SuRie was the UK’s 2018 Eurovision entry with the song Storm, her excellent performance in the final was interrupted by a stage invader, but she bravely carried on, winning her a place in our hearts. This Friday she is performing at The Two Brewers as part of their Eurovision weekend and she took part in our Eurovision cover shoot, where Dave Cross had a catch up.
Hi SuRie, are you looking forward to the Two Brewers on Friday?
I can’t wait. I haven’t been there before, but LGBT audiences are always the best and I can’t wait to party with everyone. I’ve done quite a few Pride events, but not many clubs.
We know you best as last year’s UK entry but you had been involved with Eurovision before…
Twice I had the joy of being a Belgian, as a backing vocalist and dancer for Loïc Nottet who represented Belgium in Vienna in 2015 when Conchita was hosting and then they asked me back as a musical director for Blanche’s City Lights in Kyiv, Ukraine in 2017. I never really thought Eurovision would feature once let along three times in my life and especially to go from backing to taking the lead for my country was just a whole new level of pride.
Can you tell us about the process leading up to the BBC You Decide programme, where the public chooses the final entry?
It almost starts straight away, certainly a couple of weeks after Eurovision the process begins again. I was working as a songwriter, behind the scenes on various projects and that’s how I met the BBC team. As they were pulling together the whole giant jigsaw of which songs with which singers etc, there were actually songs I had written in the running to be selected, but in the end they put me together with a song I hadn’t written, which was Storm.
How much input do acts get into the final performance at Eurovision?
The creative teams that work on the shows are so brilliant and yes we had lots of conversations, but Dan Shipton, who was the Creative Director for me and Lucie Jones just has wonderful ideas and he’s a lovely human being.
What’s the build up to the final like?
It’s amazing. The moment you step off the plane, in whatever host city, you are treated wonderfully. There’s loads to do, press interviews, photo shoots, rehearsals, it’s thrilling and exhausting and you’re there for 10 days in total.
Obviously the performance at the Final was eventful, but apart from the stage invasion what do you remember about the night, what is the vibe like backstage?
It was actually quite calm. I mean the nerves are kicking in for us individually, but the whole crew are amazing, it runs like clockwork and there’s like 23 acts to get on and off all with production and they do it so well. The dressing rooms are a bit crazy obviously but generally it’s very positive and celebratory on the night.
And when the guy ran on you must have been scared?
My uninvited guest. The only way I can really describe it is, it all happened very quickly and in slow motion at the same time. Because I was in that light structure and concentrating on the performance I didn’t really see him coming and it was really when he grabbed the mic and I had this very violent and very loud noise in my ears, through the in ear monitors, that I really realised what was happening. I think I just thought ‘carry on’ and when they got the mic from him it kind of rolled back to my feet and I picked it up.
When did it hit you that it could have been dangerous?
At the end of the song, you can see as I start to bow the emotions start to hit me, the stage management kind of carried me off stage, my feet didn’t really touch the floor, I was quite shaken up.
Why did you chose to not perform again?
I just felt that the last bit of the song, after the incident, was so fired up that I couldn’t get that back again on the night. The energy from that beautiful crowd couldn’t be repeated, it was a unique moment.
How has the year been since then?
You’re part of the Eurovision family now…
It’s a total honour and a pleasure to be a small cog in this fantastic Eurovision wheel. It’s such a loyal family, the fans are incredible, which has really just been an amazing bonus on top of so many highlights. The community is so positive and supportive, the acts and the gorgeous fans, who come together to celebrate, it’s brilliant. Lucky me.
And what are your plans for the future?
Well, I have my new single which is actually out this Friday 17 May; that’s called Only You and I. After that it’s just continuing to write, record, creating and more live performances, that’s when I’m really at my happiest.