It’s been a busy few months for the Eurovision world, with a number of nations internally selecting their acts. We’ve had Azerbaijan, Finland, The Netherlands and Belgium decide on their acts, and Austria is next! Through an internal selection conducted by Austrian broadcaster ORF, it was decided that Cesár Sampson would be representing Austria at Eurovision 2018.
Although we were unaware of Cesár, it turns out that he’s had a fair bit of Eurovision experience, having been a part of the Bulgarian team in both 2016 and 2017. He is a member of Symphonix International, which is a collective based in Vienna that worked with the Bulgarian team to produce the nation’s best results in the contest ever, and now they have worked on what will be Austria’s 2018 entry.
Other than Eurovision, Cesár has had experience in the music industry since the age of 17, when he began touring the world as part of the Austrian acts Kruder & Dorfmeister, Sofa Surfers and Louie Austen. After this, he worked mainly behind the scenes as a songwriter, a lyricist and vocal producer.
Cesár discussed his musical journey, saying ‘I initially came in contact with music through rhythm and dance. Both came to me very naturally, and I thought of myself as a percussionist long before I was a professional vocalist. To this day I start my songwriting process by singing rhythmical gibberish, getting the groove and vibration of it all right, until suddenly actual words flow in,’
‘When I turned twenty, I reached a point where I felt I wanted to be more than just a musician, I needed a deeper motivation. So I centered the following years around social work as a physical therapist, and in particular, working with people with disabilities and handicaps. After that I came back to music with a totally different approach to it all,” he explained. “My voice is the most developed instrument I own, it is the result of a long journey. While I did start off with a fairly good instrument, I really didn’t understand it, it was just kind of there. I feel, to sing with the awareness and experience I have today, makes a world of difference.’
ORF’s Television Director Kathrin Zechner has commented on their selection, hopeful that Cesár will build on the recent success of Austria, ‘Cesár is rhythm, he is a child of humanity, he is a voice! Cesár lives and breathes music and is an empathic artist! He understands how to use his voice, as a singer and as a human being. His musicality, devotion to his artistry and his holistic approach to his musicianship are contagious. He is equally authentic and unique, just an outstanding Austrian artist, who is sure to make our country proud in Lisbon.’
The Austrian act was scouted by Eberhard Forcher and the ORF team, and Eberhard has commented on the final choice, saying, ‘This year we chose an artist, who only at first glance appears to be a newcomer, as he has successfully participated in Eurovision twice already (as vocal producer and support singer for Bulgaria). With his dark, soulful voice and a background, that lies equally in classic gospel as it does in modern electronic-pop, he has all the necessary tools to possibly become a standout in this competition. He is the complete package.’
Stay tuned for more news on the song release, but for now watch the 2017 entry by Nathan Trent!