With Die Grosse Entscheidungsshow, Switzerland’s national selection, less than two weeks away, we are kicking things up a gear in our tour around the country. This time we’re stopping by to have a chat with Mélanie René, one of the six finalists left in the competition.
Hi Melanie! Thanks for speaking with us today. Would you like to introduce yourself to the wiwibloggs readers?
Hello! My name is Mélanie René and I’m a 24-year old singer-songwriter. I have been singing my whole life, coming from a very musical family. The first time I performed on stage was at the age of seven, for a Mauritian caritative soirée (a charity event). The feeling of freedom and happiness never left me. I knew from that moment on that this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
I studied for seven years in a music school in Nyon, Switzerland called Les Ateliers du Funambule, and that is really where I grew as an artist, performer, and songwriter. After high school I decided to study music in the UK and studied for four years in two different universities: ACM (Academy of Contemporary Music) and BIMM (Brighton Institute of Modern Music), where I graduated from a few months ago.
How did your time in the UK influence you and your music?
Studying music abroad helped me improve my English songwriting skills, as well as expand my musical knowledge. In both music universities I attended, I experimented with different styles and genre, and performed with different people. It has helped me develop my creativity and persona as an artist.
So with that in mind, let’s talk about your song for Die Grosse Entscheidungsshow, “Time to Shine”.
I wrote “Time to Shine” at a time in my life when I realized how much I had grown, both in my personal and musical life. For the first time I felt like I knew where I was going in life, and it made me feel free. It is this feeling of freedom that I tried to portray in my song.
It is a constant reminder for me to stay true to who I am, and to what I believe in, even if it means having to walk alone sometimes. ‘Time to Shine’ is not about bling bling or glitter, but more about embracing who you are.
And that certainly comes through in the stripped back video for the song. What was making the video like for you?
Making the video for “Time to Shine” was amazing. It was my first time shooting a video, so I was a bit nervous at the beginning. Having a camera literally in your face can be intimidating. Dancing alone in front of it can make you feel a bit self-conscious as well, but Mei Fa Tan, the film-maker who shot the video, made it easy and fun for me. It took us pretty much the whole day, but it was a lot of fun.
So what made you want to enter Eurovision?
When I was younger, I used to watch the Eurovision with my mom. Probably like many young girls who aspired to be professional singers, I used to think it would be amazing to be able to perform on that stage! This summer, when Eliane Dambre, who is the founder of Les Ateliers du Funambule, listened to ‘Time to Shine’, she fell in love with it and encouraged me to submit it to the Eurovision contest.
We submitted the song for Switzerland because this country is very close to my heart: I was born in Geneva, I did my first performance there, and I have grown as an artist in this country. It would be an immense honour for me to be able to represent this beautiful country internationally in the Eurovision Song Contest 2015.
When I found out I had made it to the final stage, I could not believe it – I still can’t believe it to be honest! When I first entered that competition, I had no idea I would come this far.
I feel extremely blessed to be here, and I want to thank everyone who has been supporting me from the beginning. It is an amazing feeling to realize that people actually believe in a song that I wrote. As a songwriter, I could not ask for more!
Do you have any favourites from your competitors?
To be completely honest, it is really hard for me to pick a favorite. I think all of these artists are all amazing at what they do. They all deserve to be here. I enjoyed listening to all of them – I have tough competition! (laughs)
You’re remaining neutral then! What about any favourite past Eurovision songs?
I think my all time favorite Swiss entry will have to be Celine Dion with “Ne partez pas sans moi“. I am a massive fan of her, I actually learnt how to sing with her songs. She has been my musical role model growing up.
Finally, as ever, if our readers want to know more about you, where can they find you online?
Thanks to Mélanie for a great interview and good luck! She’s also recorded this special message for our readers.