“It’s a tribute to everything that makes Irish culture great!” – Can-linn/Kasey [Interview]

Reminiscing back to 1994, one May evening in Dublin, Ireland, an unforgettable interval act performed in front of Europe – Riverdance. On it’s 20th anniversary, it’s only right to have a way to remember and incorporate it, and tomorrow, Can-linn ft. Kasey Smith’s “Heartbeat” want to do just that through the celtic influences.
This is what Kasey said in our interview with her this week ahead of the Irish National Final:
escXtra: Hi Kasey, thank you for taking the time to speak to us today! Firstly congratulations you on making it back to Eurosong!
Kasey: Thanks. It’s good to be back.
X: As some people might remember, you entered Eurosong for the first time last year, with the song “Kiss Me”, what made you want to come back this year?
K: I had so much fun last year and met so many great people that I was absolutely delighted to be given the opportunity to do it all again this year. I feel honoured and privileged to be in this position again. There really is nothing quite like it.
X: Do you think, being familiar with the Eurosong process from before, that this will be some help to you on Friday – regarding any nerves, performing on live TV etc?
K: Yeah, definitely. There’s really no way of knowing what performing in the Eurosong competition is like unless you’ve gone out and done it yourself. Having that experience in the bag should put me in good stead to just go out there and give it my all.
X: And how has it been having Hazel as your mentor?
K: Not to sound cheesy, but it’s a dream come through. I still remember singing along to her old band DOVE when I was a kid. It helps when you’re familiar with your mentor’s body of work and are a genuine fan. Hazel has seen it all at this point so she knows how things work. Plus, as a singer herself, she’s a great coach and is really good at giving direction and offering help from her own personal experience whenever I need it. As well as that, she’s great fun to hang around with when we’re on the road. Your mentor really needs to be your friend too. If you didn’t get along the whole experience would be torturous.
X: Can you tell us how the Can-linn concept came about?
K: When Hazel [Kaneswaran] was made mentor, she decided that she wanted to make a song that reflected everything that is Ireland from traditional music to our thriving pop scene – along with lyrics that reflect modern Ireland in relation to society and the economy. So she teamed up with three Swedish songwriters – Jonas Gladnikoff, Rasmus Palmgren and Patrizia Helander – and they produced this great concept that fused it all together in one catchy and uplifting package.
X: Can you tell us more about ‘Heartbeat’ and the message behind it?
K: The name ‘Can-linn’ comes from an Irish phrase that means, “sing together”. I think that’s really appropriate as the lyrics for ‘Heartbeat’ encourage us, as a nation, to stand together and sing loud n’ proud! ‘Heartbeat’ is an extension of that – it’s a metaphor for the pride and tenacity of Ireland as a country.
X: What have you been doing to prepare for the live shows so far?
K: Practice, practice and more practice! We have been doing dress rehearsals, choreography and live shows in pubs, clubs and even schools – anywhere that we can put on a show in front of a live audience really.
X: And can you give us any hints about what can we expect for Friday’s performance?
K: Much like the song itself, the Can-linn stage show will be a tribute to everything that makes Irish culture great. I don’t want to give too much away, so you’ll just have to wait a little bit longer and see it in full.
X: You’ve been very busy recently promoting “Heartbeat” around Ireland, what has the public reaction been like so far?
K: So far it’s all been really positive. You just have to look at the media coverage to see that we’ve earned a lot of admirers. Radio hosts, journalists and even the bookmakers seem to think that we have what it takes, not just to win the Eurosong, but also compete for top honours at the Eurovision itself. The reaction to our live shows has been electric too. That’s really humbling.
X: Can you tell us a bit more about you and your music career so far?
K: My first real big break in the music scene was when I sang in Louis Walsh and Kian Egan’s band ‘Wonderland’. We got to support some of Ireland’s top acts like Boyzone and Westlife which was an incredible experience as it meant that we got to perform in really big venues in front of tens of thousands of people. When Wonderland finished up I did some solo work, mostly doing covers of other people’s songs, but also some tunes that I wrote myself. Eurosong put me back into the public eye last year and I feel like I’ve grown as an artist and a performer since then. I’m hoping that, with Can-linn, we can do even better this year and really give everyone something to cheer about.
X: Would you be a big Eurovision fan yourself or have any memories from it?
K: How could I not be? Even as a kid I used to be let stay up late to watch the Eurovision. It was a pretty big deal in my house. I suppose it is to music fans what the World Cup is to football fans – the biggest stage of them all where the entire country gets behind its ‘team’. It’s really good at uniting people like that. The feel good factor of the Eurovision is infectious.
X: What are your feelings on the fact that if you win you will be representing Ireland at Eurovision in Copenhagen?
K: I’m honoured by the very thought of it – the idea that the whole country has chosen you and is backing you, that must be a wonderful feeling. But we’re not there yet. We still need to work really hard every day and give it our all on Friday night. Once we do a good job there and if Ireland decides that we are right for Eurovision – only then can we start thinking about Copenhagen.
X: Lastly do you have any final messages for your fans and our escXtra readers?
K: Yeah. Be sure to send us a message on Twitter, Facebook or Youtube. We do our very best to respond to everybody who has taken the time to message us. It can be a bit overwhelming when lots and lots of messages come flooding in, but it’s such a nice feeling to be getting so much positive feedback. We really do appreciate it. Also, if you like our song, you can support us by purchasing it on iTunes. And if you know anyone from Ireland, ask them to consider voting for us on Friday.
X: Thank you so much for the interview, we wish you the very best of luck in Eurosong on Feb 28th!
K: Thanks. It was a pleasure!
More information about Song 3: “Heartbeat” can be found on the official Can-linn twitter and facebook and of course you can check out the Heartbeat video here!
Just one day to go until Ireland’s Eurosong, which song is your favourite so far?

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