On Thursday, James Newman was revealed as the United Kingdom’s act for Eurovision 2020. He’ll be taking the song “My Last Breath” to Rotterdam with the hope of improving upon the UK’s recent poor results at the contest. If the response on download/streaming sites and from other stars is anything to go by, he may just stand a chance of doing just that.
The British media gave a mixed, but relatively positive review of the UK’s entry for Eurovision 2020 upon its release. However, come the 16th May, it will be general public alongside a jury of musical professionals that will be casting the final vote on “My Last Breath”.
Based on the number of streams and downloads that the song has received in only its first few days of release, the response for James Newman’s Eurovision track seems better than the entries that the UK has sent over recent years.
“My Last Breath” reaches #6 on the UK iTunes Chart
One recurring comment amongst Eurovision fans about the UK’s recent entries to the contest has been “if the UK doesn’t get behind its own act, then how can you expect Europe to do the same”. The country’s songs over the last decade have rarely been played on mainstream radio stations or appeared in the charts in the run-up to the contest (though they may just squeeze in during the week after the show).
However, within only a few of days of “My Last Breath” being released (and being premiered on both BBC Radio 1 and 2), the song has already made an impact on a number of music charts.
The track peaked at number six on the UK iTunes chart on Thursday evening. Sitting just below the likes of Billie Eilish and Dua Lipa, James Newman saw his first single as a lead artist climb up the chart.
On Spotify, “My Last Breath” has hitherto failed to make it into either the United Kingdom Top 50 or Viral 50 charts. However, it has so far picked up over 81,300 streams and was added to the New Music Friday UK playlist, which has over 775,000 followers.
These figures combined meant that “My Last Breath” reached #73 on the official Scottish singles chart on Friday. Just taking downloads into account, the Eurovision 2020 song entered the UK’s official singles downloads chart at #68.
Notably, these official charts are for an entire week’s worth of streams/downloads. At the time of their release, “My Last Breath” had only been available for the public to listen to for one day. That makes the song’s appearance on the charts somewhat impressive.
On YouTube, the music video for “My Last Breath” has so far racked up over 660,000 views. It was also the #1 trending video in the UK on Thursday evening.
Additionally, despite only being released three days before the end of the month, the song was the fifth most watched video on the official Eurovision YouTube channel throughout February.
For comparison, in the past ten months the music video for Michael Rice’s “Bigger Than Us” (the UK’s Eurovision 2019 entry) has received a total of 820,000 views. The live performance from Eurovision: You Decide 2019 has one million views since February last year.
Thus, all in all, there seems to be much more interest in the UK’s Eurovision 2020 entry from the local population than in recent years. Much of this may be down to the influence of record label BMG, who have partnered with the BBC this year, and the promotion/support they have been able to give the song and James Newman so far.
Time will tell if the momentum can carry all the way until the actual contest in May, and if the rest of Europe gets on board with the live performance.
Olly Murs and previous UK Eurovision stars show support for James Newman
Aside from the initial chart success, James has received a number of messages of support from UK musical stars. This includes multi-platinum selling artist Olly Murs. Newman has written a couple of songs for Murs’ past two albums. The Voice UK coach took to his Instagram story on Thursday to wish Newman luck at Eurovision 2020 and asked his followers to support him.
Fleur East, who got caught up in the Eurovision 2020 rumour mill, tweeted support for James. The X Factor UK runner-up joked “See! I told you guys it wasn’t me”, before adding that she thought Newman sounded amazing on “My Last Breath”.
See! I told you guys it wasn’t me! Lol congrats to James, he sounds amazing on this track xxx https://t.co/oYXz5wIA1E
— FLEUR EAST (@FleurEast) February 27, 2020
Naturally, James’ younger brother John Newman also sent the Eurovision 2020 participant some online encouragement. Though this involved a bit of brotherly banter, with John saying it would be a race to the top of the charts between the two of them.
This is gunna be like an oasis head to head race to the top battle bro @JamesNewmanUk haha #eurovision
— John Newman (@JohnNewmanMusic) February 27, 2020
A number of former UK Eurovision stars also sent James a message of support. This included 2014 entrant Molly Smitten-Downes and 2019 singer Michael Rice. Jordan Clarke, who competed against Michael at Eurovision: You Decide 2019, also voiced his love of “My Last Breath”.
Not sure what I like more, the song or the fact @Iceman_Hof features in the video ? ?????? @bbceurovision @JamesNewmanUk https://t.co/9Ogf1WpoCr
— M O L L Y (@mollysd) February 27, 2020
Love the new @bbceurovision song by @JamesNewmanUk congrats mate, your gonna smash it!!? Now for radio interviews all this morning talking all things Eurovision with all your local bbc stations?? #eurovision #bbcradio #jamesnewman #mylastbreath #eurovision2020 pic.twitter.com/o1ICf1TxJr
— MICHAEL RICE (@MichaelRiceOff) February 27, 2020
Heard the @JamesNewmanUk record that’s going to represent the UK at this years @bbceurovision @Eurovision. I think the song is great (UK always delivers good songs!) and fingers crossed we’ll get on that left side of the board this year ??
— Jordan Clarke (@JJClarkeMusic) February 27, 2020
Finally, Wim Hof, who features in the video for “My Last Breath” also tweeted his support. Hof (also known as ‘Iceman’) is a Dutch extreme athlete who has set a number of Guinness world records related to withstanding freezing temperatures. The Dutchman said that the UK will definitely have his vote this year.
Honoured to be part of this! @JamesNewmanUk is representing the UK at @Eurovision 2020 with the song My Last Breath. Sorry Netherlands, but he has my vote! Of course, I am biased but I love the song! See the full video below and vote for James ??https://t.co/fWZ7o8vqsw
— Wim Hof (@Iceman_Hof) February 27, 2020
What do you make of the initial reaction to “My Last Breath”? Do you think this stands James Newman in good stead for Eurovision in May? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
I still listen to Sweet Lies; such amazing song.
The UK video views on YouTube for this year is close to beating last years video for Michael that barely got over 1 million, so that’s a sign this year will do better than Michael last year. Let’s get to 1 million..
Exactly but still it’s better for our chances lol if this years video gets more than last year, so let’s go. Haha
it should be called “My last place” tehehehehehe
Well after hearing the french entry, and the Spanish entry, I don’t think the UK will be coming last, so no need to worry..
It’s very random but I really won’t be able to connect to this song/performance because this guys looks EXACTLY like an older version of my boss’ son, and I hate him.
I will place a bet on the UK’s song getting “null points”.
It’s actually nice to some positive comments about the UK entry for a change.
I was just thinking exactly the same.
There are comments about songs. Not about countries. If you send bad song, comments would be negative. It’s way better than last year, so things have changed .-.
Lol Jordan Clarke’s comment “ UK always delivers good songs”… well no it doesn’t if we look at the past years!
I want to see it performed live before I assess its chances. I only saw a small bit of that tiny live presentation he gave on the night of the reveal, but it did not seem great. Where can I watch it in full? I do really like the studio version, though, and the more I listen, the more I like.
I think it sounds flat and dated. It goes nowhere. Hopefully staging will elevate it.
I don’t tend to consider motivating songs for Eurovision, maybe because I’m too focused on the music accompaniment. After listening to it for a third time I think James Newman could be a pleasant surprise.
I’m happy for the UK. Thought I’m not sure if this will have an effect in May.
The PR is pretty good this time but it’s not gonna work in Eurovision. Judging from the song alone, at least UK won’t be like last year.
There is a lot of promise this year for the UK entry, given its nearly at 700k views on YT, got to Number 1 on YT Trending and is Top 10 on iTunes. It’s much more than UK entries have gotten in the past like Lucie Jones only had 650,000 YT views by the time of the grand final and “My Last Breath” has already surpassed it in a few days of release, I cannot remember that a song that had this much support on only a few days release it really encourages me that the UK will end up… Read more »
Everything you just said is spot on, although hearing the song for the first time was a bit meh, there’s so many positives for James and “My last breath”, including the fact it’s probably going to get more YT views than Michael did last year, people are buying the song, it’s getting more positive responses , plus it was on the top 10 watched videos of February. So I think this year could be good for Us..
James confirmed Halsey’s tour director/designer will be doing the staging for MLB! So it sounds promising.
I know it is more of the same for the UK, but I do think it fits its style. I’ve been listening to it since it was released and actually included it in my top 5 (not too much competition so far though…). Just hope they make an effort to create a good performance in May as they did with Lucie Jones back in 2017. Please, bbc don’t be so stingy and invest in your eurovision entries. They deserve to be truly representative of the UK music industry!
Bottom 5 again
Has it yet been playlisted on Radio 1 or Radio 2?
Didn’t even recognize Dutch legend Iceman Wim Hof.. Song is so good, really like it, not to mention his voice.. Best 1 I’ve heard this year.. Go on UK, go and get ‘m!!!
I’m getting excited, this is boding well for the UK. This is in my top 10 so far, and I think it deserves it. Well done James and everyone behind him!
Honestly after hearing a few songs, I don’t think we have the worst song this year, our song from the beginning reminds me of what Austria sent 2 years ago a little bit, and we definitely aren’t the worst big 5 song for a change, so as long as we don’t come last, that’s an achievement from last year….
Although it takes a few listens of the song to fully get into it, I think the music video is probably one of the best we’ve had for a while, considering it was number 1 trending, 6th on iTunes, with nearly 700K views on YouTube and it hasn’t even been a week yet, we might do okay who knows?????..
Olly murs should represent the UK, his music is catchy and with impact, something that my last breath lacks off
Radio 1 will have to play this regularly on their daily playlist to get that awareness up and going to its listeners.
Which makes me wonder as someone who’s not from the UK: Has Radio 2 ever played British entries on the regular in the run-up to the contest itself?
It would be bad news if they did. There is a contract in the UK that says you must be over 40 or old before your time to listen to Radio 2, so it would not bode well if it was played a lot on Radio 2. Radio 1 would be better, but something like Kiss would be even more indicative that this song was going to be popular in the UK.
It would be a bad omen if Radio 2 were playing it regularly, so I hope they’re not.
They didn’t bother with “I Can”
One would think that with this being a BBC subsidiary that there would be some synergy between BBC Music’s Eurovision team and the radio division to promote the song on home ground.
I guess it’s not the case for some reason.
Does iTunes sales mean anything these days? Only a few sales and you enter the iTunes Charts in most countries.
And according to Kwork “My Last Breath” is now #24 in the UK.
Not in terms of chart success, but it is still impressive none the less. In Australia we could only dream of a good itunes placing for our acts – despite them being high profile. It’s a tough market that is dominated by rap and streaming.
Hopefully the little bit of itunes purchases can lead to some radio play
That’s great. At least some people enjoy the song.