In February she beat off some very stiff competition to win The Next Star for Eurovision — Israel’s artist selection show for Rotterdam. And on March 3 Eden Alene finally learned what song she’d be singing: the upbeat and uplifting number “Feker Libi”.
“Feker Libi”(Amharic for “My Love”) was co-written and produced by the prominent Israeli musician Idan Raichel and “Toy” hitmaker Doron Medalie. Described as “a colorful pop gem that fuses together African dance beats with the infectious Middle Eastern sound,” it melds lyrics in English, Hebrew, Amharic and Arabic. Both of Eden’s parents originally hail from Ethiopia.
Alene — the youngest Israeli act since 2015’s “Golden Boy” Nadav Guedj — caught up with us after her song selection to sound off on The Next Star for Eurovision and more.
Israel at Eurovision: Eden Alene Interview
Why did you decide to enter The Next Star? Who encouraged you to get out there and slay?
I really wanted to represent my country, Israel. Ever since I won the X Factor I’ve been surrounded by a group of people who really encourage me to push myself more and more. Together we decided it was the right time for me to be part of this journey.
You previously won X Factor. Did winning The Next Star feel different in any way?
I think that the big difference is the emotional experience and magnitude. While winning the X Factor was mainly for myself and my mom and was an incredible professional achievement, The Next Star was a different experience. You have not only yourself to take under consideration, but an entire country who’s behind you, their expectations and dreams.
You won The Next Star in a landslide. Were you surprised by that?
Actually, the big surprise is you guys thinking I won by a landslide. All the way through the competition I felt that it was super tight and that there were so many good competitors.
What would you say was your standout performance on the show?
I think that vocally, my best performance was definitely “Listen” — by Beyonce. But if you would ask the people who watched the show, they would probably say the “Ilu Yacholti” — by Riki Gal — was the most memorable, because I sang for and about my mom, who was sitting in the audience, crying her eyes out.
You’re the first solo artist with Ethiopian heritage in the history of Eurovision. Do you feel like you’re representing two nations?
I definitely feel that I’m representing one nation, my home country. But Israel was founded 70 years ago by refugees and immigrants. Our entire country is built on the mix between different people from different cultures and I feel that I represent this entirely. I think what you guys see, in the past few years in Eurovision, is the result of this really incredible and respectful mix.
You’re the first Israeli representative born in the new millennium to sing at Eurovision, and the youngest at the time of the contest since Nadav Guedj. Do you think your youth will give you an advantage?
I think that the biggest advantage of being young is the combination of having really high levels of energy and being curious and open to accept and learn new experiences. As a young person I have a hunger and a drive to achieve my goals.
What do you look forward to most about going to Rotterdam?
I think what I’m looking forward to the most is actually meeting other delegations and talking with people from other cultures and countries. I am really fascinated by other people and the places they come from.
Finally, you are the first person in history to win two primetime Israeli singing shows. Can you make it three-for-three at Eurovision?
Seriously, right now I’m actually just really focused on doing the best performance I can possibly give on the main stage.
Are you loving Eden’s Eurovision 2020 song as much as we are? Do you think she can win? Let us know down below!