Eurovision 2021 rehearsals are in full swing and no doubt fans will have the songs from this year’s contest on repeat until we crown a winner. But that doesn’t mean we forget about the artists from past contests – they’re still brining us a lot of new music to enjoy.
Contrary to the commonly perpetuated myth about the song contest killing careers, we’re always thrilled to report that singers and performers associated with both Eurovision itself and the various national selections are thriving.
Here is a selection of just some of the songs and music videos released in the last week or so.
New music from Eurovision artists: 2021 | Week 18
Manizha – “Держи Меня Земля”
Manizha took to the Rotterdam Ahoy stage this weekend for her first Eurovision 2021 rehearsal. Ahead of this, the Russian star released the new single “Держи Меня Земля” (“Hold Me Mother Earth”). A ballad sung entirely in Russian, it showcases Manizha’s emotional depth and artistry. The accompanying music video puts the “Russian Woman” singer firmly in the spotlight. Shot in one take, Manizha stays on the spot as things change around her. For Manizha this is not so much a ‘new’ song, as she wrote it eleven years ago. She explains more about why it took so long for her to release it and the meaning behind the song in a post on Instagram:
“I couldn’t release this song for 11 years. It is associated with the departure of a loved one. I performed it only a couple of times at solo concerts, because I could rarely finish singing to the end – a huge lump got stuck in my throat. But now she gives me the necessary resource and strength. We are born, raised by the earth, we rush to it in moments of despair – to calm down, find balance. She teaches: you can always start from the beginning – to sprout a new healthy sprout, even in the ashes. Everything is not forever, but we have a chance – to live and change our life right now.”
Hooverphonic – Hidden Stories
Geike Arnaert returned to Hooverphonic in November 2020. Since then, the group have not only been preparing for Eurovision 2021 but they’ve also been recording their new album, which is now available for all to listen to. Hidden Stories features ten songs, including their Eurovision entry “The Wrong Place”. The LP builds a dreamy soundscape that Geike guides the listener through with her rich vocals. Most of the tracks sit firmly in the slow to mid-tempo category, but there’s a still a mixture of indie-pop and alternative-rock influences that helps give each song more of an individual identity.
Sinplus – Break The Rules
Sinplus — the award-winning Swiss rock duo from Eurovision 2012 — are back with a vengeance. Ivan and Gabriel Broggini are still going strong, and this is most evident in their most recent LP Break The Rules. The opening track “Private Show (My RnR)” sets the right tone. This is a stadium rock offering with pop sensibilities. Aspects of this album nods to the 80s, but at the same time, their arrangement is decidedly 2021. Cross-generational in delivery, Break The Rules conforms to the tradition of being melodic, pure and seemingly simple. Standout tracks include “You Get What You Give”, “Private Show” and “Pick Your Poison”. However, every track on here deserves to be a staple on every rock playlist. (Deban)
Elena Temnikova – “Бабочки и трип”
Elena Temnikova keeps the new music coming with “Бабочки и трип” (“Butterflies and trip”). At 2:30 in length, it’s a short and sweet electro-dance song. As with much of the Russian star’s discography, there’s also a slight dark twist to the production. The song will feature on the Eurovision 2007 alum’s new album Temnikova 5 Paris, which is set for release on 14 May.
DJ Shnaps & Zlata Ognevich – “Always”
“Among my listeners there are a lot of people who follow my work from Eurovision and I really wanted to make such a surprise for them”, notes Zlata Ognevich in the description of the audio video for her new single. The Ukrainian star has teamed up with DJ Shnaps for “Always”, which blends together house music with some flairs of traditional instrumentation. Although Zlata has performed most of her post-Eurovision 2013 songs in Ukrainian, the star switches over to English for this latest track. However, the lyrics do feel like a series of random English sentences that don’t make much sense in combination with each other: “It’s true and it’s you / Calls is after rainbow / Mind up tops / Make your mind / Don’t look for better”. Though in essence, Zlata wants to love her partner 24/7: “We’re feeling blue / What can we do / Feel my love yesterday / Feel my love always, always”.
Mats Paulson (feat. Alexander Rybak) – “Min Fågel”
As we all know, Norway’s Alexander Rybak is not just a singer but also an experienced violinist. Now the Eurovision 2009 champion is putting the latter on show for the song “Min Fågel” (“My Bird”). Sung by Swedish singer Mats Paulson, Rybak accompanies on the violin alongside the Hawaiian Novelty Orchestra. Despite not adding any vocals to the single, Rybak does still make a few appearances in the music video.
Douwe Bob – “Ready Or Not”
“Ready Or Not”, Douwe Bob is coming. The Dutch star has released the new single ahead of his upcoming album. It’s another country offering with plenty of charm and character. Lyrically, the Eurovision 2016 star asks his lover to give him a sign and show that they do in fact want him in their life: “Ready or not / Keep me from leaving / Give me a sign / Something to believe in / Don’t let me go / Just let me hold you / If you don’t love me now / You never will”.
Michael Ball – We Are More Than One
Michael Ball gave the United Kingdom a second place finish at Eurovision 1992. The star has now dropped the new album We Are More Than One. Featuring a collection of 14 songs, the LP includes a mixture of rousing ballads and classic pop songs. Michael is known for his work in musical theatre, so there’s a theatrical touch to many of the album’s tracks.
DJ Bobo – “On Fleek”
DJ Bobo is participating in the eighth series of Sing meinen Song – Das Tauschkonzert. It’s a TV programme based on the Dutch show Beste Zangers, where artists come together each week and perform covers of each other’s songs. In the latest episode, Switzerland’s Eurovision 2007 star performed “On Fleek”, originally sung by German rapper Nura. DJ Bobo brings his showman persona to the song with a spoken intro before heading into the rest of the cover – though it does somewhat come across as ‘Dad trying to get down with the kids’.
Last week, the Swiss star performed “Herz über Kopf”, originally by singer-songwriter Joris.
PAENDA – My Issues
PAENDA has given fans a steady flow of new music in 2021. This has now lead to the release of her new EP My Issues. It features seven songs, including previous singles “Lovers We Knew”, “High And Dry” and “If That’s What You Like”. The other four tracks continue the Eurovision 2019 star’s electro-pop style with a mixture of bubbly and somewhat danceable tunes. Not stopping with just the EP release, PAENDA has additionally dropped a music video for “If That’s What You Like”.
Alongside her solo work, the Austrian singer also recently collaborated with music producers Moodygee and TMW. The trio released “White Noise” last week.
NOTI (feat. Anna Rossinelli & Sam Himself) – “letters from nowhere”
Listen closely and you might just be able to hear Anna Rossinelli in this new song by music producer NOTI. The producer has brought onboard Switzerland’s Eurovision 2011 star, along with Sam Himself, to provide vocals for “letters from nowhere”. Unfortunately, Sam Himself’s voice is much more prominent in the mixing and it’s only possible to faintly hear Anna’s in the background.
Lidia Kopania – “Push The Boundaries”
Lidia Kopania delivered a classic ballad at Eurovision 2009, and she continues down this path with her latest single. “Push The Boundaries” begins fairly unremarkably, with the Polish singer accompanied by piano chords. It slowly builds from the second verse as increasing amounts of string and drum instrumentation are added. Lyrically, Lidia wishes to fill the empty feeling inside her soul: “I hate the boredom / It is so much worse than pain / If I cannot feel, all I do is in vain … I follow the waves / Push the boundaries to feel what is real”.
Francesco Monte (feat. Lee Ryan) – “Work This Out”
Lee Ryan is feeling a little blue in his latest single. The Eurovision 2011 star has collaborated with Italian actor and singer Francesco Monte for the new song “Work This Out”. A catchy pop track, Lee adds his vocals to the second verse and chorus. The pair sing to their lover and ask for forgiveness for their mistakes: “And I know, and I know, and I know that I crossed that line / When I said that I’m in love with you I didn’t lie / If I broke your heart then let’s restart and make this right / It’s you and me right now / We’re gonna work this out”. The music video takes the story further, with the final moments revealing that the British and Italian singers are both aiming their affection towards the same person.
Danijela Martinović – “Ljubav ne odustaje”
Croatia’s Danijela Martinović has released “Ljubav ne odustaje” (“Love does not give up”). It’s a Balkan ballad that sees Danijela accompanied by strings, guitar and accordion. The Eurovision 1995 and 1998 alum sings to someone who has left her and moved onto other things, but to whom Danijela still has love towards: “It’s worth nothing when you’re gone / I’m not your dream anymore / But give me some hope / I will be a shadow of shadows … Love does not give up / She is invincible”. In the accompanying music video, the Croatian star sings by some CGI cubes in the barren wilderness.
zalagasper – “xoxo”
Slovenia’s zalagasper have recently released the dreamy indie-pop song “xoxo”. The song progresses steadily as Gašper Šantl’s multi-instrument accompaniment underlines Zala Kralj’s soft vocals: “We draw crosses and circles / In soaked squares / Everything is blurred by the rain / And our character wins / Hugs, kisses / Me against you”. Rather than feature in their new music video in person, the Eurovision 2019 duo decided to craft dolls of themselves for the role.
Kristjan Järvi – “Burnt” (feat. Elina Nechayeva & Robot Koch)
Elina Nechayeva has teamed up with Estonian composer Kristjan Järvi for the new single “Burnt”. The song is a re-write of Järvi’s instrumental piece “Nebula” and adds in Nechayeva’s lyrics and soaring vocals. The result is an atmospheric ballad that takes you to another world whilst listening. The Eurovision 2018 singer wrote more about the emotions she wanted to put into the lyrics of the song on social media:
“Writing and crooning these lyrics I put into that song a lot of deep hidden emotions. A story of a Pheonix that rises through the ashes of destruction. Sometimes we can all feel ourselves these burnt Phoenixes.”
MUSIQQ – “Kanēlis un Cukurs”
Life is sweet, and MUSIQQ know it. The Latvian duo have released the new single “Kanēlis un Cukurs” (“Cinnamon and Sugar”). It’s a steady acoustic-guitar-driven track that mixes singing and rap. The lyrics of the song were inspired by a conversation the Eurovision 2011 duo had with one of their sons. When asked what kisses tasted like, they eventually decided to reply “Kanēlis un Cukurs”.
Dmitry Koldun – “Зависимость”
“This song was recorded in 2016. But I couldn’t find a place either in my albums or in the EP because of the heavy sound.”, noted Dmitry Koldun when he uploaded “Зависимость” (“Addiction”) to his YouTube channel. Now the Eurovision 2007 star has released the song as an official single on streaming platforms. The track has a pop-rock edge to it, most notably in the chorus and bridge. In the lyrics, the Belarussian singer declares that he can’t get enough of his lover: “My addiction, you are my nicotine / With you on my lips I’m invincible / Well, no matter how much smoke you inhale / I really only breathe you”.
Which of these new songs is your favourite? Have we missed out on any? Do you have any artists you want to shout out to? Let us know in the comments.
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