On February 20, Kristīna Zaharova will be performing in the finals of the Irish Eurovision finals, seeking to win the right to represent Ireland in Moscow this year. The song, “I Wish I Could Pretend” was composed by Lauris Reiniks. A jury selected six songs from all of those that were submitted. The jury was made up of Irish television and music experts. The winner will be declared on the “Late Late Show Eurosong 2009 Special” on RTE Television on February 20.
“This is great, especially because such a professional jury evaluated the large number of songs that were submitted. If we’re among the top 6, that means excellent recognition for me as a songwriter,” says Lauris in delight. He adds that he’s long since wanted to compose a right proper ballad for Eurovision, one that would be perfect for the singer. This one was written specifically for Kristīna Zaharaova’s voice, and he’s done well. A co-author of the lyrics is Gordon Pogoda from Los Angeles, who is a renowned and experienced composer and lyricist.
This year Ireland’s Eurovision system opened up the contest to people from other countries. Lauris became interested in this when Latvian Television announced that it would not take part in the competition because of financing problems. “We were in the final 21 when this announcement was made, and I didn’t just want to drop the song,” says Reiniks. “So I submitted it to the Irish competition, because that’s a country which has long-standing traditions with ballads, and I thought that the song would be appropriate there.” He laughs in adding that Ireland is really something like Little Latvia anyway.
The rules in Latvia say that no song can be submitted to more than one country’s finals, so Lauris and Kristīna have withdrawn from the Latvian competition. Latvian Television is aware of this, and an official letter from Lauris’ production company has been sent to it.
The Microphone Records (Mikrofona Ieraksti) and MicRec/EMI-Latvia Publishing companies represent Kristīna Zaharova as a performer and Lauris Reiniks as a performer and author, and they are delighted at this achievement:
“Let’s not underrate this fact. Lauris and Kristīna have now won recognition from two professional juries for the song,” says MicRec representative Guntars Račs with a grin. “Latvia’s music professionals chose it as one of the best songs in the competition, and now the Irish jury, which was chaired by the well known Irish singer Linda Martin, chose it as one of the best ones in the Irish finals, too. This fact, irrespective of the results of the final, offers an outstanding chance for these artists to appear outside of Latvia. We’re already talking to our partners in the UK to get some attention to ‘I Wish I Could Pretend’ both before and after the competition. If Kristīna wins in Ireland, Latvian Television will be able to invite her as a representative of Ireland to appear at the Latvian finals in Ventspils. If not, then Kristīna will compete here in Latvia anyway, but with a different song – ‘Angel of Mine’ by Mārtiņš Freimanis.”
Kristīna Zaharova is working actively on her first solo album. It will include songs from various composers, including Lauris, that have been written especially for her and will be released later this year.
The airBaltic airline has already agreed to support the Latvian musicians on their way to Ireland. The airline’s vice president, Jānis Vanags, explains: “We’re pleased to support any project which popularises Latvia’s name in the rest of the world.”