Joe and Jake are one of six acts hoping to represent the United Kingdom at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. The duo are Joe Woolford and Jake Shakeshaft and they may both be familiar to UK audiences through their recent appearances on BBC1’s ‘The Voice’.
Joe and Jake will perform their song ‘You’re Not Alone’, written by Schwartz, Justin J Benson and S Kanes, in Friday night’s show ‘Eurovision: You Decide’. They managed to take some time out of their busy rehearsal schedule to chat to us about their entry into the competition, their time on the voice and their hopes and plans for the future.
Firstly thanks for taking the time to answer our questions, and congratulations on making the final six of the UK preselection. UK Viewers may already be familiar with you both from your time on ‘The Voice’ – How would you sum up your experiences on the show?
Joe: ‘It was absolutely incredible! You’re taken out of your comfort zone and you learn quickly to perform not just to a crowd but for TV as well.’
Jake: ‘It was lots of fun! Going through the process also taught us to be more focused and we’ve come out of it more determined than ever to follow our dreams.’
And what was it like to work with Will.I.am and Rita Ora?. Have they been in touch since to offer messages of support?, and is there any specific advice that you received from them during your mentoring that has really helped you start out in your careers since?
Joe:‘It was amazing to work with Rita, considering how far she’s come at still such a young age. I’m a fan of her music and the people she’s associated with. She has shown us love online! It’s all very positive. I know Rita was once on the verge of going for Eurovision herself when she was first getting started but didn’t for whatever reason. Hopefully she’ll catch our performance on Friday and she’ll be proud.
Jake:‘I enjoyed working with Will. Good tip he gave me was to perform to the invisible space between myself and the audience in front, which helps if you’re ever nervous in front of a crowd!’
Will your experiences of those previous TV performances help with your preparations for Friday, and do you think it will give you an edge over some of the other acts?
Joe:‘I think it gives us an edge having performed to a large audience recently and on TV. Doesn’t mean to say we won’t get nervous, though.’
Jake:‘Yeah, we’re both serial pacers! But more than anything, we’re just excited for the chance to do this and we want to do the UK proud!’
What made you decide to come together as a duo, did someone suggest it to you, or was it an decision that you just came to together naturally?
Joe:‘We’ve always gotten on but after The Voice, we got to hang out more and found that we had very similar tastes in music. We started doing gigs together and writing together and it just clicked.’
Jake:‘It was the love for the same music, Liverpool Football Club and Nandos! Oh and also, both our favourite Eurovision winners are Swedish. Mine is Loreen with ‘Euphoria’ – that performance was out of this world. And Joe’s a big fan of last year’s winner Mans Zelmerlow’s song ‘Heroes’!’
Is it the start of a long-term project? will you be recording more material together, and is there anything else in the pipeline, an album perhaps?
Joe:‘Definitely! We got together before the opportunity came for Eurovision so we’ll definitely continue.’
Jake:‘We’d love to keep writing and keep developing our sound.’
So, where were you when you found out that you made it into the final stages of the process? and has it been difficult to keep quiet about your inclusion in ‘Eurovision: You Decide’?
Joe: ‘I got the call while I was at work and it was very overwhelming and exciting. I rang my parents straightaway but it was tough keeping it a secret from people at work and my friends.’
Jake: ‘I was at home on my own actually when I found out. My parents were on holiday. So I rang them straightaway as well! It’s such a relief we can finally say what it is we’re doing. But for something as exciting as this, it was worth keeping the secret.’
There was a huge amount of discussion about the songs on social media when the songs were first shared with the public on Monday. Did you follow any of it and how have you found the early feedback since the announcement?
Joe:‘It’s really nice to see that a lot of people like the song! Of course with Eurovision and with music it’s subjective, so you’re not going to be everyone’s favourite all the time. But our focus is to deliver a really great performance on Friday and do the UK proud!’
Jake: ‘Yeah we’ve had some very lovely feedback and we absolutely believe in the song as well. We’d like to change the public perception of UK Eurovision acts and we think this song is a real contender!’
If you win the UK ticket to Eurovision, what will you do to celebrate?
Joe: ‘That would be the absolute best! We haven’t planned that far ahead yet. We’re just focused on Friday at the moment!’
Jake:‘You might need to give us a few minutes or hours to let that sink in. It would be such a huge honour if the UK chooses us and puts their trust in us to represent the nation.’
Have you heard any of the songs already confirmed for eurovision from other countries and if so are there any that you particularly like or see as strong competition?
Joe:‘To be honest, we haven’t really looked into it too much. Our immediate competition is on Friday! :)’
Jake: ‘Yeah we’re just focused on doing our best and making sure we’re ready!’
And finally, do you have any other message you would like to share with our readers?
Joe: ‘First of all, thank you for having us and thanks for your support! And your lovely tweets aswell! It’s awesome to see so many people enjoying the song’
Jake: ‘And to everyone in the UK, we hope you vote for us!’
To find out more, you can follow the boys on Twitter and you can listen to Joe and Jake’s ‘You’re Not Alone’ below: