The mission to make Isaiah Firebrace a Eurovision star
Isaiah Firebrace rated himself a long shot in the field of stars rumoured to be up for the gig of representing Australia at Eurovision 2017.
The 17-year-old singer had thrown his name into the mix after winning the final series of
The X Factor last year. While promoting his debut single, It’s Gotta Be You, a few days after his win last November, Firebrace told News Corp the world’s biggest singing contest was next in his sights.
That declaration brought him to the attention of the SBS and Blink TV team who make the selection and already had four names on their shortlist.
“I had heard the rumours of other people who were being considered and they were major artists from Havana Brown to Delta Goodrem, The Veronicas and even Jess Mauboy. When I heard those names I didn’t think I would get it,” Firebrace says.
But Australia’s head of delegation, Paul Clarke, thought Firebrace had potential.
There was no disputing the impressive range and control of his voice as evidenced by scenestealing performances of songs such as Halo and A Change Is
Gonna Come on X Factor. He could work a stage and the camera liked him. It’s Gotta
Be You also won him an international audience, particularly in Europe.
The song has been a streaming hit, with more than 75 million listens on Spotify alone. It reached the upper echelon of the site’s charts in more than 15 countries, including Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, a country that has been one of Australia’s biggest supporters at Eurovision.
And with Eurovision’s “Celebrating Diversity” motto for 2017, who better to represent Australia than this indigenous teenager from the border town of Moama on the Murray?
As they begin rehearsals in Kiev — finding his feet on a giant turntable stage prop designed to wow the contest’s fans and judges — Clarke says there is still one more thing to work on with the young singer.
“I think our job now is to make him look sexy for the teenagers who want to vote for him because they find him attractive. That is part of Eurovision, too,” Clarke says.
“When Isaiah sings, he melts hearts, he casts a spell on people when he sings and that’s ultimately why we went with him this year.”
Firebrace admits he “dares to dream” about going one better than Dami Im’s spectacular performance last year, finishing runner-up. His competition song, Don’t
Come Easy, was written by local hitmakers DNA, who also penned his debut single and Im’s hit Sound Of Silence.
“I definitely dare to dream about winning it. Otherwise, why bother? But winning for me, that’s representing Australia, I could never ever imagine doing this, so it’s a win.”
WATCH EUROVISION 2017, SEMIFINAL 1 FEATURING ISAIAH, SBS, MAY 10, FROM 5AM; SEMI-FINAL 2, MAY 12; GRAND FINAL, MAY 14