Interview: Evie Irie and Isaiah Firebrace about 'Eurovision - Australia Decides'
Ahead of their appearance at 'Eurovision - Australia Decides' as the first duet to compete, Evie Irie and Isaiah Firebrace sat down with us at Aussievision to talk about the competition and their partnership.
It's an interesting pairing, Isaiah who has competed at Eurovision previously and gained a great deal of experience in the last five years, and Evie Irie who is a star on the rise who made an impact in America before returning back to Australia recently.
Isaiah explains how they teamed up and put their song 'When I'm With You' together,
"Evie and I first met last year in a songwriting session, that was teed up between us, we were just strangers before we met, we kinda hung out in the studio, both vibed in the studio, got to know each other, got creative and had fun."
The pairing had also been a mystery to fans after Isaiah was announced back in October, but his duet partner's name had been left deliberately vacant.
This saw fans making wild guesses from a Montaigne return, to Courtney Act and even Junior Eurovision star Jael.
But as Evie tells us, her name never popped up and they kept their work extremely secret,
“No one was close, I didn’t expect anyone to guess me at all, it was so unexpected, we kept it very secret, I posted something accidentally, and they were like “you have to take that down!” and I was like “oh, sh*t!”
When they finally announced their entry, they did so by skydiving together.
"Isaiah calls me up, 'hey Evie do you want to do Eurovision with me?', what huh, 'remember that song we wrote, do you want to go to Eurovision and sing that with me?'. Then a week or two later he calls me again, 'do you want skydive with me? I want to announce you with my duet partner for Eurovision!'"
Isaiah adding, "Eurovision is over the top, why can’t we be over the top? Evie let’s jump out of a plane!"
The song itself combines the smooth soul of Isaiah with some of Evie's edginess, but how will it be staged at the event?
"When everyone is going right, we go left, everyone is going to do something really crazy, wild and out there, we already have such a difference... we are going to let the song speak for itself and show the connection that we have... It’s going to leave people feelings things," Evie says.
The experience of Isaiah on stage at Eurovision will of course be some help. We ask how he felt about doing the Contest and if it had helped or hindered his career.
"I think for me, it was awesome for me career wise, I feel like I gained a lot of fans in Europe, my song is now a certified platinum and double platinum in European territories, and I have a huge following on my Spotify. I feel like it was such a worthwhile thing to do, it really benefited me and even to this day people are coming up to me saying 'I watched you in Eurovision'. It was one of the best experiences even which is why I wanted to do it again," Isaiah explains.
Evie's experience with Eurovision is a little more limited but her excitement is growing,
"I had gone to Eurovision parties, years ago when I was growing up, I was ever a “fan”, I never watched it religiously, but now that I’m in it, I’m like this is the most amazing thing ever."
Isaiah also touched on the role his advocacy has played for him in the last year. His petition to bring Indigenous History in Schools gained over 300,000 signatures and saw him deliver it politicians in Canberra. He explains why it is important to him,
"Being an advocate for my people, using my platform to show people you can achieve your biggest dreams. I’m from a very small country town, I grew up with no money, all I really had was my voice, that’s the only thing I’ve always had, it’s brought me to where I am today. If I can use my voice to help others out there, especially the young Indigenous kids out there, I want to say 'you can do it'".
We finish off by discussing their upcoming work and both have a big year ahead. Evie recording a new album and Isaiah is on tour from March, but he may have to cut it short if they get the ticket to Turin.
To get there they'll have to get past the Gold Coast show and 10 other acts first.
The pair will perform at 'Eurovision - Australia Decides' live on SBS, Saturday 26 February with 'When I'm With You'.