From failing to place in the top five for more than 50 years to winning in 2017, Portugal's Eurovision journey has been one of highs and lows. In the sixth and final part of Kyiv Calling we focus on the winner of the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest, Salvador Sobral.
Salvador was born in Lisbon in 1989. He studied Psychology, but his overwhelming passion for music took over and he has proved to be one of the great promises in the Portuguese and Spanish music scene. He became publicly known when he participated in the Portuguese version of Idols in 2009 but did not release his debut album, Excuse Me, until 2016. He then participated in the Portuguese national selection for the Eurovision Song Contest, Festival da Canção, and won by a 50/50 combination of public and jury votes. The rest, as they say, is history.
A family affair
It was Salvador's sister, Luísa Sobral, who wrote his winning song Amor Polos Dois. “The song talks about lost love; a couple who are no more", Salvador said to Eurovision.tv in an interview ahead of the contest. Born in Lisbon 29 years ago, Luísa is among the most important songwriters and singers of the new generation of Portuguese musicians and she is also one of those rare cases of "love at first song". She released her debut album, The Cherry On My Cake, in 2011 and has since released three more.
Teamwork was the aim of the game during the event weeks in Kyiv, since Luisa performed the first and second rehearsal instead of Salvador himself. Due to health constraints, Salvador had to stay in Portugal for as long as possible. A statement from the delegation read: "This exceptional agreement was accepted by the EBU, to whom we send our deepest and sincere gratitude. This is a personal matter and Salvador won’t be making any other statement regarding it – for that we ask total understanding and respect."
Bringing Portugal to Kyiv
Salvador arrived on the 7th of May, just in time for the Opening Ceremony. With an exciting week ahead of him, it wouldn't have been surprising if Salvador was nervous but as sister Luísa said on the red carpet, "He is never nervous, never."
At the first Semi-Final, it was Salvador's turn to step on stage and perform his song Amor Pelos Dois. With a captivating performance, he managed to turn more than 10,000 people in the venue completely silent.
Salvador was of course one of the ten artists who made it through to the Grand Final and even when we spoke to him right before that show, he looked relaxed: "I try not to think about winning or the chances of the bookmakers. I just take it easy."
One day later, on the day of the Grand Final, Salvador took to the stage again and gave another breathtaking performance and was rewarded with a lanslide victory. Salvador won with a massive 758 points, meaning that for the first time ever in Eurovision history, the next contest will be held in Portugal.
Salvador was given a hero's welcome when he returned home to Portugal. Whilst his Eurovision journey was coming to an end, for the broadcaster, RTP, it was only just beginning.