The Irish Mail on Sunday


Macroom native Bambie Thug started performing by talking to trees and now is set for Eurovision Song Contest in Sweden

- By Colm McGuirk colm.mcguirk@mailonsund­

IRELAND’S Eurovision hopeful Bambie Thug has come a long way since talking to trees in the fields of Macroom.

The singer-songwriter will have come onto many people’s radar for the first time on the Late Late Show Eurosong special on Friday night, performing Doomsday Blue and sealing a spot at the Eurovision in May. The Co. Cork star won Eurosong quite comfortabl­y, collecting 32 points from a possible 36 awarded by a national jury, an internatio­nal jury and the public vote.

Joint-runners up Next In Line, the boyband managed by Louis Walsh, received 24 points in total, as did Ailsha for her ‘Celtic-metal’ track Go Tobann. Erica-Cody, the preshow favourite for many, scored 22 points, followed by rising hip-hop act JYellowL and Australian-Irish artist Isabella Kearney.

Despite little being known about Bambi Thug until now, the 30-yearold has been mastering songwritin­g and perfecting their theatrical stage act in London for almost a decade, and has already amassed a considerab­le following in the UK.

The self-styled ‘Ouija-pop’ star (who identifies as non-binary and goes by ‘they/them/their’) said it all began in her hometown.

Bambie told the Irish Mail on Sunday: ‘I spent so much time in the field pretending I was in Lord of the Rings and talking to trees and making potions and that was really lovely,’ Bambie said.

‘I was in little dance schools [in Macroom] and then I started doing ballet in Cork.’

Bambie then studied dance at Coláiste Stiofáin Naofa and spent two years with Cork City Ballet.

‘I loved Cork and I still love Cork. But then I moved to London because I got a partial dance scholarshi­p and musical theatre dance at the Urdang Academy in London, and so I moved over for that.’

Bambie completed their degree before deciding music was their calling.

‘I homeschool­ed myself for two years on how to write pop songs. Then I started doing open mics.’

After working with a talent developmen­t agency they eventually packed it in because ‘they wanted me to be more bubblegum pop’.

‘Then I kind of just started navigating it myself and I was lucky enough to meet people who really believed in the project, who already had work and respect behind them. And that’s been really a gorgeous thing for me – the belief that I’ve found in people that I really respect.

Bambie has been making music under that moniker for almost three years and has already enjoyed considerab­le acclaim and BBC airplay in Britain.

They’ve amassed more than 60m online streams and were invited to play Download Festival last summer, demonstrat­ing an upward trajectory that could skyrocket at the Eurovision

Asked if there was a reason their music hadn’t yet taken off in the same way back home, Bambie told the MoS: ‘I think it’s just because I’ve been launching it from the UK. We didn’t really nurture it over here until this year.

‘Maybe, also, there isn’t as much of a space for alt on the radio here.

‘They played Kawasaki over here last year on [Cork station] Red FM and that was my only real Irish thing. Hot Press wrote about me as well but I think that was it,’ they said.

Bambie added the public ‘will know me now’ and said it ‘feels really beautiful’ to be appreciate­d at home.

‘There’s something that makes my heart so warm about having the country see my art, my stuff, because this is what raised me. This is my roots, this is the ground that birthed me and is the reason I write the way I do.’

Bambie has echoed fellow Eurosong contender Erica-Cody’s suggestion that Israel should be expelled from this year’s contest over its actions in Gaza, telling the Irish Examiner: ‘When things were going on with Ukraine, Russia wasn’t allowed to enter, so I don’t think there should be a rule for one and a different for another.’

‘I homeschool­ed myself in how to write songs’

‘They wanted me to be more bumblegum pop’

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 ?? ?? Winner: Bambi Thug on the Late Late and, above, pre-show favourite Erica-Cody
Winner: Bambi Thug on the Late Late and, above, pre-show favourite Erica-Cody

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