The Small Community of Eurovision Songwriters

Eurovision is sometimes criticized for having a sound unto itself, and with good reason. Pay close enough attention to the songwriters credits and you start seeing the same names over and over again. Though by no means a comprehensive list, here are some of the bigger players.

Ralph Siegel

German songwriter Siegel has a remarkable Eurovision legacy. He has composed no fewer than 23 Eurovision songs – mostly for Germany but also Luxembourg, Montenegro, Switzerland, and San Marino. Additionally, for every song that has made the Contest, two Siegel songs have competed in national selections. The man is nothing if not prolific. During his 40-year career, Siegel has repeatedly demonstrated a gift for the memorable, catchy melody. Sometimes, like with “Ein Bisschen Friedchen,” it results in beauty. But sometimes, like with “The Social Network Song,” he completely misses the mark and unwittingly contributes to Eurovision’s most embarrassing moments.

Ralph Siegel

  • “Sing Sang Song” (Germany 1976, 15th overall)
  • “Dschinghis Khan” (Germany 1979, 4th overall)
  • “Theater” (Germany 1980, 2nd overall)
  • “Papa Pingouin” (Luxembourg 1980, 9th overall)
  • “Ein Bisschen Friedchen” (Germany 1982, 1st overall)
  • “Lass die Sonne in den Herz” (Germany 1987, 2nd overall)
  • “Wir Geben ‘ne den Party” (Germany 1994, 3rd overall)
  • “If We All Give a Little” (Switzerland 2006, 17th overall)
  • “The Social Network Song” (San Marino 2012, DNQ)
  • “Crisalide” (San Marino 2013, DNQ)
  • “Maybe (Forse)” (San Marino 2014, 24th overall, pictured)
  • “Chain of Lights” (San Marino 2015, DNQ)
  • “Spirit of the Night” (San Marino 2017)

Thomas G:son

A Swedish songwriter, Thomas G:son hawks his wares throughout Europe. His fingerprints are everywhere. He has penned no fewer than 10 Eurovision entries, including 2012’s winner, “Euphoria.” Additionally, G:son songs have competed in national selection shows in Sweden, Norway, Finland, Spain, Latvia, Romania, Poland, Belgium and Denmark. In Georgia, they just put his songs through without question.

  • “Listen to Your Heartbeat” (Sweden 2001, 5th overall)
  • “Invincible” (Sweden 2006, 5th overall)
  • “Ven a Bailar Conmigo” (Norway 2007, DNQ)
  • “I Love You Mi Vida” (Spain 2007, 20th overall)
  • “In a Moment Like This” (Denmark 2010, 4th overall)
  • “Euphoria” (Sweden 2012, 1st overall, pictured)
  • “Quedate Conmigo” (Spain 2012, 9th overall)
  • “Waterfall” (Georgia 2013, 15th overall)
  • “Amanecer” (Spain 2015, 21st overall)
  • “Warrior” (Georgia 2015, 11th overall)
  • “Midnight Gold” (Georgia 2016, 20th overall)
  • “Alter Ego” (Cyprus 2016, 21st overall)
  • “Gravity” (Cyprus 2017)

Fredrik Kempe

Swedish schlager has a certain distinctive dance-pop, bouncy sound. At Melodifestivalen, Fredrik Kempe more than any other songwriter is associated with that sound. Kempe has often had multiple songs in MF, as many as four in a year. At Eurovision, Kempe songs have represented Sweden five times. In his early years, he also attempted to enter MF as a singer/songwriter. That didn’t go as well (pictured). He also composed the music for the brilliant “Love Love Peace Peace” interval act at the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest, and really, there was no better person to do so.

  • “Hero” (Sweden 2008, 18th overall)
  • “La Voix” (Sweden 2009, 21st overall)
  • “My Heart Will Go On” “My Heart is Yours” (Norway 2010, 20th overall)
  • “Popular” (Sweden 2011, 3rd overall)
  • “Undo” (Sweden 2014, 3rd overall)

Bobby Ljunggren

Dozens of Swedish songwriter Ljunggren’s songs have competed at Melodifestivalen since 1987. Since 2003, he has had multiple songs in MF nearly every year. His high water mark was 2008, where Ljunggren songs finished 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. Six of his songs have gone on to compete at Eurovision.

  • “Se på mig” (Sweden 1995, 3rd overall)
  • “Kärleken är” (Sweden 1998, 10th overall)
  • “Little by Little” (Lithuania 2005, 25th overall)
  • “Invincible” (Sweden 2006, 5th overall, pictured)
  • “Hero” (Sweden 2008, 18th overall)
  • “This is My Life” (Sweden 2010, DNQ)

Gerard James Borg

A Maltese lyricist, Borg has written or co-written seven Eurovision entries, mostly for Malta, since 2000. It has not been uncommon to find several songs from Borg in the Maltese national selection. He has also entered songs into national selections for Belgium, Bulgaria, Greece, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Romania, and Spain.

  • “Desire” (Malta 2000, 8th overall)
  • “7th Wonder” (Malta 2002, 2nd overall, pictured)
  • “On Again… Off Again” (Malta 2004, 8th overall)
  • “Vertigo” (Malta 2007, DNQ)
  • “Vodka” (Malta 2008, DNQ)
  • “Shine” (Russia 2014, 7th overall)
  • “Breathlessly” (Malta 2017)

Jonas Gladnikoff

A Swedish songwriter, Gladnikoff has found most of his success outside of Sweden. His biggest Eurovision success has come from Ireland, but Gladnikoff songs have competed in Albania, Bulgaria, Denmark, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Moldova, Portugal, and Spain. A few of his songs have been recorded by Icelandic artists such as Hera Bjork and Erna Hronn. Other Gladnikoff songs we have discussed in this blog include Nikki Kavanagh’s “Falling” (2nd place in Ireland 2011) and Auryn’s “Volver” (2nd or 3rd place in Spain 2011).

  • “Et Cetera” (Ireland 2009, DNQ)
  • “It’s For You” (Ireland 2010, 23rd overall, pictured)
  • “Heartbeat” (Ireland 2014, DNQ)

Peter Boström

Most of Swedish producer/songwriter Boström’s career has been in producing; he only entered the Eurovision game in 2009. Yet since then he’s assembled quite the track record. He has had multiple entries compete at Melodifestivalen, and he has also contributed to Denmark’s and Norway’s national finals. Boström was a creative force behind favorite Swedish also-rans from Erik Saade (“Manboy” (2010)) and Danny Saucedo (“In the Club” (2011), “Amazing” (2012)). At Eurovision 2012, Boström had two songs, where he achieved the distinction of finishing first and last.

  • “Euphoria” (Sweden 2012, 1st overall)
  • “Stay” (Norway 2012, 26th overall)
  • “Amanecer” (Spain 2015, 21st overall)

Željko Joksimović

Joksimović was Serbia and Montenegro’s first representative and later represented Serbia by itself. In addition to these two singer-songwriter entries, he composed three other songs that made it to the Grand Prix Final. Jelena Tomašević defended Serbia’s title in 2008 with “Oro” and Bosnia & Herzegovina’s Hari Mata Hari finished third with “Lejla.” While Joksimović has indicated he does not plan to perform at Eurovision again, his songs may still make appearances at future Song Contests.

  • “Lane Moje” (Serbia & Montenegro 2004, 2nd overall, pictured)
  • “Lejla” (Bosnia & Herzegovina 2006, 3rd overall)
  • “Oro” (Serbia 2008, 6th overall)
  • “Nije ljubav stvar” (Serbia 2012, 3rd overall)
  • “Adio” (Montenegro 2015, 13th overall)

Philipp Kirkorov

Kirkorov was born in Bulgaria, but has had a long career in Russian pop. He represented Russia at the 1995 Eurovision Song Contest, finishing 17th. He has had more success at Eurovision as a songwriter; as of this writing all of his contributions to the Song Contest have finished in the top 10. He co-wrote the bonafide classic “Shady Lady,” and he has been Russia’s go-to guy for Eurovision entries while its relationship with the rest of Europe is strained. Kirkorov headed up Russia’s jury in 2009, although he had to step down after being seen as too close to Greek contestant Sakis Rouvas. He has had a number of run-ins with fellow musicians and with reporters over his career, most notably in 2004 when he was fined for insulting journalist Irina Aroyan. Despite those controversies, he remains one of Russia’s most popular stars.

Philipp Kirkorov

  • “Kolybelnaya dlya vulkana” (Russia 1995, 17th overall, pictured)
  • “Work Your Magic” (Belarus 2007, 6th overall)
  • “Shady Lady” (Ukraine 2008, 2nd overall)
  • “Shine” (Russia 2014, 7th overall)
  • “You Are the Only One” (Russia 2016, 3rd overall)

Dimitris Kontopoulos

Kontopoulous is a Berklee- and USC-trainined musician from Athens, Greece who has established himself as a film composer and pop songwriter in his home country. He has written a number of songs for Sakis Rouvas, including Greece’s 2009 Eurovision entry “This Is Our Night.” He has also collaborated with Philipp Kirkorov to write four Eurovision entries, including Ani Lorak’s “Shady Lady.” He also has an impressive track record at the Song Contest: to date every song he has written for Eurovision has finished in the top 10.

Sakis Rouvas

  • “Work Your Magic” (Belarus 2007, 6th overall)
  • “Shady Lady” (Ukraine 2008, 2nd overall)
  • “This Is Our Night” (Greece 2009, 7th overall, pictured)
  • “Hold Me” (Azerbaijan 2013, 2nd overall)
  • “Shine” (Russia 2014, 7th overall)
  • “You Are the Only One” (Russia 2016, 3rd overall)
  • “This Is Love” (Greece 2017)

Philip Vella

Maltese songwriter Vella has represented his home country six times, with his best finish coming in 2002 when Ira Losco finished second with “7th Wonder.” He is nothing but prolific; he has composed over 70 songs just for Malta’s national selection alone. He has branched out to write television series scores, commercial jingles and computer game music. He is also a photographer who works with Malta’s television magazine Gwida.

Morena

  • “Desire” (Malta 2000, 8th overall)
  • “7th Wonder” (Malta 2002, 2nd overall)
  • “On Again… Off Again” (Malta 2004, 12th overall)
  • “Vertigo” (Malta 2007, DNQ)
  • “Vodka” (Malta 2008, DNQ, pictured)
  • “Breathlessly” (Malta 2017)

Charlie Mason

Mason is an American lyricist who co-wrote the 2014 Eurovision-winning entry “Rise Like a Phoenix.” He got his start working German musician Dirk Homuth, and has since composed lyrics for Miley Cyrus, Ashley Tisdale, Eric Saade, and Sergey Lazarev. He teamed up with Slovenian musician Raay to write skier Tina Maze’s single “My Way Is My Decision,” and they later teamed up with Raay’s wife and bandmate Marjetka Vovk on Slovenia’s 2015 Eurovision entry “Here for You.” He also wrote the English lyrics to “Beauty Never Lies” for Bojana Stamenov, who represented Serbia in 2015. Fun fact: He likes animals more than humans.

Bojana Stamenov

  • “L’amore è femmina” (Italy 2012, 9th overall)
  • “Rise Like a Phoenix” (Austria 2014, 1st overall)
  • “Beauty Never Lies” (Serbia 2015, 10th overall, pictured)
  • “Here for You” (Slovenia 2015, 14th overall)