On Halloween RTÉ revealed the names of the mentors for Eurosong 2014. But how much do we actually know about the 5 individuals? And are they up for the task of bringing Eurovision victory back to Ireland?
Billy McGuinness is one fifth of the Irish rock band Aslan. The group, named after the lion in “The Chronicles of Narnia“, are considered to be one of the most successful music acts to emerge from Ireland, despite having made very little impact abroad. In a career spanning over 30 years, they have had half a dozen number 1 albums, and several top 10 singles, the most notable being “Crazy World”. But does that make Billy a suitable mentor for Eurosong?
Arguably not, as he would presumably pick an act similar to Aslan. And as we all know, rock rarely does well at Eurovision. However, in interviews McGuinness has claimed to be a fan of an eclectic mix of artists, such as Sinead O’Connor, David Bowie and Westlife. He has also built up a large array of contacts during his time in the industry. And he isn’t reluctant to make use of them. The bill for a benefit concert he recently organised included the likes of Mary Black, Bressie, Ryan Sheridan and Jedward. Perhaps he could persuade one of these to fly the flag for Ireland in Copenhagen.
According to “The Daily Mail” Hazel Kaneswaran is a member the “most attractive family in Ireland”. They could also be labelled the most fame hungry, as several of her siblings are either models, aspiring singers or both. The most famous is her brother Siva, from The Wanted. Hazel is reasonably well known in her own right too, first rising to prominence when she took part in “Popstars: The Rivals”, the same show which discovered Girls Aloud and Javine Hylton. Unfortunately, for Hazel, she was dumped from the series after producers realised she was over the age limit of 25. Prior to this Hazel had enjoyed limited success as the lead singer of the now defunct band Dove. Her solo career post “Popstars” hasn’t been glittering, her last chart entry was in 2005.
Kaneswaran doesn’t have a great track record when it comes to Eurovision either. In 2005 she was a judge on “You’re a Star”, the format then used to select Ireland’s Eurovision entry. Out of this came the disastrous duo – Donna and Joe. Their performance of “Love?“, along with some added jigs and reels, flopped and failed to qualify for the grand final. Will Hazel do any better a second time round? Possibly, remember her little brother is now a world famous popstar. Surely he could help his big sis out and pull the necessary strings to ensure she finds Emmelie de Forest’s successor.
Cormac Battle is a dj on RTÉ 2FM. His show, aptly called “The Battle Axe”, specialises in “rock monsters and indie anthems” and you’d sooner hear him broadcast an interview with the pope then play a decent pop song. Before he joined 2FM he was a member of the long forgotten rock bands Kerbdog and Wilt. However, of late he has moved away slightly from his diet of pure rock and indie. He is an assistant on the decidedly more poppy “Rick O’Shea in the Afternoon” and over the summer he was a regular talking head on “The Hit”.
Maybe it’s because of this recent move towards the mainstream that RTÉ chose him as a mentor. But I’m not convinced. I can’t see how a man so dedicated to “credible music” will take Eurovision in any way serious. Would he even have the necessary contacts to help him find a suitable act?And besides, he’s extremely annoying (just watch the clip below). Battle is going to have a battle to find Ireland’s next Eurovision star.
“As soft as soap but as hard as nails. In business, she doesn’t suffer fools gladly but as a sister and a family member she is the most gorgeous person on the planet. Valerie doesn’t give a shit.” That’s how Valerie Roe is described by her sister Bernie Caffola. A veteran of the Irish showbiz circuit, Valerie began her career as a model, becoming the Irish representative at both the Miss World and Miss Universe beauty pageants. After the modelling she joined 1980s pop group The Dooleys for 6 years. Since then she has worked intermittently in the music industry. Over the years she has been involved with the girlband Chill, boybands D’side and Zoo (the line up of the latter included David Kaneswaran, a brother of Hazel) and X Factor rejects Out of the Blue. She also managed Lillie’s Bordello nightclub, a favourite Dublin haunt of the rich and famous.
Roe currently runs her own PR agency and should be well placed to find the perfect Eurovision contestant. With a contact book that includes names such as Bono and Louis Walsh, she has no excuse not to find the ideal person to bring Eurovision home to Dublin.
Of the 5 mentors, Mark Murphy is probably the least well known. Yet he is potentially the person with the strongest chance of finding Ireland’s next Eurovision act. For his day job Mark is the tour manager for Olly Murs and a number of other X Factor alumni. For this role he won the prestigious Brits (Music Matters) award, which celebrates those who work behind the scenes in the music industry. He works with Modest Management, the agency behind One Direction, JLS, Little Mix, Diana Vickers, Amelia Lily, Paul Potts and Alison Moyet. So he definitely has access to the stars, and consequently the best producers and song writers.
Surely with a bit of workplace networking Murphy will be able to find much more than a mere Eurosong competitor. I’m hoping for big things. Would it be to much to expect the next Loreen? Just as long as he doesn’t decide to sing himself …
So what do y’all think are the mentors up for the job? Do you think any of them will find the next Eurovision megastar? Or is it nul points all round? Let us know below.
Photo: Pieter Van den Berghe (EBU)