- 02 Feb 09
Tara Blaise has emerged as a potential Eurovision representative for Ireland, Hot Press has learned.
With the closing date for entries today, it has been confirmed that Tara has entered a song co-written with Billy Farrell, and with input from John Hughes, the man who steered The Corrs to international success. Hughes, who has been manager and mentor to Blaise for over five years, released his own widely praised Wild Oceans solo album album in 2004, with Tara as featured vocalist on two tracks.
"I'm interested in the idea of restoring Eurovision to the importance it once held for Irish musicians and songwriters," Hughes told Hot Press. "So I sat down with Tara and we talked about it. We talked about ideas for the kind of song that would be appropriate and that might really connect with people all across Europe right now.
"So, having put that kind of thought into it, Tara has come up with a great song. It's all about a positive sense of where we're going in these difficult times. It's a really remarkable song. I think it has to have a great chance."
Blaise is a gifted singer, who was recently selected to perform what had originally been Julie Covington's role in the stage version of The War of the Worlds. A fine songwriter, she has released two albums of original material to date – Dancing On Tables Barefoot and Great Escape – and both were highly acclaimed, with BBC Radio 2 picking up in particular on 'Fool For Love' and 'Paperback Cliche' from the debut album, the latter going on to become a major radio hit in Ireland, where it reached No.2 in the airplay charts. She also has loads of sex appeal, a quality which is regarded as being of greater importance than ever for Eurovision entrants.
"She could be brilliant, if she is chosen," one industry insider told Hot Press. "She is beautiful. But she also is a real musician, who has a great voice and a way with with a pop song. A lot depends on the quality of the opposition, but I could see her going all the way. We made a big mistake last year with Dustin. She'd be a brilliant choice, which is the best way to banish the memory of that forever."
Also in the frame is another Hughes collaborator Greg French, who is one half of the Brilliant Things duo. A studio wizard and a fine singer and songwriter, French's contribution is also likely to be in contention when the entries are whittled down to a shortlist.
"It's a song that really suits Greg. There is a more romantic feel to it, it's about relationships and the way they are affected by turbulent times. I don't say things like this lightly, but I think this is a brilliant song too – so it is a question of what the judges are looking for."
Hughes believes that it is important that the contest is approached uncynically.
"I think that we need to get a different kind of message across," he says. "Ireland has been known, over the years, as a great source of musical talent and we need to remind people of that. What I'd like to see us saying is this: there's a lot of hardworking musicians here. They're good musicians, who know how to write great songs.
"Sure, we have a sense of fun. We know how to party. But when the party's over, it's time to work. And right now, we need to work. We'll have another party in five years time – but this is a time for great songs, songs that inspire people.
"I think we have songs that can do that. So let's wait and see."