Australia may not have joined the Eurovision Song Contest until 2015, but fans are hoping 2023 could be the country’s year thanks to star power from prog rock band Voyager.
The five-piece band – whose current line-up includes Daniel “Danny” Estrin, Simone Dowe, Scott Kay, Ashley Doodkorte and Alex Canion – was first formed in 1999. Since then, the band has changed members many times and released seven studio recording albums over 24 years.
Voyager is representing Australia for the first time at Liverpool in this year’s final, but this is far from their first shot at Eurovision glory.
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The group were shortlisted to compete for Australia in 2020 (although they didn’t make it to the country’s final) only to finish runners-up in last year’s Australian competition, eventually losing to black-haired belter Sheldon Riley.
For 2023, Voyager were internally selected to represent Australia with their song ‘Promise’, which is part pulsating synthesizer track, part rocking headbanger.
Like many Eurovision songs, such as this year’s self-empowerment anthem “Queen of Kings” by Norwegian singer Alessandra, Voyager’s track conveys a positive message.
Lyrically, Promise speaks to the importance of camaraderie in a chaotic world. “Sometimes we all just need a friend, partner or family to tell us everything is going to be okay,” said guitarist Scott Kay.
Voyager is expected to compete in the second semi-final in Liverpool on Thursday (May 11), taking on Denmark, Armenia, Romania, Estonia, Belgium, Cyprus, Iceland, Greece, Poland, Slovenia, Georgia, San Marino, Austria, Albania and Lithuania the chance to take part in the grand finale on Saturday (May 13).
We spoke to guitarist Kay about the history of the long-haired rockers at the Eurovision Song Contest and the pressures of taking on Sweden’s Eurovision favorite and rivalry favorite Loreen in Liverpool.
Hello Scott! Congratulations on your Eurovision Entry Track Promise – it hits the spot! What is the backstory behind the song?
Promise began as an intriguing introduction, with Danny asking, “Have you done anything like this before?” To which we as a band replied, “No!”
It seemed like a great idea to explore, so we tackled it together. Lyrically, “Promise” reflects the chaos in the world and that sometimes we all just need a friend, partner or family to tell us everything will be okay.
Eurovision loves a long-haired rock star who used to be one of the genre’s favorites?
We love Blind Channel from Finland. The staging was epic and the theatricality of the performance is epic. Your performance has impacted us and we hope to capture the same energy.
Australia is still relatively new to Eurovision – how has the country embraced the madness of the competition?
By staying up for hours just to watch Eurovision! I think we tend to be more engaged viewers by default. Australia is a huge cultural melting pot, so it only makes sense that the Eurovision Song Contest would be so embraced. We love theatre, acting, discussing music and outfits.
This isn’t your first attempt to represent Australia in the Eurovision Song Contest. What made 2023 the right year?
We were selected internally this year, but last year we won the popular vote in 2022 with our song “Dreamer”. I really think we made a crucial difference for Australia last year; A heavy band with a touch of pop and there was something immediate about our song. We think being chosen to represent the country this year only made sense considering how close we came in 2022!
What parts of Liverpudlian culture are you most looking forward to?
Liverpool is such an arts-centric city that it will be great to immerse yourself not only in Eurovision culture, but in the music and arts scene that already exists there. If we have time it would be great to go to a pub and watch some local talent, maybe visit the Beatles museum too.
Who is your favorite past Eurovision winner?
Loreen’s “Euphoria” is simply a captivating and powerful song that is hard to ignore. It’s both amazing and a little intimidating to compete against them again this year!