We have just over ten months to go before we’ll all be revelling in Eurovision fever once again, and as we continue to look back at 2014 with our “What If“s, we’re also looking towards next year’s contest by starting up our Possible Artists series once more, this time suggesting singers for the 2015 contest! First up this year; it’s Portugal!
Artist #1: Ana Free
It can’t be denied that Portugal’s Eurovision career is in a bit of a lull at the moment. 2014 saw their much-anticipated comeback to the contest, yet after a hotly-debated national final, and the selection of a song which created its own little publicity storm in the run-up to the contest, Suzy’s “Quero Ser Tua” eventually fell a little flat, and limped in just one point away from qualification. ValMon was evidently too much for her to contend with – now whoever thought I’d ever be saying that, ey?
I’m hoping Portugal will continue taking part, of course, as I think they have a lot to offer the Eurovision world as they continue the search for that elusive first winner. If it were up to me, the artist I’d choose to take up that particular challenge would be Ana Free:
Ana Free has become something of a social media success story – starting out her career by uploading covers and original songs onto her wonderfully personal and quirky YouTube channel, like so many others do, often without recognition or success. Ana’s story is a little different though, as her charming videos and her determined persistence have led to her accumulating a shedload of views, followers, and finally, media attention. Six years after starting up her YouTube channel, she released her début album “Together” last year.
Above is the video for “Kick It Up”, a short, sweet and insanely catchy little tune she released for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. I know it’s technically nothing special, but literally every time I hear it, I can’t help but feel happy. It’s such a singalong number, and it features Ana with her trademark guitar, singing on a self-penned track on which she sounds totally at home. We have precedent for football anthems translating well onto the Eurovision stage, as Jessy Matador’s left-hand side finish in 2010 proved – of course, this track itself is ineligible for next year’s contest owing to the date it was released, however if Ana composed something similarly anthemic, I’m of the opinion it would give Portugal a really decent shot at success in Austria.
Here’s another example of the type of music she makes. “Perfection”, the opening track from her aforementioned album, is more pop-influenced and very radio-friendly, yet retaining the catchy chorus and the charming vocal.
With Portugal, you can guarantee two things. One: the winner will be selected through Festival da Canção. Two: the song will be all or mostly in Portuguese. Ana’s back catalogue to date is mostly in English, although she is of course, fluent in Portuguese, meaning this wouldn’t prove much of a hurdle, if she was willing to compose something in her native tongue. She does live and work in the US at the moment, suggesting that she may fancy a bigger career than Eurovision could offer her. Who knows. As I see it, it would be a real success story if she were to come all the way from YouTube to the international Eurovision stage, and I feel she is the kind of artist who can bridge the gap between traditional Portuguese music and contemporary pop. That’s what Portugal need.
Artist #2: Kika
If Ana Free perhaps feels that Festival da Canção and indeed Eurovision are maybe a little unadventurous for her, then our second artist would very likely disagree. Meet 17-year-old Kika, here in a captivating bilingual duet with French singer John Mamann “Love Life” –
… and if I hadn’t told you, you’d never guess she’s only 17, would you. Her voice already has such a mature, unique tone to it, and listening to her sing is a real real pleasure. Just imagine how amazing she’s going to sound in a few years, when she’s had more chance to grow into it!
As for her Eurovision potential, I think she is perfectly suited to the kind of singalong guitar-pop anthem that “Love Life” is, however she could really sell a slice of modern R’n’B, or equally pull off a more traditional fado number, if she so desired. She has a hell of a lot of potential, and as yet, she hasn’t been given the opportunity to properly demonstrate what she can do on an international stage. Give it a few years, and she’ll be too big a star to even consider Eurovision… but now might just be her time.
Portugal are at their Eurovision best when they exude the pure, unadulterated sunny happiness of Flor-de-Lis, Manuela Bravo, Suzy, Alma Lusa and Nucha. It’s time for them to go back to what they excel at – both Ana Free and Kika could easily sell a happy Portuguese Eurovision entry – no cheese, no gimmicks, just quality and smiles.
We didn’t manage to cover Portugal in last year’s series unfortunately.
Here are a couple of other Portuguese artists we would potentially recommend:
Katia Aveiro – “Boom Sem Parar” (yes, she’s Cristiano Ronaldo’s sister…)
Adriana Lua – “Sem Você” (she’s Brazilian, oops)
Claus Michael Fasting from Norway: I want Catarina Pereira…for a good results’ sake!
Nick van Lith from the Netherlands: Ana Free would be a good choice, but if there’s justice in this world, Rita Redshoes just gets the ticket to Austria. She is awesome.
Jorge Costa Marques from Portugal: if she sings in portuguese…
Lee Spice from the United Kingdom: Santamaria.
The fan suggestions have given me a few new artists to google, that’s for certain, so yey! 🙂 Ana Free seems to be generally popular, although everyone has their own personal favourite, of course. All we know right now is that Portugal haven’t even confirmed their intention to participate, so that’s the first hurdle to overcome before we can maybe see some of our suggestions on the ESC stage!