EUROVISION SONG CONTEST 2006
"I definitely want to return!"
The United Kingdom representative at the 2006 contest in Athens was Daz Sampson, with the song Teenage Life which he co-composed with John Matthews. He finished in 19th place with 25 points. Here he talks about his memories of the Contest and his ambitions to return to the Eurovision stage.
songs4europe.com: Thinking of the lyrics to Teenage Life. "What did you learn at school....."? What were your favourite subjects at school? Did you always want to go into the music business?
Daz Sampson: "Yes, I sort of always knew or at least thought I'd be in music or acting from around the age of about seven.I was in most of the top class at school but it just wasn't for me, I got my education from the school of life."
Schooldays are often described as the happiest days of your life. True or not for you?
"1000000%... They are the best years of your life, particularly when you get to around fourteen or fifteen. They're amazing."
Did you write Teenage Life with the Eurovision audience in mind in particular, or was the aim to write a commercial hit song?
"I wrote Teenage Life in 2002 whilst driving past my old school..the hook came into my head in full in like ten seconds,.so I called my production partner John Matthews up and he said "It's not a hit", I said "It is and we are doing it!". Then in 2003 we recorded it with Blazing Squad, but they got dropped shortly after,.and in 2006 when Richard Parks came knocking for Eurovision I knew I had something outstanding in the locker."
Had you watched the Eurovision Song Contest much before? Any favourite songs? When did you think that you'd like to do Eurovision?
"During the 80's I used to sit and watch it every year, the voting was just amazing...ofcourse I remember Bucks Fizz etc, and I liked Love City Groove and Imaani in the 90's. I think it was around Gina G time, as I was just starting to get record deals then, and I realised that I may one day do Eurovision."
Had you considered entering Eurovision: Making Your Mind Up prior to 2006?
"Yes, I entered a song in 2003, and never even got a reply!"
Have you tried to enter Eurovision: Making Your Mind Up or Your Decision again? Would you enter a song for yourself again, or for a different artist, or perhaps consider submitting a song for another country?
"Yes, I have tried to enter Making Your Mind Up in 2007 and again in 2008...in 2007 the BBC thought it was too soon, and in 2008 they didn't want a novelty song (which is what I had)...So YES I'd love to try again...Lets face it,.there was a great crowd swell to me in this country when I did it. It was like I was taking Eurovision back to the common man, and viewing figures reflected that. I think a lot of people really thought I had a chance to do well in Athens"
When you submitted your song in 2006, how confident were you of it being accepted, and of winning Making Your Mind Up? Which songs did you consider to be the biggest competition to your own in that final?
"Anthony Costa and City Chix were the biggest competion,.but yes, I knew the minute Teenage Life was in the final that the public would back it. As I tried to get the message across in interviews that it wasn't about me trying to save a career or trying to get on Big Brother, it was about me wanting to go to the greatest musical competion in the world!"
Similarly in the Eurovision Song Contest in Athens. Which songs in the competition from the Semi-Final and Final did you particularly like? Apart from your own song, which one would you have made the winner?
"Finland deserved to win, and I liked Kate Ryan from Belgium, I also liked Carola from Sweden and Anna Vissi from Greece that year."
Did you feel you got the support of the BBC in promoting your song. Did you promote Teenage Life in any other countries prior to the contest?
"Yes I felt I did have the support. I went to Poland, France and Sweden."
Did you think you could win the contest beforehand? What feedback were you getting from those around you, and what was the general feeling as to where you would end up on the scoreboard?
"I thought I could win until I arrived there in Athens. Then I started to think that maybe top seven would be great..."
Looking back now would you have done anything different with the song, in terms of presentation, performance etc, or would you do it exactly the same again?
"I would not change a thing. Anyone in that arena that night will tell you, the performance was a top five performance! It's a shame the voting didn't reflect that."
How were you feeling when the votes, or lack of votes were being delivered, and it wasn't going in your favour. Did you feel it was political and neighbourly voting, or that the audience just simply didn't like the song?
"I don't know about the voting. All I felt was so sick,you can see in the documentary footage, I was sick, I felt for the girls, they where young and it was hard for them. I just thought of everyone back home, I felt sick for the United Kingdom, as like I said earlier there was a air of optimism."
As you said, it seems that nearly every British artist in recent years, arrives at the contest optimistic, declaring that they are going to change the bad run of results, and that their song is different, and yet the results are similar. Do you regret saying anything prior to the contest about changing that trend etc?
"No I do not,everything I said was the truth, I love the contest, I did it to try and win, and not to become a D list celebrity and do all those reality shows. I promised the United Kingdom public that, and I stuck to my word. I turned down many offers after Eurovision."dazcasual
What did you do immediately after the Eurovision Song Contest? Party? Drown your sorrows? Or back to your hotel and sleep?
"I went and mixed with my public"
"No advice although at G.A.Y, Cheryl Baker did give me her phone number and asked if I'd meet her!!??"
Do you think it would be a good idea if the BBC were to give the United Kingdom final winner, a guarantee of a return appearance one year later to hand over the trophy, and a chance to promote their latest single. Do you think that this might attract more artists and performers to the contest?
"Everyone has to remember, you don't really make any money from Eurovision and the record labels make even less so, it's hard for any so called decent A list artist to think about doing Eurovision."
What was your best memory of the whole Eurovision experience?
"Too many to mention, but I definitely will go back!"
If you could change anything about the current format of the Eurovision Song Contest, what changes would you make and why?
"I wouldn't, apart from maybe change the voting slightly to make it a bit fairer,"
You've described representing the United Kingdom at Eurovision as the pinnacle of your ten years in the music business. What ambitions do you have for the next ten years?
"I definitely want to return, and will, sadly I think that it will have to be with another country now, however you never know!"
Songwriter, producer, DJ, Remixer, Performer. If you had to list just one of the above to describe you best as being your occupation, which one would it be, and what are you working on now?
"Performer - man of the people. At the moment I am still producing records."
Any message for visitors to the songs4europe.com site?
"VOTE DAZ! He loves you all!"
songs4europe.com would like to thank Daz Sampson for taking the time to do this interview. We wish him all the best for the future, and perhaps we will see him on the Eurovision stage again?_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Daz Sampson at The Eurovision Song Contest 2006