Michael Rice on representing the U.K. in Eurovision 2019
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How would you describe yourself?
I would describe myself as being a very down to earth lad who is all my about friends and family. I love to make people laugh - my friends would describe me as hilarious, and I try to never take myself too seriously.
How does it feel to be representing the United Kingdom?
It’s such a huge honour to be representing my country at Eurovision - it really is a dream come true.
What have you been doing since winning Eurovision: You Decide?
Since winning Eurovision: You Decide I’ve been working really hard in vocal and choreography rehearsals, pushing myself to new extremes. I've also been invited to perform across Europe, including appearances on Croatian and Spanish TV, and Eurovision events in Amsterdam, Madrid and Moscow which has been amazing.
Can you tell us a bit more about your song Bigger Than Us and what it means to you?
Bigger Than Us is a song about love; it’s an anthem for anyone who has ever felt different, like the outcast in today’s society. This song has a universal message of that love is all around us, we can be who we want to be, regardless of your age, race, sexuality or gender. Love is so much bigger than us and the song really celebrates that.
What is the best feedback you have received as yet?
I’ve seen loads of amazing positive comments about the song and I’ve read comments where people have said this song really helps them struggling with anxiety and depression, as well as comments saying the song reminds them of loved ones and ones they have lost. This song really does have a universal message and seeing fans across the world are connecting and relating in all different ways to Bigger Than Us making it really special to me.
Have you had a chance to listen to the other songs yet?
Yes, I’ve listened to nearly all of them now, I’m a big fan of everyone’s songs this year. I love Greece, Spain, Sweden, Croatia, Netherlands, the list goes on and on. Eurovision seriously has some really amazing songs and big personalities this year, everyone is super talented!
Have you spoken to any past entrants? If so, what advice have they had?
I’ve spoken with UK’s entry from last year SuRie, and she gave me the best advice. She told me to always believe and never doubt myself. She told me to take time aside to focus, chill and get my head in the game, as the build-up to Eurovision will be mega but lots of fun.
What is your favourite Eurovision entry of all time?
That is so hard; there are so many amazing talented artists to just name one. Abba were just amazing! I loved Conchita, Portugal’s winner from 2017 Salvador, last year’s winner Netta, Eleni Foureira from Cyprus last year, and our very own Lucie Jones and SuRie.
Which previous non-winning entry do you feel really deserved the crown?
I loved Dami Im from Australia! Her vocals and staging were phenomenal and she is such an amazing artist and performer.
What do you hope to achieve with your appearance at Eurovision?
I really want to go out there on the night of the Grand Final and just sing my heart out. I want to make my home country and the rest of Europe so proud. My team and I have worked so hard on making sure the vocals and staging sound and look absolutely phenomenal on the night - so fingers crossed all the hard work and perseverance pays off as we really want to do well.
What is success for you in the contest?
Success to me is about uniting the world for three minutes with my song. I really want to make a statement when it comes to my performance; I want the whole of Europe to see exactly what I’m capable of. I’m just so honoured to have this incredible opportunity and being a part of an amazing family which is Eurovision. The love and support has been second to none.
Have you been to Tel Aviv before?
I visited Tel Aviv for the first time for three days to film my postcard which is the opening to my performance. I was also lucky enough to visit Haifa while I was there and that was magical and the people are so lovely and supportive.
Do you have any pre-show rituals or superstitions before?
I always get a little bit nervous before I perform, but I think that’s a positive because it makes you want to go on that stage and perform like it’s the last time you’ll ever get to sing again. I like to put my headphones on before and just focus and get my head in the game. When I’m on stage all those nerves and doubts seem to go away and I can just feel the electric energy from the crowd in the room.
Do you have any plans for after Eurovision?
Yes! I’ve just finished my debut album, which I’m really excited for all my fans across Europe to hear, because it’s totally different but really I think compliments my Eurovision song. The album takes you on a journey through my life as each track unfolds into another memory, or situation that I’ve been in. I’m excited to travel the world and perform for all my incredible fans after this amazing ride that Eurovision is. Who knows what doors will open after; I always say whatever will be, will be.
Lastly, if you could duet with one past entrant, who would it be?
NETTA! I could imagine it being so much fun; her performances are always so exciting to watch. She is a great artist and performer and brings something new to the stage every time, which leaves you wanting more and that’s what every great performer does.
Source BBC One
May 15, 2019 12:00pm ET by BBC One