The biggest music extravaganza on the planet returns this May live from Lisbon
Q&A with SuRie
I’m really looking forward to experiencing Lisbon and devouring as many pastéis de nata as I can get my hands on.SuRie
Combining forenames Susanna Marie, SuRie is a classically trained musician and graduate from the Royal Academy of Music in London. SuRie was recently elected an Associate of The Royal Academy of Music, an honour awarded to former students for their significant contribution to the music profession.
SuRie's performance career began at a young age, as soloist to HRH Princes Charles at The Royal Albert Hall. With her head buried in books as a child, a creative young SuRie was often found writing short stories, poetry and lyrics which swiftly turned into song writing. Her musical style of piano lead storytelling pop is influenced by piano singer-songwriters such as Tori Amos, Regina Spektor, Billy Joel and Alicia Keys. More recently she’s also inspired heavily by the poetic, cinematic story telling work of Emiliana Torrini, Ry X, Agnes Obel and Imogen Heap.
Her debut LP Something Beginning With... was the culmination of a writing and recording process that took SuRie from London to Greece, via Australia, New York, Sweden, LA and Borneo; from her home recording studio in the United Kingdom to the state of the art Malmö Live in Sweden.
No stranger to Eurovision, SuRie’s journey started in 2015 where she was a backing dancer and vocalist for Loïc Nottet who was representing Belgium coming 4th with Rhythm Inside and she returned again with the Belgians in 2017, supporting Blanche and City Lights as Musical Director placing 4th. Her Eurovision path continued with invitations to song-writing camps throughout Europe, ultimately being approached to participate in Eurovision: You Decide, with the inspirational pop anthem Storm, winning the public and jury vote to represent the United Kingdom at the Eurovision Song Contest 2018.
As we approach Eurovision is it starting to feel more like a reality?
It is. It all feels real and right and I’m really enjoying the ride. There are still some incredibly surreal surprises and bonuses such as the pre-Eurovision gig in Tel Aviv, Israel Calling, which was such a special show in front of 25,000 supportive party people, and I just hope there will be more moments like that, flashing past in an exciting blur!
What have you been doing since winning Eurovision: You Decide?
We’ve been working hard to refine some of the production elements on Storm, (including adding a gorgeous real string section and real acoustic piano), chatting to the amazing Graham Norton, shooting the music video, lots of busy promotional work, enjoying the pre-Eurovision parties and the opportunity to meet lots of fans. There might have been some sleeping and eating in there somewhere, but don’t ask me what day it is as I have no idea…
How does it feel to be representing the United Kingdom?
It’s a huge honour and I’m very proud to be performing for the United Kingdom. My previous experiences working with Belgium were incredible, but it feels very exciting to finally have a Union Jack in my hand!
How would you describe yourself?
Throughout my life others have described me as small, but mighty. I take my music and what I do seriously, but I also love a giggle and don’t always take myself too seriously. On that note, I should probably step away from the GIF button on Twitter.
Can you tell us a bit more about your song Storm and what it means to you?
Storm is an uplifting, anthemic track, with an instantly catchy hook. The lyrics have a hopeful message, reminding us that our personal, national, global storms don’t last forever and we can and will get through them. Everything will be all right in the end; if it’s not all right, it’s not the end!
You’ve met many people along the way so far. What do you think is the best piece of advice you’ve been given so far?
I was fortunate to have a fantastic conversation with Conchita recently and she helpfully stated how important it is to almost purely focus on the song and vocal performance. There are many other fun and exciting elements to Eurovision - the staging, styling, media - but these come secondary to the music within a song contest! She’s completely right and I’ll try to remember that!
Have you had a chance to listen to the other songs yet?
I think I have heard most, if not all of them. As always, it’s such an eclectic mix of music, and that’s what’s so great about Eurovision; there’s really something for everyone! So, all aboard!
Do you have any favourites?
I admire the poignancy of Madame Monsieur’s Mercy, as it brings home a message of humanity, musically encapsulated in a beautiful track. I also can’t wait to see Netta perform Toy for Israel and I adore Australia’s Jessica Mauboy’s We Got Love almost as much as her beautiful spirit. My feet cannot keep still when that track is on!
What are your all-time favourite Eurovision songs?
Norway’s Nocturne with Secret Garden in 1995 and Silent Storm by Carl Epse in 2014, In Your Eyes by Niamh Kavanagh in 1993 for Ireland, and Australia’s Tonight Again by Guy Sebastian in 2015. And, of course call me biased but Belgium’s City Lights by Blanche and Rhythm Inside by Loïc Nottet. Attached to those fantastic tracks are the most wonderful memories I will cherish forever.
How do you think this will be different from your experiences in 2015 and 2017 with Belgium?
The honour that comes with being the lead artist and representing your country is a very different ball-game, but I’m ready and raring to go!
Have you been to Portugal before?
I have, but not Lisbon, so I’m really looking forward to experiencing the city and devouring as many pastéis de nata as I can get my hands on. I recently shot the Eurovision postcard - which is the short video they play before each act takes to the stage - in a tea plantation on the Azores, Portugal which was beautiful.
Can you tell us anything about the staging yet?
Unfortunately not! We are still discussing ideas and details at the moment, but we’re putting so much effort into the whole performance I really hope everyone enjoys it.
What does success look like to you?
The successful people I admire all stay true to themselves, with both feet on the ground, whilst always trying to be the best they can be.
Do you have any plans for after Eurovision?
I have a follow up single in the works and I'm very excited about going on tour in the United Kingdom, throughout May, June and July.
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