- Tim Everingham
Bahamian representation at the Eurovision Song Contest - Debbie Cameron
Today marks a significant day for the Bahamas as they celebrate independence from the United Kingdom on July 10 back in 1973. The small archipelago group has become well known for being a popular tourist destination due to its beautiful beaches.
Despite being one of the smaller nations in terms of population in the world, it does have a connection to Eurovision and the Danish music industry.
Debbie Cameron is a Danish-American singer of Bahamian descent. She was a popular singer in Denmark throughout the 1970’s and 80’s. Her relationship with Eurovision started in 1979 when she performed on the big stage as a backing singer for Tommy Seebach, representing Denmark. She was joined with two other backing singers Michael and Ianne Elo. Their song, ‘Disco Tango’, finished an impressive 6th place out of 19 countries. They scored 76 points including two lot of the famous Douze Points from Greece and the host nation Israel.
Debbie would go on to return to the contest two years later with Tommy Seebach. This time they sang a duet together. The song they performed was called ‘Krøller eller ej’, translated as ‘Curls or Not’, which spoke of global unity regardless of appearances and differences. The two other previous backing singers, Michael and Ianne Elo, returned again as backing singers. The upbeat, classic 80’s sounding tune finished in 11th place. They scored 41 points with one set of twelve points from Belgium.
Within the Danish music scene Debbie became a popular name thanks to her mother who had long been a popular jazz and gospel singer in Europe. Her mother Etta Cameron was born in Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas in 1939. She gave birth to her daughter, Debbie in Miami, Florida in 1958.
In the late 60’s she moved to Germany to perform in both East and West Berlin. After complicated circumstances in East Germany, she moved to Denmark where her career as a singer took off.
Etta released several albums singing in both Danish and English. In 1997, Etta was given the title of a Knight of Danneborg for her significant role in Danish music and culture.
So while the Bahamas as a country hasn’t participated in Eurovision, its diaspora certainly has and left an impact on the contest and the Danish music industry.
Let’s hope to see in the future for more participation from people with Bahamian heritage.