With his song, 'Répondez-moi', Gjon's Tears was chosen to represent Switzerland in 2020. In light of the unfortunate cancellation of the 65th Eurovision Song Contest, we wish to highlight the impressive acts that were set to appear. This is 'In the spotlight', our feature honouring the artists that would have made up this year's edition of the world's largest live music event.
It has been 10 years since Switzerland has chosen a French song for the Eurovision Song Contest. With the song Répondez-moi, written and performed by 21-year-old Gjon Muharremaj from Broc in the Canton of Fribourg, they planned to do just that.
Who is Gjon's Tears?
Gjon has dedicated his heart and soul to music since he was a child. Moving his grandfather to tears with his rendition of Elvis Presley's Can't Help Falling in Love as a 9-year-old was a formative experience for him. The artist's name came from this very experience: Gjon's Tears. "Whether it's joy, sadness or melancholy – I want to touch people with my music in every possible way."
Gjon's grandfather, who has Albanian roots, was so moved by his grandson's voice that he registered him for a talent show in Albania on the spot in 2011. The then 12-year-old came third in Albania's Got Talent. A year later, he reached the semi-finals in the Swiss equivalent and again in the French talent show The Voice France in 2019.
Gjon has a deep admiration for cinema, is passionate about theatre and loves to draw inspiration from museums and art galleries. Old objects also arouse his interest because, as a child, he visited flea markets with his father. But music has always been his top priority: he is not only a great lover of classical music but also admires "the magic of Cesária Évora, the eccentricity of Grace Jones and the musical intelligence of David Bowie".
Gjon's Tears wrote and composed Répondez-moi with songwriters Xavier Michel, Alizé Oswald and producer Jeroen Swinnen as part of a Swiss songwriter camp. It is an intense mystical song that gets under your skin. The song addresses the themes of origin and self-questioning: "Everyone asks themselves why exactly we are here, where do we come from and where are we going. These are key questions, particularly for people from a migrant background. My parents are from Albania and Kosovo. I grew up in Switzerland, and it's my home, these are questions that I think about a lot". Gjon's Tears is working through his personal story in the song.
READ MORE: Gjon's Tears' participant profile
In a recent Instagram post, Gjon's Tears confirmed his excitement to be returning to the Eurovision Song Contest in 2021: "SO HAPPY THAT I WILL BE BACK FOR 2021! See you soon! And all of your support and love made this possible! I have no words! Just thank you and see you soon (continue taking care of yourself )! Thank you to my delegation who believes in me and gives me the energy at every step of this crazy experience.
Gjon then released a special unplugged version of his 2020 entry:
You can follow Gjon's Tears on the following social media platforms:
Switzerland at the Eurovision Song Contest
Switzerland has participated in the Eurovision Song Contest since 1956, winning the very first edition of the competition. The country has only missed the contest in 1995, 1999, 2001 and 2003 due to poor results in previous years, which according to the rules at the time, meant relegation from the Contest.
Switzerland hosted the very first Eurovision Song Contest and they also won it. Each country entered 2 songs in that debut year. Each entry could be sung by the same or different performers. Lys Assia sang both Swiss songs, the first one was in German, Das Alte Karussell, and the second one in French, Refrain. After some deliberations by the juries, Refrain was declared the winner of the first Eurovision Song Contest in Lugano! Lys Assia went on to represent Switzerland again in both 1957 and 1958 and more recently entered the national selection for the 2012 Contest.
READ MORE: Switzerland's country page
Luca Hänni was Switzerland's 2019 Eurovision Song Contest entrant. His musical career started with a bang in 2012: then just 17 years old, when the Swiss teenager won 'Deutschland sucht den Superstar', Germany’s version of Pop Idol. He was the first non-German to win the show and also the youngest ever winner. Luca finished 4th in the Grand Final.