Today would have been the Eurovision Song Contest’s 63rd iteration. A competition that is perhaps more divisive than marmite. Personally, I hated it for many years. I thought it was long-winded and full of garish cheesy pop, however, my opinion changed slightly in more recent years.
In 2014 we saw drag queen Conchita Wurst, often known as “the bearded lady”, win with ‘Rise Like A Phoenix’ – a powerful statement against the gender binary. It made me realise that each year, despite there being more than a few songs I’d never like to hear again, there is the opportunity to make bold statements about the world you want to see to over 183 million viewers. And there is power in that.
My personal favourite was the 2017 winning song, by Portuguese singer Salvador Sobral, who was sometimes ridiculed for his awkward nature. ‘Amar Pelos Dois’ was a beautiful tale of unrequited love and shows that even in the spectacle that is Eurovision, there is also beauty in simplicity.
We will never know what would have won this year, or the political statements that could’ve happened. Nevertheless, we have this week’s music to enjoy instead. Here’s your five on it:
Yuna Zarai – ‘Stay Where You Are’
You might remember Malaysian singer Yuna from crushing on Usher back in 2016. The good news is that the smooth-voiced star, who found fame via Myspace, is back with her first indie release in years. It’s a gentle, love-soaked track which seems effortlessly timed for lockdown.
Stalk Ashley ft WSTRN – ‘Deserted’
Stalk Ashley has amassed a legion of fans in a relatively short time frame and it’s not hard to understand why: with sweet, recognisable vocals and effortless charm she’s definitely one to watch. Here, she collaborates with British rap group WSTRN as she explores confusing relationships.
Lila Iké – ‘Forget Me’
Jamaican artist Lila Iké’s vocals are only comparable to honey: rich, warm and leave you wanting more. ‘Forget Me’ blends elements of soul and reggae and, despite its disheartening subject matter, is surprisingly feel-good.
Tkay Maidza – ‘Shook’
Shook by Zimbabwean-born Australian rapper Tkay Maidza has the all bass and energy of a noughties Missy Elliot, with a choreographed music video to match.
JONES – ‘Giving It Up’
Three years since her big debut, JONES is back with a snappy pop tune that beautifully showcases her crystal-clear vocals.