escXtra.com: First of all, thanks for doing this interview! It’s just a few days before the final now. How are you generally feeling?
Andy McSean: All good so far. I’m really looking forward to go on stage. Actually, I’m going through the whole performance once a day to get a little routine. If there is much automatism – there’s more space to enjoy the moment and to act a bit spontaneous.
X: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself so that our readers get to know you?
AMS: I am a singer-songwriter, born and raised in Switzerland as one of two sons from a Swiss father and an Italian mother. I’m a proud father of two boys. If I’m not traveling around with my music, I’m working as voice-over artist, audio producer and creator of radio commercials.
I feel honoured to be a part of the Eurovision world
X: Why don’t you tell us a little bit about your music style, influences? What other artists do you draw inspiration from or admire?
AMS: I grew up with radio-pop from the 80s/90s and the rock viynil-collection of my father (Journey, Queen, Nazareth and more). So – I was always into both worlds. In the teenage years, the rock-side predominated. But it switched more and more over to the pop-side. If I’m writing songs I don’t think about the style it should fit in. I love catchy melodies completed by chrunchy sound. As a singer, songwriter and performer I really admire Ryan Tedder and Gavin DeGraw. They both have that full package.
X: Why Eurovision, and why did you decide to go for it now?
AMS: It just seemed to be the right moment. After so many years in countless bands I was starting my solo-career in 2011. I was busking through Switzerland and a few other countries all over Europe. A guy from an Austrian record label discovered me busking and offered a record deal. That was lifting the project in 2013 to a higher level. We produced the debut-album, formed a band for touring. So far, so good. But still the hardest part is to get booked for live-shows, because your name isn’t that well known. So it seemed to be the perfect moment to join the competition. My whole environment was ready – and there is the ESC as the biggest Songwriter-Contest in the world.
X: Tell us a little bit more about ‘Hey Now’.
AMS: It was a great experience as a songwriter writing a song targeted on an event. I’ve tried to imagine the moment of performing the song in front of the ESC-crowd. It was my wish to create a happy song with the power to start the crowd moving, clapping or sing along. Lyrically it tells the story of life’s magic little moments, catching somebody’s eyes on the dancefloor – overwhelmed by this character.
X: You also released your debut album, Passenger, earlier in the year. Tell us a bit about the style.
AMS: It is a pop-record with rock-influences. I’ve tried to arrange the songs to be radio-friendly without stepping away from the original versions, the product of the writing process. It’s an album that works -listen to it by the way – but it goes deep with a closer listen. What I love the most is to play the songs live. It’s like letting them out of a cage and allowing their whole character to unfold.
X: Will you try to use Eurovision to promote Passenger? How do you think being in Vienna can influence your career?
AMS: The ESC is an incredible platform to present me and my music. But it isn’t something like a marketing-gag to me! I take it seriously and love the origin-idea of an international songwriter-contest. To get more publicity is a welcome effect, which is the goal of every musician. I really appreciate it, to be presented nationally an internationally. It’s a kind of payoff for all the efforts during the past years.
X: Are you a Eurovision fan? Any all time favourites? And from Switzerland?
AMS: I grew up with the ESC. It’s one of these great childhood-memories to have dinner in front of the TV with the wole family, watching the final. Mostly, I fell asleep during the award for points 😉 There are many favourites like ABBA – they created music history. The great Celine Dion launched her career by winning the ESC for Switzerland. I still love “Standing Still”, performed by Roman Lob. I’m a big fan of the song’s co-writer Jamie Cullum!
X: As the time of the final approaches, do you have any rituals or lucky charms before going on stage?
AMS: Half an hour before entering the stage I need to have a few quiet minutes for myself. I try to come down an get focused. After that, it tips over to the string-up stage. Playing guitar and singing with the bandmates bakstage brings everyone in a good mood. A good thing: I cannot forget my personal lucky charm – because I wear them in form of tattoos under my skin 😉 All of them stand for important persons or defining experiences in my life.
X: What are your expectations for the show? Anything you’re particularly looking forward to? Who do you imagine to be your biggest competitor on the night?
AMS: I prefer to stay grounded and take it step by step! The next goal is the national final itself – and then it is in the hands of the jury and the audience. I think that ff you take every step seriously and stay positive and believe in yourself – there’s always the chance to reach everything. I’m looking forward to the overall ambiance with the big stage, the crowd and the lightshow.
X: Imagine that on the night you are announced as the winner. What comes next? (after a massive celebration, of course).
AMS: I think – pretty much media-dates. As I know myself – I would get focused on the next steps in Vienna immediately. And it would be great to get as much live-gigs as we can.
X: Finally, do you have a message for the readers of escXtra.com?
AMS: I’m absolutely overwhelmed of the dimensions of the ESC-World. There are so many people loving this event and everything around it. I would like to thank you for welcoming me so warmly in this scene. It is full of love and respect – and I feel honored for being a part of it!