Tom Leeb was due to represent France at the 2020 Eurovision song contest in Rotterdam with his song “Mon alliée (The Best in Me)”.
After hearing over a hundred songs, the national broadcaster France 2 internally selected both Tom and the romantic power-ballad. Those who chose the entry described it as “love at first listen”. The original version was revealed during an epic performance atop the Eiffel Tower in Paris. A revamped version of the song was released on 3 April.
But who is the man behind the song? We’ve compiled 10 facts you need to know about Tom Leeb. Let’s do this!
France at Eurovision 2020: Facts about Tom Leeb
1. He comes from a family of artists
Born in Paris, the 31-year-old singer-songwriter comes from a family of high-achievers. His father is the well-known French comedian Michel Leeb — a star of both film and TV. His older sister Fanny is an established singer. She competed on the second season of The Voice France in 2013. Despite being eliminated in the battle rounds, she’s gone on to release numerous jazz and soul-influenced records. His mother Béatrice Malicet is a journalist.
2. He started out as a child actor
One of Tom’s earliest gigs was in a 2003 stage production of Madame Doubtfire — a play inspired by the similarly titled Anne Fine novel and the subsequent Hollywood movie. Then aged 15, Tom took on the role of Adrien Marjac, a French version of Robin Williams’ character’s son in the 1993 film. Tom’s father Michel took on the titular lead role.
3. He studied in New York for five years
Aged 18, Tom moved to New York to study. There he would spend five years learning theatre, dance, cinema and singing. One online biography of the singer says that it was in the US that he first “dived into song”. While he was already passionate about music, a guitar loaned to him by a friend acted as a trigger for him to explore the American blues.
4. He acted on television
Upon his return to France, Tom was almost immediately cast in the soapy French TV drama Sous le soleil de Saint-Tropez. His character, also named Tom, was coming to terms with the disappearance of his mother. Amidst a series of shady dealings and family feuds, his mother eventually reappeared. But only after a man had already been imprisoned for her murder. The show ran for two series between 2013 and 2014. His other TV credits include Section de recherches and Nina. His next big role is in the second season of Unfaithful — the French adaption of the acclaimed British drama Doctor Foster.
5. He’s a star of the silver screen
Tom quickly transitioned on to the big screen. His first movie appearance was a small role in the comedy Paroles. Since then, he’s appeared in almost a dozen feature-length releases as well as several short films. In 2014 he starred in Avis de mistral alongside the well-known Spanish-French actor Jean Reno.
6. He’s very funny
In 2013, Tom crossed paths with the actor Kevin Levy. The pair hit it off and formed the comic duo Kevin and Tom. Their brand of humour proved extremely popular, and seven years on they’re still recording YouTube skits, touring across France and making TV appearances. They’re both skilled vocalists and regularly work music into their comedy, as in their most-viewed video “Tube de l’été”.
7. He uses his good looks for laughs
Tom has been blessed with dashing good looks. But instead of being a pin-up, himself and Kevin upend expectations and give him the less glamorous roles. For instance, in “How to have an orgasm” Tom’s character suffers from premature ejaculation. In “How to flirt with a girl”, he plays a fool who loses his composure around women.
8. He released his first single in 2018
It wasn’t until relatively recently that Tom began to focus on music. In March 2018, he dropped his first single — “Are We Too Late”. The song became something of a sleeper hit, in more ways than one. Despite not charting, it’s racked up over 25 million views on the SleepMusic YouTube channel. An eponymous EP came later in the year, followed by his debut album Recollection in 2019.
9. He does covers too
While Tom’s back catalogue of original material continues to grow, he’s not averse to tackling hits first recorded by others. These include Justin Bieber’s “Let Me Love You” and Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean”. His most popular cover is his version of Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game”.
10. He loves his guitar
Long after his college days, Tom’s affinity with the stringed instrument continues to this day. As is evident from his Instagram feed – Tom loves his guitar and takes it wherever he goes. In an interview with wiwibloggs, Tom said “My guitar is with me everywhere. Every time I have a moment, I pick it up. It’s comfort for me, it’s a home place where I go back to.”
Eurovision 2021 update
As of 31 March, neither the French delegation nor Tom have shared any commitments for 2021.
Would you like to see Tom perform at Eurovision next year? Let us know below.