San Marino so dearly wants a taste of Eurovision success, but it just can’t seem to find (or afford) a quality entry. Ralph Siegel, San Marino’s Eurovision sugar daddy, isn’t the only musical option. The country, with a population similar to the capacity of the Wiener Stadthalle, actually has a rich and varied music scene. Here are 10 artists who could bring glory back to this pretty little corner of the Apennine Mountains.
1. The Peppermints
A big possibility for next year’s entry is none other than JESC stars, The Peppermints. Fronted by last year’s San Marinese representative, Anita Simoncini, the girl group is pop through and through. Arianna even hinted at a future participation for the band at a press conference in Vienna, stating “it would be very beautiful to be here in the future, maybe with The Peppermints – who knows?” With a young, fresh, bubble-gum pop song that would appeal to their teen-girl market, San Marino may have found the recipe for success. But let’s learn from others’ mistakes *cough* ESTONIA 2005 *cough*.
Lorenzo Salvatori – A.K.A. Irol – is the king of the San Marinese rap scene (which, adimittedly, is probably not that difficult). Many a eurofan will turn their nose up at rap, arguing “it just doesn’t work at Eurovision.” Well, we’ve seen Greek folk-rap, Montenegrin dubstep-rap and Polish rap (I’ve never been the same since 2006) – but the question is, has anyone ever tried a genuine hip-hop song? Irol’s music is pure, genuine hip-hop: something that will surely stand out on the night, and could reward San Marino with a Common Linnets style success.
Do you remember taking a three-minute nap during the first semi-final of Eurovision 2011? If so, you probably missed San Marino’s dreary love-ballad, “Stand By”. Despite non-qualification, Senit rose from the ashes and re-invented herself as (wait for it…) Senhit. The crummy cruiseship singer sound has now been replaced with a fun, catchy feel-good vibe – something that was certainly missed at this year’s contest. She’s now working with the big-guns, such as Busbee (who has written for the likes of Kelly Clarkson, Pink, and Shakira) – so could surely conjure up a tune to make even Terry Wogan tap his feet.
One genre that seems to guarantee success at Eurovision is rock (assuming we’ve all erased this year’s Finnish entry from our memories). MaNga, Eldrine and of course Lordi have all watched the points come rolling in for their hardcore performances. So how can San Marino take advantage of this? Helia. This San Marinese quintuplet mixes Max Jason Mai’s screamy verses with a Softengine style chorus to create an undeniably epic sound. Their work has already seen large success – their cover of Lady Gaga’s “Alejandro” has over 5 million views. Could this success translate to Eurovision?
5. Ilaria Ercolani
At the tender age of 20, Ilaria Ercolani is an exciting prospect for San Marino. She’s been studying dance since a young age, and in 2013 actually appeared on the Eurovision stage as a backing dancer for for the San Marinese entry, “Vola.” Since then she’s been taking singing lessons, and is now ready to give us a show. With some spunky pop and a killer dance routine, San Marino could relive the successes which won the trophy for the likes of Helena Paparizou, Ruslana and Sertab Erener back in the days.
Dance music rules the European charts at the moment. For this San Marino offers us Andrea Gattei and Matteo Duan Venturini – friends by day, B-Project by night. This DJ duo plays in clubs all over Italy and San Marino, and would surely bring the house down in Stockholm next year. The likes of Cascada, Freaky Fortune and Ryan Dolan may not have seen the results they’d wished for with their dance entries, but this would be different. Two DJs, one dance anthem and zero fuss. What could go wrong?
7. Monica Hill
Arguably the best vocalist in the whole country, Monica Hill is currently touring with Italy’s biggest export (no, not olive oil) Laura Pausini. This woman has years of experience behind her. And what’s more, she got souuul. Anyone who has watched Sanremo will know the power of the Italian ballad. We’ve seen a hint of its success at Eurovision with Marco Mengoni’s “L’essenziale” in 2013, but have not yet seen a female powerhouse take on the genre. With a big voice and a big song, San Marino could be on to its first top-10 placing.
8. Sara Jane Ghiotti
Next we have the classical jazz singer and long-time friend of Valentina Monetta, the talented Sara Jane Ghiotti. With a smooth, funky, organic sound, Ghiotti could sing the song which Valentina always yearned to send, but never did. Better still, she could hire the likes of Yolanda Be Cool or Milk & Sugar to remix it and give us some real electro-swing (and no, Electro Velvet was not real electro-swing). Either way, a recommendation by Ms. Monetta herself is enough for us to give her a shot at bringing the contest back to the Most Serene Republic.
And yes, it does translate to ‘acoustic locust.’ The San Marinese-Italian band describe themselves as an “acoustic group that combines dance music of Italian, French, Irish and Balkan folk traditions.” With a sound somewhere between Sebalter and Željko Joksimovic, the odds are looking good that this would be the entry to lift San Marino from its dark days of Eurovision failure. The band’s fusion of European musical styles is bound to pick up points from all over the continent, and from televoters and jurors alike. ESC 2017 in Valentina’s back garden, anyone?
10. Valentina Monetta
And finally we have the diva. The God. The Eurovision legend. The one and only Valentina Monetta. With a voice more versatile than Verka Seduchka’s dress collection, Valentina has done it all. From 90s cyber-pop, through to Italian schlager-ballads to mystical bond themes, Monetta has aced every performance. But the question is, has she ever really had a good song? Ralph Siegel’s vintage sound has weighed down on the San Marinese signora, meaning her success in the contest has been limited. That said, she has bettered her result each year, leading to San Marino’s first ever qualification in 2014. With an actual good song, who knows what the future could hold for this woman and her nation?
So what do you think? Who is San Marino’s best chance for Eurovision gold? You can vote for as many acts as you’d like, but you can only vote one time. You can also write in the name of another artist if we left them out.