Songwriter Aidan O'Connor
THE Eurovision song contest has always had a very special place in Aidan O’Connor’s life, ever since he was a small boy growing up in West Limerick.
Then, Aidan recalls, he put on his own Eurovision “shows” for his family in Carrigkerry.
But, a childhood dream could be about to come true this Friday, if the song he wrote, Ashes of Yesterday, is selected to be Ireland’s entry in this year’s Eurovision.
And Aidan is asking for the support of everyone in Limerick to make Ashes of Yesterday the number one choice when it is performed by Janet Grogan (pictured below) on the Late Late Show this Friday night.
It will then be open to a national jury, an international jury and the public to cast their votes. “We need the Limerick vote,” Aidan says, pointing out that the public vote is one third of the total.
If Ashes of Yesterday wins, it will be a first for songwriter Aidan who began writing songs in 2007.
Since then, some 30 songs he has written or co-written have featured in various stages of Eurovision in countries such as Malta, Bulgaria, Moldova and Switzerland.
In 2016, Aidan fulfilled one of his dreams, when his song I Stand was the Czech entry in the Eurovision final.
But he has never made it to the Irish final, Eurosong, until now.
“I am delighted to get this far,” Aidan says, taking a break from his day-job as a teacher of English and Geography in Dublin. There were over 330 songs submitted and to be selected as one of the six finalists is a dream come true, he explains.
Ashes of Yesterday, he continues, was co-written with Sandra Wikstrom and Jon Emil with the collaboration taking place over Zoom. But when it came to selecting the singer, Aidan was very definite about who he wanted: singer/songwriter Janet Grogan.
Aidan says he met Janet at Eurovision 2016 when she was doing backing vocals for the Irish entry sung by Nicky Byrne and they kept in touch. “She has a very strong voice,” he says, and as a songwriter herself, he believes she knows how to lift a song.
Aidan describes Ashes of Yesterday as an “uplifting kind of song” and one that he believes people will be able to relate to.
Rehearsals for Friday night’s Eurosong have been taking place all this week.
“There is a lot of planning, a lot of meetings to get it right,” Aidan says. But he is looking forward to Friday night itself. “I just want to enjoy it,” he added.
Watching from Carrigkerry will be his mother Mary, sister Martina and niece Isobel while brother Noel and his wife Angela will be cheering him on from Templeglantine.
Watch The Late Late Show on RTÉ One and on the RTÉ Player from 9.35pm.
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