Eden Alene was due to represent Israel at the 2020 Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam with her song “Feker Libi” — a five-language bop.
Eden won Israel’s The Next Star for Eurovision and got the ticket to Eurovision 2020 in Rotterdam. After the casting show, Israeli broadcaster then held a four-song national final to choose Eden’s song contest entry. “Feker Libi” emerged on top.
And now we’ve compiled 10 facts you need to know about Eden Alene. Let’s do this!
Israel at Eurovision 2020: Facts about Eden Alene
1. She would have been the first Ethiopian solo artist at Eurovision
The Ethiopian-Armenian Vahe Tilbian may have sung for Armenia in 2015 as part of Genealogy, but Eden Alene would have been the first Ethiopian to go solo at the contest. In Israel, that’s a big deal, because the Ethiopian minority is often underrepresented in key roles. Recent controversies also arose over the treatment of the Ethiopian minority in the country. Her 2020 song “Feker Libi” even includes Ethiopian instruments and Amharic lyrics.
2. She loves her roots and this she knows!
Just like her song which finished second in the national suggests, she’s proud of her background. Both her parents were born and raised in Ethiopia. Speaking to Maariv after the national selection, Alene said: “I think I’m going to concentrate on me having a dark colour, brown chocolate. It’s going to be my own #MeToo. But I’ll bring it out through the music.” She also said being Israel’s first black representative since 2006 is a source of pride for her.
3. She currently serves in the Israeli Defense Forces
When was the last time someone took part in Eurovision during their army service? Eden Alene started her mandatory army service in October 2018 and is still serving. Here’s a video of her military base welcoming her back after winning the Israeli selection.
4. She has a backstory… but doesn’t talk about it
She grew up in Katamon, a multi-cultural neighbourhood in Jerusalem, with her two Ethiopian parents. Today, however, she lives with her mother and is no longer in touch with her father. Leaving their past behind, Eden and her mother – a single daughter and a single mum – moved to the southern town of Kiryat Gat a few months ago.
5. She’s got the X Factor
In the third season of X Factor Israel, then 17-year-old Eden Alene took gold. She brought pride to the Ethiopian minority in Israel with some stunning performances. Having won The Next Star for Eurovision in February, she’s the only Israeli to have won two major reality singing shows.
6. She’s got confidence
When she participated in X Factor Israel, she kept her expectations low until she won. This year, though, coming into The Next Star for Eurovision, she showed impeccable optimism. “The crowd loved me, I was good, I worked my ass off. I came to win”, she told Walla!. She’s shown the same kind of power after the announcement that she will represent Israel at Eurovision 2021. She told KAN on live TV: “Our song will be even better, even though [“Feker Libi”] was stunning, and we will win!”.
7. She has a crush on Benny Gantz
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the faces of Israeli politics… we don’t blame you. Israel has held three prime ministerial elections in less than a year, and they were all too close to call. Reigning PM Benjamin Netanyahu and former Commander in Chief Benny Gantz represent the political right and the centre-left respectively. In early February, Eden sparked controversy by saying she’s “in love with Benny Gantz” on live TV. Israeli Rapper and far-right activist The Shadow publicly attacked her, calling her “brain-washed” and “a do-gooder”.
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8. She’s an anime otaku…
In her first Next Star interview, Eden was asked when she started singing. She then told the story of how she sat on a bench as a little girl and sang songs from Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch — an anime TV series. According to her, people would occasionally walk by and ask her to keep singing.
9. She’s a Eurofan
Speaking to Walla!, Israel’s national final winner revealed her love for Eurovision. “I didn’t go to Next Star because it’s a reality TV show. I came because it’s Eurovision, one of the biggest things in existence today, one of the biggest stages in the world. (…) Eurovision has always been a dream, but I only realised it was a dream after Kobi Marimi’s [year].” In February 2019, Eden released a cover of Brotherhood of Man’s Eurovision 1976 winner “Save Your Kisses for Me”.
10. She has quite the vocal range
From Australia’s Kate Miller-Heidke to Albania’s Eugent Bushpepa, Eurovision has seen its fair share of wide-range singers. However, Eden made sure to showcase her ridiculous four-octave range in her national final song “Savior in the Sound”. At the first pre-chorus (0:35), the singer uses her low chest registers, then ends the performance with insane high notes. She’s got a set of pipes!
Eurovision 2021 update
KAN has reselected Eden Alene to fly the Star of David in 2021. Reacting to the news, Alene said on Israeli TV: “I’ll cry once more. We’re going to win [Eurovision 2021] and the song will be better”.
Can Eden prolong Israel’s qualification streak? What do you want her to sing in 2021? Let us know in the comments below.