AUSTRALIA – Firebrace’s Eurovision campaign has proven to be the most successful launch pad for an Australian artist to perform at the world’s biggest singing contest. The 17-year-old may have placed ninth but his pop career has enjoyed a massive boost throughout Europe with his debut single It’s Gotta Be You rocketing to an impressive 82 million Spotify streams. The song received about 10 million hits over the course of his two weeks rehearsing and competing in Kiev, Ukraine where the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest was held. His competition song Don’t Come Easy, also composed by Australian hitmaker producers DNA, is closing in on three million streams and four million views on YouTube and has entered the top 50 on iTunes and Spotify charts in 13 countries outside Australia.
The fact he finished fourth on the jury votes — decided by music industry experts — also signals European tastemakers highly rate the teen’s talent. As he continues a two-week promotional tour of France, Sweden, Norway, Belgium and UK, Firebrace said he was shocked by the impact of Eurovision on his fledgling pop career, particularly with his post X-Factor song It’s Gotta Be You, which peaked at No. 26 on the Australian charts after his win.
“I think it really surprised me. A lot. My season of X Factor got the lowest ratings ever so after it finished, I wondered how my song was going to go,” he said in Kiev. “But a few weeks after it had finished, Spotify added my song to some of their playlists, to the biggest playlist it has, and suddenly it got all these streams. “And it continues to grow every day. I don’t know why (the fans) chose It’s Gotta be You but I’m glad they did.”
Those European fans continue to flood his social media with requests for him to visit their countries. The teenager with an old soul who dealt with the craziness of Eurovision with an unassailable calm and quiet confidence was the subject of plenty of female attention in Kiev. He would return to his small backstage dressing room from rehearsals to find a collection of single roses and notes from admirers wishing him good luck and offering phone numbers.
“I talked to Blanche, who was competing for Belgium, and she said her friend wants my number. I think there were other requests from some of the volunteers as well,” he said, laughing.
While it was a dream come true for Firebrace to be chosen to represent Australia at Eurovision, he knows he wasn’t the first choice of the SBS team organising our campaign. It is understood a handful of other Australian pop artists knocked back the invitation as they didn’t want to follow in the footsteps of Dami Im’s phenomenal runner-up achievement at the 2016 contest. Considering his performance has now helped realise his ambitions to build an international profile, his pop rivals may be regretting their decision not to go.
“I feel really lucky to have all this happening. I know there are a lot of people out there who would want this to happen for them. Even people who are already up there in the music industry,” he said. “I am my own person. Compared to Dami, we’re very different singers and had very different songs. “For people to knock back something because they are scared to be compared to Dami and what she did, I think it’s weird to do that. To be scared to being compared, I don’t want to say it’s being a wuss but it kinda is.”
Firebrace will now spend the next few months writing and recording songs for his debut solo record which he hopes to release by the end of the year.