Songwriting camp begins as NDR announces six finalists for Germany’s ‘Unser Lied für Israel’

Six of the German National Final artists have now been selected for a songwriting camp, and the national broadcaster NDR is progressing them towards developing a song for the National Final ‘Unser Lied für Israel’.

The selection process had whittled down an initial 198 applicants to down to just 50 and over the course of the last few months a team of 20 international experts have considered these acts and sent their favourite 20 through to a workshop in Maarwegstudio in Cologne-Braunsfeld.  Fifteen of the 20 chosen acts accepted this invitation and they were expertly prepared to be ‘Eurovision ready’ by vocal coaches and other musicians.

A top 6 were then selected and they have been participating at a songwriting camp in Berlin which concluded yesterday.  We can now reveal the name of the acts and give you an idea of the type of song they are working on.  A lot of the information we can provide you is from the first day of the songwriting camp which took place on Monday.  However the songwriting teams got to work with all of the 6 artists and the aim was to have five songs ready for all of the acts by the end of the camp.

Aly Ryan

Aly, real name Alexandra Eigondorf, is a 21 year old singer songwriter who lives in Los Angeles, California.  She has released several songs on the Soundcloud platform and is currently working on an album.  Her song ‘No Parachute’ already has 13.3 million plays on there:

She originates from a small German town called Oberursel, where she always felt different to the other kids and never really fitted it.  At the age of 15 tragedy hit her family when her 17 year old brother passed away, following that difficult period she initially moved to London but eventually took the plunge to move to LA.  She is self taught in playing the guitar and piano and she describes her music as ‘a bit like a diary’.  Her music is best described as slightly alternative but still recognisably pop.  She is hopeful that if selected and successful at Eurovision she’ll be able to launch a career back in Germany.

At the songwriting camp Aly was teamed up initially with British songwriter Michelle Leonhard, Austrian Tamara Olorga and the Dane Thomas Stengaard.  Stengaard was  a writer on ‘You Let Me Walk Alone’ by Michael Schulte (Germany 2017 – 4th) and ‘Only Teardrops’ by Emmelie de Forest (Denmark 2013 – winner) and so his pedigree is extremely high!  The team of songwriters listened to Aly’s back catalogue to understand her style and they note how similar some of her songs are to Swedish star Robyn.  The song they are working is about a hidden declaration of love.

BB Thomaz

BB Thomaz, real name Béatriz Thomas was born in New York City and moved to Gernamy at the age of ten, she is currently residing in Dusseldorf.  She is a mother to a two year old son and also earns a living as a Zumba coach! Her favourite two Eurovision songs are ‘Euphoria’ by Loreen and ‘Toy’ by Netta, so that may give us some idea what her National Final entry may be like.

She like Aly Ryan can also play the piano and guitar and she has been an opening act for the famous British group UB40.  She took part in ‘The Voice of Germany’ in 2017 and finished in a very respectable fourth place.  Here she is performing in the final alongside Kelly Clarkson singing ‘Love So Soft’:

At the songwriting camp we’re not quite sure how she progressed on day one due to a lack of space at the Berlin studios.  She has said though that she is proud of her first song and that

Something came out that I did not expect.

Linus Bruhn

Linus is a 20 year old singer from Hamburg who first found fame at the age of 10 in the musical adaptation of ‘Tarzan’.  He went on to take part in the RTL II television show ‘My Name Is’ which he won with his impersonation of Justin Bieber.  He then took part in ‘The Voice of Germany’ in 2015 where he made it through to the battle rounds but alas didn’t quite make the live final.  Here he is singing One Direction’s ‘Little Things’ on the show:

Linus says he’s been a Eurovision fan since 2010 after watching Lena bring home the win to Germany and one of his favourite Eurovision songs ever is ‘Heroes’ by Måns Zelmerlöw.  He has spent a year and a half building up a profile of work with a mix of pop tracks and ballads in his repertoire. He has also teamed up with Madizin Music Lab to make some of his music and debuted his career with a touching ballad called ‘Pink Glasses’:

His first song at the songwriting camp is about childhood and about how mobile phones have taken away from what being a child was about.  He references his own childhood where he would play outdoors, fly kites and roleplay Star Wars.  His team discuss the need to have to much detail in the song early nor should the lyrics be too childish.

Gregor Hägele

Gregor is the youngest competitor this year, at just 18 years old he’s a singer songwriter hailing from Stuttgart.  He got into music at the age of 10 where he began singing lessons and is primarily a ballad singer.  He became known in Germany through ‘The Voice Of Germany’ as well, taking part in the 2017 series alongside BB Thomaz, where he made the semi finals.  His blind audition cover of ‘When You Love Someone’ by James TW made three coaches turn for him:

Gregor is looking to create a ‘living room atmosphere’ at Eurovision.  At the time of becoming involved with the songwriting camp he was already touring the globe having gigged in Costa Rica and is planning on going to Australian and Asia from December. He says it has always been his dream to make music all the time:

Music is a small world in which one feels safe and hides everything else.

At the song writing camp Gregor was initially working on a German language song.  The theme of the lyrics are about dreams and fear.  It is believed the chorus is pretty much set but some work is still needed on the verses.  They are working on how the song should be sang and Gregor is experimenting with some varying pitches.

Lilly Among Clouds

Lilly, real name Elizabeth Brüchner, is 28 years old and lives near Würzburg.  She initially was just a songwriter but took the step to start singing her own song and it was immediate she had a voice for singing. Her music is highly atmospheric with real nods towards multi-layered eclectic artists such Florence + The Machine and London Grammar.  She is signed to PIAS records in the United States and she has released some material already including the very powerful ‘The Only One’:

The songwriting camp is an interesting experience for her, as she is used to working alone and so she is learning to write as part of a team.  It has taken her some time to get used to this but she is enjoying cooperating with others.  She feels she is thriving on the pressure of writing her entry for the competition so quickly.  She says about the song so far

I have to give some things away, but the song needs to become mine again.

Makeda

Makeda Michalke is no stranger to the German Eurovision preselection.  In 2017 she was in the shortlist for the preliminary round but unfortunately had to step out, whilst she made in the the candidates workshop stage in 2018.  It looks like 2019 might be the lucky one for the 27 year old from Bonn, as she’s cracked the final 6 and has made it to the finalists songwriting camp.  She currents sings with a band called Steal A Taxi and they still remain her backing musicians now she is venturing solo.  She only recently released a song onto Youtube with them called ‘Feel like Home’:

Her inspiration is very much Alicia Keys and it was her legendary song ‘Fallin’ that inspired Makeda to take up music.  Although she was already able to play the piano she has not had any singing lessons for most of her life.  She is no stranger to a stage and for a year and a half she has been cast in the musical ‘The Bodyguard’.  She has also received praise from Christina Aguilera for her YouTube cover of her song ‘Fighter’:

The news from the songwriting camp is that she is believed to be working on a song titled ‘I’m Breathing Fine’.  The lyrics right now are not complete but the aim at the moment is to get the music right.  She worked on day 1 with songwriters including Tim Schou (from the Danish Eurovision group ‘A Friend In London), Oliver Som (who has written for Christina Stürmer, Louann and Howard Carpendale) and also Kelvin Jones (who was a singer on the Alle Farben single ‘Only Thing We Know’).  The chorus is apparently sung in two different voices and is hinted to being as being a ballad.

Next stop: Unser Lied für Israel

Thomas Schreiber is the Head of Entertainment for the German broadcaster ARD and he says about the current process

Our six Eurovision candidates are working with great passion and concentration at the songwriting camp on their possible songs for Israel. It is a pleasure to watch them. Last year, this process resulted in Michael Schulte’s hit “You Let Me Walk Alone”. We hope that there will be a comparable success this year, too. The candidates and the songwriters are doing everything they can for this to happen!

At the briefing with the participants of the songwriting camp, we said it should not be a radio track first, but a song that stands out in a TV show amongst many songs from other acts. The ESC is not a music show, but a TV show.  Only when an artist sings a song that touches people can it be perceived as a work of art beyond the show.

Stay tuned to ESCBubble as we reveal more once the songs are finalised and released to the public. We expect the date of the National Final to be be announced for a date in February with tickets to go on sale in mid-January. Although it is confirmed that these six acts will be present there is still speculation that NDR may also invite other acts to participate.

What do you think of the artists revealed and their previous music?  Let us know on our social media channels!

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