Last thursday, ITV France revealed the names of the Destination Eurovision candidates for the 2019 edition, as well as snippets of their songs, and details about the writing teams. The diversity of artists is clearly visible: from big names to newcomers, from Youtubers to singing contest stars, from Québec to India, and with a few Eurovision faces, ESCXTRA takes you on a journey to discover 18 different universes.
There will be two semi-finals in Destination Eurovision 2019, with nine artists competing in each show, and four qualifying for the final. The allocation of artists in semi-finals being unknown (and possibly not made yet), we chose to present them in the order used during the Press Conference of December 6th.
Thanks to being present at this press conference, we also took notes about the 30s snippets that were played during the presentation of the artists, and we can give you exclusive details about the unreleased songs!
Florina – “In The Shadow“
Lyrics: Manon Romiti / Music: Manon Romiti, Silvio Lisbonne, Pierre-Laurent Faure, Adrien Levron
Florina (Florina Perez) is a young woman living in Paris, with Spanish roots. She has been posting covers of famous songs on her Youtube channel and her Facebook account for four years now. Her cover of “Toca Toca” in 2014, originally meant for her family and friends, was watched more than 1,5 million times, unexpectedly launching her career.
Since then, she has released two singles: “Llamame Florina” (under her full name), in 2015, with Capitol records, and more recently “Va Va Vis” last June, as Florina, with a new label,Mercury. This song was composed and written by Nazim, who was also behind Amir and Alma’s songs at Eurovision.
The song and the team
Manon Romiti and Silvio Lisbonne met during high-school in Cannes, later forming the duo “Mutine” in 2009 and releasing their own music until 2016. At the same time, they also composed and wrote songs for other artists, including Jennifer, Céline Dion, and Amir (co-writing “Oasis” in his album À cœur de moi). Silvio Lisbonne also co-produced “J’ai Cherché”, Amir’s Eurovision song.
Pierre-Laurent Faure and Adrien Levron met in the city of their birth, Dijon, in 2010, and started a musical project/band called Evan Cooper. In 2015, they revamped their project, creating Evan Cooper Production, as a duo of songwriters/music producers.
“In The Shadow” is a modern and dramatic pop ballad, seemingly with French verses and a chorus in English.
Aysat – “Comme une grande“
Lyrics: Aysat / Music: Aysat, Mohamed Zayana
Aysat is a 29-year-old Senegalo-Mauritanian singer, born in France, who started to write, sing and dance in her childhood. She joined her town’s cultural centre when she was 10, where she started to learn hip-hop and break dancing. After high-school, she started to write and record songs while pursuing biochemistry studies and working as a cashier, a lab assistant, and even giving dance lessons to make a living.
Musically, her style mixes hip-hop, R’n’B, Soul and Senegalese music. She’s inspired by the likes of Aretha Franklin, Jenny Hill, Missy Elliot and Mary J Blige.
She publicly published her first song on Skyblog in 2007, before releasing her first single in 2008, “Je n’ai pas choisi“, featuring Amy, followed by her first EP in 2011. Since then, she has released a few singles (the most successful being “Ailleurs“), as well as covers and even makeup tutorials, on her Youtube channel. She also writes her own lifestyle blog, Ayodiparis.
The song and the team
Mohamed Zayana has been Aysat’s producer and manager since the very begining. While Aysat writes her own lyrics, she works with him on the music and visuals. This is the case for “Comme une grande” too.
“Comme une grande” (literally, “Like a [female] grown-up”) is a song with a strong message, talking about the position of women in today’s society through channeling a dialogue between a couple. It is an energetic, impactful and uptempo track, very much in her style.
Ugo – “Ce qui me blesse“
Lyrics: Ugo Benterfa, Vicken Sayrin / Music: Ugo Benterfa
Ugo (Ugo Benterfa) is a 20-year-old singer, composer, songwriter and instrumentalist. His parents work as music teachers, so he started to play music when he was four years old: percussions, piano and guitar. Discovering the Beatles made him want to write his own songs. When he was 14, he moved from Perpignan (southern France) to Tahiti (French Polynesia, in the Pacific ocean), where he started to listen to artists that have inspired him a lot: Ed Sheeran, Coldplay, and Bruno Mars. That’s when he started posting on his Youtube channel, from Tahiti. It is also when he started to publicly sing his own songs, and take part in local music contests.
In 2016, he left the island for Paris, ready to make a living from his passion. He released a few songs and music videos, including “God Bless You“, about his coping with leaving Tahiti, “Dis-Moi“, his first ‘proper’ single, and now “Ce qui me blesse”, his Destination Eurovision song. He started to get enough noteriety to open the concerts of singers like Christophe Maé in the summer of 2018, and Amir more recently.
His first album will be released in 2019, with pop and acoustic tracks about his life between Tahiti and Paris.
The song and the team
Being the son of music teachers, and having studied in music schools (in continental France and in Polynesia), Ugo writes and composes his own songs, and “Ce qui me blesse” (What hurts me) is no exception.
However, according to the ITV press conference, the lyrics were co-written by Ugo and Vicken Sayrin. Vicken Sayrin is the founder of VS Com, a company specialized in social media marketing, public relations and community management for new artists in the music industry.
“Ce qui me blesse” is a post break-up song; what hurts Ugo is to see his ex-girlfriend again every day, and imagining her living her life with other boys, going to parties and finding lovers.