Ireland: Artists and song details announced
The five Irish acts and songs competing to represent Ireland in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest have been confirmed today. In alphabetical order the acts are Zoë Alexis Bohorquez, Ryan Dolan, Aimee Fitzpatrick, Inchequin and Kasey.
The public will get the chance to hear each of the five songs for the first time tomorrow on Mooney on RTÉ Radio 1 from 16:00 CET.
Last November RTÉ nominated five mentors with proven experience in the Irish music industry and asked them each to select an act and a song which they believe has the potential to be a Eurovision Song Contest winner.
The song titles,composers,artists and mentors are as follows:
- Kiss Me There composed by Drax. Sung by Kasey and mentored by Mairéad Farrell.
- Son Kez/The Last Time composed by Hugh O'Neill and Sinead Bradley (Arranged by Tevfik Kulak) Sung by Inchequin and mentored by Shay Healy.
- Crashing Down composed by Robert Grace. Sung by Aimée Fitzpatrick and mentored by Mark McCabe.
- Fire composed by Lauren White, Niall Mooney and Willie Weeks. Sung by Zoe Alexis Bohorquez and mentored by Niall Mooney.
- Only Love Survives composed by Wez Devine and Ryan Dolan. Sung by Ryan Dolan and mentored by Stuart O'Connor.
Mairéad Farrell and Kasey
Mairéad Farrell is a radio and television presenter and a lifelong Eurovision fan. A member of Today FM’s Ray D’Arcy’s radio team, she has also recently presented Celebrity Bainisteoir.
Farrell’s chosen act is 22-year-old singer/songwriter Kasey (Smith). At the age of 18 Kasey became a member of Irish girlband Wonderland managed by Louis Walsh and Kian Egan. After writing and recording a top 10 album the band toured with artists such as Olly Murs, Westlife and Boyzone. Recently Kasey went to Nashville to write and record with producers that have worked with artists including Faith Hill, Carrie Underwood and Lady Antebellum. Kasey loves her entry for Eurosong 2013 – Kiss Me There!
Farrell said, “Being asked to be a Eurosong mentor by RTÉ was a like asking a massive football fan if they’d like to manage their favourite team. I jumped at the opportunity. It’s been such a huge learning experience; I’ve loved every minute of it. The icing on the Euro cake would be for my act Kasey to win on February the 22nd.”
Shay Healy and Inchequin
Shay Healy is a writer and performer who won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1980 with his song What’s Another Year sung by Johnny Logan. He is also known for his work as a television presenter, in particular the popular Nighthawks programme which he presented on RTÉ from 1988 to 1993.
Inchequin are Sinead Bradley (tin whistle, mandolin and vocals), Hugh O’Neill (lead vocal, electric and acoustic guitars and mandolin), Selin Turkoglu (lead vocals and backing vocals) Ayda Tuncboyaciyan (violin and vocals) and Tevfik Kulak (trumpet, keyboards, bass, drums and vocals).
Hugh O’Neill is from Lurgan and Sinead Bradley is from Maghera. Sinead and Hugh have been playing and writing songs for over 19 years. They have toured extensively in over 19 countries. They have made six albums of original songs and tunes. In 2009 Hugh and Sinead decided to move to Gumusluk, a Turkish fishing village where they met the other three members of Inchequin.
Tevfik Kulak is a top trumpet/piano session and live performer and has played with the likes of Diana Ross, Whitney Houston, Pavarotti, Jose Carreras, Montserrat Caballe and Sarah Brightman. Tevfik is also a member of the Istanbul State Orchestra.
Selin Turkoglu is a film actor and was a television presenter for many years but her passion is singing. Selin has Irish connections with an Irish step dad and two half Irish brothers.
Ayda Tuncboyaciyan is famous in her own right in Turkey as a superb violinist. Her father Onno Tunç was a household name in Turkey as one of its most famous composers and wrote many of Ayda’s stepmother Sezen Aksu’s hit songs. Sezen Aksu is the most successful artist Turkey has ever produced with over 40,000,000 record sales worldwide.
Inchequin have also been working on a soundtrack for a Turkish- Irish film project called The Famine. The screenplay details the story of how the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire in 1847 sent three ships full of food and £10,000 to help the starving people in Ireland.
Healy said, “I was looking for a song that would be simple enough to sing at any gathering and Son Kez fits the bill perfectly. From the U2 sound-alike jangling guitars opening, to the winning combination of Turkish and Irish whistle and fiddles, played á la Riverdance, the song delivers the best of both Irish and Turkish cultures and a very strong narrative lyric gives the song overall the infectious power and rhythm of a lively Irish ballad
Mark McCabe and Aimée Fitzpatrick
Mark McCabe is a Radio DJ and music producer, in 2000 he had a hit single with Maniac 2000 which remains one of Ireland’s biggest selling records of all time.
McCabe has chosen Aimée Marguerite Fitzpatrick as his act. Recording under the name Aimée, she’s an Irish recording artist and dance performer from Swords. Only 17, she has garnered the affections of a legion of fans from her YouTube videos, where she performs her own adaptations of well-known popular chart songs by artists who inspire her. Over the past three months her YouTube channel has seen over half a million viewers from a loyal fanbase. Her most recent recording had over 120,000 views in less than 72 hours!
Aimée is also an accomplished All Ireland Champion dancer and choreographer and teaches at the renowned Backstreet Dance Studios. There she has honed her skills alongside the likes of Khasan Brailford (Beyonce, J-Lo, Rihanna, Kylie Minogue); Laura Edwards (Justin Bieber, Britney Spears) and Jae Fuzz (Britney Spears, Nicki Minaj); among many others. She has danced in various musicals and lately has performed with Ireland's previous entrants Jedward. Aimée has been attracting growing interest from major record labels in Ireland, the UK and USA.
The single Crashing Down was written by Irish songwriter Robert Grace.
McCabe said, "As soon as I heard Aimée singing this song, I knew straight away it was what I was looking for. We've lost our way with the Eurovision over the last few years. Aimée and this song bring it right back to what it’s all about. Not glitz, not glam nor production. It’s about the song. At just 17, I have no doubt Aimée has a massive career ahead of her. Her distinct vocal ability is of an international standard, and this song is just the start of things to come. She is a star".
Niall Mooney and Zoe Bohorquez
Niall Mooney is a songwriter and producer based in Galway. He has had previous Eurosong success, co-writing Ireland’s 2009 entry Etcetera performed by Sinead Mulvey and Black Daisy and Ireland’s 2010 entry It’s For You performed by Eurovision winner Niamh Kavanagh.
Mooney has chosen Zoë Bohorquez as his act. Zoë grew up in Mullingar where she spent much of her childhood immersing herself in the arts and honing her craft. While attending Loreto College Secondary School Zoë enrolled in a local dance group, attended drama school and was a frequent face in the local musical productions. The hometown connection was truly evident as Zoë went on to tour Ireland for various events and concerts sharing the stage with friend and superstar Niall Horan of One Direction, with whom Zoë grew up.
Zoë's youthful ambition and talent also caught the attention of The Voice of Ireland judge Niall Breslin. Zoë successfully recorded her first song with Bressie, while a member of Irish Girl group UnderGrounD and together were successfully awarded Best New Girl Group in 2010 at The Irish Entertainment Awards. In time major interest was shown both at home and overseas, but it was across the Atlantic where Zoë was scouted by Grammy award-winning songwriter and producer Timbaland.
The future remains both bright and busy for Zoë as she is a second year running ambassador for The Share A Dream Foundation, was recently chosen by former Miss World and Miss Universe winner Rosanna Davison as 2013 Diva Next Door Calendar Girl and has been placed in the sights of super producer Afrojack with whom she has a future project currently in the works.
Mooney said, “As soon as I met Zoë I knew this could be Ireland’s next big pop star. She is the complete package and perfect for the contest. Zoë is also one of the hardest working and most pleasant people I have ever worked with. Mullingar has always been at the heart of Irish pop music with Joe Dolan, Bressie and Niall Horan and I believe Zoë is the next big chapter in that story. If Ireland decides to send Zoë to Sweden, with a fair wind and bit of luck, I believe she can go all the way. I hear a lot of people say Ireland can never win the contest again. I don’t believe that’s true and when you see Zoë I’m hoping you’ll believe me.”
Stuart O'Connor and Ryan Dolan
Stuart O’Connor is a director of Spotlight Productions and is one of Ireland’s top producers and choreographers.He is the man behind the successful Jedward pantos and all Jedward's live tours in the last three years. He devised the performance of Waterline at last years’ Eurovision. He recently produced and directed The Best of Eurovision Show with six previous winners Johnny Logan, Linda Martin, Niamh Kavanagh, Dana, Charlie McGettigan and Paul Harrington.
O'Connor has chosen Ryan Dolan a young singer-songwriter from Strabane as his act. Ryan is the only songwriter performing his own composition Only Love Survives. He has played support to many acts over the years including Tinchy Stryder, Jedward and many more. Ryan has been described as one of the most exciting homegrown musical talents to be discovered in Ireland in recent years. His YouTube channel has received over 800,000 hits. Ryan has teamed up with music producer and composer Wez Devine. Wez is a 34-year-old songwriter/producer originally from Malahide, now based in Lifford,.
They are hopeful that their latest composition Only Love Survives will make it to Malmö for the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest and bring the title back to Ireland for the eighth time.
O’Connor said, “As soon as I discovered I was going to be a mentor I was determined that given the opportunity I would send an Irish singer/songwriter to Malmö this year. I was delighted to receive a large volume of songs from all around the world but as soon as I heard Only Love Survives I knew this was it - it ticked all the boxes. I immediately set about gathering a full Irish team including backing vocals by Leanne Moore and percussion by Nicky Bailey founder of Extreme Rhythm who has performed with Riverdance and most recently on X Factor with Kelly Clarkson. The result is a modern song with an Irish vibe that will appeal to audiences across Europe.”
The winning act will be selected on Eurosong 2013 on The Late Late Show on Friday the 22nd of February As was the case last year, Ireland’s entry will be selected by a combination of public and regional jury vote.
Ireland will be competing in Semi-Final One on Tuesday the 14th of May.