Sara de Blue on 1in360: “I’ve always dreamed of performing on the Eurovision stage”

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She was a finalist on The Voice of Germany and competed in Austria’s Facebook Wildcard Selection back in 2016.

And now Sara de Blue is hoping all of her experience will pay off with a trip to the 1 in 360 live shows, which will determine San Marino’s act for the Eurovision Song Contest 2018.

Sara, who is currently on the Eurovision Fan shortlist for the first wildcard, recently caught up with wiwibloggs to let us know what she’s been up to since we last saw her — and why she’s so keen to get to Eurovision.

Hello! What’s it been like following the 1in360 competition?

Hello! First of all, thank you for inviting me to this interview. I feel very honored. Well, yes this is a very huge competition – people from all over the world are applying. But I think that’s what makes it so special: you get to know not only very talented but also new artists you may not have known before. I looked through the submissions at 1in360 and I was really impressed, because a lot of what I have heard and have seen is very inspiring. Music shouldn’t be a competition but rather a connection between artists.

Our readers may remember that you competed in the Facebook Wildcard Selection for Austria’s national selection back in 2016. What do you remember of that experience and why did you take part?

That’s right. Oh how should I start…I’ve been watching the Eurovision Song Contest since I was a little girl and I’ve always dreamed about performing on that huge stage. It has always been a big dream and a lifetime goal for me. So I started to apply for the Austrian pre-selection six years ago. Every year since then I have written a new song, worked day and night, spent a lot of money and time on new productions and sent them to the Austrian Eurovision Judge. In 2014 I was invited to a showcase, but it didn’t work out. So I tried again. Thanks to Mr. Eberhard Forcher (an Austrian Eurovision judge) I got to know a wonderful DJ & producer called Philipp Van Het Velt. We wrote the Song “Closer To The Sun” together and applied for the preselection TV show. We didn’t make it – but we were nominated for the wildcard selection. I’m still very thankful for the opportunity Eberhard gave us. As you can see, it’s always a little step forward, but it’s very hard to get in there. I think if you work hard and never give up there’s always a way and maybe someday it’ll work out.

You were the very first woman to sing the new national anthem of Austria in front of an audience of 20,000 at the Youth Winter Olympics in 2012. How did that come about?

Yes that’s right! I actually wanted to apply for the official Olympic Winter Games song, but they chose someone else. Days later I got a call from the IOC and I was offered this national anthem job. I felt very honoured and of course took that chance. This was definitely one of the most special moments in my life, performing in front of 20,000 people at the Olympic Games in Innsbruck. I’m very grateful for that!

You were a finalist on The Voice of Germany in 2013. What was it like to be part of such a big production?

The Voice of Germany, yes, a great experience indeed. I’m still very thankful for that experience and I think I learned a lot about this business. It was a very strenuous process, because you have to pass about four pre-castings first until you get invited to the “Blind Auditions”. It was a wonderful time in Berlin — I got to know so many talented, wonderful new people and artists. It was rather a huge family of voices than a competition among each other. One reason why I wanted to take part in this show was to see and hear other singers and see how my voice compared to theirs. The second thing was, you know nowadays it’s very difficult for a newcomer or a “no name” to break into the market. Either you need good management or a good booking agency, but without any connections to the business it is very difficult. So my goal was to reach the Blind Auditions, but then it turned out to be more than that.  I’m till very grateful for that opportunity: I was in three tv shows with more than 1 million viewers, got connected with some people in the business, got booked for different events and in the end I used the whole thing as a huge platform. But if I were to apply now, I would do it differently.

Do you think platforms like The Voice actually help talent reach their goals? Or is it more winner-takes-all?

Well as I’ve mentioned a few aspects of this question before, I think the show is still a good opportunity for young artists to present, but not represent, themselves and their voices. At least it’s a casting show, and we all know casting shows. It’s a lot about making money and reaching viewers, so it could be very hard for singers to express themselves as real artists. So, a casting show has its pros and cons.

Are you a hardcore Eurovision fan? Do you follow it closely?

Yes, I’m definitely a Eurovision fan! As I said, I’ve been watching this great show since I was a little girl. I was always impressed by those amazing singers, the different languages, their performances and of course the whole show. It’s still a melting pot of nations with different messages and that makes it so beautiful to watch. It has always been interesting to me, as each country has had its own music and fashion style. It’s of course a competition, and maybe for some people a political thing in a certain way, but I think we shouldn’t forget the original idea of it: building bridges and connecting Europe through music.

Do you have any favourite Eurovision singers?

I think there have been a lot of awesome Eurovision singers from all over the world over the years. But some of my favourite Eurovision singers are definitely Loreen and Mans Zelmerlöw from Sweden and, of course, not to forget the great artist from Latvia called “Aminata” — she totally nailed it in 2015. All of them are not only very creative, inspiring and hardworking artists to me, but also very outstanding
vocalists. I can’t help but love Sweden and their music, especially the songwriting scene.

What’s next for you?

Well, my first plan for the future is to be happy — to be happy with what I’m doing and to be happy with my life. I think we shouldn’t forget that life isn’t just about working hard for success, life is about having wonderful moments, loved ones and memories. That’s the only thing that counts and definitely topics I want to write about in my songs. My second plan is to finish writing my own album and to search and find a producer, who is interested in working with me. Up to now it has been very difficult finding someone to help me to produce my own stuff, so I decided to produce it on my own. Of course it’s a lot of hard work, mixing and recording day and night, but in the end, it’s worth it. I’ve also sent some of my songs to Jay Zss Label “Roc Nation”: Obviously some of the producers liked it and for a wonder I got a positive response from the A&R Omar Grant & Brandon Rossi. Both showed interest and said that they want to hear more. Let’s see what happens… Performing my own authentic, honest songs in front of an appreciating crowd would be a gift and a goal for me. I also like songwriting very much. I would love to cooperate and write with and for other artists in the future. Being part of a Swedish songwriting circle would be something I would work very hard for…but in the end, it should be something that fulfils me and makes me happy.

You can vote for Sara in the 1in360 competition by clicking here.

You can learn more about Sara de Blue on her Official Facebook Page.

Photo: Angelo Lair