Eurovision Song Contest hopeful James Newman has said he looked to chart-topping dance music producers such as Joel Corry for inspiration to give the UK its best shot in this year’s competition.
The 35-year-old singer-songwriter, who has worked with Rudimental, Ed Sheeran and Calvin Harris, is scheduled to perform the upbeat track Embers in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, in May.
The older brother of pop star John Newman had been ready to perform the ballad My Last Breath at the 2020 contest before it was cancelled due to the pandemic.
He told the PA news agency: “Obviously, last year, when I did My Last Breath, we were living in a different time. It was before we knew we were going to be in a pandemic.
“When I was thinking about what song I wanted to write for now I was thinking that we have been through such a rubbish time.
“I wanted to write something that feels like a celebration, something you can dance to, whether it is in an arena in Rotterdam or in your kitchen.
“I was listening to the British charts thinking ‘What represents the UK in the charts right now?’ And it was all dance music, like Joel Corry. It made sense to do something like that.”
Newman said Embers is about “the glow in the fire that hasn’t burnt out” and is “high energy” for when he appears on stage in front of the Eurovision audience.
Current plans will see him travel to Rotterdam to perform at the Ahoy arena but a contingency plan has been put in place in case coronavirus restrictions mean he must remain in the UK.
“We have all done back-up performances,” he said.
“I did mine three weeks ago on the Comic Relief stage just before Comic Relief. It was all set up ready to go.
“So they wanted us to do a scaled-down version of the performance just in case, for whatever reason, unfortunately you can’t go. So you have got this performance ready.
“It’s the not the same as performing on that massive stage.
“It is good because I can look back at the video and go ‘Right, I have got a lot of work to do’. And it is good to just see what the vibe is.”
At the 2019 contest the UK came in last place with Michael Rice’s Bigger Than Us, while the Netherlands came top with Duncan Laurence’s Arcade.
The grand final of the Eurovision Song Contest is scheduled to take place on May 22 and will be broadcast live on BBC One with commentary by Graham Norton.
Radio 2’s live coverage will feature commentary from Ken Bruce.