Interview: Alfie Arcuri on writing a song for Eurovision 2020
It has been a big 12 months for Australia Decides 2019 alumni Alfie Arcuri.
First he represented Australia at one of Europe's biggest song contests 'The Golden Stag' in Romania.
After that he spent time songwriting in Europe and one of his songs, 'Running', was chosen to be the entry for Cyprus at this year's contest.
The song was released overnight and we spoke to him about this huge news.
Firstly congratulations on having your song in Eurovision, how does that feel as being recognised as a world quality songwriter?
Thank you so much. It is still quite surreal for me..!! I remember the moment i found out and i was beside myself!!!
I still don't feel like i have earned the title of a 'world quality songwriter' but i think my songwriting is continuously evolving and I am also becoming less precious about parting with my songs. I struggled in the beginning with the idea of someone else singing one of my songs, mostly because of how personal they usually are. Now I find it so exciting to hear how someone else interprets my stories.
We did notice those Berlin recording sessions, can you tell us, did you know back then that your songs would be considered by a Eurovision team? How did the Cypriot Eurovision team and yourself cross paths?
No, I had no idea back then about this Eurovision Opportunity. In fact when i was first in talks about a potential collaboration with Cyprus it was for a completely different song that I had written a couple of years ago.
I had signed a European Management deal and they happen to also represent Sandro (who will be representing Cyprus at Eurovision 2020), they put forward a couple of my songs to which one of them had been initially selected.. They had almost 100% committed until they heard 'Running'... Then everything changed.
When did you find out that your song was the chosen song and did you celebrate?
We have actually been in talks since Christmas. However, it wasn't until a month or so ago that 'Running' was officially confirmed!
I tried not to get too excited in the beginning, because you never know with these might things pan out (There is a lot of disappointment in the music game). When it was officially confirmed I probably screamed haha then I think my partner took me out to dinner to celebrate! 🎊
Tell us about the song, what motivated that direction and what it means to you personally?
'Running' is actually an incredibly personal song overcoming depression, but being followed by its shadow for the rest of your life.
Those moments where everything comes into place and life feels so perfect but from out of nowhere, you fall back into that deep dark hole and you struggle to get yourself up.
How will you be involved with the Cypriot entry going forward, will you be involved in any of the promotion or work in Europe or will you observe the success from here in Australia?
Sandro and I have been in regular contact. It has been great to work closely with him throughout the recording process. The song sounds totally different now with his interpretation and fresh production. I am so excited for everyone to hear it! I literally just watched the video for the first time and I got goosebumps.. I’m so excited!
Fortunately I get to watch it live from Rotterdam as a composer, it means I get to relax and enjoy the show and not have to freak out about performing! Hopefully one year soon I’ll be in the Australian section as an artist.
Back in August you competed in the ‘Golden Stag Festival’ and were awarded for your performance. Firstly how hard was it to learn a song in Romanian and how was the whole experience?
It was so hard to learn that song! I actually hired a Romanian tutor and had lessons for a month leading up to the festival!
The experience overall was incredible. The stage was set in an old piazza in Braşov and the vibe and energy from the audience was unforgettable.
Does it make you want to have another go at making Eurovision for Australia as an artist? Or would you consider just submitting a song as a non-performing artist?
Yes of course! That is definitely still a massive goal of mine as both a performer and songwriter.
What is on the horizon for you as an artist or songwriter? Any projects coming up?
I am off to LA in 2 weeks for more writing and also a showcase performance at the Global Music Expo. I’m very nervous and excited about this!
I am also preparing for my next single release (early May) which is very exciting.. the song is so special to me and we are planning some beautiful content around it.
Then before I know it I’ll be in Rotterdam for Eurovision!
It has been a very busy start to 2020 so far.
Also congratulations for marching in Mardi Gras on Sunday, how was the whole experience and have you recovered?
Thank you! I always have the best time at Mardi Gras but this was my first time in the parade which made it extra special. All the events surrounding Mardi Gras were so much fun, i am still not recovered from them haha.
Haha we will let you get back to recovering, thank you so much for your time and good luck for Rotterdam!