When I was asked to take part in the panel to whittle down entries for the UK songs coming from songwriters at BASCA I was delighted.
This was done over a period of two days and I was there on the second day. There were five of us Gary Osborne (Ivor Novello award winning songwriter for War of the Worlds) Kim Appleby (Popstar and Ivor nominated Songwriter) and Grammy winning Victoria Horn. However, the ‘Grand-Daddy’ of them all was Tony Hatch (He wrote ‘Downtown’, ‘Call Me’ and basically has had too many hits to mention here)
We listened to the entries sometimes three times over and pondered and talked, ate sandwiches, discussed things some more, then finally came to an agreed decision about who should go through to the next round.
Of course all the listening was done ‘blind’ in that we didn’t know who the writers were so we wouldn’t be influenced in any way.
What was so fascinating was that after we finished we were told the names of the writers who we had put through to the BBC competition phase. Four songs were chosen.
Three of the writers were very experienced and one was unknown to us.
This was interesting and it seemed to vindicate a couple of things that I had been thinking of late.
Firstly that the Competition can no longer be ignored, with over 200 million viewers across Europe and almost 7 million in the UK alone this is an important opportunity for songwriters to be heard. Also with the quality of the songs growing all the time we need to take the Eurovision Song Contest in the UK more seriously.
Sweden set the bar high last year with Mans Zelmerlow’s winning song ‘Heroes’. It went on to be No.1 in 20 countries and charted in the UK in the top 3.
Secondly with royalties being eroded through micro payments on streaming services such as Spotify and the threat of illegal downloading, songwriters are really under pressure and basically need to earn a living somehow, so it makes sense to enter the spirit of this celebrated European event.
So if you happen to be having a party to celebrate this years competition please invite me. I promise to be very vocal in my opinions and dance at anything with a good beat. Oh and I’ll bring a bottle of wine too!