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“Amen”: Another ESC song that comes from the SUISA Songwriting Camp

The Eurovision Song Contest will be held again after its 2020 cancellation. A song which was created in the SUISA Songwriting Camp in the Powerplay Studios in Maur will be featured in Rotterdam. We spoke with the SUISA member Tobias Carshey, from Zurich. He wrote “Amen” together with Jonas Thander and Ashley Hicklin. The singer of the song, however, is Vincent Bueno from Vienna – and he performs for Austria. Interview by guest author Markus Ganz

“Amen”: Another ESC song that comes from the SUISA Songwriting Camp

Tobias Carshey performs the vocal track for the demo recording of “Amen” at the SUISA Songwriting Camp. (Photo: Tabea Hüberli)

Tobias Carshey, how do your normally create your songs?
Tobias Carshey: I write from my own life, that is why the results are different each time. I tend to sit down and write, sometimes the melody comes first, more rarely the lyrics, so mostly I start with the music.

Are you usually the sole author of your songs?
When it comes to writing, yes, but not when it comes to arranging.

You have written on your website: “Writing songs is and was always a very personal process to me”. Has it been difficult to work with songwriters that you did not know during the Songwriting Camp?
At the beginning, very much so. I usually withdraw to a quiet place where I can work away. At the Songwriting Camp, I was exposed and had to collaborate with a team. I had done this before, but …

… here, the pressure was probably higher since you worked together with the Swedish producer Jonas Thander and the Scottish topliner Ashley Hicklin for the first time?
That’s right, it is simply a new situation: There are new dynamics which you have to understand first. I was lucky enough that Ashley Hicklin took the reins from the start with a specific notion.

How did this work, did you bring along some ideas for the songs?
I would do it differently today but back then, I simply went there. It was my first time at a Songwriting Camp and I wanted to be completely unbiased. Before we started with the writing process, we listened to a few of my songs so that Jonas Thander and Ashley Hicklin could find out where I come from musically.

Was that the right thing so that the two could find out where your strengths were?
Exactly, in this regard, my song “Almond Eyes” was the starting point.

At a Songwriting Camp, there is a certain specialisation with producers and topliners. What was your role, were you more the singer in the sense of a performer or were you involved as a songwriter?
I was definitely also involved as a songwriter. My two partners accepted me as a peer.

Jonas Thander Ashley Hicklin

The Swedish producer Jonas Thander (left) and the songwriter Ashley Hicklin, a resident of Edinburgh, deeply focussed when working on their composition in the studio A of the Powerplay Studios in Maur. (Photo: Tabea Hüberli)

Did this kind of job sharing make sense to you?
Very much so, because everyone has their own experience and we used this role allocation as a starting point. Friction can easily occur when three songwriters, who do not know each other, work together. That way, you can withdraw to your own competences if you are not in agreement, and still make progress with the song.

How far did the specialisation go?
I was clear who held which role. But each of us was considered to be competent enough to be able to contribute everywhere, whether to songwriting or the lyrics, also the production.

In your opinion, how did the fact contribute that you had never written a song together or played together, and that you weren’t a well-established team?
Ash and Jonas already knew each other but that did not make any difference because they are experienced musicians who know the dynamics of songwriting. As a consequence, it was easy for me to join them as a newcomer and go with the flow, so to speak. If all of us had been newbies, it would probably have been more like a lottery.

Did you also do some jamming or did you decide on something and then each of you separately carried out their job?
There wasn’t a moment where someone was just tinkering on their own – that was a new aspect to me. I am more the type who withdraws in order to continue with the development of an idea to then present it to everyone. At the Songwriting Camp, Ashley Hicklin came up with a refrain pretty much at the beginning. This also acted as the starting point for our work which matched the goal to write an ESC song. And then the path was clear for everyone.

Thander Carshey Hicklin SUISA Songwriting Camp

The co-authors of “Amen”, playing around with their creation (f.l.t.r.): Jonas Thander, SUISA member Tobias Carshey and Ashley Hicklin. (Photo: Tabea Hüberli)

The refrain came first: How dominant was the goal to write an ESC song, i.e. a potential hit, and to remain catchy?
We were aware of that, but it had no influence on the feeling of the song. We also paid attention that we managed to get to the point with the song in three minutes.

Did the factor that you had to stand out with something special despite the hit character also play a role?
Not especially for us. But our song stood out in comparison to the other songs of the Songwriting Camp because we kept it very tranquil – only piano, guitar and my voice, we also did not use any effects such as auto tuning. That was, in my opinion, the strong point of the song: It also works just with a guitar which seemed to be atypical.

How does the song “Amen” at the end of the Camp day differ from the one that we can hear at the ESC?
It has become more pompous. The original is very reduced: a bass drum, my voice, an acoustic guitar and a piano. Strings and backing vocals can now also be heard.

How come that someone different performs this song, a third of which has, after all, been created by you?
I have written songs for others in the past, and once a performance actually did hurt, because if was a personal song. I do, however, find it very exciting and very beautiful that Vincent Bueno is going to interpret the song “Amen” with his own history which gives it its own proper meaning. No regrets!

How has the Songwriting Camp changed your own personal songwriting process?
The unrestricted, also free approach influenced me most of all. I am otherwise probably too hard on myself, too acrimonious in order to just write away and try things out.

Did you suffer under the speed that the song had to be finished in just one day at the Songwriting Camp?
Yes, I found that difficult. Because, in my view, really cracking, really good and timeless songs need more time for their development. I am used to the fact, however, that I was proven wrong when it came to such dogmas.

www.tobiascarshey.com

Eurovision Song Contest 2021: In the second semi-final of the ESC on 20 May 2021, Vincent Bueno is going to compete with “Amen” for Austria and Gjon’s Tears with “Tout l’univers” for Switzerland. The final will take place on 22 May.

Songwriting Camp: The Songwriting Camp organised by SUISA in collaboration with Pele Loriano Productions has already generated several successful international pop songs. “Amen” is the fifth song from the SUISA Songwriting Camp which made it to the semi-final or final of the Eurovision Song Contest. The song “She Got Me” which had been co-composed and sung by Luca Hänni made it to fourth place during the ESC 2019. Other qualifiers were “Répondez-moi” (Gjon’s Tears, for the eventually cancelled event in 2020), “Stones” (2018, Zibbz) and “Sister” (2019 for Germany, Sisters).

The credits of “Amen”:
Lyrics/Music by: Tobias Carshey (CH), Ashley Hicklin (UK), Jonas Thander (SE). Produced by: Jonas Thander (SE), Mikolaj Trybulec (PL), Pele Loriano (CH). Recorded by: Pele Loriano, Jonas Thander, Mikolaj Trybulec. Mixed by: David Hofmann. Published by: Schneeblind Publishing, ORF Musikverlag. Label: Unified Songs.

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The Eurovision Song Contest will be held again after its 2020 cancellation. A song which was created in the SUISA Songwriting Camp in the Powerplay Studios in Maur will be featured in Rotterdam. We spoke with the SUISA member Tobias Carshey, from Zurich. He wrote “Amen” together with Jonas Thander and Ashley Hicklin. The singer of the song, however, is Vincent Bueno from Vienna – and he performs for Austria. Interview by guest author Markus Ganz

“Amen”: Another ESC song that comes from the SUISA Songwriting Camp

Tobias Carshey performs the vocal track for the demo recording of “Amen” at the SUISA Songwriting Camp. (Photo: Tabea Hüberli)

Tobias Carshey, how do your normally create your songs?
Tobias Carshey: I write from my own life, that is why the results are different each time. I tend to sit down and write, sometimes the melody comes first,...read more

“Répondez-Moi”: Third Swiss ESC song from the SUISA Songwriting Camp

With “Répondez-Moi”, Switzerland is sending a French-language entry to the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time since 2010. The song was written by Gjon Muharremaj (Gjon’s Tears) and SUISA members Alizé Oswald and Xavier Michel of the Duo Aliose together with Belgian producer Jeroen Swinnen at the SUISA Songwriting Camp. Text by Giorgio Tebaldi; Video by Manu Leuenberger

On 4 March 2020, Swiss Television SRF announced the Swiss contribution to this year’s Eurovision Song Contest (ESC). This time, Switzerland is entering the race with “Répondez-moi” sung by the French-speaking Swiss singer-songwriter Gjon’s Tears. Following “Stones” by ZiBBZ (2018) and “She Got Me” by Luca Hänni (2019), this is the third time in a row that the Swiss ESC song comes from the songwriting camp organized by Pele Loriano Productions and SUISA.

Répondez-Moi” was composed in June 2019 in the Powerplay Studios in Maur / Zurich in a one-day songwriting session by the song’s interpreter, Gjon Muherramaj (Gjon’s Tears), together with SUISA members Alizé Oswald and Xavier Michel of the Geneva-based duo Aliose and Belgian songwriter and producer Jeroen Swinnen. The song won the internal selection procedure of the Swiss television SRF.

“Too many ideas and not enough time”

“I remember the good vibes,” reports Xavier Michel. At the same time the four composers were under time pressure, as Xavier Michel says. “In one day, you have to get to know one another, and have to start working together. Then by the evening, you have to have something finished.” Jeroen Swinnen adds: ” We never had enough time, never! We had too many ideas and not enough time. It’s better than having no ideas.”

“The melody evolved quickly,” says Alizée Oswald in the video interview. “Then we asked ourselves what words would sound good. Because that’s always how it is with French. It’s very challenging to make it sound like English, for example.”

Simple, naive language for universal topics

The search for the right words was very important to the four songwriters in order to convey the universal message of the piece. “The challenge was to get quite a simple feel to the lyrics – almost naive, like the language of a child,” explains Alizée Oswald. From the song you can hear that it is a universal theme to get answers to questions. This simplicity was especially important to Gjon Muherramaj: ” The first time we talked, I said that, for me, the most important value of all is innocence,” he says. ” It’s that experience of rediscovering what it’s like to learn something. When you discover the beauty in something, for example, you see a child who suddenly realises that the Earth is round or that there are several continents.” He adds: ” I think that the song’s message for the listener is: even if you have a lot of questions with no answers, you can keep on asking questions all your life.”

For the first time since 2010, a song in French is going to the ESC for Switzerland

With “Répondez-Moi”, Switzerland is sending a French-language song to the ESC for the first time since 2010 after Michael von der Heides’ song “Il pleu de l’or”. ” I think that for us having a French song at Eurovision, that’s a key point ,” says Xavier Michel in the video interview. “Supporting a beautiful language, our language.“

“A song that grabs me, it’s really about the alchemy between the lyrics, the music and the voice,” says Alizée Oswald. ” With this song, there is a moment, when Gjon sings the chorus, for example, and the first words come together, the first arrangements. And that’s when I realised that this song could be really great.”

Gjon’s Tears became known to a wide audience in Switzerland and France through his participation in the eighth season of “The Voice France”, where he advanced to the semi-finals. In 2018, the singer-songwriter was also a participant in the Gustav Academy, which is run by the Fribourg musician and SUISA member Gustav and promotes young Swiss musicians both musically and linguistically.

The Eurovision Song Contest is probably the most famous music competition in the world. More than 182 million viewers around the world watched the two semi-finals and the Grand Final on television in 2019. Switzerland reached 4th place in the final with Luca Hänni’s song “She Got Me”. This year, the ESC will take place from Tuesday 12 May to Saturday 16 May in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. In the second semi-final on 14 May, the Swiss entry will compete for entry into the ESC Grand Final.

SUISA and Pele Loriano Productions will again hold a Songwriting Camp this year. SUISA members will be able to reapply for participation in the camp. Information on the application procedure will soon be published on the SUISAblog.

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With “Répondez-Moi”, Switzerland is sending a French-language entry to the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time since 2010. The song was written by Gjon Muharremaj (Gjon’s Tears) and SUISA members Alizé Oswald and Xavier Michel of the Duo Aliose together with Belgian producer Jeroen Swinnen at the SUISA Songwriting Camp. Text by Giorgio Tebaldi; Video by Manu Leuenberger

On 4 March 2020, Swiss Television SRF announced the Swiss contribution to this year’s Eurovision Song Contest (ESC). This time, Switzerland is entering the race with “Répondez-moi” sung by the French-speaking Swiss singer-songwriter Gjon’s Tears. Following “Stones” by ZiBBZ (2018) and “She Got Me” by Luca Hänni (2019), this is the third time in a row that the Swiss ESC song comes from the songwriting camp organized by Pele Loriano Productions and SUISA.

Répondez-Moi”...read more

Switzerland will be represented at the Eurovision Song Contest by Luca Hänni and a song from the SUISA Songwriting Camp | plus video

For the second time in succession, the Swiss entry for the Eurovision Song Contest has come from the SUISA Songwriting Camp. The song “She Got Me” was written last June at the Powerplay Studios by SUISA member Luca Hänni with Canadian songwriters Laurell Barker and Frazer Mac as well as Swedish producer Jon Hällgren. Text and video by Sibylle Roth

The song “She Got Me”, which had the working title of “Dirty Dancing”, was written during the SUISA Songwriting Camp in June 2018 by a four-person team. With Germany taking another song – “Sister” – from the SUISA Songwriting Camp 2018 to the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv, this represents another major success for the songwriting camp, staged by SUISA in collaboration with Pele Loriano Productions.

“It’s fantastic”, says Luca Hänni, a SUISA member since 2015. The Bern native was first exposed to the broader public in a German casting show in 2012. Since then, he has issued four albums and a number of singles, and recently appeared on stage with Helene Fischer. Eurovision is the next big adventure in his career. Hänni says he’s excited, “and I just want to give the best show possible.”

Last year, Luca Hänni took part in the SUISA Songwriting Camp for the first time, with Canadian songwriters Laurell Barker and Frazer Mac returning for a second time. For Laurell Barker, the Swiss camp is a real success story; she contributed to Switzerland’s Eurovision entry last year as well. She wrote the song “Stones” with ZiBBZ, which is made up of SUISA members Corinne and Stefan Gfeller. Jon Hällgren, the Swedish producer, completes the songwriting quartet. After the camp, he produced “She Got Me” for Eurovision 2019 in collaboration with his son Lukas Hällgren.

This year, Swiss broadcaster SRF left the decision on the Eurovision entry to an international jury of 20 experts and a 100-strong viewer panel in a multiple-stage process. Over 420 songs were entered.

On 16 May 2019 (SRF zwei at 9:00 pm), Switzerland will be battling for a place in the Eurovision Song Contest final in Tel Aviv. The Eurovision final will take place on 18 May 2019 (SRF 1 at 8:00 pm).

The SUISA Songwriting Camp took place in June 2018 for the second time. Overall, 36 musicians from eight countries took part in the three-day event in Powerplay Studios, Maur. This resulted in 19 pop songs in a range of styles. The camp was staged by Pele Loriano Productions and SUISA.

www.lucamusic.ch

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For the second time in succession, the Swiss entry for the Eurovision Song Contest has come from the SUISA Songwriting Camp. The song “She Got Me” was written last June at the Powerplay Studios by SUISA member Luca Hänni with Canadian songwriters Laurell Barker and Frazer Mac as well as Swedish producer Jon Hällgren. Text and video by Sibylle Roth

The song “She Got Me”, which had the working title of “Dirty Dancing”, was written during the SUISA Songwriting Camp in June 2018 by a four-person team. With Germany taking another song – “Sister” – from the SUISA Songwriting Camp 2018 to the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv, this represents another major success for the songwriting camp, staged by SUISA in collaboration with Pele Loriano Productions.

“It’s fantastic”, says Luca Hänni, a...read more

Eurovision Song Contest: SUISA Songwriting Camp song in the German qualifier | plus video

Success for the SUISA Songwriting Camp: The song “Sister” created during last year’s camp is in today’s German ESC qualifier. The piece was composed and produced by an international songwriting team consisting of Marine Kaltenbacher, Laurell Barker, Tom Oehler and Thomas Stengaard. The German qualifier “Our song for Israel” (“Unser Lied für Israel”) will hit the stage today, Friday, 22 February 2019. Text by Giorgio Tebaldi; Video by Manu Leuenberger

Tonight’s decision night: Which song will represent Germany in the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) in May 2019 in Tel Aviv? Among the seven final songs is “Sister” which was created during the SUISA Songwriting Camp in June 2018. The song was written by SUISA members Marine Kaltenbacher and Tom Oehler together with Canadian songwriter Laurell Barker. In the follow-up, Danish producer Thomas Steengard came on board for some finetuning.

“Sister” is a song from the SUISA Songwriting Camp which manages to cross borders beyond those of Switzerland. “Thanks to the ESC and the German qualifier, the positive message which we wanted to send with ‘Sister’, enjoys a much bigger distribution” says singer songwriter Marine Kaltenbacher who performs under the name Submaryne and is from Lausanne. Berne songwriter and producer Tom Oehler also considers the participation of the song in the German qualifier as a huge step: “A song which participates in the ESC may well represent a huge career leap for a songwriter or producer.”

Laurell Barker: Several successes at the ESC

While Tom Oehler and Marine Kaltenbacher participated at a SUISA Songwriting Camp for the first time, Laurell Barker has already gathered ESC experience and took part at the camp, co-organised by SUISA, for a second time.  Not without success: At the first SUISA Songwriting Camp, she was a co-composer of “Stones” by ZiBBZ; the song represented Switzerland at the ESC 2018 in Lisbon. Laurell Barker is already now considered to be a participant at the finale of this year’s ESC: She is one of the composers of the British contribution “Bigger Than Us” sung by Michael Rice. The song qualified directly for the ESC finale, since the UK, together with Germany, France, Italy and Spain, belong to the “Big Five” countries. “I’d be extremely blessed and lucky if I could represent more than just one country in Tel Aviv – that would be crazy”, Laurell Barker says in the video.

“Unser Lied für Israel” today at 8.15pm on ARD

The song is performed by Sisters, a duo consisting of the two singers Carlotta Truman and Laurita Spinelli. The finale of “Our song for Israel” (“Unser Lied für Israel”) is broadcast tonight from 8.15pm onwards live on ARD. The ESC finale in Tel Aviv will take place on 18 May 2019. Germany is also directly qualifying for the finale as one of the “Big Five” countries. Other countries – among them Switzerland – fight for an entry into the finale on 14 and 16 May.

The SUISA Songwriting Camp took place for the second time in June 2018. A total of 36 musicians from 8 countries participated in the 3-day-long event in the Powerplay Studios in Maur. 19 pop songs were created, with varied styles and expressions. The Camp was organised by Pele Loriano Productions and SUISA.

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“We wanted to write a song that suits us” | plus video – Siblings Co and Stee Gfeller, better known as ZiBBZ, are battling it out for entry to the Eurovision Song Contest with their song “Stones”. They wrote the song together with Canadian songwriter Laurell Barker at the songwriting camp staged by Pele Loriano Productions and SUISA in August 2017. In the video, the two siblings tell us more about how the song came about and why this kind of songwriting camp is so important. Read more
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  1. Erika Keller says:

    Es wundert mich, dass nicht mehr Leute für Sisters angerufen haben zumindesten aus dem “Lager” wo daran gearbeitet wurde in der Schweiz. Ich habe auch für Deutschland angerufen. Trotzdem gab es beim puplic voting für Sisters null Punkte.
    Es wird wohl am System der Punktevergabe liegen, welches ich nicht kenne und ich wäre für eine Erklärung dankbar.

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Success for the SUISA Songwriting Camp: The song “Sister” created during last year’s camp is in today’s German ESC qualifier. The piece was composed and produced by an international songwriting team consisting of Marine Kaltenbacher, Laurell Barker, Tom Oehler and Thomas Stengaard. The German qualifier “Our song for Israel” (“Unser Lied für Israel”) will hit the stage today, Friday, 22 February 2019. Text by Giorgio Tebaldi; Video by Manu Leuenberger

Tonight’s decision night: Which song will represent Germany in the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) in May 2019 in Tel Aviv? Among the seven final songs is “Sister” which was created during the SUISA Songwriting Camp in June 2018. The song was written by SUISA members Marine Kaltenbacher and Tom Oehler together with Canadian songwriter Laurell Barker. In the follow-up, Danish producer Thomas...read more

“The inspiration for my songs often comes from a single word” | plus video

As a composer and lyricist, Alejandro Reyes from Lausanne has two songs in the Swiss final for the Eurovision Song Contest 2018: “Kiss Me” and “Compass”. He also performs the latter track himself. The songs were written at the songwriting camp organised by Pele Loriano Productions and SUISA. Writing music as part of a team was new for Alejandro – and an inspiring process. In an interview, the young songwriter explains more about how his two Eurovision songs came about. Text by Giorgio Tebaldi; video by Manu Leuenberger

“I never imagined having two songs in the Swiss Eurovision final”, says Alejandro. And no wonder: at 25, Alejandro has only been making music for around seven years. For him, both the Eurovision Song Contest and the songwriting camp were entirely new experiences. It was also the first time that he had written songs in collaboration with other composers and lyricists – which made him all the more proud of his success. “Before coming to the camp, I didn’t think I’d have so much to contribute to the process”, he admits.

It was a great experience for the young songwriter: “I was able to share my perspective and my way of working”, he says. “I also gained a lot from the others at the same time – both positive and not-so-positive feedback that helped me grow as a songwriter.” What particularly struck Alejandro about the songwriting camp was the experience of working together with other songwriters, most of whom he had never met before, for just one day. “There was something really unique and authentic that came out of the collaboration – it really captured a moment in time.”

Alejandro was able to choose which of two songs he co-wrote he wanted to perform: “Compass” or “Kiss Me”. He chose “Compass”, as he felt the song’s story resonated more, and it was a song that went very deep. “The very first lines take you to a profound, moving place. The song has a message”, says Alejandro.

He worked together with the Swiss composer and producer Lars Christen and the Canadian songwriter Laurell Barker on “Compass”. “We started with the basic mood of the song and the idea for the story”, says Alejandro, reflecting on the process of creating the song. The outline of the song came together relatively quickly.

When asked about how he writes his songs, Alejandro answered that, “The inspiration for my songs often comes from a single word.” In the case of “Compass”, he imagined someone reorienting themselves – with a compass. And it’s clear where Alejandro Reyes’ own compass is pointing him: towards the Eurovision Song Contest final 2018!

www.alejandro-reyes.com

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As a composer and lyricist, Alejandro Reyes from Lausanne has two songs in the Swiss final for the Eurovision Song Contest 2018: “Kiss Me” and “Compass”. He also performs the latter track himself. The songs were written at the songwriting camp organised by Pele Loriano Productions and SUISA. Writing music as part of a team was new for Alejandro – and an inspiring process. In an interview, the young songwriter explains more about how his two Eurovision songs came about. Text by Giorgio Tebaldi; video by Manu Leuenberger

“I never imagined having two songs in the Swiss Eurovision final”, says Alejandro. And no wonder: at 25, Alejandro has only been making music for around seven years. For him, both the Eurovision Song Contest and the songwriting camp were entirely new experiences. It...read more

“You have three minutes to impress the whole of Europe” | plus video

Ticino-based musician Chiara Dubey has a good chance of representing Switzerland at the Eurovision Song Contest in Lisbon on 12 May 2018 with her song “Secrets and Lies”. The pop ballade was written at the songwriting camp organised by Pele Loriano Productions and SUISA that took place in August 2017. In an interview, Chiara Dubey talks about her collaboration with her co-songwriters Jeroen Swinnen from Belgium and Janie Price from the UK. Text by Giorgio Tebaldi; video by Manu Leuenberger

As a performer, Chiara Dubey has the most Eurovision experience of the six finalists. The Ticino musician has made it to the final round of artists fighting to perform the Eurovision Song Contest for the third time. She wrote her current song “Secrets and Lies” together with the Belgian songwriter and producer Jeroen Swinnen and the British artist Janie Price at the songwriting camp organised by Pele Loriano Productions and SUISA.

Chiara explains how the song was written. “Jeroen played a chord sequence on the piano and I improvised a melody, based purely on gut instinct. Bit by bit we added more elements and tinkered with it, like a puzzle, until we had an outline we were all happy with. ” The lyrics came from Janie Price, who arrived at the camp with her own texts. “We adapted her lyrics to the new structure and melody”, says Chiara. “Janie wrote the words, and I gave them my own personal touch.”

Composing a song in this way was a new experience for Chiara: “It was a new feeling for me, not having everything under control!” The Swiss musician normally likes to have an overview of the composition, lyrics, arrangement and instrumentation of her music, but this wasn’t the case at the songwriting camp. “You have to relinquish control and create something that works for all of the artists involved”, explains Chiara on the subject of group composition.

In the end, it’s about coming up with the best possible result – after all, as Chiara says, at the Eurovision Song Contest, “You only have three minutes to impress the whole of Europe.”

www.chiaradubey.com

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Ticino-based musician Chiara Dubey has a good chance of representing Switzerland at the Eurovision Song Contest in Lisbon on 12 May 2018 with her song “Secrets and Lies”. The pop ballade was written at the songwriting camp organised by Pele Loriano Productions and SUISA that took place in August 2017. In an interview, Chiara Dubey talks about her collaboration with her co-songwriters Jeroen Swinnen from Belgium and Janie Price from the UK. Text by Giorgio Tebaldi; video by Manu Leuenberger

As a performer, Chiara Dubey has the most Eurovision experience of the six finalists. The Ticino musician has made it to the final round of artists fighting to perform the Eurovision Song Contest for the third time. She wrote her current song “Secrets and Lies” together with the Belgian songwriter and producer...read more

“We wanted to write a song that suits us” | plus video

Siblings Co and Stee Gfeller, better known as ZiBBZ, are battling it out for entry to the Eurovision Song Contest with their song “Stones”. They wrote the song together with Canadian songwriter Laurell Barker at the songwriting camp staged by Pele Loriano Productions and SUISA in August 2017. In the video, the two siblings tell us more about how the song came about and why this kind of songwriting camp is so important. Text by Giorgio Tebaldi; video by Manu Leuenberger

Co and Stee Gfeller commute between Los Angeles and Switzerland. In their LA music lab, the two often take part in songwriting sessions with other musicians – a form of creative exchange missing from Switzerland until now. “It’s so great that now we have a songwriting camp for the first time in Switzerland”, says Co Gfeller.

When they took part in the songwriting camp at Powerplay Studios in August 2017, the siblings wrote two songs in two days. With the song “Stones”, they will be battling it out at the SRF decision show on 4 February 2018, hoping to take part in the Eurovision Song Contest finale in Lisbon.

The Gfellers co-wrote the song with Canadian songwriter Laurell Barker. Working as a trio proved to be highly productive; As ZiBBZ recall in the interview, the basic structure of the song was there in just 30 minutes. The song came about almost “magically” on the day, as they explain.

www.zibbz.com

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Siblings Co and Stee Gfeller, better known as ZiBBZ, are battling it out for entry to the Eurovision Song Contest with their song “Stones”. They wrote the song together with Canadian songwriter Laurell Barker at the songwriting camp staged by Pele Loriano Productions and SUISA in August 2017. In the video, the two siblings tell us more about how the song came about and why this kind of songwriting camp is so important. Text by Giorgio Tebaldi; video by Manu Leuenberger

Co and Stee Gfeller commute between Los Angeles and Switzerland. In their LA music lab, the two often take part in songwriting sessions with other musicians – a form of creative exchange missing from Switzerland until now. “It’s so great that now we have a songwriting camp for the first time...read more

“You always want to write the best song you can” | plus video

Songwriter Kate Northrop is primarily a lyricist, a creative role that doesn’t often land her in the spotlight. Together with three other authors, the SUISA member co-wrote Naeman’s entry to the Eurovision Song Contest, “Kiss Me”. In a video interview, Kate Northrop explains how she came up with the song lyrics and how she was inspired by the songwriting camp organised by SUISA and Pele Loriano Productions. Text by Giorgio Tebaldi, video by Manu Leuenberger

Behind every good song is a good songwriter – and in the case of “Kiss Me”, there were four. The song is among the Swiss finalists for the Eurovision Song Contest 2018, and is performed by Naeman. It was written by Alejandro Reyes from Lausanne, Ken Berglund from Sweden, Eric Lumière from the USA and Kate Northrop.

Kate originally comes from the USA, now lives in Switzerland, and helped write the lyrics. The story the song tells is the result of a team effort: “First, we all told each other what we thought the song’s story was”, the songwriter explains. “Then we tried to capture that with music, words and – above all – emotions.”

Kate had written songs with a number of different co-authors before, but the process at the songwriting camp was an entirely new experience for her: she had 12 hours to write a finished song with a group of artists she had never met before. Kate loved this method of songwriting: “Working with these artists was incredibly inspiring”, she says. “In order to create something, you have to be open to creative ideas from the rest of the group.”

The fact that the songs written at the songwriting camp were being written for the Eurovision Song Contest made no difference to Kate: “I don’t think writing for the Eurovision Song Contest is different from writing any other kind of song. You always want to write the best song you can.”

www.songwave.ch, Kate Northrop’s website

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Songwriter Kate Northrop is primarily a lyricist, a creative role that doesn’t often land her in the spotlight. Together with three other authors, the SUISA member co-wrote Naeman’s entry to the Eurovision Song Contest, “Kiss Me”. In a video interview, Kate Northrop explains how she came up with the song lyrics and how she was inspired by the songwriting camp organised by SUISA and Pele Loriano Productions. Text by Giorgio Tebaldi, video by Manu Leuenberger

Behind every good song is a good songwriter – and in the case of “Kiss Me”, there were four. The song is among the Swiss finalists for the Eurovision Song Contest 2018, and is performed by Naeman. It was written by Alejandro Reyes from Lausanne, Ken Berglund from Sweden, Eric Lumière from the USA and Kate Northrop.

Kate...read more

“Taking part in the songwriting camp was a big win” | plus video

“Compass” is one of the final six Swiss songs competing for entry to the Eurovision Song Contest 2018. It is sung by Alejandro Reyes, who wrote it together with Canadian Laurell Barker and Swiss composer and producer Lars Christen. In an interview with SUISA, Lars Christen talks about the songwriting process. He also explains why he found the songwriting camp such a valuable experience. Text by Giorgio Tebaldi; video by Manu Leuenberger

Lars Christen is a much asked for producer and songwriter. He works with artists such as Bastian Baker, James Gruntz, Damian Lynn and – currently – Marc Sway. The August 2017 songwriting camp, which was staged by Pele Loriano Productions and SUISA and took place at the Powerplay Studios in Maur, was a new experience for the SUISA member. But it paid off. Together with Lausanne-based musician Alejandro Reyes and Canadian Laurell Barker he wrote “Compass”, one of the six songs being considered for Switzerland’s entry in the Eurovision Song Contest.

The song is sung by co-writer Alejandro Reyes himself. “We talked it over with Alejandro – the things that are important to him, what he would like to sing about”, says Lars in the video about the development process of the song. The thing that “Lars the music guy” most valued at the songwriting camp was the exchange with other musicians from home and abroad. “In terms of building a network, taking part in the camp was a big win.”

The SRF decision show is coming up on 4 February 2018, and the songwriting team will find out if “Compass” will represent Switzerland at the Eurovision Song Contest in Lisbon in May. “I hope other people get as much enjoyment out of it as we did when we were writing the song”, says Lars.

www.larsthemusicguy.com

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“Compass” is one of the final six Swiss songs competing for entry to the Eurovision Song Contest 2018. It is sung by Alejandro Reyes, who wrote it together with Canadian Laurell Barker and Swiss composer and producer Lars Christen. In an interview with SUISA, Lars Christen talks about the songwriting process. He also explains why he found the songwriting camp such a valuable experience. Text by Giorgio Tebaldi; video by Manu Leuenberger

Lars Christen is a much asked for producer and songwriter. He works with artists such as Bastian Baker, James Gruntz, Damian Lynn and – currently – Marc Sway. The August 2017 songwriting camp, which was staged by Pele Loriano Productions and SUISA and took place at the Powerplay Studios in Maur, was a new experience for the SUISA member. But...read more

Eurovision Song Contest: Swiss songwriting camp by Pele Loriano Productions and SUISA a huge success

The Swiss broadcaster SRF announced the six songs that will be in the running for the Swiss entry to the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) 2018 today. Four of the six entries were created at the Swiss songwriting camp held by Pele Loriano Productions and SUISA at Powerplay Studios in Maur. Text by Erika Weibel and Giorgio Tebaldi

Eurovision Song Contest: Swiss songwriting camp by Pele Loriano Productions and SUISA a huge success

Chiara Dubey (on the right), English creative artist Janie Price (in the middle) and the Belgian songwriter and producer Jeroen Swinnen in August 2017 in the Powerplay Studios in Maur. (Photos: Manu Leuenberger)

‘Secrets and Lies’ by Chiara Dubey, ‘Compass’ by Alejandro Reyes, ‘Stones’ by ZiBBZ and ‘Kiss Me’ sung by Naeman – four of the six final songs for the Swiss entry to the ESC 2018 were composed during the songwriting camp that took place at Powerplay Studios in Maur, Zurich from 23 – 25 August 2017. The camp was organised by Pele Loriano Productions in collaboration with SUISA. Pele Loriano is a composer, producer and musical director, and has been a member of SUISA since 1996.

During the three-day songwriting camp, 25 artists teamed up in groups of three to five to compose 18 different tracks. In addition to 13 SUISA members – composers, producers and lyricists from Switzerland – 12 artists from Belgium, Finland, Canada, the Netherlands, Israel, Sweden, the UK and the US attended the workshop. It was the first time a songwriting camp of this kind for the ESC had taken place in Switzerland.

ESC: Swiss songwriting camp by Pele Loriano Productions and SUISA a huge success

The composers, lyricists and producers who were present on the third and last day of the Songwriting Camp in the recording room of Studio A.

Six SUISA members involved with the four final songs

Six SUISA members are represented in the four final songs from the songwriting camp. Three of the songs are performed by the SUISA authors themselves. The following artists are behind the four songs:

‘Secrets and Lies’
Music/lyrics by: Chiara Dubey (CH/SUISA), Janie Price (UK) and Jeroen Swinnen (BE);
performed by: Chiara Dubey

‘Stones’
Music/lyrics by: Co and Stee Gfeller aka ZiBBZ (CH/SUISA) and Laurell Barker (CAN);
performed by: ZiBBZ

‘Kiss Me’
Music/lyrics by: Kate Northrop (USA/SUISA), Alejandro Reyes (CH/SUISA), Eric Lumiere (USA) and Ken Berglund (SE); performed by: Naeman

‘Compass’
Music/lyrics by: Alejandro Reyes (CH/SUISA), Lars Christen (CH/SUISA) and Laurell Barker (CAN);
performed by: Alejandro Reyes

Eurovision Song Contest: Swiss songwriting camp by Pele Loriano Productions and SUISA

SUISA members Alejandro Reyes (on the left) and Lars Christen (on the right) during their session for the song “Compass“ which they had composed together with the Canadian Laurell Barker.

Total of 670 submissions

The four songs from the songwriting camp were chosen from a total of 670 submissions for the Swiss ESC entry. The songs for the Swiss finals show were selected by an independent jury made up of 20 musicians, media professionals, ESC fans and television viewers.

Finals on 4 February 2018

Which of the six final songs will have the honour of representing Switzerland at the ESC 2018 will be decided at the SRF Swiss finals show on 4 February 2018.

Press Release (PDF, 26 KB)

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All comments will be moderated. This may take some time and we reserve the right not to publish comments that contradict the conditions of use.

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The Swiss broadcaster SRF announced the six songs that will be in the running for the Swiss entry to the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) 2018 today. Four of the six entries were created at the Swiss songwriting camp held by Pele Loriano Productions and SUISA at Powerplay Studios in Maur. Text by Erika Weibel and Giorgio Tebaldi

Eurovision Song Contest: Swiss songwriting camp by Pele Loriano Productions and SUISA a huge success

Chiara Dubey (on the right), English creative artist Janie Price (in the middle) and the Belgian songwriter and producer Jeroen Swinnen in August 2017 in the Powerplay Studios in Maur. (Photos: Manu Leuenberger)

‘Secrets and Lies’ by Chiara Dubey, ‘Compass’ by Alejandro Reyes, ‘Stones’ by ZiBBZ and ‘Kiss Me’ sung by Naeman – four of the six final songs for the Swiss entry to the ESC 2018 were composed during the songwriting camp that took place...read more