Meet the ESCXTRA team! Part 18 – SARA

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! 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!
Hi! I’m Sara, a 24 year old Swedish-Norwegian hybrid who’s 70% boy crazy, 25% shady, and 6% bad at maths.

Your first Eurovision memory?

I think my very first Eurovision memory dates back to 2003 when I was looking for something to watch in the TV guide and saw Eurovision was on. The only thing I can really remember is Fame performing, and Turkey winning. Needless to say, I wasn’t a fan back then, and I only watched it because nothing else was on.

Your Eurovision journey?

So, while my first memory was from 2003, I didn’t really care about the contest until two years later. I was zapping through the channels and a woman singing a song in a foreign language caught my attention. Turns out it was a pre-Eurovision panel show on SVT, and the woman in question was Shiri Maimon singing the Israeli entry Hasheket Shenish’ar. I absolutely adored the song and went online to find out more about the contest. I listened to the songs and when Eurovision week rolled around I already found two favorites in Israel and Portugal (don’t ask…)
Since then, my interest grew each year. In 2007 I watched my first rehearsal footage and since then Eurovision has turned from a one week event to a hobby and passion that doesn’t dwindle, even when PED is knocking on my door. Even though Sweden had a dark period in our Eurovision history, the failures were all worth it when I finally got to experience us winning. 2012 was my last year of school and I took an extended hiatus from the craziness that is Eurovision, so I didn’t realize how much of a hype Loreen had amassed leading up to the contest in Baku. People were telling me that we were going to win easily, but I didn’t believe it until I saw it.
I was counting on my native Stockholm being the host city in 2013, but SVT had other plans, and I got the, erh, honor of visiting Malmö for the first time as I attended the final. Being in a city that had turned into a massive Eurovision celebration was so cool, and when Stockholm hosted the contest three years later, I took the chance to attend all three shows.

Why is Eurovision special to you?

I’ve thought about this a lot, and I honestly can’t pinpoint one specific thing. It’s a combination of the music (which is completely up my alley) and seeing a continent come together to celebrate not only our history, but also our different cultures. Of course, all the amazing people I’ve met through the years are a big part of it too. Having friends who understand and love the contest like I do has been a blessing, cheesy as it sounds.

What attracted you to ESCXTRA?

I’ve been around as a reader/fan since the beginning, mostly thanks to acquaintances that were working for the site. The stream in particular has been a staple of my Eurovision experience and before I joined the site, I was one of the infamous ‘children’ that kept the team company during rehearsals and bombarded the artists with questions when they stopped by. I’ve always wanted to be a part of the experience but I opted against applying to join the team whenever applications were open (too scared that I’d be rejected, haha.)
However, last year Nathan (whom I’ve known forever, oh my) asked if I knew anyone who’d be interested in joining the team. Seeing an opportunity, I offered to give it a shot, and here we are. It’s been a great first year and, hopefully, there are many more to come!

And finally, your top 5 Eurovision songs of all-time?

Choosing my top 5 is impossible, and I’m pretty sure a good portion of them would change on a daily basis. That being said, these are songs that are very special to me, and for very different reasons.

  1. Brendan Murray – Dying to Try

Well, would this be in my actual top 5 Eurovision songs of all time? Probably not. But! It was my favorite from this year’s contest so I think it deserves a very honorable mention. Hot air balloon aside, it reminds me of Westlife and that’s not a bad thing. It’s fragile and sincere and then there’s a big bombastic climax with a gospel choir to boot – what’s not to love?

  1. Johnny Logan – Hold Me Now

Is this the greatest winner ever? In my opinion, it certainly is. As you may have notice, I might have a weakness for male vocalists singing ballads, and this has ‘Sara’ written all over it.

  1. Daniel Kajmakoski – Autumn Leaves

My Daniel obsession is not the reason I’m including this song, believe it or not. Autumn Leaves is in my list because it’s the best entry from Macedonia, which just happens to be my favorite Eurovision country (and country in general) and has become a big part of who I am, strange as it sounds. The Macedonian version of the song was better and I’m upset they managed to screw up the staging, but it’s still one of my all time favorites.

  1. Shiri Maimon – Hasheket Shenish’ar

The song that started it all! If I hadn’t stumbled upon this gem all those years ago, I don’t think I would’ve been a Eurovision fan; it brings back a lot of memories and nostalgia. I became a huge fan of Shiri as well; I even bought her album and ran a fansite dedicated to her.

  1. Regina – Bistra Voda

The undisputed #1: I’ve loved this song since the first time I heard it and I still get goosebumps when I listen to it. So far, no other song has come close in terms of the impact it has on me when I listen to it. If there was ever a Eurovision masterpiece, this would be it.
Stay tuned for the next part in our Meet the ESCXTRA team series. On Sunday we will meet Alesia Michelle! 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!

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