This summer, we are running a series of feature articles that is slightly different to the norm. We think this is the perfect time for you (and us!) to find out more about the ESCXTRA team! Twice a week we’ll meet two of our team members. What is our personal Eurovision story? Why did we want to be a part of this website? What are our favourite Eurovision songs of all-time? How can you get in touch with us on social media? Read on to find out!
I’m 26 years old, currently living in the South East of the United Kingdom and of Turkish/Irish descent. I’ve been an ESCXTRA team member since day dot and can proudly say that, along with several other members of our team, I contributed a great deal in the birth and build of the website.
Your first Eurovision memory?
My first real memory of the contest comes from 1997 and the Turkish entry, Dinle by Şebnem Paker. Although only 7 years old at the time, I can remember being mesmerised by the music and Sebnem herself – it was the first time I’d ever heard a Turkish song on TV! I remember my family members cheering every time Turkey received a high number of points – because, until that point, it was a rare occasion to ever see them on the left hand side of the scoreboard.
Your Eurovision journey?
Having parents from two different countries really played a part in my enjoyment of the contest and world music in general. Growing up, we would always watch the show as a family, rooting for Turkey, Ireland & the UK.
Over the years, as the Internet became ‘a thing’, it became far easier to indulge into the Eurovision world. I fondly remember in 2002 having to leave the family computer on through the night in order to download and listen to low quality versions of the entries (a lot of you reading this will be lucky enough to have never had to experience good old dial up internet!). As always though, Technology improves and the following year I was fortunate enough to have a broadband connection which meant I was able to hear the entries even earlier and in slightly better quality. I recall hearing Beth’s ‘Dime’ for the first time and immediately calling it out as the winner (and declaring it several times a day on the DotEurovision forum). That was until the remixed version of ‘Every Way That I Can’ was released!
Obviously, Turkey winning the contest was a major highlight for me. As the contest itself grew, so did my interest.
Why is Eurovision special to you?
Of course, a huge part of why Eurovision is special is the diverse range of music that it introduces us to – music that we would most likely never hear on mainstream radio. Another reason why it’s special to me is the amazing people its connected me to.
And finally your top 5 Eurovision songs of all time?
5. Poli Genova – If Love Was A Crime (Bulgaria 2016)
This just has everything thrown in and I love it! Instantly catchy and an indefinate summer hit.
4. Marco Mengoni – L’Essenziale (Italy 2013)
In my opinion, this is Italy’s most finest entry – Their beautiful language wrapped up in a stunning melody. The minimalist staging worked brilliantly too.
3. Şebnem Paker & Grup Etnic – Dinle (Turkey 1997)
Whilst a lot of people would opt for Turkey’s more modern entries, this is the Turkish entry that I am most proud of. It sounds great even to this day.
2. Hari Mata Hari – Lejla (Bosnia and Herzegovina 2006)
Simply one of the classiest Eurovision performances/songs of all time.
1. Loreen – Euphoria (Sweden 2012)
Every now and again, a particular winning song has the power to drive the contest to a new direction – almost like the transition from one decade to another. I feel like this entry managed to do just that, not only was the performance completely mesmorising but against the other songs that year, it was evident that Sweden were in a totally different league.
Stay tuned for the next part in our Meet the ESCXTRA team series. On Tuesday we will meet Alekas! Remember you can share your Eurovision stories with us in the comments section below or via the comments sections on our Facebook page @ESCXTRA. We would love to hear them!