TikTok sensation Sam Ryder says he wants to bring “positive energy” to the Eurovision Song Contest stage when he represents the UK in Turin. The 32-year-old says he wants to bring the same ‘intention’ he shows on the social media platform to his performance.
Sam, from Essex, will represent the UK in Turin performing his catchy pop song Space Man. It comes after the singer found success on social media during lockdown, amassing over 12 million followers, making him the most followed British musician on TikTok.
He connected with his followers by singing straight into his phone. This earned him a host of famous fans, including Justin Bieber, Sia, and Alicia Keys.
Speaking to the PA news agency ahead of the contest, he said, “My personal goal for this is to sing with the same intention I always sing with and then come away with the joy it gave me. I don’t want to treat it any differently than being in an empty room singing, and the joy I felt and the happiness I felt singing that way.
“If I change my relationship with singing, it’s a dangerous thing because I’m messing with something that has been such an important part of my life.”
The UK has been at the bottom of the Eurovision rankings in the last two contests. In 2019, Michael Rice’s Bigger Than Us and James Newman’s Embers in 2021 both scored ‘zero points’
However, Sam said he wasn’t focused on getting a higher score. He said: “To make it strategic and have the happiness it gives me depend on where I am on a scoreboard, that’s something I really don’t want to mess with.
“I want to focus on the fact that I was asked to do it. I was invited to share the stage with amazing artists from all over Europe, celebrating music and songwriting. These are facts that I can cling to and put my positive energy and focus into.
Ryder has been selected to compete for the UK as part of a collaboration between the BBC and global music management company TaP Music, which counts Lana Del Rey and Ellie Goulding among its clients. He co-wrote Space Man with Grammy-winning songwriter Amy Wadge, who previously worked with Ed Sheeran, and Max Wolfgang.
The 2021 competition took place in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, after the 2020 show was canceled due to the pandemic, and was won by Italian rock band Maneskin with their song Zitti E Buoni. The quartet will also perform at the 2022 ceremony – a live premiere of their new single, Supermodel.
Russia was banned from the event after it invaded Ukraine in February, before announcing its act. The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) said in a statement that the inclusion of a Russian entry would bring “discredit” to the competition.
- The Eurovision Grand Final will air on BBC One and BBC iPlayer and on BBC Radio 2 and BBC Sounds on Saturday May 14 from 8 p.m.