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.
— 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”.
— 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!