EBJ’s top 10…artists I want to hear more of (2012 edition)

Just as the national final season is a great way of discovering new music, so too is Eurovision a great way of discovering new artists – artists that appeal to your taste.

For example, think back to 2006, when Lordi won the contest with an epic rock song about angels and lambs and stuff (hardcore!). Hard Rock Hallelujah is one of my all-time favourite winners, but I knew I wasn’t likely to be interested in what the band had produced before and after it. On the other hand, there was a Russian guy with a mullet named Dima Bilan, who I fell in love with (not physically…I did just mention that mullet, didn’t I? I mean musically) and so spent the next six years squealing girlishly every time his name was mentioned, especially in relation to the ESC.

My point is, this year’s contest was no different. I’ve come away with the intention of acquainting myself with a bunch of artists I’d never heard of six months ago. Now that I’ve got a bit of time to do that, I plan to. So here is my list of the performers who impressed me in Baku, at least enough to make me search for their albums on iTunes and consider giving them a listen.

NB – Obviously, I’ve excluded anyone I was familiar with prior to the 2012 season, so please don’t abuse me for leaving out Loreen or Željko or Anybody Else.




Club de Mandinga (2012)

There are few things I love more than catchy, summery, ethnic pop music, and I hear that’s Mandinga’s specialty. I am slightly perturbed by the fact that the graphic of Elena on the cover of their latest album looks nothing like her, but as that has nothing to do with their music and my potential future enjoyment of it, I’ll push it aside. I wonder if you can hear the moonwalking bagpiper in any of the tracks (hear him moonwalking, that is, not bagpiping).



Ivi Adamou

San Ena Oneiro (2011)

Ivi’s not the best live vocalist, but she sounds great in studio, and as her preferred genre fits in nicely with what I usually listen to (outside of Eurovision-land – when I’m inside, I listen to everything) I’m excited to rifle through her back catalogue. I did listen to one of her hits, Crashing Down, back when she was announced as Cyprus’ representative, and I gave that douze points.



Pastora Soler

Una Mujer Como Yo (2011)

Quedate Conmigo was basically a three-minute showcase for Pastora’s uh-mazing voice, so I’m eager to see how she works with less epic material. This woman has been around for a while, so attempting to listen to everything she’s ever done could take me until Eurovision 2060, but I’ll give it a try.



Ott Lepland

Laulan Ma Sind (2011)

I can’t deny that one of the best parts of Ott’s performance in Baku was him being there and me getting to stare at him because of that. But he is genuinely talented, something I managed to notice on those occasions when I tore my eyes away from his wonderful eyebrows. I love a bit of piano ballad-ness and I love listening to Estonian, so further exploring Ott’s repertoire should be disappointment-free.



Compact Disco

II (2011)

These guys were doing electro-rock-pop way before Katy Perry tried it out, so whilst they may not look as good in latex leotards as she does, I’m guessing they’ve got the edge when it comes to the sound.



Nina Zilli

L’amore è Femmina (2012)

Judging by her San Remo entry Per Sempre and her Eurovision song, I’m expecting a hybrid of classic chanteusery and retro sassiness from Nina. Italian really is one of the most musical languages, so my hopes are high.



Can Bonomo

Meczup (2010)

Can’s latest album begs to be heard – the title translates as ‘lunatic’. Who wouldn’t want to investigate that further? It’s the kind of album title I’d expect from Rambo Amadeus, but in this case I’ll be listening voluntarily.



Rona Nishliu

Suus (2012)

Apparently Rona’s genre of choice is experimental jazz, a departure from Suus and not my thing in the least. But I’ve got to see (or rather, hear) what else she can do with that ridiculous voice of hers. I’m beginning to think that her dreadlocks hold some sort of mystical powers that make her sing like nobody’s business. That would explain why she had to wrap one around her neck…




Going to Hollywood (2010)

I’m assuming that back in 2010, these guys hadn’t disco-fied their music to death. If so, their debut album should be worth a spin. If not, well, I could get used to wearing flares and leathers when I’m listening.



Soluna Samay

Sing Out Loud (2012)

She may be one of those people who make me feel inadequate and talentless, but her adequateness and talent drew me to her at Eurovision (as did her hat-and-shoulderpads combo. I must visit a costume store and find me one of those). It will be a relief to answer that eternal question: what happens when a busker gets a record deal?


Which artists were your favourite discoveries this year?

About Jaz

Hi there – I’m Jaz, a 27-year-old Aussie with a serious Eurovision obsession. The ESC is the biggest and best party on the planet, and I like to keep it going way beyond May. That’s why I write about anything and everything contest-related (the songs, the costumes, the choreography and my undying love for Ott Lepland, for example) on my blog. Visit and subscribe for rankings, reviews and more fun stuff. You’ll get an automatic douze points from me! www.eurovisionbyjaz.com

Posted on June 27, 2012, in Eurovision 2012 and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 21 Comments.

  1. nprovenghi271

    I haven’t delved into the history of the artists yet, so that’s something to do over summer. But, have you heard Soluna Samay’s new single? It’s really great for summer!


    • I’m definitely going to be using my free time for music investigation. Serious business!!
      I haven’t heard this song yet. I would listen to it now since you embedded it right there for me (=]) but it’s 1am and my eyes are about to fall out of my head!! Do you think it’s better than her Eurovision song??


  2. I bought Can Bonomo’s album while I was in Germany and I totally recommend it! I love it, so I guess he’s my favorite 2012 discovery? I actually like “Bana Bir Saz Verin” more than “love me back” and, as you know, I love “love me back”, so yeah 😛 Meczup is a really good song too. My second favorite would be Roman Lob, yeah I also bought his album xD and it was way better than I expected it to be. If you’re interested, check out “Call Out The Sun”, it’s kind of summery… I love Soluna Samay’s new single too! Can’t wait for her new album. I have sinplus in my list even though most of their other stuff is too simple plan-ish, but I’m enjoying their album nevertheless. Then I have Ivi Adamou, Pasha Parfeni and I think I’ll give compact disco a try…I wish Greta and Jonsi would release more stuff together, but I doubt they will 😦


    • I will make sure I listen to Bana Bir Saz Verin first then!! On your recommendation. I also may have to indulge in some Roman Lob too. I was going to add him to the list but for some reason I didn’t think he had an album out. Then again, neither does Rona (that I know of) and I put her on it..IDK.
      I have been encouraged more than once to listen to Soluna’s new song, so that will be a priority I think.
      I wish Jonsi would release a song that declared his undying love for me. Oh, and that he would sing more stuff with Greta, of course. They’re a good musical match (even if Europe didn’t end up thinking so).


  3. also Ivi (: but also Eleftheria :0 okay.. I feel ugly & fat when I lokk at her but when she dances I wanna dance too! (and again she won ._. better dancer than me.)
    of course Mandinga! :] makes me smile and think of sun & beach.


    • I am sure you are not fat, ugly or a bad dancer!! Although I see where you’re coming from with the looks-envy. Anyone who has the body to wear what I would wear as a top as a dress is rather irritating.
      Mandinga are very summery. Since it’s winter over here I will be listening to a LOT of them I think =]


      • Haha =D not fat but I wish I had her body ._. buuut okay you can’t have everything in life.
        (: I have holidays so I am in Serbia an it’s really hot here. Mandinga fits perfect to my mood and the weather (:


      • =D haha.
        Do you know her new Song? Hearts Collide. uhm.. I think its a new song =D haven’t heard it before. (: I like it.


        • I think it is new. I haven’t heard it yet, but I must get around to it!! I still haven’t listened to Soluna Samay’s new song yet.


  4. Lady Rosa de Vere

    your list is pretty good one!
    but given i am a eurovision newby actually Zeljko was a discovery for me this yr so I have been madly listening on youtube and amazingly i can buy stuff of his on itunes – yah! (not like my faves from last yr 😦 ).


    • Aussie iTunes isn’t doing too badly on the Euro-music front lately! I used to get let down a lot (although their endless supply of k-pop placated me a little) but recently I’ve noticed them stocking a wider range. Zeljko, of course, and a lot of Swedish stuff too. Happy times!


  5. Lady Rosa de Vere

    oh and compact disco..but i had already bought all their stuff that i could on itunes before it made it to the hungary finals!!


  6. Lady Rosa de Vere

    yes i agree with you. this yr it seems that itunes australia does have a better understanding of our eurovision needs! thank goodness :)..and lets hope they keep improving!


  7. Lady Rosa de Vere

    one can only hope!! i am doing my bit, this yr 3 of my friends who never watched eurovision before watched it! (i have already converted the kids :P)


    • I have been unsuccessfully attempting to convert my parents for years. What’s your secret?? (Maybe it’s just easier the younger they are?)


  8. Lady Rosa de Vere

    Well my parents are probably the reason I am so open to different music, they have always exposed us to various types not just the popular mainstream stuff. So it was a no brainer..I just leave my Cd at their place and encourage some listens and before you know it they are right into it. My friends have been slower on the uptake but I would post songs I liked on fb and finally this yr I had friends asking me to their house for the semis so we could watch it together. I do still have lots of friends who think I am mad. On the issue of kids mine just lap up music – maybe its an age thing or maybe its exposure?


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