Portugal has won the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time. Portugal is the longest-running contestant never to have won the competition, despite trying for 53 years. Ultimately the quietest performance resonated the loudest, and Europeans handed victory to Portugal’s Salvador Sobral, a 27-year-old jazz performer with a humble song about love.
Salvador Sobral's poignant song Amar Pelos Dois emerged victorious with 758 points, with the 27-year-old describing his win as a "victory for music”. The song was composed and written by his sister Luísa. He is singing Amar Pelos Dois, which means ‘Love for both’. What do we know about this talented singer?
Salvador Sobral was born in Lisbon and is 27 years old. Salvador Sobral studied Psychology, but his overwhelming passion for music took over and he has proved to be one of the great promises in the Portuguese and Spanish music scene. He competed on Portugal’s version of Pop Idol, Idolos, in 2009, while the show was in its third series – and his sister, Luísa Sobral, had come third in the first series.
To represent Portugal in the Eurovision Song Contest 2017, Salvador entered a national competition, which was organized by Portuguese broadcaster Rádio e Televisão de Portugal. The contest, called Festival da Canção 2017, involved two semi-finals and a grand final. Sobral had huge success with the show, receiving the highest score the judges could give, along with the second highest score from the public vote.
Many say that Salvador Sobral conquered the hearts of Ukrainian audience some time before his winner performance on the grand stage of Eurovision Song Contest. Just a couple of days before the finals, Sobral was noticed in a Kyiv’s downtown bar, where he performed live. Visitors who had a chance to witness his live gig were simply mind blown with the genuine energy and ambience the singer exuded while singing. Many said the music came from his heart straight to the heart of all the listeners.
And talking about hearts, it’s now the well known fact that Salvador Sobral is suffering from a heart disease. He faced complications after competing in Portugal’s national selection semi-final and required a surgery to repair two hernias but returned to win the final whilst recuperating. Luisa, singer’s sister, confirmed rumors of the heart condition in Portugal’s press conference last week but Salvador had tried to keep the news from becoming public to avoid that overshadowing the power of his emotional performance.
In his winner's speech, Salvador hit out at “disposable” music in the world stating: “Music is not firework, music is feeling, so let's try to do this and bring music back which is what matters.” His victory upends the traditional Eurovision formula of more-is-more, and marks a step away from the plastic, radio-friendly pop that has come to dominate the contest recently. Yet by Sunday afternoon (May 14) - the morning after his landslide victory —the song had gained traction, topping the iTunes charts in 14 countries, including Sweden and the Netherlands, but also Azerbaijan and Kyrgyzstan.
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After his victory the scruffy singer, who appeared on stage in all black and scraped his long hair back and away from his face, said his life won’t change and refused to call himself a national hero. But on Sunday afternoon a braying mob of fans greeted him at Lisbon's Airport anyway, and four policemen had to escort him to an ad-hoc press conference on site.
Photo source: Eurovision Song Contest official web page. All images belong to their rightful owners.