the contest as financially viable.

But enough on Brendan and Ireland, what about Linda? The singer tells us how she started out gigging, before being inspired by Dana to enter Eurovision. With nine entries, she holds the record for the most participation in the Irish national selection. And she wasn’t going to stop until she made it to Europe.

All these years later she still loves Eurovision. And it’s been very good to her.

Watch the full interview below. What do you think of Ireland’s Eurovision 2017 plans? Let us know in the comments or react using the wiwibloggs app.

Linda Martin Interview Maynooth

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Another disaster .. RTE, do you not watch the Eurovision?

Liame R

that team also design for Italy Emma 2014,
Italy Francesca 2016. but,…..

Purple Mask

Effectively this is a “marriage proposal” song, so let’s see how the designer tackles staging that idea. (It’s a bit slow to use the dancers from Krista Siegfrieds’ “Marry me,” ahaha!)

Justin K.
How they got that staging designer is beyond me, but it really shows (on the surface) that RTE is really making an effort to make it to the Final! If the staging designer gets their way, his styling and staging could really elevate the song into a solid place in the Final. But like I mentioned when we found out Louis Walsh was managing him, I’m kinda scared that we’ll get CGI people forming a chorus around the five people actually singing and get some faux X Factor winning moment that’ll instantly cheapen the song. The same goes for Denmark… Read more »

I love how Linda come up with all these reasons for why Ireland wasn’t doing well but let’s be honest in their national selection in 2015, they had Erika and Nikki who had fantastic songs, so it’s nothing about lack of interest really


Italy last year wasn’t ‘that’ bad in terms of staging. The camerawork was absolutely perfect : it seems though the bright and colourful ‘return to nature’ aspect didn’t appeal to fans but perhaps the Italian delegation felt dark and moody staging would be ill suited to Francesca or the message of the song.


Well, Italy 2016 is pretty “meh” when it comes to staging. I wonder if Australia chooses her to design the staging as well ‘cuz thet really need a stellar staging this year to get into top 10.

Leo M

Brendan really needs great staging because the song is not the strongest. If they can pull off great staging and Brendan delivers a flawless vocal on the night, Ireland should have a good chance of going to the final. I hope so anyway.


The song is “cheesy” in a way, so I hope the staging will be kinda cool. Fingers crossed.


@Stephan He can sing live, people who say he can’t are people basing it on previous Irish entrants and aren’t doing even basic research on Brendan and most of these people want him to fail anyway so they believe what ever floats there boat.

Stephen Podesta

No amount of backing singers or staging is going to matter if you cant sing Live.
The singing is #1

Brendan during the pre parties hadnt even begun his rehearsals for ESC and had only briefly met people in the team (he knew the staging concept but that’s about it). What we have seen during the pre events isn’t a real indication of what we will see in eurovision, he is just singing the song and gaining experiance (which is what these preview events should be all about first young artists). I’m not a fan of RTE and there efforts usually but this year it looks to be easily there best effort, sending Brendan to Amsterdam,Tel Aviv and yesterday he… Read more »
Rock Me

She looks like Caitlyn Jenner.

Liame Roy

As i know that team also design For Conchita2014 ,Latvia2015,Demi im 2016 ,Francessca Italy 2016

Unless Nicoline Refsing can convince Brendan and his management that he *desperately* needs a vocal coach to teach him how to hit those high notes without killing himself (and us), no amount of fabulous staging is going to get him out of that semi. This is not snark either – there IS a proper singing technique to do what he’s trying to do, and he either doesn’t know it or he hasn’t been taught to execute it. He’s going to injure his vocal cords if he keeps that up. It’s also discouraging to hear that RTE thinks this is a… Read more »

Ok, so for those who hated Brendan’s voice at first, keep hoping that he sounds like a cross between Steve Perry and Jordan Fisher during the performance in Kiev. 😉


And EBU want also Ireland in final, we saw that in running order in semi.


It’s all in vain, he won’t even qualify… Nicky Byrne didn’t qualify list year with a pleasant song, it was ok-ish, not that bad. Brendan’s song isn’t bad, but his thin voice is dreadful

Jr esc nl

Semi final 2 is extremely open. The only place i can predict is bulgaria probably gonna get first place but who will place in the ranges from 2 to 17 is kinda like a mystery to me. I do expect belarus and the netherlands to do pretty well though.


I don’t think so – Italy’s performance was by the team behind Conchita’s in 2014.


didn’t the designer responsible for italy’s performance last year too? it was a hot mess.

also clearly linda didn’t hear about RTE spending hundred of thousand euros for nicki last year.


Would love to hear more about what the conference covered. It sounded really interesting, tackling the political side of the contest.


When you consider Ireland where put as late as possible in the first half and put after Denmark (Vanilla) and before 2 potential car crashes in SM and Croatia maybe Ireland have something special planned, it’s a very wide open semi in my view if you don’t screw up your staging or performance than you got a shot (yes I include SM in that)


It was the little things that made it great, things like the the computer screen thing.

Robyn Gallagher

Dami’s staging was low-key, but in the best way. It supported Dami in the early stages, set up a dreamy city background and a minor narrative with the sci-fi Tinder. Then when it was time for Dami to let loose, the staging was less important. Dami came down from her glitter box and just let loose!

But back to Ireland! This sounds very promising. I think “Dying to Try” would be a marginal qualifier, but it seems like RTÉ is trying to narrow that margin as much as they can.


@Polegend Disagree, while the song was very good it was no more than a top 10 worthy song but the staging bumped it up to 2nd. It’s easy in hindsight to say the song was great.

Polegend Godgarina

Dami’s staging was pretty much non-existent because the song was great enough to stand out alone. No shade but this ain’t the case for Brendan…