Leonid Gutkin, the former bass player of famed Russian rock band Autograph, is no stranger to Eurovision. In 2013 he oversaw the songwriting team behind Dina Garipova’s “What If”, and he later worked on ESC tracks for Polina Gagarina (“A Million Voices”) and Lidia Isac (“Falling Stars”). Those first two tracks both placed in the Top 5 at Eurovision.

And this year he’s turned his attention to Julia Samoylova and her Eurovision 2018 song “I Won’t Break”, which he co-wrote alongside Israeli composers Netta Nimrodi and Arie Burshtein. They are the same trio responsible for last year’s intended entry “Flame is Burning.”

“It was great working again with Netta and Arie,” he told me on the red carpet at the Moscow Eurovision Party earlier this month.

“When we started working it was a little bit easier this year because we knew who the artist was supposed to be. The idea was the find the concept of the song that will fit the artist and Eurovision as well.”

He says Julia took well to the song — an ode to perseverance and overcoming obstacles.

“When we got this idea and I presented it to Julia she said, ‘Yes it’s mine. I feel it’s mine.'”

That echoes what Julia told us on the red carpet a little later. “It was love at first sight,” she said. “When I heard the song I added it to my playlist. I saw the translation of the song and I enjoyed it very much.”

Our interview took place days after a number of Western countries had expelled Russian diplomats over the poisoning of a former KGB spy in Salisbury, England. That seemed to colour his response when I asked how he thought Julia will do in Lisbon.

“I know she will do great as an artist,” he says. “But as we know there are so many aspects involved. It’s a matter of stage production. It’s a matter of all-around environment. It’s a matter of politics — especially this year with stormy winds around Europe. But I think the best she can do is just go there and let it go. Let loose and enjoy the performance.”

Picking one’s favourite artist is no easy feat. But I asked him anyway.

“I love them all,” he says of his Eurovision darlings. “They all are very bright personalities and brilliant artists. I have been very honoured to be part of their creative life.”

Read more Russia Eurovision news

46 Comments
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Mascha
Mascha
2 years ago

I’m so sorry but this is pure crap

anonymous91
anonymous91
2 years ago

Russia is the only certain NQ i can think of this year

all other countries have decent singers with decent/good/great songs

Random.Sage2.0
Random.Sage2.0
2 years ago
Reply to  anonymous91

You speak too soon! All that diaspora voting!

Philip Wester
Philip Wester
2 years ago
Reply to  anonymous91

Russia will always qualify. Ex-USSR support sees to that.

kai
kai
2 years ago

well..Russia is the only country that invaded another one…and still supporting a lot of conflits aroud the world…

Thomas
Thomas
2 years ago
Reply to  kai

Still with that conviction… Crimea decide that, not Russia. However the US are the one that are encouraging conflicts all around the world. Long live to Russia from Italy

Philip Wester
Philip Wester
2 years ago

Already the excuses have begun. She’ll do terribly because SHE CAN’T SING LIVE. That performance without playback was terrible. Russia managed to get 2nd overall and 1st with televoters 2 years ago. Stop blaming everyone but your terrible, terrible artist.

kai
kai
2 years ago

i wonder how she will get on stage in those brigdes…
also the live acts was a mess…she cannot sing at all

Malin
Malin
2 years ago

I think it is very good that the blogg give the songwriter attention. Continue whith that. Love, love, peace, peace from sweden.

Andy
Andy
2 years ago

I mean, the first live performance was as tragic as it can get, but it’s Russia so we know they’ll do anything to keep the placement reputation as clean as possible.

Also coming in from SF2, I don’t see how Russia would fail to qualify.

Jo
Jo
2 years ago

Me thinks no final for Russia this year.

Jo
Jo
2 years ago
Reply to  Jo

My suggestion to Wiwiteam is to use an email validation, so people have to login before commenting. I believe the troll is using several different fake email accounts to comment.

Kris
Kris
2 years ago
Reply to  Jo

The only reason why this site works better than all the others is that to comment you don’t need random verifications/Facebook or Twitter or whatever!
Don’t you think the trolls will have a real email id too?

Philip Wester
Philip Wester
2 years ago
Reply to  Jo

Impossible. Th3 ex-USSR countries (Ukraine aside) give them too many points every year no matrer how terrible tgeir entries are for them to not qualify. At least the televoters will save Russia unless 10 other countries are just so good the juries and televoters shower them with so many points their totals beat Russia’s.

R
R
2 years ago

A way Julia could take the stormy winds better: singin ‘I wont’ break’ in russian. just this.

AM2PM
AM2PM
2 years ago

William and Russia is fast reminding me of Dennis Rodman and North Korea.

Stacey Q
Stacey Q
2 years ago
Reply to  AM2PM

Talking to people and supporting singers isn’t remotely the same as supporting a regime or its leaders. Eurovision is about bringing people together. It is nice to hear from Russian people rather than just reading about them. So thank you for this.

Malin
Malin
2 years ago
Reply to  Stacey Q

Yes, that’s what Eurovision is all about. Bringing people together.

Love, love, peace peace from sweden.

Julia
Julia
2 years ago
Reply to  AM2PM

The only country with propaganda is Russia
I’ve been to it so you can’t use that argument and I saw the consequences of it while talking to Russians
And they will blame Samoylova’s failure on hostile western world lol
Not her weak vocals, poor pronunciation or lack of charisma, of course

Weißbrot
Weißbrot
2 years ago
Reply to  Julia

What about Homophobia and Putin as your big, strong borderline dictator…? I have a gay friend that went to Russia and to say the least: He didn’t have a nice stay there…

Weißbrot
Weißbrot
2 years ago
Reply to  Weißbrot

I think we should not talk about politics at Eurovision and rate Russia’s entry like everyone elses, but you can’t just pretend that your Country is flawless.

Malin
Malin
2 years ago
Reply to  Weißbrot

Skip this discussion and talk about the music, not politics.

Weißbrot
Weißbrot
2 years ago
Reply to  Malin

He asked to bring up negative Things about Russia, so I did! I’m usually always one of These People that are against politics at Eurovision, but if someone just pretends that Russia is a nice, flawless Country, it’s just ridiculous.

Weißbrot
Weißbrot
2 years ago
Reply to  Weißbrot

I already noticed that Russia isn’t your Country. That doesn’t Change the fact, that Russia has real Problems. Problems we shouldn’t take into account when looking at their Eurovision act, but they exist. I’ll leave it like that… (I don’t hate Russian People, there are probably plenty of nice Russians out there..)

Weißbrot
Weißbrot
2 years ago
Reply to  Weißbrot

I said I’d like to Close the case here. We don’t have to argue about the Problems Russia has, cause they exist. I don’t want to argue about Russia at all actually.

Weißbrot
Weißbrot
2 years ago
Reply to  Weißbrot

This is not about Germany, my deer Greek. I never said that my Country doesn’t have it’s Problems. We do! None of them is homophobia or a supressive government btw… You don’t always have to come at me and and Insult my Country out of nowhere…

Jo
Jo
2 years ago
Reply to  Weißbrot

Of course. Suppressing people of other countries like Greece is fine and suppressing German is not because German is superior. Right?

Weißbrot
Weißbrot
2 years ago
Reply to  Weißbrot

@muriel of Course, I just wanted to mention it….
@Jo Sadly, you have a completely wrong Picture of Germany and ist People. The truth is that Germans are actually quite insecure about loving their Country or being proud of it. We don’t think we’re superior, it’s either the opposite. And we have no Problems with Greek People… You might hate us, but we have no Problem with you.

Jo
Jo
2 years ago
Reply to  Weißbrot

That “Jo” is a troll, btw. Stop feeding him.

Weißbrot
Weißbrot
2 years ago
Reply to  Jo

I knew it wasn’t you because of the Profile picture. But I’m pretty sure it’s the same fake Jo that tried to provoke me some weeks ago… Really annoying.

Malin
Malin
2 years ago
Reply to  Jo

He/she just want you to argue about politic. Just ignore

Malin
Malin
2 years ago
Reply to  AM2PM

Pleace, If you care about ESC, stop write things like that. Just enjoj the music you love and be respectfull. And pleace don’t use other pearsons name.

Love, love, peace, peace.

Malin
Malin
2 years ago
Reply to  Malin

You have made me “see the light” in darkness!
Din mamma är en kuksugande hora.

Malin
Malin
2 years ago
Reply to  Malin

Sorry, but you don’t make me angry. I don’t know why you write the way you do.
I’m wondering who you are? You feel probably very strong when you insult people, that you have power?

If you have a favorite in ESC, use the time and energy to support that entry.

You have probably more tallents than to insult people in diffrent languages.

Malin
Malin
2 years ago
Reply to  Malin

And, by the way. My mother is retired from working at a bank all her life. I think that her pension is enouf, did’t know that she was working. That was new information for me. But yes, she seems to very happy. But I don’t think she need the money you know. ; )

Malin
Malin
2 years ago
Reply to  AM2PM

Muriel, I understand that you get sad when somene attac Russia. We are many that don’t think am2pm are right. Try to ignore. <3

Love, love, peace, peace from Sweden

Aaron
Aaron
2 years ago

Julia is so talented. Still in my top three (firmly). She will put on a show. I swear, people will be surprised I think she stands a chance to win.

I dont understand are there 7 performers now?

we stan actual talent.

Nicki Minaj who? Katy Perry gone. Taylor swift ran. avicii found dead.

stream no more tears left to cry sisters!

Mvaneijk97
2 years ago
Reply to  Aaron

You are disgusting bringing Avicii into this

Malin
Malin
2 years ago
Reply to  Mvaneijk97

: (

Aaron
Aaron
2 years ago
Reply to  Mvaneijk97

where is that?

Aaron
Aaron
2 years ago
Reply to  Aaron

thank you!! I love me too!!

Roy Moreno
Roy Moreno
2 years ago
Reply to  Aaron

You’ve got to know the difference between loving a song and thinking it might win
Russia has no chance of winning this year, barely qualifying

Sander
Sander
2 years ago
Reply to  Aaron

You have some serious mental health issues.