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Building bridges from Junior Eurovision to Eurovision

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In the case of San Marino, not only are they sending the youngest duet in Eurovision history, but both singers were contestants in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest.  Michele Perniola participated in 2013 with his fan favourite ‘O-o-O Sole intorno a me,’ and Anita Simoncini was one fifth of ‘The Peppermints’ in 2014 in Malta with ‘Breaking my Heart.’

"When we had the idea of having the two former Junior Eurovision artists together at the adult Contest, we immediately realised that the idea was good," explained Eurovision Project Manager at SMRTV Alessandro Capicchioni. "We were really were happy about this. And then everything started - working with the two 'kids' has been so nice and pleasant. We have had a really good time, which is not finished yet!"

Sweet Ula Ložar represented Slovenia at the 2014 Junior Eurovision song contest with ‘Nisi Sam’ (‘Your light’).  She was taking regular singing lessons with a certain Marjetka Vovk and Raay Wolf, who helped write her song and provide support to Ula during the week-long event in Malta.

Eurovision fans are likely to better know Marjetka and Raay as ‘Maraaya,’ the husband and wife duo who won the national finals earlier this year and will be representing Slovenia in Vienna with their song ‘Here for you.’ 

"Being part of the Eurovision world actually started with Ula in 2014 for us,” producer Raay Wolf explains.

“She is a student of Marjetka’s and we loved helping her polish up her song for Malta last year. It showed us that not only should we all be helping to encourage future talents, but it gave us a look into the Eurovision ‘world’ and the opportunities that it could give us, too.”

Ula watched them win the selection and is clearly their biggest fan.  “Ula was thrilled when she found out that we were submitting a song to the national final and was our proudest and most loyal supporter.  She can see that there is a clear path from Junior Eurovision to the ‘big’ Eurovision,” Raay says.

The connections are also apparent in Belarus.  Nadezdha Misyakova sang the beautiful folk-inspired song ‘Sokal’ (Falcon), which was co-written by Uzari, who is singing ‘Time’ accompanied by talented violinist Maimuna in Vienna this year.

“I had already sung backing for Anastasia Vinnikova in 2011 and participated in the Eurofest finals in 2012 and 2013, but being part of the team behind Nadezdha in Junior Eurovision last year really gave me an insight into the work, passion and talent of our younger singers,” Uzari recalls.

“The kids in Junior have so much energy and enthusiasm and were all so appreciative of the privilege to be part of such an event, which made it pretty inspirational for me too.  Then later, for Nadezdha and her dancers to see that I entering a song into the Belarussian national finals for ‘adult’ Eurovision Song Contest it showed them that both events are worth putting in one hundred percent of your effort and passion into.” 

“It’s been an honour to be a part of both events and I hope that this bridge from one event to the other gets even busier with more traffic!” 

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