What is your name and where are you from?
Fàilte Aussievision folk! Coinneach here and I’m from the furthest north island in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland.
Sounds like a beautiful but very COLD part of the world ~ Aussievision
What do you do or tell us something interesting about you?
I work in developing countries around the world to help professionalise sporting federations – I am currently in Mozambique, so hello from Maputo! Something interesting? I am in a band called Gillean Challain and we release our first album this summer!
So you represented your country at a Eurovision event, tell us about that?
I am very proud to say that I represented Scotland at their Eurovision debut, I’m the Guy Sebastian of Scotland!! I sang as part of Alba at the Eurovision Choir Song Contest which was held in Sweden in 2019. I must have cried 100 times during rehearsals and on the day of the show – it was so emotional! What a dream come true. I was on stage for the opening as we sang Mamma Mia which was mind-blowing! But the most inspiring part for me was singing in the language of Gaelic on the Eurovision stage, that made me so proud. We didn’t win (that crown went to Denmark), but taking part, I will never forget it.
That is incredible, what a fantastic achievement and experience for you, particularly as such a long-standing Eurovision fan!
So tell us how you got into Eurovision?
My love of Eurovision started at age 5 watching Bucks Fizz romp to victory in 1981. But my first taste of Eurovision was in 1995 when I lived in Russia & was working as a journalist for The Times. I was asked to go and interview the Russian entry that year – Philipp Kirkorov and his (then) wife (and Eurovision diva) Alla Pugacheva. Fast forward to a very drunken afternoon around the piano of The Metropole Hotel in Moscow with Philipp and Alla, definitely one of the most surreal experiences of my life!
We could only imagine what that afternoon must have been like, we won't lie, we are extremely jealous!
Have you been to the contest and if so, how many times?
Yes, 13 times! My first year attending the contest was 1997 in Dublin to see Katrina and the Waves win for the UK. I then went to every contest from then (apart from ‘99) to 2009. I returned in 2019 to Tel Aviv to announce the Scotland entry at Eurovision Choir. Great memories, fantastic friendships and experiences I will never forget (but many I can never tell!!)
Which is your favourite Eurovision year and why?
I think it has to be 1988, so many iconic artists – Lara Fabien, Karoline Kruger, Tommy Korberg, Yardeni Arazi and of course the most exciting voting sequence seeing Celine snatch victory from Scott on the final vote.
If you could change one thing about Eurovision what would it be?
Scotland to have their own entry!
The Eurovision entry is out for the UK, what do you think of it?
Well James Newman tells us he wrote and recorded the song in Scotland – so that is a great start! I will say, if the song came on the radio while I was driving, I would turn it up and be singing along by the final chorus. I’m already pretty sure it’ll be in my top ten this year, give me a well-sung pop song and I am happy!
If I didn’t know who’d sang it, I would have guessed it was a John Lundvik penned hit for Cesar Sampson. Better than last year? Yes, absolutely.
What are you hoping for the UK at this year’s contest?
I would love a spectacular and memorably staged entry for the UK, and for us to sit back after the song and say – what a performance! That’s how I felt after Lucie Jones’ song in 2017. As for the results, a respectful score and give the UK something to build on for 2021.
That's all you can want from your country really, a great performance, and the cards fall where the cards fall...
How do you feel about Australia being in Eurovision?
Up there as one of the best decisions the EBU have made in the past 64 years of the contest! The impact and quality of songs has been phenomenal. There is no doubt Australia will win the contest in the next three years.
Which artist would you like to see return to the competition?
How amazing would it be if Charlotte Perrelli came back with the schlager banger to end all schlager bangers and stormed to victory!
Charlotte Perrelli coming back would be... err... something!
If you could pick only three Eurovision songs to listen to for the rest of time, what would they be?
Stad I Ljus – Tommy Korberg (Sweden ’88)
Avrei Voluto – Anna Oxa & Fausto Leali (Italy ’89)
And can I have Alba by Alba the Scotland entry at Eurovision Choir Song Contest 2019???
The 80s were really a thing for you weren't they? ha!
Which Eurovision song:
Is the best winner?
Take Me To Your Heaven, Charlotte Nilsson (Sweden ’99)
Has the best live vocal?
To Nie Ja, Edyta Gorniak (Poland ’94)
Yep, not surprised it's still their best result!
Vuelve Conmigo, Anabel Conde (Spain ’95)
Is the best from this decade?
Kuula, Ott Lepland (Estonia ’12)
Is your guilty pleasure?
Bana Bana, Pan (Turkey ’89)
Is your favourite National Final song (that didn't make it to Eurovision)?
As Dreams Go By, Michael Ball (UK Song for Europe ’92)
What is your favourite song of those released for Eurovision so far?
No doubt it’s Montaigne!
Wow you're basically a quasi-Aussie!
Any other interesting honourable songs overall you'd like to mention?
The song that turned me into a soft rock diva aged 10: Elakoon Elama by Sonja Lumme (Finland ’85)!
HOW GOOD IS THAT SONG! Huge fan of it. Finland were fantastic in the 80s ~ Dale
And finally... Tonight Again, Sound of Silence, Don’t Come Easy, We Got Love or Zero Gravity?
The live Eurovision performances of both Sound of Silence and Zero Gravity made me audibly GASP! But it’s gotta be Kate – it was an EVENT.
Thank you for your time Coinneach!