This post is in collaboration with Joshua Mayne at ESCDaily
After winning The Voice Australia in 2019, vocal powerhouse Diana Rouvas has been announced as one of the ten artists taking part in Australia Decides 2020. She will compete to represent Australia at Eurovision in Rotterdam with her song ‘Can We Make Heaven’. Rouvas had a chat with ESCDaily’s Joshua Mayne to discuss her thoughts and intentions ahead of the show.
Journey to Australia Decides
Rouvas grew up in Australia in a Greek-Australian household, with both her parents musicians. This environment encouraged her to pick up music from a young age, and develop her talents, with her first record deal signed 18 years ago.
As for Eurovision, she has watched the contest a few times, and considers it to be “a unique platform”. She spoke about her memories of Sakis Rouvas competing twice for Greece. She said that “we’ve never spoken, but his surname is a Greek surname that is not that common”. In fact, they are both from the same region of Greece.
Rouvas is immensely excited to be involved in Australia Decides. She elaborates that “it’s important to understand as an artist that any opportunity and exposure, especially in the digital world now, is really important.”
‘Can We Make Heaven’ was written by herself and Louis Schoorl, but was not initially intended to compete in the national final.
“This song was not written specifically for this, but it popped up and everyone felt like it suited and it felt right.” Competing at Australia Decides was then discussed and presented to Diana, to which she accepted.
A personal song message
‘Can We Make Heaven’ focuses on “the fact that we’re always learning, and that what you thought you knew changes every day”. Rouvas emphasised that we all have the option to decide how challenges affect us.
“I understand that everything is not in our control, but certainly how we respond and what we do with that information, and whether we choose to be the light, is important.”
She has obtained a lot of inspiration for this song from her musical career. “There’s lots of up and downs in every business I’m sure, but in music we have to be vulnerable. At the same time we have to be strong. As artists we have to be creative yet business minded.”
Singing amidst the Australian bushfire crisis
Rouvas wrote her song before the bushfire crisis hit Australia, and is saddened by the events that have unfolded since.
“It’s pretty devastating what has just happened. I can’t imagine being out there like the fire fighters have, and the animals, and the people who have lost homes. It’s horrific.”
Coincidentally, her song contains the lyrics ‘And somewhere above the smoke … We’ll find air and we’ll make it home’. She’s “hoping that people can see the light of people coming together and having sacrificed so much.”
Why musical competition is not for Rouvas
When Diana Rouvas was asked about the competitive aspect of Australia Decides and Eurovision, she was quick to emphasise that musical competition is not for her. She has previously competed in two seasons of the Voice Australia, but has never focused on competing against other singers.
“I think that experience on any stage helps you. I just don’t understand the competition side of music. The competition for me is always with myself.”
“I relish in being in the company of other artists, and it’s an opportunity for all of us. Everyone is different. It’s music, it’s not a sport. It’s art, it’s subjective.”
An exciting opportunity
For Rouvas, competing in Australia Decides and potentially Eurovision is a positive prospect. “It’s an opportunity. I love the fact that it is broadcasted just about everywhere.”
The potential exposure is exciting for Rouvas. “The exciting thing about this performance is that we hope we will reach many more people. That’s what I’m keen to do – to reach more people.”
However, she does not feel pressured at all about performing in the Gold Coast. “Every performance I kind of feel the same about. It doesn’t matter how big or small the stage is. They’re all as important as each other, and you never know who’s in front of you. It’s always a change to connect and speak.”
Staging for the show
As for staging at Australia Decides, Diana knows little about the details for her performance. “I don’t know [about the staging features]… so I’m excited to see it come together myself.”
Rouvas, however, is no stranger to complementing her performances with good staging. Her numerous performances on The Voice Australia put her in good stead leading up to the big show in February.
Representing Australia… and Greece
Despite Rouvas’ inclination to avoid focusing on competition, she would be overjoyed to win Australia Decides and compete at Rotterdam on a global stage. As a Greek-Australian, Rouvas has a unique opportunity to compete for Australia at Eurovision, and in a way represent Australia and Greece.
“That would be ridiculously exciting [singing at Eurovision]. We have a great Greek community in Australia and great support here. Obviously to go further and be in Europe doing that would be exciting.”
She also highlighted what an honour it would be to sing for Australia as an ambassador for the country’s values.
“It’s an opportunity that some of us may never have. To represent Aussies and what our country stands for – which is cultural diversity – I’d be very keen to represent that.”