The UK’s 2023 Eurovision entry Mae Muller has spoken to NME about her hopes for the competition, and how her song aims to “make people feel empowered”.
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Last month it was announced that Muller will be representing the United Kingdom at the 67th Eurovision Song Contest, heading to Liverpool in May with her track ‘I Wrote A Song’.
Co-written with Karen Poole (Kylie Minogue, David Guetta, Galantis) and Lewis Thompson (Anne-Marie, Little Mix, Steve Aoki), the song seeks to pull victory from the jaws of defeat following a breakup, as Muller explained.
“A lot of my music can come from a place of pain, even though the outcome is quite sassy and liberating,” she told NME. “This was one of those moments where I wanted to write something that made people feel empowered. Whether it’s a heartbreak or something that you’re going through with a friend, think about how you navigate those emotions and come out stronger.
“A lot of people think it’s a revenge song, but really it’s about the opposite. I could have sought revenge but instead I chose to empower myself.”
While admitting that the song’s production has a little added “Eurovision flavour”, Muller revealed that ‘I Wrote A Song’ doesn’t differ too much from how she originally intended it to sound.
“The released version is very similar to the demo – it was always an upbeat and empowering dance bop designed to make people feel confident,” she said. “Then once I found out about Eurovision, I wanted to keep that in mind. The spoken word middle eight section wasn’t in the original and I wanted to add that in with the Eurovision performance in mind to really have an intimate moment with the 200million people that are going to be watching.”
Having found out that she’d be competing in the Song Contest a few months ago – following been hand-selected by the TaP Management team who chose last year’s entry UK Sam Ryder – Muller said that she found it hard to keep it a secret, especially as rumours circulated of the likes of Rina Sawayama, Birdy, Jessie Ware and Ellie Goulding performing on behalf of the nation.
“It was really hard for me because I’m a bit of a tease,” she said. “I love leaving little Easter eggs and clues with my music but I couldn’t do any of that so I just had to watch from the sidelines.
“With all the speculation that was going on, I really wanted to get involved and post to TikTok, but I had to keep the secret. Then you see the big reveal and you understand why it was so important to keep it quiet.”
The annual competition will take place at Liverpool Arena in May, with the city hosting the event in place of last year’s winner Ukraine, due to the ongoing war with Russia.
“This year feels so special for so many reasons,” Muller told NME. “Liverpool is just the home of so much iconic music history, so just being in that city is going to make it feel special. We’re all so excited to be doing this on home soil, but it is on behalf on the Ukraine so it’s important for them to feel celebrated too.”
While remaining tight-lipped about what to expect from her performance on the night – aside from that she’ll “bring the energy” – Muller did reveal that she’s been enjoying exploring all of the other songs that she’ll be competing against next month.
“I’ve got some favourites and I’ve spoken to a few of the other artists,” she said. “That’s the most fun part of everything before the competition. There are so many great songs and pop girlies taking part this year. We’re going to bring it! That really excites me.”
She continued: “I’m really enjoying Austria’s entry at the moment. I just feel like the songwriting is great. With so many boss women taking part, it would just be amazing to see them do well.”
Noting a shift in attitudes in the UK towards Eurovision, particularly after the success of Ryder and previous Italian victors Måneskin, Muller said that she was excited to be swept up in the contest’s ever-increasing credibility.
“I’m a huge fan of Måneskin and Sam Ryder, and I really feel like they’re helping the tide to change,” she said. “Eurovision has always been fun, but I feel like people in the UK are taking it more seriously. I’m lucky to be taking part in a year when there’s so much positive attention around it. Sam Ryder really did change that. He was a huge part of people going, ‘Do you know what? We could have a shot at this!
“I think that was a long time coming because the UK is home to so much talent, and he really helped shine a light on that.”
And what are Muller’s personal favourite Eurovision classics?
“I loved Netta and ‘Toy’ [Israel’s 2018 entry], because I loved how out of the box but brilliant it was,” she replied. “The message was really powerful and she seems like a very bright and warm person.
“I’m a huge ABBA fan like everyone else on the planet, but looking at their first Eurovision performance and where they are now is so inspiring. I saw ABBA Voyage twice and cried both times. It just highlights how iconic Eurovision is.”
The 2023 Eurovision Song Contest will take place at the M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool from May 9-13. This week saw the BBC announce the cities across the UK that will be hosting official “large scale screenings”.