In anticipation of the final of Eurosong 2010, Ireland's pre-selection to determine the country's representative at the Eurovision Song Contest, esctoday.com will be providing you with interviews of the participants competing for the honour of representing Ireland in Oslo. The national final will be held on Friday, March 5th and our series of interviews continues with Niamh Kavanagh. Find out what she had to say below.
First of all, congratulations on qualifying to the irish national final once again! How does it feel to be back in the Eurovision race with the possibility of representing Ireland for a second time at the Eurovision Song Contest just being a heartbeat away?
It is fantastic to be involved again. I am pretty surprised I am back in the saddle so to speak. But it is very exciting.Things have changed so much since I was involved in 1993, and yet it feels the same.The one thing that totally overwhelmed me was the reaction to the submission of It’s for you.It has been so positive, despite not hearing the song.I am so pleased and surprised that people are happy to have me involved again. It was an honour to represent Ireland once, to be in with a chance of repeating that is brilliant.
Having won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1993, you already know how the competition works. Eurovision has changed its format somewhat in recent years. If you were to represent Ireland this year, do you think that the 1993 Eurovision experience will help you with your endeavour to represent your country the best way possible?
That is slightly difficult to answer, after 17 years the competition has changed. But essentially it is the same. The main job for me is to sing well, to sing the best I can, whilst representing the country, both in music and press. I am not as sure that being involved before helps as much as the years of experience I have had since.One thing that does help though is that I already know most of the people involved.It’s like a coming home party to revisit with all the fans and other entrants and delegate members who might still be involved.
Despite having a successful singing career, you took time out of your life to create a family. Now your back singing, what are your new goals in life?
Although I have always kept singing, I did scale back to be a part of my children’s lives.What a fantastic journey this has been.Now that they are older I feel they are ready to see me a bit less! I am also hungry to get back properly into the studio and tour as myself again.My plans for this year regardless of what happens at Eurosong, is to record a new album and tour the country and beyond.Re-establish myself.I have been lucky that my voice has aged well I think, and I am discovering new things about it all the time. I have been working with some wonderful writers and it’s about time I got back out on the road!!!
Let’s talk a bit about your song 'It's for you.' The song hasn't been made public yet, as far as the genre is concerned, what is it? Please tell us about the process of creating your song for Eurovision and what message does it convey?
It’s for you is a ballad.Hardly surprising I suppose. I just love this song.After much conversation with Niall Mooney about what might do well for Ireland in Eurovision, he laid the gauntlet down and so I agreed if we found the right song I would enter again.After much too-ing and fro-ing (is that even a word!) we arrived at a rough version of the song.Something in it caught me.So I drove down to Galway from Carrickfergus on one of the worst weekends for snow!!I did a vocal in Niall’s house to give an idea of where I saw the song going and what kind of structure could be in it. It was then sent to Marten who produced a fantastic track adding his special talents, then we met again in Dublin to produce the final vocal. It was a different way of working but very successful so far. Of course I will really only know how successful when it’s heard and people respond. I would like to say that regardless, I am very proud to be a part of this song and its journey.
How are the preparations for your performance on March 5th going? Will there be any notable difference compared to your style of performance at the Eurovision Song Contest in 1993?
Well staging will suit the song. I am not dancer of the year, and thankfully the song is a ballad, so no major choreography. I would reckon there will be similarities to 'In your eyes' as it is really about singing the song and allowing people to hear how lovely it is.I am lucky to have two fantastic singers joining me on stage. Nikki Foy Kavanagh and Ed O’Leary. I have worked with Nikki plenty and they are both wonderful singers in their own right.It is such an honour that they have agreed to come work with me on this. Preparations are also in motion for the costume, those that know me know this is not a big priority for me as a rule, but I will be making a special effort, if only to keep my mother happy!!!
You are one of the bookies favourites to win this year’s Irish national final. What is your opinion on that? Does that make you nervous or are you confident about your chances?
Okay, well, this one is a simpler answer.No matter what bookies or anyone else says this competition could be anyones.We haven’t heard all the songs, and this year is no easy competition.There are strong entries, which will be good for the song that makes it through.A better test for the singer and song. I also know some of the performers and they are all fantastic.We are all pretty different, which can only be a good thing for Eurosong. I am not at all nervous about the show, as a matter of fact I am really looking forward to having a great fun day with everyone. Last Eurosong I did we all sang songs in make-up and had real fun. I hope we can do the same this time.I only do the job in front of me and the job in front is to sing well on March 5th after that is up to all the voters.
In case you win, are you planning on releasing other versions of It's for you?
I will of course release a version of It’s for you if we win Eurosong. It will be necessary for the next stage.But I would like to think that this song has a future no matter what happens.
In your view, according to reputation, who will be the countries to beat in Eurovision?
This changes every year, surely it depends on the song. Until the last song is selected we will not be able to gauge what will work this year.We could argue it’s more likely to be this country or that, but who can really predict until we know what the songs are.The eastern European countries have been strong over the last decade and that is hardly surprising.They move around other countries more than we do and they care a great deal whether they win Eurovision.To be honest if I move to the next level I will concentrate on performing well on the semi-final and then if we make it past that to the final the job stays the same.I am hoping that when all songs are in and we are in it that other countries will say that we are the ones to beat!!!!!
What is your favourite colour and why?
My favourite colour is green, actually this year it has been an aqua colour.I am not sure why, but I seem drawn to it. Must be my earthy nature!
To conclude this interview, do you have a message for the readers of esctoday.com?
My message is please vote for the best song and performance on March 5th, be it mine or any other on the night. I would just love to see Ireland reach the final and do well with a strong entry.Thank you for all your support over the years.I have always had some of my best times with ye all.Great fun and games still to be had.See you all very soon.
esctoday.com would like to thankNiamh Kavanaghfor taking the time to this interview and wish her the best of luck for the Irish national final on Friday, March 5th.