Gjon’s Tears to represent Switzerland with ‘Répondez-moi’
Just after midnight (East Coast “Aussievision” time), Switzerland’s much-rumoured artist and song for the 65th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest were finally confirmed: Gjon Muharremaj will be carrying Swiss hopes with the song ‘Répondez-moi’ (Answer Me) at the Ahoy Arena in Rotterdam.
Having again dispensed with a national final public vote or “Entscheidungsshow” after internally-selected Luca Hänni achieved 4th place in Tel Aviv with ‘She Got Me’, 515 songs in total were submitted to Swiss broadcaster SRF for consideration by the 100-strong viewers’ panel and the 21 past Eurovision jurors, performers and/or songwriters, including Spain’s Ruth Lorenzo (Dancing in the Rain: 2014), making up the expert jury, with the weighting of votes split 50-50 between the two groups.
Born in Switzerland to an Albanian mother and Kosovar father, Gjon‘s career in music has enabled him to display his linguistic prowess as well as his vocal talents. As a child he was a finalist in the 2010 season of Albania’s Got Talent, and 9 years later he joined Team Mika on France’s “The Voice: la plus belle voix”, reaching the semi-final having taken on some classic chansons. No wonder then that ‘Répondez-moi’ marks the first time in ten years that Switzerland has sent a song in French to compete for Eurovision glory.
‘Répondez-moi’ itself also has a strong European and indeed Eurovision feel, having been co-written by a Swiss duo (Aliose) and a Belgian musician (Jeroen Swinnen), none of whom are strangers to the world of Eurovision: Aliose competed in the 2011 Swiss national final and Jeroen’s songwriting credits include Belgium’s 2010 entry ‘Me and My Guitar’, with which artist Tom Dice ultimately came 6th overall.
This somewhat plaintive, emotional and moody ballad set against a rainy backdrop is, of course, designed to showcase Gjon’s impressive vocal abilities, but the message behind it - the often difficult task of finding one’s place in the world, a task which can prove particularly difficult for migrants to a new land - also clearly resonates on a personal level with the artist. Having taken the stage name Gjon’s Tears in recognition of the capacity of music to touch people (as evidenced by his grandfather’s tears when listening to a young Gjon perform) and having released a debut single entitled ‘Babi’ (Dad) and performed in a mixture of French and Albanian, it seems clear that family is at the forefront of his mind.
And on that note... welcome to the Eurovision family, Gjon!