Annet Artani has performed at her first rehearsal for Cyprus with the song Why do the angels cry? along with a group of gospel singers and a slightly new vocal arrangement of the entry.
The arena seemed more crowded than usual, probably due to a good contingent of Cypriot journalists present, and local Greek interest in the entry from the island republic.
Casually dressed, Annet and her five backing singers first gave an acapella interpretation of the song, which served well to set the mic levels and showed off the strong vocal ability of the group as a whole. Following that, the stage was set for the full rehearsal performance and the team managed to run through the song in full several times.
The backing singers are on split levels behind Annet, with one female vocalist behind the soloist and four more singers on the level above and behind her. Annet, whose American accent on stage reminds the arena of her New York upbringing,begins the song with eyes closed, and gives a strong, emotive vocal performance as the song picks up and builds towards the end. There was enthusiastic applause for each run-though, and the Cypriots seemed pleased with their first try-out.
At the press conference, Annet was asked if she had recorded the song in Greek. Unfortunately, the answer was no, although Annet did add that the public were very keen for her tocreate a Greek version. However, Annet shall probably record a new version of the song as sung at the contest, featuring the gospel choir singers that make up her backing artists.
The singer is working with a vocal coach from the United States, and one of her backing singers also comes from across the Atlantic. The three of them met while Annet was working on Britney Spears' Slave tour, and she later contacted them around two months ago to help with her Eurovision Song Contest bid. Annet co-write Everytime with Britney, who released the song as a successful single in 2005.
The two Americans were asked how familiar they are with that unique European celebration of pop, the Eurovision Song Contest. The contest does have a profile in the USA, but no true equivalent yet, althougha newAmerican Song Contestcould beon the cardsfollowing reportsback in February this year. Annet's vocal coach was already familiar with the Eurovision Song Contest; her backing singer not. But both compared it to the awards ceremonies that appear on American television, although were adamant that this contest is unique!
Lyrics from the heart
Annet explained that the lyrics to Why do the angels cry? reflect the spirituality of song's writers, who have been touched by near-death experiences. The text was written from the heart and her emotive performance reflects this.
As for the semifinal performance, the delegation states that the only thing to change at the moment will be some of the camera shots; so far they are more than happy with the presentation and performance. One thing Annet will keep under wraps is the outfit she will wear at the semifinal. For the moment, she would rather concentrate on the most important thing – the voice. She gave the audience another chance to get to know her voice by singing an acapella version of her entry. For her inspiration as a performer, she counts Whitney Houston and Anastacia as two of the most important soulful singers in her life.
Cyprus will get a chance to build on today's successful start in the second rehearsal on Saturday.