Interview: Australia's Jess Condon on her San Marino Eurovision attempt
Earlier this week we chatted to the wonderful Australian performer Tanzer ahead of her audition to represent San Marino at Eurovision in 2022.
Well it turns out there was more than one Aussie in the micro-state!
Melbourne's own Jess Condon was also in "Valentina's backyard" as part of the audition process for the Sanmarinese national selection - 'Una Voce per San Marino'.
We chatted to her after her audition to find out more.
Congratulations on your audition in 'Una Voce per San Marino', before we chat about
that, tell us about yourself and your career - we understand you're in London now?
Well, my training started many years ago back in Melbourne Australia where I studied
classical voice and gained a Bachelor of Music, before completing a Bachelor of Fine Arts
in Music Theatre at the Victorian Collage of the Arts.
I would consider myself a singer and music theatre performer. After graduating, I was part
of the Australian cast of Kinky Boots, before touring the world on the sea in Priscilla
Queen of the Dessert.
I have always had dreams of being on the West End, so in 2019 I moved to London to
pursue this dream. The pandemic has definitely made this difficult, as I was just starting
to hit my stride the industry closed down. But, I have still managed to appear as a vocalist
in many West End Cabaret nights including ‘West End Sessions’, ‘Kinky Kabaret’ and
‘West End Musical Brunch’, and recently just appeared in my second Pantomime season
(my first was in 2019, right before the pandemic hit). I hope, now that the industry is
starting to make a resurgence, that I can get closer to my West End dream.
So Eurovision, what is your journey with the contest? How did you become
interested and how much have you followed it over the years?
Since Australia hasn’t been in the competition long, my knowledge of Eurovision was
minimal until I moved to the UK. Eurovision has a cult status here in Britain and I have
attended multiple Eurovison parties, watch every year and absolutely love the Netflix film.
I’ve always admired the high level of skill in the competition, and it would be a joy to be
What inspired you to audition for Una Voce per San Marino?
Early in my time here in the UK, I accidentally appeared in a viral YouTube video “Aussie
girl shocks the station with her talent”, which started a world-wide search to find me. Off
the back of this, I started my own YouTube channel and this is where Ivan Cancialosi first
heard me. He was interested in working with me on one of his songs. So, from different
countries we managed to get a rough recording together. From there, he asked me if he
could enter the song into 'Una Voce per San Marino', and I was like “ummm yes!”. And
then, the rest is history really! They must’ve heard something they liked and invited us to
the first round of auditions. I am so grateful to Ivan for leading such a great opportunity
and I’m excited to see where it goes from here!
Once you were in to audition, what was your own process with travelling to the tiny
I don’t think I’ve ever travelled internationally for an audition, so it felt quite exhilarating. It
was all a bit of a whirlwind. We arrived into Bologna (my boyfriend kindly came along for
the trip to document it), and were picked up by Ivan (who I had never met face to face) to
be driven the 2 hour journey to San Marino. We arrived on Saturday, to allow enough time
to settle before my audition on the Sunday. We did some recording in the hotel room with
our make-shift recording studio, before heading to the theatre. There we had our first
Academia session. This was all in Italian (translated brilliantly by Ivan), where one of the
judges discussed what makes a successful artist. From there we explored the town which
was so beautiful. I am a lover of all things Christmas, and San Marino was lit up with
Christmas lights, decorations and markets. It was magical!
Then Sunday arrived. My audition wasn’t till 3pm, so I used the morning to warm-up and
prepare mentally for the day. Then we headed in to watch some other performers and get
a feel for what to expect. Then there was lots of waiting until my big moment. Then it was
all over. From there, we headed back to Bologna (which took a little longer this time, due
to the snow!) and stayed overnight before out very early flight home on Monday morning.
How was the audition itself, what did you perform and how did it all work?
The audition was so fun! I started by introducing myself and explaining I was Australian,
which they were very intrigued by. As part of the process, you are required to sing a cover
and an original. I sang “Holding out for a hero” by Bonnie Tyler (one of the judges
informed me he had worked with Bonnie Tyler in the past - no pressure!) and then I sang
the original composition “Water on the Ground” by Ivan Cancialosi.
Then, that was that! Audition done! From there, I was asked to go out to the front of the
theatre for an interview with San Marino TV, which was very cool. Then I was lucky
enough to get to meet the judges afterwards and make some lovely connections there.
Do you think your musical theatre experience helped with the audition process?
As a music theatre performer, auditioning is my life. So I do think that my training
definitely helped me to feel composed for the day and helped with feeling prepared. I
have my pre-audition process for all auditions, but once you’re onstage it’s just about
feeling present and trusting your skills.
As this audition had a few variables, it was a little nerve-wracking not knowing what they
were looking for or what they might ask. However, I was just so grateful to be there that I
just went out being myself and knew there was nothing to lose. As this was an
opportunity I never could’ve imagined, I just wanted to enjoy performing for in such a
beautiful place for a new exciting audience. You never know what they are looking for, so
the best thing to do is to just be yourself and do the best you can. The rest is up to fate.
Other than hoping to represent San Marino at Eurovision (just that small thing!) what
else are you hoping to get out of professionally in 2022?
Having started 2022 in such a wonderful way, I am excited for what’s to come. I will be
working hard with my acting representation, BBA Management, to get as many West End
and National Tour auditions as I can and keep working towards the West End dream.
I am also hoping to do my own solo show this year, where I can present songs in my own
unique way. I will also be working with Ivan Cancialosi on some new material with a hope
to record a few songs and work towards an album. I will also be working on continuing to
develop my presence online through my YouTube channel.
One of my favourite things is collaborating with new artists and composers, so I would
love to find some new creatives to work with throughout the year and do some more
recording. So, if you’re reading this and that applies to you - please reach out!
And if people want to follow your journey, where can they find you?
I have a few different platforms where people can follow my journey.
Youtube: Jess From Melbourne
Good luck in the Una Voce per San Marino and thank you for joining us!
Thank you so much! Whether or not I get to the next stage, I am so grateful for the
experience and am very proud of myself for taking the chance. Thank you for your
interest, and here’s hoping we can get an Aussie on that Eurovision stage representing
San Marino <3