What makes a successful Eurovision Song Contest entry? That was the question posed to our BIMM Brighton students, ahead of next week’s ‘Eurovision: You Decide’ selection show, which airs on Wednesday 7 February at the iconic Brighton Dome.
To celebrate the competition’s return and Brighton’s association with Eurovision – ABBA famously won here in 1974 – BBC Two visited our nearby college to shoot a series of fun, Gogglebox-style interviews.
The interviews, which will be broadcast as part of the search to find the UK’s 2018 entry, and will show BIMM students discuss everything from past performance to songwriting techniques, with each sharing insights into the inner-workings and frameworks of a pop hit.
Among those who took part were Amelia Bronger, a second-year journalism student at BIMM Brighton, who says she has spent part of her degree deconstructing various genres. She told BIMM: “This was interesting because I’ve never really thought much about what’s behind the music of Eurovision. I’ve always listened to it and enjoyed it, but now I’ve actually thought, oh yeah this is quite poppy, or this is quite different, and that’s why I liked it.”
Gemma Hodson, a producer for the show, said: “We came to BIMM because you’ve got these incredible songwriters on the verge of pursuing their career in music. They’ve got so much knowledge and so much love for what they do. So why not show them a few songs and see if they can tell us what makes a good or a successful Eurovision song?”
Our students also received some fantastic feedback from Gemma’s fellow producer, Glen Bartlett, who called our participants ‘extraordinary’. Praising their input, he said: “We were not surprised, but we were just in awe of their responses really. Their answers were so detailed when it came to talking about songwriting, talking about vocals and talking about the structure of the songs. They were able to explain to a TV audience in detail about a song using expert language. We were really impressed with them.”
Our connections to this year’s competition don’t stop there either, with BIMM London graduate RAYA hoping to win votes in next week’s selection show with her song ‘Crazy’ – co-written by a fellow alumnus, Samir Elshay. Success on Eurovision: You Decide could see the singer come DJ with a place in the semi-finals in May, which will be held in Lisbon, Portugal. Another BIMM star who has already booked his place in the Portuguese capital is BIMM Dublin’s Ryan O’Shaughnessy.
The Irish graduate, who you may remember from Britain’s Got Talent, will be hoping to woo the public with his track ‘Together’ when he plays at the city’s magnificent Altice Arena on Tuesday 8 May. Ryan, who enjoyed plenty of chart success on both sides of the Irish Sea, was chosen to represent Ireland by a select panel of industry insiders and experts – now it’s all down to him! We can’t wait to see how our graduates fare in this year’s competition. In the meantime, catch our BIMM Brighton students and the spectacular RAYA on Wednesday at 7:30 pm on BBC Two.