How to write a Eurovision song: former contestant Andy Abraham shares his advice as Song Contest celebrates 65th birthday

Andy represented the UK at the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest with his song Even If.

Andy Abraham Eurovision

Over the past 65 years, we’ve heard many types of songs at the Eurovision Song Contest.

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From upbeat tunes, which always make for a great performance, to the more tailored sounds, Eurovision has it all when it comes to music.

ABBA’s Waterloo was recently voted UK’s favourite Eurovision song, and the show certainly didn’t disappoint as it made its return with the first of the Eurovision 2021 semi-finals on Tuesday, 18th May.

Viewers instantly fell in love with Azerbaijan’s Eurovision 2021 entry Samira Efendi as she sang her hit Mata Hari and secured a place in the Eurovision 2021 final.

So, what exactly goes into writing the perfect Eurovision song?

We spoke to singer Andy Abraham, who represented the UK at the Eurovision Song Contest in 2008 with his song Even If, and he revealed what inspired the very song which got him onto the show, as well as his tips for those hoping to represent their countries in the future (and us at home, who just can’t get enough of all the bangers!).

Speaking exclusively to RadioTimes.com on behalf of leading coffee retailer CoffeeFriend, he said: “In 2007, I was asked to do Eurovision, but I said no because I didn’t have a song I was writing for a new album. And then in 2008 they came back to me and I said, ‘I’ve got this song’ and they told me to send three, but I didn’t, I just sent them one. I think they enjoyed it so much that they put me on to Eurovision: You Decide and the British public voted me through.”

On why he decided to send just the one track, Andy continued: “I come from a soul background and love a lot of soul music, especially 60s, 70s, 80s soul. It’s based upon first of all love, togetherness and happiness. It’s do with just feeling good, you know, and that was really it.

“I wanted something a little bit fresher than just the normal either Euro pop or rock, or kind of traditional music that’s appointed to specific countries. I kind of thought to myself, Europe needs some soul. So that’s, that’s what I sent.”

Andy Abraham
Andy Abraham represented the UK at the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest
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So, would he advise contestants to stick to the status quo when it comes to writing a Eurovision song, or do something a little different like he did?

“Let’s suppose if we’re talking about an Ed Sheeran or a Stormzy or a Ne-Yo,  I still wouldn’t tell these artists to change who they are, because then at least Europe will see that there are different styles of music within Europe,” Andy explained.

“But if you’re a songwriter, you will probably cater that style towards Europe, make sense. So if you’re an artist that you know who you are and you know the style of music you do, then do that and stick to that, but maybe melody wise, tune it towards what Europe likes.”

Andy advises listening to previous songs that have gone on to do well on the show, saying: “Just for your own knowledge, I think it makes sense just to listen to previous styles mainly winners song, I would say. But I mean I was set in my ways. Soul was my thing. It was ingrained in me, so I couldn’t divert to try and do something else that really didn’t suit me.”

When it comes to the “Eurovision sound”, Andy says: “I think there’s probably three styles – Euro pop, Euro dance and rock.  I think those are the, I think those are the real strong genres within Europe. And then you’ve obviously got the real traditional sort of music of each country.”

One of this year’s favourites in France’s Eurovision 2021 entry Barbara Pravi, who will sing in French.

‘It’s a lovely song. Really cool tune. Being West Indian, I’ve listened to so many different styles of music, so I think whether it be in a foreign language, or in English, it really doesn’t matter. It’s what you feel.”

With that said, Andy would like to see more diversity as the show progresses.

“More diversity – absolutely!  I don’t think we see enough rapping in there as well. That would be great combo of singing and rapping. But I think because a lot of countries wouldn’t wouldn’t have experienced real music fro the UK, so it may be difficult in respects of it becoming a real big statement, but in essence it would be great to have somebody different.”

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The Eurovision Song contest 2021 will air on the BBC this May. Check out the full list of previous Eurovision winners here. If you’re looking for something to watch tonight, check out our TV Guide.