As you've probably read by now, the act I have chosen for the 2014 Eurosong contest has been revealed. I'd like to take this opportunity to formally welcome the members of traditional Irish music act, Can-linn and the brilliant singer Kasey Smith to the team!

Ireland Eurovision 2014 Can-linn Kasey Smith

 

 

 

 

 

Being a mentor on Eurosong has opened up my eyes to the music industry in Ireland from a managerial perspective. As a singer you are given times and dates and places to be and you just turn up looking fabulous and you don't have to think about all the work that goes into its preparation behind the scenes.
I've been part of the music scene since 1996. When I first started singing for DOVE things were a bit different. We had to do all of our media and press work on a shoe string. I also had a full time job working in a fridge factory, just to make things interesting. We didn't have a record deal back then and I was still living at home with my seven siblings and the bills had to be paid.
Nowadays everything is on iTunes and most people don't really buy a full album or even a CD single. Instead, they just go for the individual songs they like. This means we can focus on making and promoting one or two really good tracks. It all sounds easy when you consider that you don't need to physically make a whole bunch of disks and go out visiting record shops in order to flog them. That's all been replaced by a totally different kind of work now. There's now this enormous social media aspect of a commercial release. It's 24/7 and doesn't let up for a moment (Twitter and Facebook were absolutely buzzing.
I've learned a huge amount in the last few months as a mentor and I know when this competition is over I'll be ready and happy to do it all again if I ever decide to step into a management role.
After becoming a mentor I thought about a concept for my act. I wanted something that would really be able to show the world what we are so good at here in Ireland. We have our traditional Irish music and dance, as well as a thriving modern pop scene. This year, I wanted to add a little bit of Irish dancing to remind people that its been 20 years since the standing ovation in 1994 when we lifted the roof off with Riverdance and took home the Eurovision Trophy.
I was fortunate enough to find an amazing writing team in Sweden:
  • Jonas Gladnikoff – wrote two successful Irish Eurovision entries including “It’s For You” by Niamh Kavanagh in 2010.
  • Rasmus Palmgren – writer of the current Swedish Idol winning song.
  • Patrizia Helander – Swedish Idol 2007 finalist and experimental artist.

I didn't need to go too far from home to find my singer, Kasey Smith. She hails from Donaghmede (not to far from where I grew up) and makes up 1/5th of Louis Walsh's girlband Wonderland. She has already put in a lot of ground work to become the phenomenal singer/entertainer she is today.
She has a wealth of experience in the studio and after hearing the song for the first time you could tell that she was really excited.
Kasey had competed last year in Eurosong, but we didn't get to hear her vocal range on the night as the song was an uptempo number which didn't really allow her to flex her vocal chords properly and show us what she was capable of.
Her vocals where recorded in my brother's studio in Swords called End Music and everything was put together by Chris O'Brien and Graham Murphy inthe Production Suite in Dublin where it was blended with the traditional Irish instruments like the bodhrán, the fiddle and the Whistle. Chris and Graham are excellent producers and they know how to add that essential bit of magic that turns a good song into a great one!
When I received the final master I was jumping up and down with excitement. The vision had become a reality and I know we have a great song to be proud of.
I feel the song is very poignant for time we are living through in Ireland . It is an anthem written to help people see the light beyond the darkness of the last few years [the recession] - that we will be braver and start anew and we will rise up out of all the negativity that we have been forced to endure.
Its a song that I would have loved to have sang myself, but Kasey has done it true justice. She has really put her heart and soul into it. This shines through and will hopefully resonate with the Irish people . If we do win Eurosong it will be a bonus as this experience for me has been a wonderful one.
-Hazel
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