Eurovision 2022 Portugal profile: 'saudade, saudade' by MARO
Portugal at Eurovision
Portugal has been a long-term participant in the Eurovision Song Contest, making their debut in 1964 and participating 52 times since then. For many years, they held the unfortunate record of being the country that had participated at the most Eurovision Song Contests without winning. Between 2004 and 2015, the country qualified for the Grand Final only three times.
However, after taking a year off in 2016, Portugal returned with a fresh new image and immediately got their first Eurovision win with Salvador Sobral's 'Amar pelos dois'. In the years since, the country hosted a wonderful contest in Lisbon in 2018, and a string of better results, only missing the Grand Final once.
Their 2021 entry, 'Love is on my side', proved to be a sleeper hit, flying under the radar until rehearsals and eventually coming twelfth with 153 points (including an impressive seventh place with the juries). 2021 was also the first time Portugal presented a song entirely in English without any lyrics in Portuguese.
2022 Entry: 'saudade, saudade' - MARO
Semi-final: MARO will compete in the second half of semi-final 1
My Eurovision Scoreboard ranking: 18th
Odds to win ranking: 11th
(Rankings as at 27 March 2022)
About the artist
MARO (full name Mariana Brito da Cruz Forjaz Secca) is a 27-year-old artist who recently returned to her home country of Portugal after a stint in Los Angeles. Born into a musical household - her mother was a music teacher - she initially envisioned herself as a veterinarian, before dropping everything to pursue a musical career.
She studied at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, before moving to Los Angeles to pursue a performance career. Getting attention from the likes of Jessie J, Justin Timberlake and Quincy Jones, MARO had plenty of opportunities to hone her craft during this period. As an artist, she centres the guitar in her songwriting and artistry. While she learnt to play the piano as a child, she found the guitar gave her more opportunities to play with musical form and express herself.
Collaboration is a big part of MARO's brand as an artist, and she has launched multiple projects focused on collaboration during her career. During her studies at Berklee, she launched 'Berklee People', an opportunity for students to work together rather than competing. More recently, she has been running a project called 'Itsa Me, Maro!' on her YouTube channel, where she performs musical collaborations with numerous artists and performers.
About the song
'saudade, saudade' is a gentle, melancholy ballad dedicated to the memory of MARO's late grandfather. In the lyrics of the song, she describes her grandfather as her "best friend" and sings about how she has been unable to let go or move on after his death.
The song was written with one of MARO's friends and collaborators from her time in America, John Blanda. Presented in a mixture of English and Portuguese, the titular "saudade" has no direct translation in English, referring to a sort of melancholic, nostalgic longing for something in the past. Of the song, MARO says:
I think that the funny thing is to understand that there are sounds and phrases, and even details, which clearly come from my subconscious, which holds onto everything I have heard throughout my life.
The song has received solid attention in Portugal, sitting at number 1 on the country’s Viral 50 on Spotify for some weeks now. This is no doubt partially due to some of the wonderful acoustic versions of the song MARO has released on YouTube including a live version filmed with some friends, once again emphasising her artistic focus on collaboration.
How the Song was Chosen
MARO was one of 20 artists to participate in Portugal's annual national final, 'Festival da Canção' this year.
She was the runaway favourite with both the televote and the juries, receiving top points from both halves of the scoreboard. While we don't know exact televoting figures, MARO received the full 12 points from four of the seven regional juries, and 10 points from a further two of the juries.
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Portugal will compete in semi-final 1 on May 10 (European time) in Turin.