Many an artist tries to earn the right to represent their country at Eurovision, but only a few succeed. Nevertheless, those who fail to win their respective national finals still often go on to become some of our favourite artists to continue following after the contest.
For our latest new music roundup, here’s a selection of songs from former national final stars including Margaret, Electric Fields, Aitana, KAZKA, Natalia Lacunza, TAYANNA, Famous Oberogo and Liis Lemsalu.
Margaret – “Serce Baila”
Margaret has tried her luck at both the Polish and Swedish national finals over the last four years, and remained a fan-favourite artist throughout this period. The singer’s latest song, “Secre Baila” (“Heart Dances”), sees Margaret singing in her native Polish language.
A more mid-tempo and urban offering compared to her previous releases, the lyrics are about enjoying life and doing what makes your heart dance, as she sings: “Colourful people and lights around / Burned up with sunshine like southern fauna / The atmosphere here is nice, I know / Anything goes, anything goes, heart dances”.
The accompanying music video is filmed in a retro style, and involves Margaret dancing in front of a series of pictorial backgrounds.
This new track comes from the Polish star’s newly released fourth studio album, Gaja Hornby. The title of the album references the name of Margaret’s alter ego, which she used in her personal life at the start of her career in order to protect her privacy. The LP is her first to be recorded completely in the Polish language.
Unfortunately, the album was only released in Poland. Thus, international fans will have to make do with the “Secre Baila” music video for a glimpse into what the full record offers.
Electric Fields – “Vision”
One of the breakthrough acts of this year’s national final season, Electric Fields went on to win Team Wiwi’s countdown of the top national final songs of 2019 with “2000 and Whatever”. And now, the Australian duo consisting of vocalist Zaachariaha Fielding and producer Michael Ross have released the new track “Vision”.
Much slower than their Eurovision: Australia Decides entry, the song has an atmospheric quality to it. The lyrics discuss how, even though their lover may be far away, they still have her firmly on their minds: “I can see her in my mind / Oh, I can see her vision / I can see her standing / But it’s only a vision”.
Aitana – “Presiento” and Spoiler
She may have come second in Operación Triunfo 2017, as well as the Eurovision Gala to choose Spain’s Eurovision 2018 representative, but Aitana has certainly turned silver into gold (and platinum) when it comes to her post-OT career. Earlier this year the Spanish singer teamed up with acclaimed Colombian band Morat on the song “Presiento” (“I feel”). A catchy Latin-pop affair, the accompanying music video has a nautical theme to it, with Aitana donning a shimmering gold mermaid’s tail as the Colombian quartet sail towards her.
Lyrically, the song is about going back to a former lover even though you know things are likely not to work out: “I have a hunch that you will be one of those mistakes / One of those that I’m willing to commit / I have a hunch that you’re leaving and you’re not coming anymore / And I forget about my hunches just to see you again”.
In terms of her latest solo work, Aitana recently dropped her debut album Spoiler, which hit number one on the Spanish album charts. In the run-up to the album’s release, the “Lo Malo” hitmaker released a couple of new singles. The first of these is “Nada Sale Mal” (“Nothing Goes Wrong”), in which Aitana is hoping to start a relationship with her lover, but is yet to decide for how long: “Today I propose you to be mine / But I don’t know for how long / I really haven’t decided / If it’s forever, for a moment”.
The song has a slow-start with acoustic guitar flourishes. But, a stronger pop beat soon kicks in, turning it into a mid-tempo affair. In the music video we see the Spanish star riding down a hotel elevator and meeting a number of the guests on the way down.
“Con La Miel En Los Labios” (“With Honey On The Lips”) sees Aitana return to the emotional ballad styling that helped her capture all of our hearts during the OT 2017 Eurovision Gala.
As with “Arde”, Aitana sings from the heart and her stunning vocals perfectly capture the emotion of the song. The lyrics discuss that although her lover may be gone, she can’t move on from the times they shared together: “And I refuse to delete the messages / Setting fire to the house is useless / Love changes it never fades / Any day the rain makes us feel again / To feel, with honey on the lips”.
Aitana’s new single from the album is “Me Quedo” (“I Stay”), which features fellow OT 2017 contestant Lola Indigo. An upbeat Latin-pop offering, the chorus of the song is fairly repetitive – yet that just ensures the melody gets stuck in your head.
Lyrically, the song sees the two singers bumping into a former lover at the club. But they don’t plan on leaving anytime soon, singing: “I didn’t expect to see you here / You keep playing with fire / What bad luck for you / I’m not leaving anymore / I stay”. The music video for the song drops this coming Friday 28th June.
KAZKA – “Пісня Сміливих Дівчат”
Ukrainian trio KAZKA fell short at Vidbir 2019, and subsequently declined the offer to go to Eurovision following MARUV’s withdrawal. But after leaving all that eurodrama firmly in the past, they’re back to doing what they do best – producing infectiously catchy pop songs infused with traditional Ukrainian instrumentation. “Пісня Сміливих Дівчат” (“Song of Courageous Girls”) is the first cut from their upcoming second studio album Nirvana.
The group explain in the description of the official audio on YouTube that “Пісня Сміливих Дівчат” is a “women’s manifesto, an ode to GIRL POWER, an appeal to all the girls of the planet: know for yourself the price and never allow anyone to offend you”.
Natalia Lacunza – “nana triste”
Natalia Lacunza’s two entries in the Operación Triunfo 2018 Eurovision Gala both managed to reach the top five of the selection. But in the end it was her duet partner Miki Núñez that headed to Tel Aviv. While Miki was competing at Eurovision, Natalia has been busy working on her first EP, Otras Alas (Other Wings).
The lead single from the record was “nana triste” (“sad lullaby”), featuring singer and guitarist Guitarricadelafuente. The track has a flamenco style to it, with the acoustic guitar taking centre stage in the instrumentation. Natalia sings about the pain she’s endured following the betrayal of someone whom she tried to care for affectionately: “I was looking after you like a child / Who doesn’t know how to walk…Today it festers and festers / What yesterday tasted like honey / I curse my sense / Little dove take me / I curse you / You and your tears of salt”.
TAYANNA – “Як плакала вона” and “Без тебе”
She inadvertently caused some of the biggest eurodrama of the 2019 national final season after her withdrawal from Vidbir paved the way for eventual winner MARUV to take part. Nevertheless, Ukraine’s TAYANNA (also now going by Tetiana Reszetniak on Spotify) has continued on with her music career. Earlier in the year she released “Як плакала вона” (“How she cried”).
The song opens with a guitar riff that then forms the bass of the infectious chorus. The absence of the riff in the verses ensures the track has peaks and valleys to keep the listener engaged; although the broken R’n’B rhythms might seem slightly out of place to begin with.
In the description underneath the official audio on YouTube, TAYANNA explains that the song discusses how mutual understanding and communication is crucial in any good relationship: “Does it happen to you that you go to bed with your loved one without solving the problem…and then you stubbornly squeeze out a tear, so that it’s dropped into his hand and he can ask what has happened? But men are silent, pretending that nothing is happening; they are silent because they are stubborn and proud, like you…it is better to kiss before going to bed and be happy. Dance!”.
The “I Love You” singer’s latest single sees TAYANNA team up with fellow recurring Vidbir participant LAUD on “Без тебе” (“Without you”). Starting off slow, the track eventually develops into a simple mid-tempo ballad, with the two singers adding some harmonies into the chorus.
The Ukrainian star notes that the track is about the “pride that prevents people from confessing their feelings. Because of this, we are left alone and we sleep in a blank and cold bed, but we are praying for that beloved person”.
Famous Oberogo – “Time” (with Brian Cross)
He was voted as the winner of the main Operación Triunfo 2018 series, but could only manage seventh place at the Eurovision Gala with his song “No puedo más”. Now, Famous Oberogo has put his voice to his first post-OT song by featuring on “Time” by Spanish DJ Brian Cross. A fairly standard pop-dance affair, the track might get your feet tapping along while it’s playing, but there’s nothing remarkable that makes the listener want to put it on repeat.
Lyrically, Famous sings about the time that has to pass after someone gives you their number on a night out before it’s deemed appropriate to call them: “That’s why / Time ain’t no friend of mine / It’s keeping my hands tied / I really wanna call you up / But this can’t go back fast enough”.
Liis Lemsalu – “Tähed me jalge all”
Four-time Eesti Laul contestant Liis Lemsalu’s latest single is “Tähed me jalge all” (“The stars under our feet”). A solid pop song, the Estonian singer has certainly found her groove since beginning to focus on releasing Estonian-language tracks over the last few years. The music video was filmed in Arizona’s Sedona National Park, and makes full use of the stunning natural landscape that the area has to offer.
Liis notes in the music video’s description that the song takes the phrase “The stars under our feet” and twists the meaning slightly: “When I wrote the words of the story, I had another idea of the meaning of this sentence. The stars are beautiful, but sharp or perhaps not comfortable in reality. The story is that everything is fine, but something is uncomfortable”.
Which of these songs from former national final stars are your favourites? Do you want to see any of these artists return to a national final next year? Sound off in the comments below!