UK Eurovision hopeful pays tribute to his mother ahead of Israel show
hopeful Michael Rice owes it all to his mother The UK’S entry for this year’s Eurovision Song Contest has paid tribute to his mother, who nurtured his dream of finding fame as a pop star.
Michael Rice’s mother Stephanie, a single parent, made sure he took musical theatre classes each weekend from the age of six.
The 21- year- old from Hartlepool said his mother struggled to pay the £ 60 fee each fortnight but those early years paid off when he started writing songs.
Rice, the eldest of four, said his mother had “focused on me and made sure I got my dream - the dream I am living now”.
He said: “When I was six my mum put me into a musical theatre school on the Saturdays. It was a struggle for her because it was £ 60 ever y f o r t ni g ht a nd s he was a single mum at the time - and there were four of us.” At 13 he dropped musical theatre and began writing. Soon he had penned his first song, Lead Not Follow, the title of which he would eventually have tattooed on his right arm.
He said: “It was only when I was 13 that I decided I didn’t want to do musicals anymore. It spiralled from there. Then I was busking on the streets up and down the country, then All Together Now came and I won that.”
Rice has performed on Eurovision host Graham Norton’s self- titled BBC One show as well as travelling to European cities for pre- parties in the lead- up to the contest.
Next week he will perform the song Bigger Than Us in Tel Aviv, Israel, during the grand final in front of up to 7,000 audience members and many more globally.
He has been targeted by trolls online who have attacked his weight and labelled him a copycat of pop star Sam Smith and The X Factor winner James Arthur.
He remained defiant, saying: “For people who are 40 and 50 years old to finish work, come home, get on the computer and just absolutely go in on me on Twitter and Youtube...
“I’m representing the countr y. So a little more support would be nice.”
The 2019 Eurovision Song Contest will be held between Tuesday and Saturday.