Following the UK’s last place finish at Eurovision 2019, it’s definitely a rebuilding year. And it seems that last year’s music consultant Greig Watts will once again be in charge of soliciting entries from leading professional songwriters.
In a series of Facebook posts, Greig has revealed that a Eurovision songwriting camp is taking place right now. On June 18 he shared a picture — at the top of this post — captioned “DWB/Twister Eurovision camp is under way.”
It was taken outside of the unfortunately named “Water Rat Music Studios” in Woking, England. Among those tagged were Norway’s Eurovision 2015 singer Kjetil Mørland; Eurovision You Decide 2019 finalist and X Factor alum Holly Tandy; Swedish Eurovision maestro Jonas Thander (Donny Montell’s “I’ve Been Waiting for This Night”); and Belgian songwriter Jeroen Swinnen (Tom Dice’s “Me and My Guitar”).
The others were: Duke Ashton, Patrik Jean Olsson, Charlotte Churchman, Werner Klötsch, Mila Falls, Tom Oehler, Maria Broberg, Henrik Tala, Anthony Goldsbrough, Georgie Keller and King John’s Castle.
In the caption of a second photo, re-published below, Greig hinted that the songwriters were already on to something magical.
“It’s a serious moment with an amazing ballad at the camp listening session,” he wrote.
Ahead of Eurovision 2019, the BBC revealed that Greig would serve as the corporation’s new music consultant for Eurovision. As part of his gig he sought entries from leading professional songwriters, many of whom attended a special songwriting camp.
Eurovision isn’t easy and last year’s run wasn’t particularly successful for the UK. The results of the song selection process led to a rather limp national final with three short-listed songs — “Bigger than Us”, “Freaks” and “Sweet Lies” — sung in two different ways each. The ultimate winner — “Bigger Than Us” performed by Michael Rice — ended up finishing last at Eurovision.
The revelation that another songwriting camp is underway has left a lot of fans deploring what they see as an, “If it’s broke, don’t fix it” mentality.
This Tweet from @EuroCampaign generated a lot of discussion.
The BBC has started organising songwriting camps, with Mørland and Holly Tandy confirmed as attending.
Thoughts, ? pic.twitter.com/Pd8p2WHx8P
— Eurofans UK ?? (@EuroCampaign) June 18, 2019
Comments in the thread range from “FFS NO” to “OH GOD NO NOT ANOTHER SONGWRITING CAMP” to “THIS is what needs to stop. It’s obvious now that songs written by a mixed team of British/foreign writers don’t work for us. We need more self composed songs and originality.”
The songwriting camp includes some amazing talent. Holly Tandy has a voice and a presence and was the top pick for many of us during the UK’s national final. The track record of many of the composers we cited above speaks volumes to their skills.
The problem may stem more from the selection of songs than the format of a songwriting camp itself. As wiwiblogger Robyn said…
I don’t think the UK’s problem inherently is using songwriting camps. The problem is the bland songs the BBC ends up selecting and the structure and tone of the national final.
— Robyn Gallagher (@robynesc) June 19, 2019
Another big talking point? The lack of diversity in the photo. It’s well known that diverse teams — with people of different backgrounds and approaches — can combat stale thinking. But at least there are folks from Belgium and Norway there.
Where do you stand on all this? Are you excited that the UK is staging another songwriting camp? Or would you prefer Greig to focus on drawing talent and songs from the BBC Introducing scheme? Or maybe the BBC should just internally select Holly Tandy, who is standing front-and-centre in the photo at top? Let us know down below…