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At home in Portugal: Júlia Machado belongs on the stage

18 November 2023 at 19:01 CET
🇵🇹 Portugal - Júlia Machado - First Rehearsal - Junior Eurovision 2023 Corinne Cumming / EBU
She’s already journeyed from the USA to Portugal, and now Júlia Machado is heading to Nice. She’ll be singing ‘Where I Belong’ at the Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2023, waving the flag for Portugal.

Júlia’s journey to Junior Eurovision has involved crossing continents. The 13-year-old is Portuguese-American, and after being raised in New Jersey moved to Portugal so that she could compete in The Voice Kids Portugal. Of course she won, and she became the first Portuguese-American to do so. Getting first place in that competition unlocked something even more exciting — her chance to represent Portugal at Junior Eurovision 2023.

When Júlia went back to the USA after being away in Portugal for so longshe was greeted by a surprise party. Let’s hope they’ve got some balloons leftover for her next visit after Junior Eurovision.

Where I Belong is a song all about finding a place to call home, and Júlia finds it in her family.

This touching ballad was co-written by one of Júlia’s personal pop heroes, MTV EMA-winning singer-songwriter Fernando Daniel. He’s had albums in the top spot of the Portuguese music charts and even coached Júlia on The Voice Kids, singing with her in the final. Júlia’s got a picture of the two of them performing as her phone lock screen.

Also co-writing the song are Portuguese musician João Direitinho, who’s part of the band ÁTOA, and 15-year-old Portuguese singer-songwriter Aurora Pinto. Aurora has released her own songs, and written for other artists too.

Júlia might be a bit confused about traditional superhero costumes: cape, mask, and pants on the outside of your trousers. Recently when she and her mum were in Times Square, New York, Júlia realised that her trousers were on inside out. If this is in fact Júlia’s superhero costume, we reckon her superpower must be singing.

The first song Júlia ever learnt to sing was Part Of Your World from The Little Mermaid, and it’s still one of her favourite tracks. Also on her top hits list are Adele’s When We Were Young, Ruth B.’s Lost Boy and from the Eurovision hall of fame, Céline Dion with I Surrender. Being such a big fan of her The Voice Kids coach Fernando Daniel, she also loves his song Melodia Da Saudade. It’s a piano and vocal song that really pulls at the heartstrings, and it’s clearly made an imprint on Júlia’s style of music.

Julia says: “We live in a world where so many people struggle to find their happy place… HOME. [I] hope that with my song you feel a big hug of peace and love, and you can connect with my message.

You can learn more about Júlia Machado right here.

Junior Eurovision 2023 took place in Nice, France on Sunday 26 November and was won by Zoé Clauzure from France! You can rewatch it live via the official Junior Eurovision YouTube channel (if available in your country).

All 16 songs are available to watch on our YouTube channel and listen to the official album on all streaming platforms, and of course, you're invited to vote for your favourites too! How do I vote in Junior Eurovision? Here's how...

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