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Eurovision: Essex TikTok star Sam Ryder prepares for final Eurovision: Essex TikTok star Sam Ryder prepares for final
(5 days later)
Singer-songwriter Sam Ryder, from Essex, counts Justin Bieber, Sia and Alicia Keys among his fansSinger-songwriter Sam Ryder, from Essex, counts Justin Bieber, Sia and Alicia Keys among his fans
Eurovision contender Sam Ryder has promised to perform with the same energy that made him a social media star when he competes at the weekend.Eurovision contender Sam Ryder has promised to perform with the same energy that made him a social media star when he competes at the weekend.
The 32-year-old, from near Maldon in Essex, will represent the UK during the grand final in Turin, Italy, with his uplifting pop song Space Man.The 32-year-old, from near Maldon in Essex, will represent the UK during the grand final in Turin, Italy, with his uplifting pop song Space Man.
Ryder found fame covering hits on TikTok during lockdown and has gained more than 12 million followers.Ryder found fame covering hits on TikTok during lockdown and has gained more than 12 million followers.
"I'm just excited and grateful to have the [Eurovision] opportunity," he said."I'm just excited and grateful to have the [Eurovision] opportunity," he said.
"I've got to be real, I didn't have a clue it would be in my stars."I've got to be real, I didn't have a clue it would be in my stars.
"Space Man was written a year and a half ago, I never intended for it to be a Eurovision song.""Space Man was written a year and a half ago, I never intended for it to be a Eurovision song."
Warning: Third party content may contain advertsWarning: Third party content may contain adverts
Ryder said he was a "big fan" of Eurovision and had fond memories of watching the contest with his family while growing up in the Essex countryside.Ryder said he was a "big fan" of Eurovision and had fond memories of watching the contest with his family while growing up in the Essex countryside.
"My personal goal for this is to sing with the same intention that I always sing with, and then come away with the joy that it has given me," Ryder said."My personal goal for this is to sing with the same intention that I always sing with, and then come away with the joy that it has given me," Ryder said.
He said he would not let nerves get to him ahead of the big performance.He said he would not let nerves get to him ahead of the big performance.
"I think if I let myself go down that path then it's hard to come back from that," he said."I think if I let myself go down that path then it's hard to come back from that," he said.
Bookmakers have put Sam Ryder among the frontrunners for success, but Ukraine are current favouritesBookmakers have put Sam Ryder among the frontrunners for success, but Ukraine are current favourites
The UK has featured at the bottom of the Eurovision leaderboard for the past two contests - coming in last place in 2019 with Michael Rice's Bigger Than Us, and James Newman's Embers scoring "nul points" in 2021.The UK has featured at the bottom of the Eurovision leaderboard for the past two contests - coming in last place in 2019 with Michael Rice's Bigger Than Us, and James Newman's Embers scoring "nul points" in 2021.
In 2022, however, Ryder is being given 100/1 odds to score the dreaded zero.In 2022, however, Ryder is being given 100/1 odds to score the dreaded zero.
'Boost of energy''Boost of energy'
As the most followed UK music artist on TikTok, he has won famous fans including Justin Bieber, Sia and Alicia Keys.As the most followed UK music artist on TikTok, he has won famous fans including Justin Bieber, Sia and Alicia Keys.
"It just started in my mum's kitchen," he said."It just started in my mum's kitchen," he said.
"I sang Britney Spears's Hit Me Baby One More Time as high as I could and then I woke up the next morning and two million people had seen it."I sang Britney Spears's Hit Me Baby One More Time as high as I could and then I woke up the next morning and two million people had seen it.
"Mum was terrified the kitchen was a mess. It wasn't, it was spotless."Mum was terrified the kitchen was a mess. It wasn't, it was spotless.
"It kind of snowballed from there."It kind of snowballed from there.
"I never imagined it could lead to the point it's led to now and I wouldn't be stood on the Eurovision stage without it.""I never imagined it could lead to the point it's led to now and I wouldn't be stood on the Eurovision stage without it."
Ryder co-wrote Space Man with Grammy-winning songwriter Amy Wadge, who has previously worked with Ed SheeranRyder co-wrote Space Man with Grammy-winning songwriter Amy Wadge, who has previously worked with Ed Sheeran
Ryder said he started posting on TikTok as "just a bit of fun" and was shocked when he received support from global superstars.Ryder said he started posting on TikTok as "just a bit of fun" and was shocked when he received support from global superstars.
"I remember getting a message from Justin Bieber saying 'hey, I just sent your video to Sia' and then she posted it on her Instagram page - she was just so kind and encouraging."I remember getting a message from Justin Bieber saying 'hey, I just sent your video to Sia' and then she posted it on her Instagram page - she was just so kind and encouraging.
"And something like that for a singer who's waiting to have their moment - essentially that means everything from your hero, giving you the nod of approval lights a fire in you.""And something like that for a singer who's waiting to have their moment - essentially that means everything from your hero, giving you the nod of approval lights a fire in you."
Watch the first Eurovision Semi-Final on BBC iPlayer from Tuesday 10 May at 20:00 BST. Watch the first Eurovision Semi-Final on BBC iPlayer.
Watch the second Eurovision Semi-Final on BBC iPlayer from Wednesday 11 May at 20:00 BST. Watch the second Eurovision Semi-Final on BBC iPlayer.
Watch the Eurovision Song Contest Final on BBC iPlayer and BBC One, at 20:00 BST on Saturday 14 May.Watch the Eurovision Song Contest Final on BBC iPlayer and BBC One, at 20:00 BST on Saturday 14 May.
The Eurovision 2022 grand final will be also be broadcast on BBC Radio 2 and BBC Sounds on Saturday 14 May from 20:00 BST.The Eurovision 2022 grand final will be also be broadcast on BBC Radio 2 and BBC Sounds on Saturday 14 May from 20:00 BST.
Find BBC News: East of England on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. If you have a story suggestion email eastofenglandnews@bbc.co.ukFind BBC News: East of England on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. If you have a story suggestion email eastofenglandnews@bbc.co.uk