He’s a singer-songwriter, Britain’s Got Talent finalist and a potential frontrunner for this year’s Eurovision Song Contest after being chosen to represent Ireland in Lisbon this May. But don’t expect cheesy Europop from BIMM Dublin graduate Ryan O’Shaughnessy, as the hotly-tipped troubadour is going into this year’s competition with his own brand of rock’n’roll.
Ryan will perform ‘Together’ in at Lisbon’s 20,000 capacity Altice Arena on Tuesday 8 May. He penned the track – which was shortlisted out of 300 songs – with writers Mark Caplice and Laura Elizabeth Hughes of The Nucleus [a revered group of songwriters led by Hamlet Sweeney, Status Quo, UB40]. The Skerries-born star reflects on the incredible opportunity here:
“I plan on doing Ireland proud by bringing a song and performance to Eurovision that we haven’t seen since the days of Rock and Roll Kids. Last year’s winning song from Salvador Sobral was a beautiful, melodic piece, and I think it may have carved the way for the Eurovision to revert back to being a song contest where true songs can flourish. I can’t wait to get onto that stage and perform an honest piece for millions of people.”
So, does Ryan have what it takes to join Ireland’s illustrious list of past winners? Collectively, Dana, Johnny Logan, Linda Martin, Niamh Kavanagh and Paul Harrington & Charlie McGettigan still hold the record for the most wins out of all Eurovision nations – seven. Will ‘Together’ make it eight?
It’s hard to bet against him when you consider Ryan’s self-titled EP stormed the charts on both sides of the Irish Sea in 2012 – while he was still at BIMM Dublin! The Sony UK release enjoyed three weeks at No.1 in Ireland; not to mention the bright, young singer-songwriter’s huge fanbase – his VEVO page has over 61,000 subscribers, and his BGT audition of ‘No Name’ (another self-penned song) boasts over 45,000,000 YouTube views!
Of course, fans of the drama series set in Dublin, Fair City will still remember him as playing Mark Halpin for over a decade. While we may be biased, we believe Ryan, who has rubbed shoulders with some of the world’s greatest songwriters, could be a shoe-in for this year’s competition.
But Ryan won’t be alone in representing his former college, as fellow BIMM graduate RAYA is also in contention to represent the UK! The BIMM London prodigy will go against six others on Wednesday (February 7) at the world-famous Brighton Dome on BBC Two’s ‘Eurovision: You Decide’ selection show. If she wins, she’ll be making her way to Lisbon with Ryan.
Next week’s show will also feature appearances from several BIMM Brighton students, who were called upon to analyse what makes a successful Eurovision entry.
Speaking to BIMM about the interviews, Gemma Hodson, a producer at the BBC, said: “We came to BIMM because you have incredible songwriters on the verge of pursuing their career in music. They’ve got so much knowledge and so much love for what they do. So why not show them a few songs and see if they can tell us what makes a good or a successful Eurovision song?”
This year’s Eurovision is shaping up to be a BIMM takeover, and we can’t wait to see how both Ryan and RAYA fare during this iconic competition.