In 2015 she supported Belgium’s Loïc Nottet at Eurovision and in 2017 she worked her magic again for Belgium’s Blanche. But in 2018 SuRie moved from backing vocalist to centre stage star, representing the United Kingdom with her uplifting track “Storm”.
In the process she oozed perseverance, not only through her lyrics, but also through her steadiness in the face of fear. She famously fought off an unexpected stage invader, who attempted to derail our girl by grabbing her arm and prizing away her mic. Many other artists would have crumbled but not SuRie. She carried on like a true queen, snatched the microphone back and smashed her performance. That’s how you do.
A year on the Harlow-born beauty has released the emotional track “Only You and I” — a raw and heartbreaking song that channels passion, frustration and more. “I am so in love with you,” she sings. “I know you love me too, can we stop feeling this way?”
We were so touched we had to get in touch with the artist formerly known as Susanna Marie Cork to learn more about the song — and what she’s been up to in recent months.
Hi SuRie thank you so much for catching up with us!
Hi! My pleasure — it’s lovely to chat with you.
Shows, festivals, an album — you’ve been busy since Eurovision 2018. What have the highlights been?
Immediately after Eurovision I was off on tour with loads of wonderful Pride festivals across the country and also my “Eurovision Unplugged” show, presenting some of my favourite moments of ESC songwriting, but back at the piano, with my band and string section, letting the lyrics and melody be the focus. I then went on to develop and perform a few acoustic “Scrapbook” shows which included a mix of original tracks and covers that have influenced me. I developed, arranged and recorded a concept album called “Dozen”, for piano, voice and strings, which was released in early 2019 and launched with a really special London live performance of it. I’ve also been writing for and developing a new piece of theatre in London and working with the wonderful Luk Zimmermann in Berlin – the first of our offerings being “Only You and I”.
Which beautifully sends me to my next question. “Only You and I” sounds brilliant. Could you tell me a bit more about the song and how it came to be?
Thank you. It’s great to have “Only You and I” out there. It was written with Luk Zimmermann in the beautiful PowerPlay Studios, in Maur, Switzerland. We were brought together by Pele Loriano and SUISA and enjoyed a fabulous week in that beautiful setting, writing with some fantastic Swiss artists and producers. The session where we wrote “Only You and I” almost didn’t happen, however. There was a hiccup with the studio logistics, that day, and there was no space for Luk and I! We were encouraged to take the day off, but really wanted to work with each other, so we ended up writing in a very small, sweaty cupboard. Maybe that helped influence the moody nature of the song …!
Oh my! You talk of love and frustration and it has such a raw, stripped back sound. Is there anything in particular that inspired you to write it?
On the day, we were in that really odd, dark, tiny room, but I was actually already finding myself feeling a bit flat; more and more frustrated by some of the writing sessions I had been experiencing, in the months prior to working in Switzerland, where I was put in rooms with teams of people desperately trying to write a “Eurovision song”. That seemed to include all sorts of rules and formulas, and it just all seemed a bit contrived and soulless to me. I found it hard to write like that. I was so relieved to then meet Luk who also just wanted to write a song that came from the heart and felt real. Sod the “rules” and restrictions, or stressing about current trends and sounds or copying last year’s successes. We wanted to shake off those voices in our heads and get back to what we felt was raw and real. I’m so glad we stuck it out in that weird, airless cupboard …
You are of course classically trained. Will you be getting your oboe out in future projects?
HA! It’s been a while! Maybe I’ll dust off my oboe’s cobwebs and whop it out in the future. If only to relive the memories of being at school, taunted by questions such as, “why do you play the elbow?!”
We loved your performance at the London Eurovision Party this year. When can we see you perform again?
I am buckling down and doing a lot of writing this year, but you can find me headlining Salford Pride on June 22, London Pride July 6, and Brighton July 28.
Now looking back on your three experiences at the contest. What does Eurovision mean to you?
Eurovision is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Or thrice in a lifetime … who knew …
My experiences working with Loic and the Belgian delegation in Vienna were very different to my time with Blanche in Kyiv and then a whole new ball game doing it with the UK in Lisbon. It’s meant so many different things at each turn. I know I now need to work hard to prove I’m more than “that one who’s mic got stolen”, but Eurovision has meant a huge deal to me over these past few years. At various points in my life when I needed the helpful nudge, it popped up to remind me that where I’m most happy and most comfortable in the world is on the stage. And it offered me a bloomin’ brilliantly, bizarre, beautiful, BIG stage to get back up on!
Did you have any favourites from this year?
My favourite was Duncan Laurence’s “Arcade”. The honesty and emotion in that music and vocal performance is just stunning and, for me, that’s what the song contest should be about. I can also enjoy the element of theatricality during Eurovision, and, of course, we need variety during a show that is roughly three years long, but when it comes to acts that deserve to take the top spots, “Arcade” was it for me. Raw, real, sublime. The Netherlands’ creative team spotted, supported and nurtured their artist’s vision and voice and you can’t deny that authenticity, whether you like the style of the track or prefer different genres. I loved it, I squealed when it won and I only slightly cringe when I think back to pouncing on Duncan backstage at the London Eurovision Party and stuttering ‘I.. I.. I.. THINK YOU’RE WONDERFUL’ at his beautiful, bemused face.
One last Q…..number 4?
Never say never!
Thank you for your time SuRie and all the best!
What do you think of SuRie’s new track? Do you want to see her coming back for a fourth time to the Eurovision stage? Let us know in the comments section.