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!
Hello, everyone! I am Tony, film and video production student at SAIT in Calgary, Canada. I was born on June 1st, 1989 in Venezuela. Eurovision is one of the biggest passions of my life alongside film editing, writing, music, and gardening. One of my goals in life is to reproduce Eurovision in the Americas. You can check my website, The Gramophone Reporter, or follow me on Twitter @ToniKuKo
Your first Eurovision memory?
My first Eurovision memory dates back to 2003, and it felt like a call from destiny. It was almost midnight and I was flicking through channels and landed on RTVE in the middle of t.A.T.u’s performance. They were extremely popular in the early 2000s, so I immediately recognized them. In the beginning, I had no idea of what was happening. I saw countries performing, one after the other, but it looked like “Sanremo” meets “Viña del Mar”. Throughout the rest of the show, I kept on asking myself “where is Italy?”
It was also something that I’ve always dreamed of. It was definitely the Olympics of Music, something that every continent (and one night, the world) should have. But the most exciting part was, of course, the voting. At first, I thought they would just announce the winner or the first three places, at best. I had never expected such a dramatic voting sequence. I remember how it was all up to Slovenia to decide whether Russia, Belgium or Turkey would win.
After that night, I forgot about Eurovision for about a year and then it called me again. It was Thursday night and once again I landed on RTVE where they were airing the re-run of a pre-show of the Eurovision semi-final from 2004. This time I made sure to go to the Internet and read all about it, its history, the participating countries, and of course the reason why Italy was not competing. And since that day, May 12th of 2004, Eurovision became my religion.
Your Eurovision journey?
As I mentioned above, it started with the 2004 contest. I started by simply posting comments on forums to create my own online song contest, International Song Contest (ISC), to cope with the so-called “Post-Eurovision Depression”. I ran the ISC from 2004 to 2006, but I had to give it up once I started high school. I went back to reviewing songs in the Eurovision website until late in 2013 when I started my own blog and re-connected with other Eurovision fans. This year, I’ve become an OGAE (Rest of the World) member and I was accepted as an editor for ESCXTRA.
Why is Eurovision special to you?
Eurovision is special to me because it combines the three things I’m most passionate about –music, a well-produced entertainment show, and an international competition. I have always enjoyed the Olympics, FIFA World Cup and other football championships. But sports are not as passionate for me as music is, thus Eurovision has all the perfect ingredients. And even though I’m more of a fan of alternative rock, the elaborated performances on the Eurovision stage, are what glue me to the screen for more than four hours. I’ve never had the chance to experience the contest live, but I will be accomplishing that dream in Lisbon!
What attracted you to ESCXTRA?
ESCXTRA does not only have the best layout among all other Eurovision blogs, but it also has the best English. They always provide reliable sources and the page is very well maintained. I am happy to be part of such an organized website.
And finally, your Top 5 Eurovision songs of all-time?
Plenty of the Eurovision songs have special meaning to me, and it was very hard to come up with only five songs, but I would say the following five are the best:
5th: Athena – “For Real” (Turkey 2004)
4th: Zdob și Zdub – “Boonika bate toba” (Moldova 2005)
3rd: Loreen – “Euphoria” (Sweden 2012)
2nd: Nika Kocharov & Young Georgian Lolitaz – “Midnight Gold” (Georgia 2016)
1st: Jamala – “1944” (Ukraine 2016)
I think the best entry to ever hit the Eurovision stage is “1944” by Jamala. It is a song that means a lot to me since she sings about people losing their homeland. The line “Yaşlığıma toyalmadım Men bu yerde yaşalmadım” (I couldn’t spend my youth there, because you took away my peace) was used for one of my poems, “Rest in Peace” which is about the recent events in Venezuela.
Stay tuned for the future parts in our Meet the ESCXTRA team series. 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!