LIST: 5 acts Ireland should consider for Eurovision 2018

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Some days you’re the bug, and some days you’re the windscreen. Unfortunately for Ireland, they’ve been enduring the splat and the squash at Eurovision rather consistently in recent years. With four consecutive non-qualifications, a last-place finish in the grand final and only two top 10 finishes since 2000, the Emerald Isle has progressively gone from bad to worse.

Critics have identified the various forces at play: the rise of geopolitical voting, uninspiring staging, and tepid to bland songs which fail to break
the pop mould. Perhaps the most recurring concern, however, is the Irish delegation’s choice of artists, who tend to be unestablished, unknown and lacking any musical identity.

RTÉ’s Eurovision Forum: What we learned about Ireland’s plans for Lisbon 2018

In the aftermath of Ireland’s recent Eurovision Forum — which The Sun rather dramatically described as a “crisis meeting” — it’s time to pause and reflect on some of the successful and talented musicians RTE may be overlooking. So here are five popular — and realistic — Irish
artists who could lift Ireland off their knees at Eurovision 2018.

Note: We’ve already discussed Samantha Mumba, Nadine Coyle and Nathan Carter in the recent past, so you won’t see them below.

1. Walking on Cars

Be it rock or pop, Ireland is known for its bands – and this Kerry-based alternative rock group are primed and prepped for Eurovision. Walking on Cars have experienced success across the British Isles and the Benelux countries with experimental pop/rock singles such as “Speeding Cars” and “Always Be With You”. Their dark and mysterious rock sound lends itself perfectly to high-impact Eurovision staging with drama and purpose.

2. Roisin O

There’s no void of female Irish pop — it’s filled by Roisin O. The daughter of legendary Irish singer Mary Black, and sister to the lead singer of powerhouse band The Coronas, Roisin O creates fresh and contemporary tracks that frequently meld the acoustic and the anthemic. While inspired by Florence and The Machine and Hozier, Roisin imbues her music with an Irish sound that’s at once integral to it and authentic to her. A song in the vein of her singles “Give It Up” and “Warn Me of Silence” would be a clever stroke to help move Ireland in a new direction.

3. Picture This

Picture This are an effervescent breath of fresh air. The two-piece band formed in 2015 and have grown exponentially in popularity with a No. 1 album in the Irish charts. They’re also gradually breaking through in the UK. Picture This have an instantly endearing sweetness and likeability that comes through in their voices and instrumentation. Singles like “Take My Hand” and “Never Change” — which put their voices centre stage — would no doubt clock up jury and public votes with ease. Drummer Jimmy Rainsford has Eurovision experience already: he played the drums for Molly Sterling in 2015.

4. Eve Bell

Eve Belle isn’t as established as the other artists on this list. But owing to her country, acoustic sound and tender vocals we’re willing to overlook that. After signing with indie UK record label LAB Records and winning Irish Song of the Year at the NÓS Awards in 2015 with “Solas”, Eve is on the up. With her stripped-back, pure songs, she’s serving some John Karayiannas meets Tom Dice realness. Her laidback style contrasts sharply with the deafening and over-the-top music that frequently reigns at Eurovision. Here’s a snippet of “Too Young To Feel This Old”. You can’t tell the woman from the music — and we like that.

5. Gavin James

Gavin James – one of Ireland’s biggest breakthroughs of recent years — rounds out the list. He straddles acoustic, pop and electronic, and has cast his net just wide enough to draw in a range of fans — including some established A-listers. He’s already been a supporting act for Ed Sheeran and collaborated with the world-renowned Alan Walker. Plus he’s collected millions of Youtube views courtesy of hit singles like “Nervous” and “Bitter Pill”, both of which have charted well across Ireland, the UK and Western Europe. He’s ready for Europe’s biggest music stage.

What do you make of our choices? Who do you want to see represent Ireland in the future? Leave your opinions in the comment section below. We can’t wait to read them!

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