The rumours were true! Nicky Byrne will sing for Ireland at Eurovision 2016. The news was broken this morning by the country’s national broadcaster RTÉ. And the station isn’t doing things by half, they also premiered “Sunlight”, the song which he will take to Stockholm next May.
It’s a mid-tempo affair and marks a slight shift in direction from the big ballads Nicky would have sung as part of Westlife. The lyrics are anthemic, urging us to to “touch who you wanna” and “kiss who you gotta” – so Eurovision. Byrne’s husky vocals add a country-lite feel and remind us of Ronan Keating’s early solo material. The track is accompanied by a glossy lyric video, which hints at some high-end production that could hopefully transfer to the Globen stage.
“Sunlight” is co-written by Byrne, Wayne Hector and Ronan Hardiman.
Nicky Byrne Eurovision entry
Today’s confirmation brings to an end months of speculation regarding Ireland’s Eurovision plans. We first suspected an internal selection back in October, when the usual Eurosong announcement failed to take place. The Nicky Byrne rumours began this day last week, while he added fuel to the flames over the weekend with a teaser filled interview.
“Sunlight” — Our first impression
Who is Nicky Byrne?
Nicky Byrne was one fifth (latterly one quarter) of Westlife, Ireland’s most successful boyband. Over a period of 14 years they sold more than 20 million records in the United Kingdom alone. The group were extremely popular all over Europe and Australia. Since the band split in 2012, Byrne has focussed on developing a media career. He co-presents a daily radio show on RTÉ 2FM and has hosted numerous entertainment programmes on RTÉ television. Eurovision is his first venture into music as a solo artist. He is currently working on a debut album, provisionally titled Kissing In Car Parks. Outside of showbiz he is also known as the son-in-law of Bertie Ahern, a former Irish prime minister, and brother-in-law of Cecelia Ahern, the best selling author.
Internal Selection for Ireland
Internal selections aren’t new for Ireland. They most recently went down this route with Brian Kennedy and Dervish in 2006 and 2007. However, on those occasions the public chose the song. This year will be the first time in Ireland’s 51 year Eurovision history that both the artist and song are chosen behind closed doors. Such an approach has provided mixed results for other countries — the UK constantly struggles, whereas Austria stormed to victory in 2014. How Ireland will fare remains to be seen. Despite holding the record for the most wins, the Emerald Isle has only finished in the top ten twice in the past decade. They last qualified for the grand final in 2013.
What do you think? Have Nicky Byrne and “Sunlight” got what it takes to bring Ireland back to the final? Could he even make it onto the left-hand side of the scoreboard? Let us know below.