Meet the ESCXTRA team! Sabien

Sabien van den Berg

Hi all! I’ve officially been a member of the ESCXTRA team since April 2023, but never properly introduced myself. After becoming PR Manager for ESCXTRA, now is the time to tell some more about who I am! I am 26 years old and live in Amsterdam. I’ve studied French, Italian, linguistics and art history in Brussels, lived and studied in Bologna, and then moved back to my home country to study children’s books (yes, really). In everyday life I do PR & marketing for a children’s book publisher! I am very interested in books, art, music (outside of Eurovision, that’s mostly EDM) and all kinds of sports. Find me here on Instagram.

Your first Eurovision memory?

My first Eurovision memory is from when I was only three years old, in 2001. I stayed at my aunt’s house that night and vividly remember seeing Antique from her couch. I probably didn’t stay awake until the end, but “Die for You” always stuck with me.

Your Eurovision journey?

I grew up in a Eurovision household! We always watched the shows with extended family, we made international snacks, and filled in scorecards. I became a “serious” fan around 2008-2010 and remember discussing the semi-final results the morning after in the last grades of primary school, and watching Eurovision videos for hours on my grandparents’ PC. In 2011, I started collecting the DVDs and CDs (that’s over now, which is great news for my bank account). My first Eurovision in Concert was in 2012 and I’ve been attending ever since, making more and more friends along the way and getting more and more involved. I can now no longer count the Eurovision-related travels I’ve made and all the artists I’ve seen perform.

Why is Eurovision special to you?

What got me into Eurovision the most (probably), is how it allows me to discover music from so many different countries, cultures and genres. There truly is no music competition as diverse as this. I’ve also made so many good friends thanks to Eurovision! Without it, I’m not sure I would be living with my current housemates – so I’m incredibly thankful <3. Finally, travelling for Eurovision artists’ concerts and pre-parties has allowed me to see some wonderful places.

What attracted you to ESCXTRA?

I’ve already been friends with people on the team for years, who have always been positive about their experiences here. I’ve accidentally been hanging out around ESCXTRA for a while, going to Eurovision parties in Warsaw and Barcelona to help with filming interviews. In the Eurovision season of 2023, it was time to officially join! In addition to recording, I can now also contribute in the form of articles and PR. I’ve gotten to know so many people in the team before joining for real, and it truly feels like coming home.

Your top 5 Eurovision songs of all time?

Impossible! Here are some songs that are definitely special to me:

5. Sergej Ćetković – “Moj svijet” (Montenegro 2014)

I don’t know exactly what it is, but I was (and am) obsessed with this song. I still know the full lyrics and the English translation ๐Ÿ™‚ And yet the main thing I remember from speaking with him is how incredibly tall he is.

4. Duncan Laurence – “Arcade” (the Netherlands 2019)

I can’t not nominate the song that finally made me experience Eurovision in my home country! I’m a notorious hater of most things Dutch, but “Arcade” isn’t one of those things.

3. Benjamin Ingrosso – “Dance You Off” (Sweden 2018)

So good. Life-changing. One of my favourite artists in terms of music as well as pasta opinions.

2. Fyr og Flamme – “Øve os på hinanden” (Denmark 2021)

Also life-changing. Lost my mind when I saw them at Eurovision in Rotterdam and impulsively bought tickets for their show in Copenhagen in September 2021. Then couldn’t stop going to their shows in Denmark and screaming to everyone about Danish modern 80s bangers (absolutely not sorry).

1. Marco Mengoni – L’essenziale (Italy 2013)

Absolutely the most important of all Eurovision songs for me. Without this song, I maybe wouldn’t have studied Italian and my whole future would’ve looked different. “L’essenziale” is probably where it all started and I will never get over hearing Mengoni in the supermarkets in Bologna and seeing ads for his shows on buses. I’m so lucky to have seen him perform four times so far, and am always hoping for more ๐Ÿ™‚

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