Saturday, 30 April 2011

Johanna Iivanainen

Johanna Iivanainen (born November 22 1977 in Niemelä, Finland) is a Finnish Jazz singer and music teacher. She studied Piano and as a teenager she became interested in Jazz music. Johanna is an award winning Jazz singer who also collaborated with many musicians, bands and orchestras. Her vocals have been featured in more than 40 albums. As a solo singer she has released her debut album in 2004 and four years later she recorded a compilation album with her various recordings. In 2002 she won the Louis Armstrong award and 2003 Sony Jazz award. She was also nominated for Jazz Emma in 2004 for her debut album. In 2011 Johanna participated in the Finnish national final with the, in my opinion beautiful ballad Luojani Mun which is written by Johanna Iivanainen and Edu Kettunen. In the final, Johanna didn't reach top three.

Friday, 29 April 2011

Didrik Solli-Tangen

Didrik Solli-Tangen (born June 11 1987 in Porsgrunn, Telemark county, Norway) is a Norwegian singer.

Since his early years he was interested in music and at 15 he joined a band first as drum player, and later as lead singer, performing in front of classmates and family. By the time he reached upper-secondary school he got voice coaching from Anders Vagen. Though at the beginning he refused to try singing in an operatic style, considering it old fashioned, he began slowly to accept the idea. As of 2011, Didrik is a full-time student at the Barratt Due Institute of performing arts in Oslo. He's called the opera singer by several Norwegian media, but he claims not to accept that label.

In 2010 Didrik participated at the Norsk Melodi Grand Prix with the song My Heart Is Yours. Didrik won the Norwegian pre-selection for the ESC and he was one of the favorites for 1st place but at the ESC Didrik stranded on a very disappointingly 20th place.

On 3 September 2010 Didriks second single Best Kept Secret was released under the record label Universal Records. The release of his debut-album, called Guilty Pleasures, was on 1 November 2010.

Monday, 25 April 2011

Boaz Mauda

Boaz Mauda (born April 23, 1987) is an Israeli singer and songwriter.

He won the fifth season of Kokhav Nolad, the Israeli version of Pop Idol.

In 2008 Boaz was chosen to represent Israel at the Eurovision Song Contest. In the Israeli national final he sang 5 songs and The winner was chosen by the audience and a jury of Israeli "experts". The song The Fire In Your Eyes (IL Ke 'Ilo Kan), which was written by Dana International, won and came 9th at the ESC.

Constantinos Christoforou

Constantinos Christoforou (born April 25 1977 in Limassol Cyprus) is a Cypriot singer who had represented Cyprus at the ESC in 1996, 2002 and 2005.

Constantinos began his career at high school releasing his first EP Tora Pou Milas featuring his first 2 hit singles and a cover of Cyprus' entry to the Eurovision Song Contest 1988.

In 1996 he participated in the Cypriot pre-selection for the ESC with the song Mono Yia Mas. At the ESC he came 9th. The same year, at the age of 17, he became the first Cypriot artist to achieve triple platinum sales with the album entitled O,Ti M' Afora. In 1997 he started collaborating with Anna Vissi, providing vocals on her album Travma which was the best selling album of the 90s in Cyprus. He also toured with Anna Vissi. He also collaborated with Greek star Sakis Rouvas.

In 1999 he was chosen by the successful Cypriot composer, Georges Theofanous, to be the lead singer in the first boy-band of Greece, ONE. ONE became very popular and commercially successful in Greece and Cyprus, reaching platinum sales for their 3 albums. In 2002 ONE represented Cyprus at the ESC with the song Gimme which came 5th. In April 2003 Constantinos announced that he was leaving the band to launch a solo career in Greece.

In 2005 he returned to the Eurovision Song Contest as a solo artist, this time singing Ela Ela (Come Baby), accompanied by Elina Konstantopoulou. In Kiev Constantinos came 18th. After this adeventure he released some albums and singles which weren't successful.

In December 2009 it was announced the Constantinos was selected as one of the 10 artists to compete for the right to represent Cyprus in the Eurovision Song Contest 2010. He came 2nd with the song Angel.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

ESC 2011, the Big 5 - the UK

Blue is a British pop boyband which consists of Simon Webbe, Lee Ryan, Duncan James and Antony Costa. Blue originally formed in 2001 before splitting in 2005.

In 2009 it was confirmed that the band will make a comeback with a new tour and album.

The band released their debut single All Rise in May 2001 and it reached number 4 in the UK singles chart. Blue's second single was released in August with the chart-topping Too Close. Their second number one came in November with If You Come Back off the album All Rise, which was released in time for Christmas and reached number one, eventually selling in excess of about 1.8 million albums sold in the UK. Blue reached number six in March 2002 with their fourth single, Fly By.

Their second studio album One Love was released in 2002. The album entered at UK number 1, where it stayed for one week. Three singles were released from the album: One Love (UK number 3), Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word featuring Elton John (UK number 1), and U Make Me Wanna (UK number 4).

The third album Guilty was released in the autumn of 2003. The next singles were Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I'm Yours (sung with Stevie Wonder and Angie Stone) (UK number 11), Breathe Easy (UK number 4), and Bubblin' (UK number 9). The album Guilty sold more than 1 million albums in the UK.

The band split after Elton John suggested that their popularity was decreasing and that they should concentrate on their solo careers. Best of Blue greatest hits compilation was released in 2004. In April 2009, it was revealed that the band had reformed and had written new material, due to be released in a joint partnership with Innocent Records and EMI Music, with whom they still have a three-record deal.The band confirmed that they would be performing at 95.8 Capital FM's Summertime Ball, which took place in London's Emirates Stadium in June 2009. Following the performance, the band agreed to perform at the Silverstone Classic festival in August 2009.

ESC 2011, the Big 5 - Spain

Lucía Pérez Vizcaíno (born June 5 1985 in O Incio, Lugo, Galicia) is a Spanish singer that will represent her country in the Eurovision Song Contest 2011 with the song Que Me Quiten Lo Bailao.

In 2002, at 17, Lucía Pérez won the talent show for amateur singers Canteira de Cantareiros on the regional Galician television (TVG). A year later she published her first album Amores Y Amores.

In 2005, she represented Spain in the Viña del Mar International Song Festival in Chile where she came 2nd with the song Qué Haría Contigo. In 2009 she took part in the Viña del Mar Festival once again.

In 2011, Lucía took part in the Spanish selection process for the Eurovision Song Contest 2011 Destino Eurovisión and on 18 February she won the final with the song Que Me Quiten Lo Bailao.

ESC 2011, the Big 5 - Italy

Raffaele Gualazzi (born November 11 1981 in Urbino), better known as Raphael Gualazzi, is an Italian singer and pianist.

On 16 September 2005, Raphael released his first studio album titled Love Outside the Window and in 2008 he recorded a cover of Georgia on My Mind for the compilation Piano Jazz.

On February 18 2011 he won the Sanremo Festival in the Newcomers section, the Critics' Mia Martini Award for Newcomers and the Sala Radio-Tv Award with the self written song Follia d'Amore. The song is included in Gualazzi's second studio album, Reality and Fantasy, released on 16 February 2011.

On February 19 2011, he was chosen among the participants at the Sanremo Festival 2011 to represent Italy at the Eurovision Song Contest 2011 to be held in Düsseldorf. Raphael Gualazzi will be the first Italian singer to represent the country since the Eurovision Song Contest 1997.

ESC 2011, the Big 5 - Germany

Lena Meyer-Landrut (born May 23 1991), known professionally as Lena, is a German singer.

She represented Germany in the Eurovision Song Contest 2010 in Oslo, Norway, and won the contest with the song Satellite. With her three entries from the German national final Unser Star für Oslo, Lena set an all-time chart record in her home country by debuting with three songs in the top five of the German singles chart. Both Satellite and her first album My Cassette Player debuted at number one in Germany and the album has been certified five times Gold for sales of over 500,000 copies.

Lena Meyer-Landrut will once more represent Germany in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2011. In the German national final Lena sang 12 songs. The winner was chosen by televoting. In Düsseldorf Lena will perform the song Taken By A Stranger.

ESC 2011, the Big 5 - France

Amaury Vassili (born June 8 1989 in Rouen, Upper Normandy) is a French singer and the youngest professional tenor in the world. His debut album Vincero from 2009 went double platinum in France, and he got international success with releases in Canada, South Africa and South Korea.

Amaury began singing at the age of 9 at the musical school in Rouen. At 14 he participated in his first singing contest, were he won 1st prize by singing Amsterdam which was originally sung by Jacques Brel. After that he participated in several contests. Amaury became famous after releasing his debut album Vincero in 2009 which sold more than 250,000 copies. His second album Cantero was eleased in November 2010. On 27 January 2011 it was announced by the French broadcaster France Télévisions, that Amaury Vassili would be the French entrant at the Eurovision Song Contest 2011 in Düsseldorf. The song was revealed as Sognu, and will be performed in Corsican.

Monday, 4 April 2011

ESC 2011, semi-final 2 - Ukraine

Oksana Stefanivna Hrytsay, better known by her stage name Mika Newton, is an Ukrainian singer who was born on March 5 1986.

Mika has been singing since the age of 9. Her music and choice of clothes are strongly influenced by punk and gothic. Mika founded the band Emergence in 2004. The band is quite successful in the Ukraine and they released 2 albums.

In 2011 Mika participated in the Ukrainian national final with the song Angel which came 1st. After complaints from many viewers about the voting procedure in the final the Ukrainian broadcaster NTU decided to organize another final with the three best placed songs from the original final. After Jamala and Zlata Ognevich withdrew from this new final in the days before it was scheduled to be held, Newton became the artist to represent Ukraine, but it remained unknown which song she would perform on Eurovision. On March 4 Newton and the competition's organizer NTU declared that Angels would be sent to the Eurovision Song Contest with better arrangements.

ESC 2011, semi-final 2 - the Netherlands

3JS is a popular band from Volendam, the Netherlands, and consists of Jan Dulles, Jaap Kwakman and Jaap de Witte. The band became nationally known after the success of their debut album Watermensen in 2007.

The name of the band is based on the first names of the three members: Jan, Jaap and Jaap.

In 2007 the band released it's first studio album, Watermensen. All songs were written by the 3JS. 5 Numbers of the album were big hits in the Netherlands and the album reached no.6 in the Mega Album Top 100 and lasted 87 weeks in that list. The band won an award for this first album. In 2008 the band released their second album, Kamers Van Mijn Hart which reached no.4 in the Mega Album Top 100 and for 40 weeks. The third album was released in 2010 and called Dromers En Dwazen. This album was also a huge success.

During a radio show, the band announced that they were the Netherlands representative at the Eurovision Song Contest 2011 and in the Dutch national final they sang 5 songs of which Je Vecht Nooit Alleen won. In Düsseldorf they will sing the English version of the song which is called Never Alone.

ESC 2011, semi-final 2 - Sweden

Eric Saade (born on October 29 1990 in Kattarp) is a Swedish singer and children's television presenter.

At the age of 13 Eric began to write songs and at the age of 15 Eric released an album and three singles which were not successful. In 2007 Eric took part in a competition for filling up a position in a new proposed boyband to be formed. Saade became successful as one of the 4 finalists to form the band named What's Up! The newly-formed What's Up! band toured Sweden in 2008. In that year the band also released its album In Pose. It stayed one week in the Swedish Albums Chart at no.40. Two singles were released, Go Girl! in May 2007 that peaked at no.5 in the Swedish Singles Chart and If I Told You Once in March 2008 reaching no.16. During the summer of 2009 Eric Saade presented Disney Channel's My Camp Rock which is a Scandinavian music competition based on the Disney Channel's hit movie Camp Rock.

In 2010 Eric participated in the Swedish pre-selection for the ESC with the song Manboy which came 3rd and he read the Swedish votes in the final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2010 and was also a member of the Swedish jury.

In 2011 Eric won the Swedish national final with the song Popular, which will represent Sweden at the ESC in Germany.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

ESC 2011, semi-final 2 - Slovenia

Maja Keuc (born January 16, 1992 in Maribor) is a Slovenian singer. In 2010 Maja came 2nd in Slovenija Ima Talent which is a talent show. In 2011 Maja competed in the slovenian national final for the ESC which she won with the song Vanilija. In Düsseldorf she will sing the English version of the song which is called No One.

ESC 2011, semi-final 2 - Slovakia

TWiiNS are a Slovakian twin pop duo consisting of sisters Daniela and Veronika Nízlová who were born on May 15 1986. The twins were background singers and dancers for Tereza Kerndlová, the Czech entry for the Eurovision Song Contest in 2008. The duo are known for the cover of Italian singer Sabrina Salerno's Boys (Summertime Love) under the title Boys, Boys, Boys featuring German rapper Carlprit in January 2010. They will represent Slovakia in the Eurovision Song Contest 2011 with their song, I'm Still Alive co-written and produced by Bryan Todd.

ESC 2011, semi-final 2 - Romania

Hotel FM is a Romanian band, formed in April 2005 by British expatriate David Bryan and his friends Gabriel Băruţa and Alex Szűz. The band held concerts in several cities in Romania and Germany and launched a promotional CD in spring 2006. Hotel FM came 4th in the Romanian pre-selection for the Eurovision Song Contest 2010 with the song Come As One. The band won the Romanian national final for the ESC 2011 with the song Change so they will represent Romania in Germany.

ESC 2011, semi-final 2 - Moldova

Zdob şi Zdub is a Moldovan band, based in Chişinău, their music contains elements of hip-hop, hardcore punk and traditional Moldovan music and Roma music. Zdob şi Zdub represented Moldova in the Eurovision Song Contest 2005 were they came 6th and the band will represent Moldova once more in the Eurovision Song Contest 2011 in Germany.

At the moment the band consists of: Roman Iagupov - vocals, flute, ocarina, yorgaphone and other ethnic instruments - original member, Mihai Gîncu - usually bass guitar, drums 2003-2004 - original member, Sveatoslav Starus - guitar - in the band 1996-2004, returned in 2010, Andrei Cebotari - drums, 2000–2003 - returned in 2010, Victor Dandeş - trombone, accordion, ethnic instruments - in the band since 2001 and Valeriu Mazîlu - trumpet, bagpipe - in the band since 2001.

The band was formed in 1994. They have gone through various line-ups. Their initial sound was rather hardcore and the lyrics were mostly in Russian. They played at the 10 Years After Chernobyl Action in Chişinău, warmed up for Rage Against the Machine at the Learn to Swim II Festival in 1996. Around 1998, their sound began to change, embracing traditional Romanian/Moldovan music and with lyrics entirely in Romanian. On August 14, 1999, Zdob şi Zdub played as part of the Russian MTV-Party, held on Red Square in Moscow, along with Russian bands Gorky Park and IFK and U.S. band Red Hot Chili Peppers. The band has toured extensively, mostly in Russia, Ukraine, Moldova and Romania, but also in Germany (1998) and the Netherlands (2000), and more recently in Serbia, Hungary, and Italy. On January 31, 2001, in Moscow, Zdob şi Zdub performed with musician and film director Emir Kusturica and his No Smoking Orchestra. The video of their song Bună Dimineaţa!, a tongue-in-cheek evocation of the agro-romanticism of the Stalinist-era Soviet Union and its satellites was awarded Romanian video clip of the year (2001) at the Televest Festival in Timişoara, Romania. The following year they won the equivalent MTV Romania Video Music Award for Ţiganii şi OZN.
In 2003, the band's song Everybody in the Case Mare was featured over the opening and closing credits of the short film Călătorie la oraş Romanian director Corneliu Porumboiu.

On February 26 2005, the band won the Moldovan national pre-selection contest to claim the right to represent Moldova in its first ever appearance at the Eurovision Song Contest 2005, with their song Boonika Bate Toba which came 6th. After the ESC of 2005 the band had a more quiet period but in 2011 they won the Moldovan pre-selection for the ESC again, so they will represent Moldova in Germany with the song So Lucky.

ESC 2011, semi-final 2 - Latvia

Musiqq are an Latvian duo which formed in 2009. On February 23 2011 the duo won the Latvian national selection for the Eurovision Song Contest 2011 with song Angel In Disguise.

Musiqq consists of Marats Ogļezņevs and Emīls Balceris. Musiqq has gained popularity with radio hits such as Klimata control, Abrakadabra and Dzimšanas Diena. Marats Ogļezņevs was previously known as a song-writer and singer in hip-hop act Device.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

ESC 2011, semi-final 2 - Israel

Dana International, the stage name of Sharon Cohen, born as Yaron Cohen, (Tel Aviv, 1972) is an Israeli singer. At early age Yaron realized that he was mend to be on stage. He loved the Eurovision Song Contest and was a huge fan of Ofra Haza.

In 1992 Yaron earned a living as Israel's first drag queen parodying many famous artists and he called herself Dana International. During one of the performances Dana was discovered by Offer Nissim, one of Israel's most famous DJ's, who produced Dana's first single. The song received considerable airplay and launched her career as a professional singer. In 1993 Yaron flew to London for male to female sex reassignment surgery and came back as Sharon Cohen. That same year Dana released her first album entitled Dana International in Israel, Greece, Jordan and Egypt and was a huge success.

In 1995 Dana participated in the Israeli pre-selection for the Eurovision Song Contest with the song Layla Tov, Eropa which came 2nd but was another hit for Dana. In 1998 Dana was chosen to represent Israel with the song Diva which won the contest in Birmingham. Dana became a star in Europe as well. In the following years Dana released a couple of album which were quite successful in Israel, Egypt and parts of Europe.

After a few years away from show business Dana released an album in 2007 which was another success in Israel. In 2008 Dana wrote the song Ke'ilu Kann/The Fire In Your Eyes for Boaz Mauda which won the Israeli national final and came 9th at the Eurovision Song Contest. In 2009 Dana joined the Israeli version of American Idol as a judge.

In 2011 Dana paticipated again in the Israeli national final for the ESC with the song Ding Dong, she won an will represent Israel in Düsseldorf.

ESC 2011, semi-final 2 - Ireland

Jedward is an Irish pop-rapduo. Jedward consists of the identical twins John Paul Henry Daniel Richard Grimes en Edward Peter Anthony Kevin Patrick Grimes. They were born on October 16 1991 in Dublin.

The duo was formed in the UK in 2009 as John & Edward. They were contestants on the UK TV show the X Factor and finished in 6th place. They have had one hit single featuring Vanilla Ice called Under Pressure (Ice Ice Baby) which reached number one in Ireland and number two in the UK. They were dropped by Sony and now are supported by Universal Music. They have released an album entitled Planet Jedward which reached no 17 in the charts and a second single entitled All The Small Things reachd no 46.

In 2011 Jedward participated in the Irish national final which they won with the song Lipstick.

ESC 2011, semi-final 2 - (FY) Republic of Macedonia

Vlatko Ilievski, born on July 2 1985 in Skopje, is a Macedonian actor and singer. At the age of 12 he started playing guitar and singing in local bands. In 2000 Vlatko joined the band Morality until 2007. The band was very successful and released several albums.

In 2007 Vlatko started his solo career and participated 4 times in the Macedonian pre-selection for the Eurovision Song Contest. In 2008 he sang So Drugi Zborovi but finished only 13th, in 2009 he came 6th with the song Najbogat Na Svet, in 2010 he participated again and came equal 1st with the song Srekja but the results of the "expert" jury took precedence so Gjoko Taneski won the ticket to Oslo. Finally in 2011 he won the Macedonian national final with the song Rusinka.

ESC 2011, semi-final 2 - Estonia

Getter Jaani (born on February 3 1993 in Tallinn) is an Estonian pop singer. She will represent Estonia in the Eurovision Song Contest 2011 with her entry Rockefeller Street.

Getter became famous in Estonia after finishing fourth in an Etonian version of Idol. After that she plaid in musicals and TV series.

In 2011 she took part in the Estonian pre-selection for the ESC, which she won with the song Rockefeller Street.

ESC 2011, semi-final 2 - Denmark

A Friend In London is a Danish pop and rock band that will represent Denmark in the Eurovision Song Contest 2011 in Düsseldorf with the song New Tomorrow.

The band consists of Tim Schou - lead vocal / guitar, Sebastian Vinther - guitar / vocal, Aske Damm Bramming - bass / vocal and Esben Svane - drums / vocal. A Friend In London, also known a AFIL, was formed in 2005 when the members were at a boarding school in Vostrup. The lead singer Tim Schou won the contest Danish Young Talent 2005 which led to the recording of the band's first single Thoughts Of A Boheme. After this the band had several hits in Denmark, Canada and the US.

In 2011 AFIL took part at the Danish national final for the Eurovision Song Contest with the song New Tomorrow. They won and so they'll be the Danish representatives in Düsseldorf. The song is already accused of plagiarism and the band has confirmed they will make changes to the song before the ESC.

ESC 2011, semi-final 2 - Cyprus

Christos Mylordos (born on April 30 1991 in Nicosia) is a Cypriot singer. In 2010 Christos won the talent show Performance which gave him the right to represent Cyprus in Düsseldorf. In January 2011 it was announced that the song Christos will sing at the eurovision Song Contest will be San Aggelos S'agapisa.