We waited until 1974 for the wonderful country of Greece to join the Eurovision family. They've brought with them the drama, culture, music, dance, costumes, props and controversy. It wasn’t until 2005 that Greece finally had its first, and only win so far, although it has managed top 10 success on 17 occasions (10 times since 2001!).
Greece has a population of around 10 million people, with another estimated 10 million people of Greek/Hellenic origin living abroad. Katerine (pronounced "Katerina") was of the latter, born and raised in Montreal, Canada. At age 16, her family returned to Athens, Greece, where she has settled ever since, precluding any return to Canada, or movement elsewhere in the world.
Growing up, Katerine was mainly influenced by Rhythm and Blues, Soul and Hip Hop, however, she turned to such artists as Kimbra and James Blake with her first song release in 2014, One in a Million. Written when Katerine was only 21 years old, she initially recorded it as a demo without any plans for release. During an interview the following year, she stated that music was a means by which she was "able to express herself and filled her wholeheartedly", choosing music as her one and only love. With a unique voice, referred to as a mix of Amy Winehouse and Adele, she is now part of the growing cohort of Greek artists that choose to sing only in English (something that is actually quite appealing to Greeks in Greece).
Personally, as a Greek living abroad, I do like my music to be in the native language, or at least a mix of both Greek and English, hence 2018's Oneiro Mou was a massive hit for me. That song hit a big spot in the hearts of many Greeks in the diaspora, but unfortunately did not transfer into overall success at Eurovision. And so, I do understand the return to an English track with Better Love. It will definitely appeal to casual fans of Eurovision that vote, over the diehard Eurovision fans who appreciate music in native languages, and go out of their way to learn the lyrics and meaning of a song.
So, will Better Love do it for Greece in 2019? Of course it will – I am Greek after all... LOL! Seriously though, my personal taste in music is more driven towards the more upbeat “eurotrash” tracks (my words), and I don’t tend to like many ballads. This track, however, has a power that most of the other ballads on offer this year lack. It offers a story that many of us can relate to in our current or past relationships - and makes us hopeful for the future. And most importantly, Katerine can sing! Her voice is amazing and will be a hit with many fans.
Whilst we all know this is a Song Contest, presentation on the stage always matters, and I hope Katerine and her crew give us something truly amazing on the Tel Aviv stage. Success here will ensure Greece returns to the Grand Final on 18th May. Better Love may not have enough to be a winner amongst so many great songs this year, but I would be happy to see Greece make the Grand Final with a result in the top half.
However, my heart still hopes for Athens 2020.