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Monday, 07 April 2014 21:27

ESC 2014: An In-Depth Review of Belgium

It has become customary for the escflashmalta.com editorial board to engage professional individuals from the music industry to assess the songs competing in the Eurovision Song Contest as presented to the European Broadcasting Union during the Heads of Delegation Meeting. Martin Isherwood, Deo Grech, Stano Simor and Matt Mercieca from the United Kingdom, Malta and the Czech Republic have been entrusted with the first semi-final, comprising of sixteen songs and set to take place on the 6th May 2014 at the B&W Hallerne in Copenhagen, Denmark. Making use of the running order and thus moving onto number #10, we catch up with Belgium (VRT) who will be represented by Axel Hirsoux and the song Mother co-written by Rafael Artesero and Ashley Hicklin.
 
 
Born in 1982, Axel Hirsoux grew up in the rural town of Courcelles, near Charleroi. His love of music was in his blood even as a child. During his early years he studied music theory for 5 years after which he learned to play the trumpet. In 2001 he first took part in a singing contest. One year after he met his vocal coach Nell, who took his vocal performance to a higher level and even today he is still working with her. At the age of 23 he registered for the Star Academy in France where he just missed out on being selected. But Axel did not give up. In 2007 he sang Vivo per lei to an audience of 1500 people with the French star Hélène Segara.
 
Meanwhile, he regularly performed with an amateur group in a performance of the famous musical Notre Dame de Paris. In 2013 he made his debut in the Walloon version of The Voice. He ended up in the team of Natasha Saint-Pier but had to say goodbye after the battles. His love for the Eurovision Song Contest encouraged him to enrol in the Flemish national selection show, Eurosong 2014. The song Mother is a powerful classic ballad with a simple and understated mise en scene, beautifully executed by eminent choreographer Isabelle Beernaert. The song was composed by Rafael Arte Sero and Ashley Hicklin. Mother is a David Poltrock production.
 
He sings his song with his whole heart and dedicates it to all the mothers of the world, and by extension, to all women. It is probably not a number you would expect to hear at the Eurovision Song Contest, but in Axel's view the universal message of Mother is in fact very suitable for the festival. For Axel participating in the Eurovision Song Contest is a dream come true. He likes to think back to all the years he sat and watched the Eurovision Song Contest and told himself that one day he would participate in it. He regards it as a very important event on an artistic level, and hopefully it will prove to be a good start to a professional musical career.
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHZq3ZExRJI
 
Belgium, one of the few countries to alternate between one broadcaster and the other, in view of representing the general public, who still have different language factions. The nation has only won the Eurovision Song Contest on one occasion, that lonesome time back in 1986 when a young Sandra Kim stormed to victory with her entry J'Aime La Vie. In recent years, qualification has been a major hurdle for Belgium, something that they did manage to overcome in 2010 thanks to Tom Dice and his song Me and My Guitar as well as as in 2013 as Roberto Bellarosa performed Love Kills. At this stage, Mother is one of the favourites to cause an upset, by virtue of being ranked in the top ten.
 
Professional Critics Voice their Opinion
 
Rating: 42%
 
Martin Isherwood: Well, I never thought he'd sound like that.   A song called 'Mother' oh dear, I fear the worst.  Grow up lad. Pull yourself together.  'I'm weak You're bright - I'm so thankful that someday soon, I'll shine like you'!! Have a word with yourself mate!  Pleasant enough voice but his tuning wavers in places. Awful, horrible, shuddersville song. Yak! Punchworthy.  Will probably win.   
 
Deo Grech: Jesus Christ Superstar's ''Gethsemane''...anyone?   Yes the musical released in 1973!! And that is where this entry has taken us.  It's a pity that such a long selection process produced this result. However, there are some plus sides to this song....no, I'm not referring to 'that'....but to the passion that Axel manages to convey in this Oedipus complex anthem...erm sorry I meant a love poem for his mother.  ;) Cheeky!
 
Stano Simor: This song is only about lyrics. Is the only thing, that can be interesting in Copenhagen .. Axel does not have singing potential, and the melody in chorus is not strong enough.
 
Matt Mercieca: Sounds like another song! (i’m singing what song it sounds like, but can’t remember the name sorry) too dramatic for me, but he is talented and I think he’s sweet.
 
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APWpOkRQoiY
Published in Editorials

The 2014 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest is months away but several countries have either confirmed their participation or released their regulations for national selection processes. Apart from the means of FM Radio in the Netherlands on FM 106.8 and the audio stream from the studio via www.radiointernational.tv and on Digital Cable 781 & Cable 8.1Mhz in the Netherlands, the show will also be web-televised via the Radio International TV Channel from the studio and linking up the many international Eurovision fans and friends and play your requests and read your messages out on air. The simulcast will be from 2000 – 2300 hours CET when fans can join in and chat amongst each other via the Chat Room and request their favourite Eurovision entry.

In anticipation of the upcoming edition of the Eurovision Song Contest set to take place in Denmark, the team of Radio International had the opportunity to visit Germany & Belgium, two countries who held their national selections in the past couple of days. Thus, we are pleased to present interviews with none other than Elaiza and Axel Hirsoux who will be performing Is It Right? and Mother, in the final and the semi-final, respectively. Apart from those though, other interviews with Bandits, Yass and Udo will be aired throughout the programme.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APWpOkRQoiY

As the dawn of a brand new season approaches, Radio International will be hosting a brand new feature, one entitled Denmark's Eurovision Song Contest History which will be reflecting on the entries that the Scandinavian nation sent to the annual music competition. David Mann will continue to look at cover versions from the event whilst the latest news from escXtra and escflashmalta.com will be read out. In the meantime, former representatives of the Eurovision Song Contest are always looking for ways to please their fans and thus new music is being recorded and published throughout the year. Radio International will be playing the most recent singles as sent in by several record labels. We urge you to tune into Radio International this evening at 20:00 CET in order to request your favourite entry from the Eurovision Song Contest and listen to the special features.

Source: Press Release

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KcbctglZ_io