Eurovision Song Contest’s UK entry vows to ignore the critics

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The UK’s entry for this year’s Eurovision Song Contest has said he plans to ignore the critics and focus on people’s positive comments about his track.

James Newman, brother of pop star John Newman, is hoping to improve the country’s prospects at the annual event after Michael Rice placed last in 2019 with Bigger Than Us.

Newman, whose track My Last Breath was released on Thursday, has previously worked with Rudimental, Ed Sheeran and Calvin Harris.

Speaking during a launch event in London, he said: “You just have to ignore it. There are 200 million people. Not everyone is going to like the song. But all I have seen is so much positivity so I am focusing on that.”

Before performing the track, he told the audience: “I have got a number seven song on iTunes right now and the video is trending worldwide. For a new artist, look at the platform.

“Europe is such a massive place. The reach, you know. You are singing to 200 million people on the telly, which is pretty good. You can’t turn that down.”

He joked that despite the UK’s recent lack of success, he was going to win.

“I’m going to get the keys to London and a bus – the hero is coming home,” he quipped.

Newman’s songwriting hits include Waiting All Night, performed by Rudimental and Ella Eyre.

<figcaption class='imgFCap'>Ella Eyre (Lauren Hurley/PA)</figcaption>
Ella Eyre (Lauren Hurley/PA)

He also wrote Lay It All On Me, performed by Rudimental featuring Ed Sheeran, and Blame, performed by Calvin Harris featuring his brother John.

Newman penned My Last Breath during a songwriting retreat in Scotland.

The track was inspired by Wim Hof, aka The Iceman, a Dutch extreme athlete known for his ability to withstand freezing temperatures, who also features in the music video.

“He’s a really important part of my life,” he said.

“I went to one of his training camps last year, which is where you go to a mountain in Poland – where we shot the actual video, we went back and did it.

“You stay in his house which is on the side of a hill. You get up every morning and you do all this crazy breathing stuff.

“You get trauma out of your body and you jump in the cold water. You do all this training. It really helped me.

<figcaption class='imgFCap'>John Newman (Scott Garfitt/PA)</figcaption>
John Newman (Scott Garfitt/PA)

“At the end we hiked up a mountain in our shorts, a snowy mountain, and I cried at the top because it was life changing.”

He praised his brother, best known for the track Love Me Again, for being “so supportive” but quipped: “I think he’s worried because he knows I am a better singer.”

This year, BBC bosses scrapped the public vote and teamed up with the record label BMG to choose the singer and the song instead.

The label’s UK president, Alistair Norbury, opened the evening by rubbishing the idea that My Last Breath was a song about Britain or politics.

He said: “This song is not jingoistic. This song is not about Britain.

“This song is not about anything other than a great love song, fantastically well written by James, with Ed Drewett, Adam Argyle and Iain James.”

He added: “We have two aims. The first aim was to work with our partners, the BBC, and deliver something we can all be proud of as a UK music and entertainment industry. That job has been done.

“The second aim is very simple. We said at the very beginning, in the first meeting, we are going to move from the right hand side of the scoreboard to the left hand side of the scoreboard.

“That’s it. That’s the aim this year. Everything else will be a bonus.”

The 65th Eurovision Song Contest will be held in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, in May.

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