Swiss Eurovision hope is expat with UK ties
A 24-year-old expat from Mauritius who studied music in the UK is carrying the banner for Switzerland in the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest getting under way in Vienna on Tuesday night.
Singer-songwriter Mélanie René is competing in the second semifinal of the 60th annual competition on Thursday night with her English-language song “Time to Shine”.
The daughter of musicians, she trained in the performing arts and song-writing at the Funambule Theatre in Nyon in the canton of Vaud.
A year after winning the grand prize at the George Grigoriu Festival in Braila, Romania in 2009, René left to the UK to continue her musical training at the Academy of Contemporary Music and the Brighton Institute of Modern Music.
While in England, she wrote the song that she entered into the Eurovision contest, successfully beating other contenders in the Swiss elimination process.
René said she is influenced by her Mauritian roots.
“Everything in my life is influenced by Mauritius,” she told a press conference in Vienna, where she has appeared in two rehearsals with her three backup singers at the Wiener Stadthalle.
“When I hear a song for the first time I always notice the rhythm first, which is very Mauritian.”
The message of her Eurovision song accentuates the positive, saying that you can have the strength to go wherever you want to go and to change the world if you want to.
René was invited to perform her song at a Eurovision party in London last month, when she got to meet last year’s Eurovision winner Conchita Wurst, the famous “bearded lady”.
Switzerland has competed 55 times in the contest since making its debut at the first contest in 1956, which was hosted in Lugano, in the Swiss canton of Ticino.
The Swiss won the first contest when Lys Assia came in first place for the song “Refrain”.
Céline Dion, from Quebec, competed for Switzerland and won the competition in 1988 with “Partez pas sans moi”.
Since 2000, Switzerland has only reached the top ten once, in 2005 when girl band Vanilla Ninja finished eighth.
Last year, Swiss entry Sebalter finished 13th.
Here's the video that René has put out to support her contest bid: