A few weeks ago, Salvador Sobral, the 27-year-old Portuguese crooner who won Saturday’s Eurovision Song Contest, was an unknown artist waiting for a heart transplant.
But his intimate rendering of the melancholic “Amar Pelos Dois” (For the Both of Us) written by his older sister Luisa a success in her own right scored a huge victory in the kitschy contest in Kiev, reports BSS.
At first glance, his decision to forgo the elaborate choreography and heavy dance tempos favoured by most contestants had made him a long shot.
“Music is not fireworks, music is feeling,” he said after winning. “Let’s put emotion back into music.”
Asked later at a press conference whether he was now a national hero, he said: “Honestly man I just want to live a peaceful life, if I thought of myself as a national hero it would be a bit weird, you know.”
Shunning English to sing in a Portuguese tremolo that reflects a severe heart condition would also seem to bode ill for the Lisbon native, whose beard and ponytail make him look more of a hipster than a budding pop star.
“I don’t like pointless ‘fast food’ music, my songs have to have meaning, I sing with my heart,” he said recently.
Ukraine hosted the competition while it also fights a war, hundreds of kilometers (miles) away in the east, against Russian-backed separatists.