We’re well into the action of the 1in360 competition to find out San Marino’s entrant into the Eurovision Song Contest, and one of the stand out vocalists from last Friday’s episode was Sara de Blue, winning great praise from the judging panel. Here we chat with Sara (also known as Sara Köll) to discuss her Olympic dream, her Italiano and her notorious participation in Austria’s 2016 selection.
Welcome Sara, and first of all congratulations on getting selected as one of the 11 finalists for the 1in360 competition. For our readers who might not be familiar with you, can you give us a short introduction about yourself and when did you start your interest in music?
Hello 🙂 And thank you for the invitation! Well, I’ve been making music since childhood. My parents are singers and my whole family exists of musicians. I started singing in different school bands, musicals, then later in band competitions….then I was at the Casting Show ” The Voice Of Germany” and so one thing lead to another…
How did you feel when you found out you were one of the final 11? Do you remember what you were doing at the time?
Haha Actually it was on Christmas Eve – so I will always remember that day! I made the most beautiful Christmas present to myself and I`m still very thankful for that opportunity 🙂
How did you come to enter the 1in360 competition?
The production team asked me if I want to apply….So I just sent in a video – without any expectations and then I was so surprised that it really happened.
You famously entered the Austrian Eurovision selection in 2016 as part of the Facebook Wildcard search, what memories do you have of them and what will you use of that experience for the Sammarinese selection this year?
Well I’m still very grateful for that opportunity of the Wild Card in 2016 – but the big disadvantage was that the public voting was manipulated and many of the contestants bought fake likes. So I`m not a fan of those ‘unserious’ voting methods. In the San Marino Selection they take it seriously with “paid votes” so no one could cheat. I think that`s a very good idea 🙂
You were also chosen to sing the new version of the Austrian National anthem at the Youth Winter Olympics in Innsbruck in 2012. How did that come about? And how did it feel performing for 20,000 people? Has that been your largest live audience so far?
Wow , yes this was by far the most honored gig I ever had! At first I applied for the Olympic Games Song – then they took someone else. But they liked my song – so they asked me if I want to sing the anthem instead. And I said yes!
How are you getting ready for the competition, how are preparations going?
Well it’s a lot of hard work – but it’s worth it. We are working now on the final production of my song – and also the stage outfit! I’m very thankful – cause Swarovski & the Designer Markus Spatzier of Manufaktur Herzblut sponsored me with a diamond dress! I’m really looking forward to that 🙂
For the 1in360 search you submitted a piano-only version of your own composition, “Closer to the Sun” with some success; will there be more opportunities for us to hear more songs that you’ve written in the selection?
In the near future I’m sure you are going to hear more of my own written songs. I will do my best to publish them – I really want the public to hear my “babies” 🙂 But for the 1in360 competition mostly the songs were written for us. One of my two Songs, “Out Of The Twilight” was written by Zoe (Austria’s 2016 Eurovision artist) & Christof Straub, so it’s going to be very interesting….
What musicians influence you? And what would be your dream collaboration?
I grew up with a lot of R&B, classical music, rock music, electronic and also James Bond Songs. My influences are: Sia, Evanescence, Loreen, Aaliyah and Michael Jackson. I try to mix all of these great genres in one song… it’s going to be a very special song 🙂
My dream collaboration would be a mix of my sound with Timbaland, Rocnation or Sia, and I’ve already sent some demos to the label of Jay Z (Rocnation) and they replied with positive feedback…so let`s see what will happen in the future…
You’re a clear fan of the contest, have there been any Austrian acts or performances that really stood out to you at ESC? Any from other countries?
Well in Austria of course Conchita Wurst! And I also loved the performances of Nathan Trent and Zoe. My favorite of other countries was Loreen from Sweden & Aminata from Latvia – both singers really killed it!
A lot has been made of the international nature of the 1in360 selections. How do you think you’ll handle representing a different country than your own nationality at the Eurovision Song Contest?
Well I think it’s a very cool opportunity for all nations to apply for San Marino. The contestants are from all over the world so this makes this show very interesting. It will be of course a huge challenge for all of us – but everyone will try to give their best. I’ve already started to refresh my Italian 😀 which I luckily learned at school – I love the Italian culture, their country and especially their music.
And finally, is there anything you’d like to say to our readers at ESC Bubble?
I think the most important thing is to stay true to yourself, even though there are dark times – try to get out of the twilight into the light ? And NEVER GIVE UP!