Here in Turin from the United Kingdom – via a stratospheric detour – is Sam Ryder, representing the Brits with his song 'SPACE MAN'. He'll compete in the Grand Final of the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest on Saturday 14 May.
Rewind back to a little over two years ago, and Sam Ryder was a relatively unknown but just as talented singer and songwriter, waiting on that big break. He took matters into his own hands by recording short videos of him singing other people’s hit songs, and uploading them to the social media platform TikTok. Fast-forward to May 2022, and he’s the most followed UK musician on the site, with over 12 million followers. Now fast-forward again to Saturday night, and he’ll be performing live to over 180 million viewers.
It’s been a wild one. It’s been a journey. And every day I’m trying to remember that it could have easily not happened. Every day when you wake up, you have to remember to have gratitude for the situation you are in. That you get to experience this. No matter where the journey goes, and whatever unexpected thing happens next, cos I know it will, to always come back to that gratitude that you’re lucky to have the privilege to do it.
If Sam’s journey to get here has been a wild ride, the birth of SPACE MAN, by his own admission, barely registered as a bump in the road. Like so many great songs before it, pen was put to paper, and the ease at which it came out of him was such that it was that the process finished not long after it had started. And according to Sam, those are his absolute favourite kinds of songwriting sessions.
I wrote the song in 15 minutes. It was an amazing process. The dream is, when you go into a studio to write a song with other people, that it will feel effortless. And in a way, a good song will feel like it’s nothing to do with you at all, because you don’t feel tired after it. It just comes and you’re just lucky enough to be there at the right time to catch it. And all you really have to do is, if it’s a good song, just get out of the way of it. You’re there as a little conduit for it to go down. And that’s what happened that day.
As an artist, releasing a song of yours is one thing, but putting it forward to represent your country in the biggest music contest on the planet, is quite the other! For Sam, though, his answer when asked to represent the United Kingdom at the Eurovision Song Contest came almost as fast as the speed at which he says the song came out of him!
When I was asked to do Eurovision, as a fan I was like: 'you should do it’. Absolutely. Yes. The opportunity and just being part of the story… So few people get to experience Eurovision.
The answer might have been an easy one for Sam to arrive at, but it’s still a question that often requires a lot of consideration for many, not least in the United Kingdom, where Sam acknowledges an aim to get his nation to become more enthused about the country’s hopes in a competitive sense.
There is a shift in attitude towards Eurovision happening in the UK hopefully. People are getting positive, people are getting behind it, people are getting excited. If I have any hope in anything, I think it doesn’t involve any position on a scoreboard. To change attitudes – that is the prize. Imagine if you can do that. And I think that’s possible.
The change in attitude that Sam refers to certainly need not apply to the man himself. It’s been widely noted that the artist has been an exemplary representative for his country, engaging new fans across Europe with his Eurovision entry.
Three minutes on stage singing your song; you can be fooled into thinking that that is what this is all about. I don’t think it is. It’s about how you carry yourself from the beginning up until that moment when it’s all over and you walk off the stage.
Now all that’s left to do for Sam in Turin is to perform his song on stage at the PalaOlimpico. That’s what he came to do, and that’s the bit that he’s most excited about amongst all of this. He’s already got his approach for that in mind, and it’s one which he’s felt the benefits of before.
As a singer and as a songwriter, your main objective and goal is to connect with your audience. Fill that space between you. If you can do that with your music and your lyrics and your song, then that is your job done. That’s everything. If people feel the positivity and the happiness and the joy from the place that you’re singing from, then that’s it.
To connect with Sam Ryder as he represents the United Kingdom at the Eurovision Song Contest with SPACE MAN, tune in to the Grand Final on Saturday 14 May.