The Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of music unprofessionals — continues to rate and review the 41 competing entries of Eurovision 2019. Next we visit North Macedonia where returning artist Tamara Todevska has the ballad “Proud”. Did we agree with her message? Read on to find out!
Tamara Todevska with “Proud”
Antranig: Tamara Todevska is the reason I fell in love with Eurovision back in 2008. I wasn’t expecting something as amazingly trashy as “Let Me Love You” and I’m glad she’s come with a credible ballad which showcases her vocals. It’s a quality entry with subtle yet clever Balkan flourishes. Staging will make or break this — they’ve failed in that regard recently but a simple ballad is hard to mess up, or so I hope. As a studio cut, it is my favourite ballad of 2019, tackling very important subject matter.
Bernardo: North Macedonia should be proud of their entry. After trying the big pop production for two years and failing miserably, they took a step back and thought of a new strategy. “Proud” perfectly walks the thin line between being considered an actual female empowerment ballad and just tokenism. An incredible message to support a movement that should have started long ago. Tamara boasts a strong vocal delivery and the track has some nice production. You can see there is time invested in it.
Josh: Line after line, Tamara delivers meaningful words and heartfelt emotions (especially with lines such as “Shine your light, go and break the rules”). This is the kind of positive message that women and girls need to hear these days. Tamara’s voice shines like the sun — and yet, when I’m thinking of all the songs, I can’t ever seem to remember the words to this one, and I don’t know why. Without purposeful staging, this could have an uphill battle standing out, but it is by no means a bad song in any way.
Oliver: This is something rather different to what we have seen from North Macedonia these past few years, as their two previous entries had both been all about the song. However, with “Proud”, North Macedonia have focused their entry around the singer and voice. This song was tailored for Tamara and taking a deeper look at the meaning shows that it resonates with her on a personal level too. It’s not my favourite entry from the Balkan nation but it definitely has the potential for a good stage show.
Pablo: Tamara is letting us have it. “Proud” is indeed an anthem that’s beautifully orchestrated and greatly sung. This song has a lot of little, yet interesting details that break from many songs about this topic: The cello solo, the pausing at key parts, the stark piano notes… what could have been derivative is now punchy and unique. The message and lyrics may feel literal at times, but with strong enough staging, this could be a moment that will finally take North Macedonia back to the final.
William: Borderless, timeless, powerful, classical, contemporary — “Proud” ticks so many boxes. A power ballad of the first order, it glides from verse to chorus owing to the masterful control and melodic vocals of Tamara — one of North Macedonia’s brightest gems. If she can nail this vocally during the live show — and with tasteful staging to fit the stirring tune — I see no reason why she can’t slay her way to the final.
Robyn: So, we allocated the reviewers before the song was released. Looking at it now, it seems crazy to have all the reviews for a song about female empowerment coming from guys — so Renske and I will joining in here too. As a woman, the song doesn’t do much for me. It creates a sad serious world where being female is just the worst thing. And it’s up to women and girls to get themselves out of this shitebox. The chorus urges, “Tell them/Raise your voice and say it loudly”, without considering that it would be better if society would just listen to women in the first place, without the need for shouting; without fear of speaking up. I like the concept behind “Proud”, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired. From the class of 2019, Hatari do better social commentary.
Renske: I was invited by my fellow powerwoman Robyn to review this entry as well. Coming from a country where a lead political figure emphasised that women have “no ambitions”, female empowerment is very important to me. “Proud”, on the other hand, gives me solely “female” and no “empowerment”. In this world, we women are trying to stand up, but nobody, as Robyn pointed out, gives us the opportunity. Tamara is a in fact a powerwoman and deserves to be proud and to be seen, but the predominantly male songwriters of this entry let her down.
In the Wiwi Jury we have 29 jurors but only have room for eight reviews. The remaining scores are below:
We have removed the highest and lowest scores prior to calculating the average. This is to remove outliers and potential bias. We have removed a low of 3 and a high of 9.
Wiwi Jury verdict: 6.44/10
What do you think of this song? Share your own score and review below!