Elena Tsagrinou will represent Cyprus at the Eurovision Song Contest 2021. The 26-year-old artist will sing “El Diablo”, a song about falling in love with someone as bad as the devil.
It comes from a heavy-hitting, international songwriting team with vast experience inside and outside the world of Eurovision: Jimmy “Joker” Thornfeldt, Laurell Barker, Oxa, and Thomas Stengaard. The staging will be overseen by the internationally acclaimed artistic director Marvin Dietmann. Among other stage shows, he directed Conchita’s winning performance at Eurovision 2014.
In short, Cyprus has lit a match and is ready to set Europe on fire.
Elena Tsagrinou will sing for Cyprus at Eurovision 2021
If you’ve got your finger on the pulse of Greek music, then you know Elena Tsagrinou is one to watch. In fact, people have been watching her for a dozen years. She’s signed with Panik Records, the same label behind beloved Eurovision acts like Ivi Adamou, Demy, Eleni Foureira, and Anna Vissi.
Born in Athens in 1994, she made the semi-finals of Ellada Eheis Talento (Greece’s Got Talent) when she was just fourteen years old. Building on the buzz, she was appointed lead singer of the group OtherView in 2013. During their five-year collaboration they released hits like “Again” and “We Together”.
Elena went solo in 2018, kicking things off with “Páme Ap’ Tin Archí” (Let’s Go from the Start), written by Eurovision maestro Dimitris Kontopoulos and Nikos Moraitis. The Greek-language song announced her arrival as a pop princess standing on her own. Amid slinky synths and a strong retro vibe, Elena shows off her distinctive voice: lightly husky, deeply resonant and fuelled by passion. Just as her voice can work it low, the video shows she can dip it low too — this package comes with choreography and attitude. Say it with me now: Get it, gurl!
Other singles have followed. From the dramatic ballad “Paradise” to the sultry and thoroughly contemporary “Amore”, Elena thinks visually, bringing high-end music videos with each release. They’ve generated millions of views and led to invitations to perform on the biggest music shows in both Cyprus and Greece, where she’s worked with big-time artists like Konstantinos Argyros and MELISSES, among others.
She doesn’t just sing on camera — she also talks, too. From 2014 she was a coach on the TV music show Just the 2 of Us and in 2016 and 2017 she co-presented The Voice of Greece. Since October of 2020 she’s presented her own show K-POP Stars on MAD TV.
Eurovision isn’t a random gig for Elena: She’s a fan who understands the significance of what she’s about to undertake. Over the summer, Elena went public with her love of the contest, telling HELLO! Cyprus that she would love to go — but only if she had the right song.
“Eurovision is an institution and I’ve been following it for several years – it is amazing to see so many artists and so many different types of music in one big and spectacular celebration,” she said. “If the right song is found, it would be a great pleasure and honour for me to take part in the competition.”
Elena is in good hands. The Cypriot team has called on Marvin Dietmann to oversee the staging. He’s been the artistic director of over 180 TV shows across Europe and has a lot of experience at Eurovision. In addition to staging Austria’s winning Eurovision entry in 2014 for Conchita Wurst, he was also behind their 2016 and 2018 entries – “Loin d’ici” by ZOË and “Nobody But You” by Cesár Sampson. The latter won the jury vote in Lisbon, even topping our beloved queens Eleni and Netta.
About the “El Diablo” songwriters
Owing to Cyprus’ strong track record at Eurovision in recent years, there was no shortage of songwriters who wanted to throw their songs into the ring. In the end, a fab foursome won the honour. Hailing from Sweden, Canada, Brazil and Denmark, they honour the #OpenUp spirit Cyprus is known for.
Jimmy “Joker” Thornfeldt
If you dive into Jimmy Joker’s discography, you’ll be there for a very long time. He’s a Swedish music producer and songwriter, and the winner of multiple Grammy Awards. He’s topped the charts worldwide working with artists including Jennifer Lopez, Enrique Iglesias, Pitbull, Usher, Nicki Minaj, Marc Anthony, Daddy Yankee and others. Melfest fans will appreciate his work with Love Generation on “Dance Alone” And for those of you who love Baywatch, he even wrote “Piña Colada Girl” for David Hasselhoff!
Platinum certified, Juno-award-wining Canadian singer/songwriter Laurell has penned hits in over twenty countries — and that’s just in the last three years! She’s reached #1 in countries from South Korea to Sweden, working with artists like TWICE, Girls Generation, Nico Santos, Hanna Ferm and Oh My Girl.
She’s also become a major force within the world of Eurovision. In 2019 she famously became the first and so far only female songwriter to have three songs compete in a Eurovision final: Michael Rice’s “Bigger Than Us”, S!sters’ “Sister” and Luca Hänni’s “She Got Me”. Among her Melodifestivalen hits are Hanna Ferm’s “Brave” and Margaret’s “Tempo”.
Oxa is a Brazilian-born songwriter, singer, dancer and artist. She understands rhythm better than most: In 2012 she performed as a dancer for Jennifer Lopez’ Vegas show “Q’viva the chosen Live”. Since then she’s performed in musicals all around the world, including The Lion King (Brazil), Tarzan (Germany) and Kinky Boots (Broadway). German viewers will recognise her from The Voice of Germany in 2019.
Denmark’s Thomas Stengaard is a multi-platinum selling songwriter and producer. He’s known among Eurovision fans for winning Eurovision in 2013 as a writer on Emmelie de Forest’s “Only Teardrops”. At Eurovision 2018 he placed fourth, having co-written and produced Germany’s entry “You Let Me Walk Alone” from Michael Schulte. He’s also worked with Nico Santos, Adel Tawil, Alvaro Soler, Carpark North and many more.
Which genre springs to mind when you hear the phrase “El Diablo”? Do you think this is leaning more pop-dance or more dramatic ballad? And do you expect The Devil to bring the fuego? Let us know in the comments box down below!
And here’s some bonus footage. Elena is so high-fashion that Yves Saint Laurent once called on her to help promote their fragrance Libre. Smells good to us…
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