Carousel will represent Latvia at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv with their song “That Night”. It’s a stripped back jazzy number with themes of regret, longing and melancholy.
Latvian broadcaster LTV chose Carousel through its annual Supernova selection process. The contest consisted of two semis, a final and 16 songs. The network will be hoping for the group to take Latvia back to the grand final for the first time since 2016.
As Israel draws closer and closer, we’ve compiled 10 facts you need to know about Carousel. Let’s do this!
1. Two became four
If you peruse their press photos or even watch their Supernova performance, you’ll notice that the focus is very much on two people — vocalist Sabīne Žuga and rugged guitarist Mārcis Vasiļevskis. And that’s because they’re the founding members. The pair began making music — mostly covers — in 2015. Then in 2018, they started working on original material. However, they felt that their sound was incomplete. So, they recruited Stanislav Judins on double bass and Mareks Logins on drums.
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Esam ierakst?juši Carousel topoš? debijas albuma instrument?lo da?u un paral?li tam akt?vi top dziesmu teksti. Nevaram vien sagaid?t, kad šo visu nodosim t?l?k – klaus?t?ju rok?s! Tas notiks pavisam dr?z! Tad noteikti aicin?sim ar? uz tikšanos kl?tien? ? _ We have recorded the instrumental part of our debut album and are working on the lyrics. We cannot wait to share all this with you soon! _ #CarouselThatNight #Eurovision2019 #ESC2019 #daretodream _ Style: @banga_liga MUAH: @anete_80kid Set: @agne.menniks Outfit for Sab?ne: @_pixiewontplay Photographer: @aigaredmane
2. They were formerly known as Madam Žuzī and Misjē Magrē
Sabīne and Mārcis weren’t Carousel from day one. Early on, they used the monikers Madam Žuzī and Misjē Magrē. They performed in a 1930s’ style, with Sabīne embodying the character of a French jazz singer. In 2016, they were part of a touring murder mystery production called Dangerous Plan. Madam and Misjē also popped up on breakfast TV. However, they were gigging under their real names by Valentine’s Day 2017.
3. Sabīne was in an all-female vocal group
Before Carousel, Sabīne was part of an all-female vocal group called Lady’s Sweet. She joined in June 2013, replacing one of the original members. The band was already well established in Latvia and had competed in the 2010 edition of the New Wave festival. However, Sabīne’s time with Lady’s Sweet was shortlived. Their last Facebook update was in August 2014 — a new profile picture sans Sabīne. She also worked with Igo, one of Latvia’s best-known singers.
4. Mārcis competed against himself at Supernova 2019
Much of the 2019 national final season was dominated by Monika Marija’s decision to enter two songs in Lithuania’s Eurovision selection. Yet just 300 or so kilometres away, Mārcis Vasiļevskis did the very same thing in Supernova. He was a guitarist and songwriter with both Carousel and Laime Pilnīga. The latter’s “Awe” came third, meaning he took home both gold and bronze.
5. The two bands united… for one night only
Shortly after Supernova wrapped up, both Carousel and Laime Pilnīga appeared on the chat show Pusnakts šovs septiņos. The once-off collaboration resulted in a unique performance of “That Night”. Stick with the clip to the very end to hear Latvia’s Eurovision 2019 entry as you’ve never heard it before.
6. Sabīne and Mārcis were Supernova 2018 songwriters
The band’s focal duo were part of Supernova 2018 too, albeit as songwriters. Sabīne and Mārcis, along with seven others, helped write “Who’s Counting?”. The entry was performed by Ritvars and finished fourth in the grand final. Watch closely and you’ll see Sabīne on backing vocals.
7. They don’t follow Eurovision
With so much Supernova experience between them, you might presume that Carousel were avid followers of the main contest in May. But you’d be wrong. Speaking to the major Baltic web portal Delfi, Sabīne says she’s not even sure if she tuned in last year. She knows the Latvian entries, of course, but rarely watches the show “from A to Z”.
8. “That Night” wasn’t written for Eurovision
Perhaps unsurprisingly, “That Night” was not written with Eurovision in mind. In the same Delfi piece, Sabīne explains that they first came up with the bones of the song two years ago. Following their 2018 experience with Ritvars, the group felt that Supernova was “a very cool platform to show off original music”. Since the creative process all took place beforehand, they did not worry about sticking to any standards or formats deemed suitable for Eurovision.
9. They’re dedicated performers
Come rain or shine, Carousel will always ensure that the show goes on. At the Riga Eurovision PreParty press conference, Mārcis regaled the attending media with details of a particularly memorable gig with his other band. They were due on stage at the Summer Sound Festival when a storm broke. And even though the men hadn’t slept for three days, they whipped off their shirts and performed in the rain. Afterwards, Mārcis drank a beer and took some much-deserved shut-eye.
10. Sabīne and Mārcis are a couple
If you hadn’t guessed from their onstage chemistry, Sabīne and Mārcis are a couple. But don’t expect to see their love story splashed across the gossip pages. All four members of the group are extremely private and share little of their lives with the public. Sabīne wants the band to be known for their music rather than their personal lives. However, the shields have dropped on occasion. We’ve learnt that the band has two French bulldogs between them, one belongs to Mareks and Sabīne and Mārcis own the other — Ozzy. And in a “snack attack” with Norway’s KEiiNO, we discovered that the couple are also vegetarian. Mareks isn’t though, and he happily chows down on the Nordic gummies.
Can Carousel break Latvia’s non-qualifcation streak? Could “That Night” even secure the country its second victory? Let us know in the comments.