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Saturday, 05 April 2014 16:16

ESC 2014: An In-Depth Review of Azerbaijan

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 #8, we catch up with Azerbaijan (Ictimai) who will be represented by Dilara Kazimova and the song Start a Fire co-written by Stefan Örn, Johan Kronlund and Alessandra Günthardt.

First time Dilara took her chance in the Azerbaijani national selection as a band member of Unformal in 2008, when the country debuted in the Eurovision Song Contest. The band finished second in the national selection. Later, in 2010, Dilara qualified to the final as a part of a female duo Milk&Kisses. In the same year, she went to represent Azerbaijan at another international music festival New Wave in Yurmala, Latvia. Dilara has what it takes to be a standout. Early vocal training gave her a great range and vocal discipline. As a child, she was surrounded by different music, from opera and classics to the rock legends like Freddie Mercury. Not to mention the influence of traditional Azeri folk music.

She’s taken elements from each of these diverse genres, developing her own unique vocal style brilliantly showed at this year's Azerbaijani final of Böyük Səhnə. Dilara is remarkably flexible, handling a Motown inspired Mercy with soul and impressive energy or a jazzy cover of Hometown Glory which may actually be as good as Adele’s original effort. Dilara began to sing professionally at age of 14. For the last 15 years, she has been experimenting with variety of styles and training her versatile voice. She was introduced to music professionally at the U. Hajibekov Baku Academy of Music. Later on she graduated as an opera singer from Baku Conservatory. 

Besides music Dilara has a passion for painting and acting. Her filmography includes Try, Do Not Breathe (2006) and In-between (2007), where besides acting she has also created a soundtrack Sonzul Yol. One of her next planned steps for future is to combine music with acting in musical. Dilara is in her top shape as an artist. Fans of live music in Baku know her as one of the most wanted and most discussed guest of city’s modern alternative stage. When she’s got a chance, Dilara spends her spare time in the yoga studio or reading books on psychology. She also loves animals and never wears fur in life or on stage, as a sign of respect towards all the animals in existence. In the meantime, it is worth pointing out that her single for the Eurovision Song Contest has been published by German record label, CAP-Sounds.


Azerbaijan, one of the nations to have joined the family of the Eurovision Song Contest in recent years, making an instant impact noting that they have always managed to enter the top ten, and that their worst result was actually achieved back in 2008 with the duo Elnur & Samir with their eccentric performance of the song Day After Day. It was back in 2011 when the nation achieve their first and thus far, only victory at the hands of another duo, a male and female known as Ell & Nikki whose entry Running Scared, considered by many a pop gem had succeeded in triumphing at the event. Last year, Azerbaijan was almost close to repeating that success as Farid Mammadov finished in second place with the song Hold Me.

Professional Critics Voice their Opinion

Rating: 76%

Martin Isherwood: Struggling with the sense of the lyrics.  All sounds very sad but I'm clueless! Nice smoky voice with an interesting vibrato and falsetto. Lovely melodies. Big production and nicely done. Very reminiscent of 'Read All About it’ Emile Sande. 

Deo Grech: I am simply awed by the ability of how the Azeris manage to produce one incredible entry after the other.   Following closely on last year's entry Azerbaijan has produced yet another incredible ballad with interesting ethnic undertones.  This will surely be one to watch out for!   Yet another candidate for this year's battle of the ballads.

Stano Simor: Beautiful voice, wonderful song. thirties style in a modern design and making use of Azeri folklore. It is very specific. The song and the chorus do not have a hit factor, or any other factor for that matter, and it is somewhat required in a three minute performance!!

Matt Mercieca: I think the song is beautiful, and melody is beautiful, and it makes me feel all dreamy and nostalgic! I just wish I knew what she was saying, I love the kind of middle eastern touch at points, i wish diction was better cause I wanna understand her story a little more, but over all I love the vibe.

Source: eurovision.tv


Published in Editorials