Wednesday, May 4, 2016

From the streets of Riga to the spectacular Eurovision Song Contest By William Butt

Justs Simrais, Latvia. Photo Credit: Andzejs Gavriss
When he was just sixteen years old young Justs Simrais left his home town of Kekava, near Bauska and started playing his guitar and singing on the streets of Riga. Little did he know that just five years later at the age of 21, he would be standing on the big Eurovision Song Contest stage in Stockholm not only representing Latvia in the world’s biggest television show but also fulfilling his childhood dream. Judging by his performances and his ability to adapt to the enormous environment associated with Eurovision, it is easy to see that this young artist is aiming to repeat Latvia’s victory from 2002 when Mari N won with the song “I wanna”. If this will happen or not remains to be seen next week as Latvia competes in the second semi final of the contest. The Latvian song in this year’s Eurovision Contest is entitled “Heartbeat” and was written for Justs Simrais by last year’s Latvian contestant Aminata Savadogo. With this somewhat catchy song, this 21 year old of Latvia is eager for success. On stage or in his music video, he is not unlike one of the young artists in the duo Walters and Kazaa who took Latvia to the Eurovision final eleven years ago in 2005 and ended up in 5th place. Justs Simrais’ professional musical career really started when he was seventeen years old and created a band called “Tax Free” that played music inspired by international bands like Red Hot Chili Peppers. “We have been playing now for three years and it feels as if we have found our style and discovered what we want to do.” When his band “Tax Free” started, Simrais tells of how it took time to learn all about being a music group. “Now we have grown and we understand everything that is expected of us as a professional band” he adds. Simrais sees his participation in the Eurovision Song Contest as the next step in his musical career. He believes that performing in Eurovision gives an artist a lot of valuable experience and it could be a stepping stone to move forward in the complex music industry. Footnote: The first semi final of the Eurovision Song Contest will be aired on Tuesday May 10. The second semi final will be aired on May 12, and the final will be aired on the 14th May. The Baltic Times