On Saturday the 23rd May, the Eurovision Song Contest will celebrate its 60th anniversary and this year it will take place in Vienna, Austria. This Song Contest is one of the longest running television shows in the world and has an estimated viewing audience of 180 million! The first ever Eurovision Song Contest took place in Lugano, Switzerland, at the Teatro Kursaal, on the 24th of May, 1956. Celine Dion once represented Switzerland with her song “Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi” and she went on to win the contest for the country in 1988.
The Swiss entry to the contest for 2015 is Mélanie René with her song “My Time to Shine”. Mélanie, originally from Mauritius, trained for seven years at a performing arts school at Les Atelier du Funambule in Nyon.
Photo above – Mélanie René – Copyright – SRF Oscar Alessio
Sadly, the *school no longer exists, but Mélanie has fond memories of the place and of the town. When she was competing in the first step of the contest to represent Switzerland, Nyon and its landscape featured heavily in the background in her promotional video. Living in Nyon caught up with Mélanie for a short interview before she headed off to Austria for her big moment.
She will first perform at the Semi-Final 2 day on Thursday 21st May. If she passes this stage, she will be through to the final on Saturday night.
Read on to find out why Mélanie elected Nyon to train in the performing arts and how she has fond memories of the town.
“You chose to train at a theatre school in Nyon and spent many years there. Why did you chose this school and why Nyon?”
Les Ateliers du Funambule was a pioneer school of performing arts in French Switzerland that helped young people develop their skills through sponsorships. It was a comprehensive training that included dance lessons as well as theatre, music theory, songwriting masterclasses, and singing lessons of course. I learnt so much from this school, and had so many opportunities that helped develop the singer songwriter that I am today.
“What memories do you have of the town?”
So many great ones, sunshine reflecting on the lake, the view from the castle, as well as the amazing pancakes next to the school and the lovely town where we used to go window shopping with the other students! After spending seven years in Nyon, 3 to 4 days a week, it feels like my home town somewhat!
“Are you always composing new songs in your head?”
Yes, everything inspires me! It may be a word, a scenery, someone or even a feeling. I always have a pen and paper in my bag to write down ideas.
“Which other Swiss musicians/bands do you like to listen to?”
Can you reveal if there will be any kind of Swiss element to your performance at Eurovision? (dress etc?)
I can’t tell you much about the performance just yet I’m afraid, but I can tell you that everything we will bring onto the stage in Vienna will be representative of the song and it’s message!
Good luck Mélanie!
Photo above – Copyright SRF Oscar Alessio
* The Funambule used to be situated in the basement of the Beau Rivage hotel.