The Black Mamba Love Is On My Side Portugal Eurovision 2021

It’s Portugal’s first-ever Eurovision entry to be sung entirely in English. But what is “Love Is On My Side” — the song that broke over 50 years of Portuguese tradition — about? The Black Mamba share their unexpected source of inspiration.

Scroll down for “Love Is On My Side” lyrics.

Portugal in Eurovision 2021: The Black Mamba “Love Is On My Side”

The Black Mamba — that’s Pedro Tatanka (lead vocal), Miguel Casais (drums), Rui Pedro “Pity” Vaz (bass), Marco Pombinho (guitar) and Guilherme “Gui” Salgueiro (piano) — formed in 2010. Their goal was to bring a Portuguese flavour to the world of blues, soul and funk. They’ve released three albums to date and have toured across Europe, the United States and Brazil. Lead singer Tatanka was invited by RTP to be one of 20 participating composers in Festival da Canção 2021. For a fifth consecutive year, the show organisers permitted songs written in languages other than Portuguese. Along with his bandmates, he “embraced the challenge” taking “Love Is On My Side” to a historic victory in the Eurovision selection process.

What do the “Love Is On My Side” lyrics mean?

“Love Is On My Side” was born out of a 2019 tour in the Netherlands. These performances inspired the group to write and record a yet to be released album called Another Night In Amsterdam. The LP tells the story of “all the characters” they met during this time, particularly from the city’s infamous red-light district. Their Eurovision track was also written during these sessions.

Speaking to RTP after their selection, The Black Mamba explain that “this song is inspired by an old lady we met in Amsterdam a couple of years ago, when we were on tour in the Netherlands.” However, when we first meet the woman she is young and full of hope. “Left home when I was only sweet sixteen / Chasing blind love and a bunch of broken dreams”.

But things didn’t pan out as planned. “She ended up addicted to drugs and that led to prostitution”, recount the band. “I can feel it still runnin’ through my veins / Ran so fast I couldn’t even grow / Forgot where I belong / Sold my body on a dirty cold floor”.

Yet despite all the hardship and disappointment, the woman still retains some of the hope from her youth. “But she told us that she never gave up and that she believes that Love was with her all the time”, say the group. This self-belief and determination becomes something of a mantra: “Love is on my side / Love is on my side / Love is on my side”. We end on a melancholic note, as the woman acknowledges “Maybe not tonight”.

“This is her story and we hope she listens to our song,” The Black Mamba conclude.

“Love Is On My Side” lyrics — The Black Mamba (Portugal ESC 2021)

Written and composed by: Pedro Tatanka

Left home when I was only sweet sixteen
Chasing blind love and a bunch of broken dreams
Don’t know how I thought I’d be a queen
I could do anything
But somehow I end up here I don’t know why
I still believe that

Love is on my side
Love is on my side
Love is on my side
Maybe not tonight

I can feel it when it rains
I can feel it still runnin’ through my veins
Ran so fast I couldn’t even grow
Forgot where I belong
Sold my body on a dirty cold floor
Yet I believe that
I believe that

Love is on my side
Love is on my side
Love is on my side
My side
Maybe not tonight
Love is…
Love is…
Love is…
Love is on my side
Maybe not tonight

What do you think of “Love Is On My Side”? Are you surprised by the band’s explanation of the lyrics? Let us know below.

Read more Eurovision 2021 lyrics.

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Fatima
Fatima
3 months ago

I just heard all 40 songs in a row (including BLR’s dq). This is the one which stood out as being better than I’d expected. “Love Is On My Side … Maybe Not Tonight” is such a lovely sentiment. It reminds me of a song I really like but I can’t think of it yet. That means I like it a lot.

Alex
Alex
3 months ago

i think his voice can get a bit annoying but with a staging that elevates the song and its meaning, it can do well with juries. It’s definitely not a bad song.

Lotus flower
3 months ago

What make we didnt realize the song meaning before, is because the singer is a male and it feels the song is sang by first point of view.. so I thought this song is about him..the vocalist.. not about the woman that inspired this song..

maria
maria
3 months ago
Reply to  Lotus flower

One possibility would be using the LEDs to show images from the Red Light District… it would help to convey the message.

Alonso
Alonso
3 months ago

I didn’t even listen to the song a few times before knowing the background, just thought the lyrics told a good story, no idea of the details. After reading this report, I was in tears, the story was truly moving, and the song has now become one of my personal top 20.

Roy Moreno
Roy Moreno
3 months ago

The thing is, most people don’t follow the season before the contest and won’t know the story of the song…
They can be a dark horse and qualify but who knows?

Michael Green
Michael Green
3 months ago

I must admit it has been growing a lot in me. It’s also in my top 10 now. In the national final of festival da canção I loved four other songs. But now I realize it was a good choice.

Last edited 3 months ago by Michael Green
Sabrina
Sabrina
3 months ago

One cool thing about music is how knowing the inspiration behind a song can make it suddenly click. The “… maybe not tonight” strikes so hard now that I know about the old lady’s story.

Caroline
Caroline
3 months ago

It’s my favourite to win! So far it’s very underestimated. I’m just waiting for folk to realise what a fab song it is and watch it climb up the rankings…..??

Whisker
Whisker
3 months ago

I hope good things will happen to the lady in the song.

Maldric
Maldric
3 months ago

maybe you´re full of hate.
You hate a song and now you hate even more because you know the reason of the lyrics. Im sorry 0 points for you

Maldric
Maldric
3 months ago

My favourites this year are Portugal and France 🙂
I really really hope they do well!
Go Portugal to the final

Milan
Milan
3 months ago

Respect to Portugal, their national finals keep being one of the best, and this song just shows that.

sangfreudx
sangfreudx
3 months ago

If you need any evidence that the ESC bubble is a special category of music fans, just read the hundreds of derogatory comments about this song since it won in Portugal. This song is soulful, melancholy, full of lived adult ambivalence – i.e., the polar opposite of a Botox banger. I love it.

pooky1001
pooky1001
3 months ago

I think its been very underestimated by people who think it stands no chance of qualifying for the final. The jury will give it some points im almost certain, plus Switzerland, France and the UK all vote in that semi and they all have large Portuguese communities and then Spain also vote and they are usually quite kind to their neighbours. I think it has an appeal for a certain type of viewer that no other song has this year so i can see it picking up decent points.

Whisker
Whisker
3 months ago
Reply to  pooky1001

I believe so much in this song.

phone but on laptop
phone but on laptop
3 months ago

Really love the story, but for me his voice/tone seems forced at some places

Mahi Mahi
Mahi Mahi
3 months ago

Second this.
He really tries to put on a “Macy Gray voice” which

  1. sound silly on a man
  2. sounds extremely forced and unnatural.
James
James
3 months ago
Reply to  Mahi Mahi

It’s been a while since I listened to a Macy Gray song but I think he’s emulating a male singer more reminiscent of the Motown era than something as recent as Macy Gray.

Jake
Jake
3 months ago

If this ends up bottom of scoreboard I wouldn’t be surprised, but if it ended top 10 I wouldn’t either. It’s one of these songs that ends up coming across as a proper song by a proper band that has good orchestration and voice that the juries and certain members of the voting public would vote for. It feels like someone who is a musician in a jury would vote for this and I don’t see another song this year occupy the same white space that this does.

pooky1001
pooky1001
3 months ago
Reply to  Jake

Yep, i always thought that was the reason the juries got behind it at festival de cancao. On the night it was by far the most professional and polished performance.

Evridiki
Evridiki
3 months ago

This song has grown on me so much, it is my 10th now. Never hated it, but I wasn’t impressed either. What made me listen to it again was lead singer’s voice.
I love when there is a background story behind the lyrics and this is an interesting one.
Good luck, Portugal 🙂

Last edited 3 months ago by Evridiki
L’oiseau
L’oiseau
3 months ago

Why?… This is actually a good story, regardless of the musical content…

L’oiseau
L’oiseau
3 months ago
Reply to  L’oiseau

Don’t see how… (and it seems I am not the only one…) Imho, quite the contrary. BYE

kir
kir
3 months ago

Welp, Conan was really ambitious. Maybe even way too much

Last edited 3 months ago by kir
Ende
Ende
3 months ago

“A woman […] met in Amsterdam’s red-light district” … Interesting ….

phone but on laptop
phone but on laptop
3 months ago
Reply to  Ende

this comment screams “let’s judge drug addicts and sex workers”

Ende
Ende
3 months ago

Ugh ? Please explain how you come up with this interpretation?
You must be very judgmental and conservative in your own mind (even if you want to convince yourself that you are open minded) to reach this conclusion.
Sex workers are workers and human beings so why would I judge this category of workers?
Plus I am not sure to understand the connection with drugs or I am too naive about the lyrics.

Whisker
Whisker
3 months ago
Reply to  Ende

It’s definitely interesting to learn about their inspiration for the song, it’s pretty unique.

zheng
zheng
3 months ago

Really intriguing story