I am not within the EBU zone. I have had very limited and low access to Eurovision before 2006 when I leaned to get find ways online to watch the contest. I have literally fought to be part of the ESC community, because it represented me, it freed me, even.
In 2003, on a Lebanese television channel, Sertab’s winning hit was being played. I remember the visual, the music. It was a funeral and I was 11, too young to care, but had to keep the volume down. The song was so catchy I couldn’t get it out of my head. I looked for it everywhere, tried googling the lyrics I remembered, but all my attempts failed.
In 2004, I followed the Contest’s events but could not watch it live. Tried to find what I could online. I remember sneaking to a music shop during a school trip to buy the Contest’s album, because that was the only way I could find the music back then. I was only 12 years old and I loved music so much.
Years went by and that tune from 2003 was still in my head. I grew bigger as a fan every year. Eurovision was my dream. In 2012, I began collecting all the Eurovision albums I could. Once on Wikipedia, while skimming the Winners’ page, I noticed that Turkey had won in 2003, when I opened the song’s page and saw the artwork of the single, I knew that my long lost tune from the past was finally found. A music fan would understand that this is not just some silly thing. This is real. Music brings happiness to people.
And I had never been happier. I began meeting Eurovision fans from all over Europe online. The times we had on Skype just discussing the music and breaking down every year’s events were precious.
Until Eurovision, I was living in a place were music was only for entertainment. The lyrics didn’t matter and the sound wasn’t evaluated. All that mattered is what grazed the surface of the ears. But that is not what music is about to me; music fills up the body and the mind with emotions that could change the life by changing the mood. Music is a place. And Eurovision is all of that.
This revolutionary idea brought me face to face with languages I never knew existed, instruments that made sounds which touched places in my heart I didn’t even knew I had. I traveled across Europe with Eurovision and its music. From Sweden to Serbia, I had the time of my life. In my room, in front of a small screen, I was able to learn things that maybe the years wouldn’t have taught me if I didn’t know Eurovision.
This is the place where I unite with my true mates, those who share this joy with me. Eurovision gave me that and the hope that one day maybe I can be in an arena filled with people waving flags of peace and unity, all loving the same thing, all with eyes directed to the center of one stage, and with ears so hungry for music that when the song starts we could even cry!
This is what Eurovision is to me. This is what it has done to me. It is the best and most beautiful thing in life. It is a genius combination of all of us. Thank you for the music.