Earlier in September, Portuguese broadcaster RTP announced that the 2020 edition of Festival da Canção would once again involve 16 artists spread over two semi-finals. One of these will go on to win the coveted prize of representing Portugal at Eurovision 2020 in Rotterdam.
The contest will again be composer-led. RTP will invite 14 composers who will enter an original, unreleased song. As with previous years, the composers will be able to select the artist who will perform their song.
We dived into Portugal’s music industry in the hopes of finding ten exciting names that we would like to see at Festival da Canção. We tried to put our personal tastes aside and came up with a diverse list of genres and voices. Here we go!
1. Dino D’Santiago
A star in the making. Dino D’Santiago is the face and voice of the new Lisbon. A multicultural and diverse Lisbon that is reflected in his work. Dino navigates the wonders of electronic music and combines it with his Cape Verde roots influences. From funána to kizomba to afro-house the Portuguese star was also part of Eurovision 2018 interval act.
2. Fernando Daniel
A known face for Eurovision fans, Fernando Daniel was part of the 2017 line-up of Festival da Canção. But make no mistake, he has come a long way since then. If three years ago the Portuguese star was looking for his sound, he is now one of the most established artists in the country. All of his efforts, uptempo or ballads, are radio hits and he was able to create a solid and devoted fanbase. Fernando has also picked up an MTA EMA 2019 nomination for Best Portuguese Act.
3. Carolina Deslandes
Carolina Deslandes is a well known singer-songwriter in Portugal. After coming third on Portuguese Idol back in 2010, the singer went on to release three studio albums. Her last effort, “Casa” (Home) topped the Portuguese charts and her last singles — “A Vida Toda” and “Avião de Papel” — are solid hits.
Valas is part of the new hip-hop movement of the Portuguese music scene. His work and effort to keep Portuguese hip-hop fresh, relatable and meaningful took him to new heights and earned him a recording contract with Universal. An appearance at Festival da Canção would be a nice touch of diversity.
5. Bárbara Tinoco
Newcomer Bárbara Tinoco surprised everyone on RTP’s “The Voice Portugal”. No mentor turned their chair for her but they later decided to ask the singer-songwriter to showcase an original song. That was the first time we heard the charming “Antes Dela Dizer Que Sim” (Before she said yes). Producers picked up on Bárbara after the show and released the song that is now a radio juggernaut.
6. Ana Malhoa
Ana Malhoa started her career at the tender age of six, supporting her father — also a well-known singer in Portugal. Ana is known by many as the Queen of Portuguese Schlager music, the Queen of Portuguese Latino and tropical urban pop, the Latin Bomb, La Makina, La Dueña, among other names. Eleven albums, eight tours — Ana Malhoa is a force to be reckoned with, even though there is still significant stigma against her work in society at large.
7. Luís Sequeira
Some Portuguese followers may recognize Luís Sequeira from RTP’s The Voice Portugal from a couple of years ago. After reaching the final and making a significant impact on his mentor Marisa Liz, Luís went on to release his first single “Se ao menos eu te odiasse” (If only I hated you), mixing modern levels of production, vocal versatility and a distinct Portuguese pop-rock sound.
8. Matias Damasio
Continuing the trend of years past, it is expected that Festival da Canção invites at least one composer from Portuguese speaking countries in Africa. Matias Damasio was born in Angola and mixes influences of Kizomba, romantic music and Semba (traditional Angolan music genre) to produce the songs that took him from the town of Benguela to Angolan and Portuguese stardom.
Sometimes you don’t need to win a singing competition to thrive in the music industry, as proven by several names on this list. Murta, or Francisco Murta, is just another one. Reaching the final of RTP’s The Voice Portugal, having an audition with more than 2.5 million views and being super talented was enough to catch the attention of Universal Music. With a recording contract, Murta is a newcomer ready to take on the industry.
10. Linda Martini
We’re sure you were wondering where my indie-influenced Festival da Canção act is. Don’t worry, we got you covered. Linda Martini is what you’re searching for. Five albums, three EPs and multiple performances in Portugal’s biggest music festivals. It’s not easy to have a solid career in a genre that normally falls out of the pattern of what is commercial but Linda Martini is able to walk that line with distinction. An appearance on Festival da Canção would only be another accolade.
That’s it. These are our 10 names. What do you think? Would you like to see any of them at Festival da Canção 2020? What other names would you like to see on the list of composers? Tell us in the comment section below.
Photo Credits: Blitz Portugal