Josh Dubovie flies the flag for the UK at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest (BBC1, Saturday, May 29). Here the 19-year-old from Essex reveals why he thinks the Pete Waterman pop song he’s singing should serve us well in Oslo…
Have you enjoyed being in the spotlight these past few months since you won Your Country Needs You?
“It’s been such a positive experience. My support’s been so great, especially in Essex where I’m from. I’ve had such a great time already and I’ve not even got to Oslo yet.”
What’s it been like going to Europe to promote the song?
“Well Volcano dust permitting, I’m going to as many places as I can, promoting the song to European audiences. That’s the plan anyway. I recently went on a TV show in Holland and they seemed to love the song.”
Have any alterations been made to the song since you first performed on Your Country Needs You?
“Yep we’ve definitely improved it. The song has been pretty much customised to my vocal now. A few new instruments have been put in and it’s been raised by a semi-tone to my natural key. There’s a big note at the end, and I’m able to do that even better now. What we’ve done to the song has given me a lot of confidence.”
Has Pete Waterman been heavily involved in helping to refine it?
“He has, yes. He’s been very impressed by how it’s all working out. He’s very hands-on and just as excited as me about it all. Pete Waterman and Mike Stock have had hundreds of hits in Europe, so they know what they’re doing.”
What have you got planned for the performance in Oslo? Will we see any extra gimmicks, backing dancers and such-like?
“Yes we’re planning things now, but I can’t give away too much because it’s good to keep surprises for the night. We’ve got a few different levels to use and some wind machines! I’ve never used those before when performing. I suppose it’s just like doing an outside gig.”
This is going to have a huge audience in the stadium and on TV. What’s your biggest performance before this, excluding of course doing Your Country Needs You?
“The biggest so far was a charity event at Hyde Park in front of 19,000 women. Probably the best day of my life!”
Have you sung much pop before?
“I like all sorts really, although I’ve done a lot of crooner-style songs, like Michael Buble and Frank Sinatra stuff. I have such an eclectic taste, I’ll sing anything in my range to be honest. I love John Legend, R’n’B, soul, funk, all that sort of feel.”
No doubt your family have been thrilled by what you’ve achieved?
“Originally my family were telling me not to go into this industry because it’s so hard, but they’re really supportive now. I’ve been performing since I was nine, but I’ve been singing properly for three years now. I was singing Pete’s songs at nine, but also making up my own songs. Reading the newspaper and trying to make a tune out of what was written was a favourite game! I’ve always loved singing, but I didn’t really notice it until I was 16, while I was at sixth form. I think my education may have suffered because of my passion for singing and wanting to perform in front of people.”
What memories do you have of Eurovision in the past?
“I’ve been more of a fan recently as long as I’ve been in the singing business, so I’m more up to date with the up to date stuff. When I was younger we had Eurovision parties. My mum and Dad used to host them. My favourite UK entry was Katrina and the Waves.”
Have you seen any of your Eurovision competition yet?
“I’ve watched a few on YouTube yes. My favourites are the Danish song In A Moment Like This, and the German girl has a very unique voice. I also like Spain. I don’t know if he’ll be keeping the ‘toy soldiers’ production he did in his country’s entry competition, but it was very good and I really enjoyed it. There are a lot of really good songs this year.”
Have you spoken to anyone who’s done Eurovision before, who could give you advice?
“On the night of Your Country Needs You, I spoke to Jade Ewen briefly. She just said to enjoy it and take in the fantastic vibe. This experience is never going to come again, unless you represent Ireland twice like Johnny Logan did.”