The UK’s Eurovision entry this year is a fresh breath of air for the UK. I chat to Molly Smitten Downes before the Finals of the world’s biggest music competition to find out that she’s a big hippy at heart, why she rates Gina G and how Hugh Jackman is a big fan!
What are you most looking forward to about Eurovision?
Oh gosh, loads really, but the performance the most. It’s going to be the biggest show I’ve ever done, it’s going to be an incredible experience to perform in front of that many people and to have such a big stage.
Does 120 million viewers haunt you at all?
A little bit… A little bit! Yes, but weirdly I feel more excited than anything. I’m genuinely excited. I feel really strongly about the song, and I’m really excited about getting everyone to hear it and to judge as they will. I don’t know if they’re going to like it or not but I’m really happy with the song, if they don’t like it, then that’s absolutely fine, but hopefully some of them will…
Well out of 120 million, we’ll think you’ll find some fans!
Some must, at least one or two!!! (Laughs)
Was Children of the universe a co write or self penned?
That was self-penned, I wrote and Anders Hansson
produced it – he’s incredible. He’s an absolute dream to work with and he really understands my writing style and it’s amazing how much he can hear when I write. My little demos of basic chords, he just hears what I can hear and he knows how to make it into what you hear.
What are you trying to say in your song?
The song is about knowing your worth as a human being and feeling a bit disconnected, dreaming, feeling not really sure about yourself in the world and waking up and realising ‘you know what I believe every human is important, we all have a part to play, we’re not really sure what it is – but it’s about knowing your worth as a human being’.
I guess I’m just a bit of a hippy… some people might find it very sickly – that message, but it’s what I believe.
So a bit of a hippy then?
I’m a massive hippy in fact.
Is the UK ready for a hippy monster?
(Laughing) I don’t know. But I think the UK is more hippy than we know. We love animals; we’re quite pioneering with human rights.
We’re a lot more hippyish than we like to admit – but we’re quite a deep nation, I think we care a lot about issues and we’re quite rebellious and we don’t like to conform too much.
Are you going to go for the full camp costume for Eurovision?
It’s pretty glam, but that’s all I’m going to say. It’s going to be the most glamorous thing I’ve ever worn.
Are you an avid fan of the show?
I wouldn’t say I’m an avid fan… No. I used to watch it when I was little, but the last few years, I’ve lost interest in it I guess. I didn’t feel that connected to it, for whatever reason. So I’ve had to sort of do my research, after agreeing to do it. Looking at those who have come high up in the scoring, I feel like in this Country, certainly we’ve got a preconceived idea about it and a lot of people think it’s a bit naff. But if you look at the winning songs coming through, they’re really good.
I’m really proud to be representing the UK
To date who’s your favourite entry?
I love Loreen – ‘Euphoria’, I think her performance two years ago was world class…
Any UK acts?
Not really. Not in recent years. A long time ago… Gina G was great, Katrina and the Waves obviously; she wrote that song and that means something to me. But in recent years not so much. I can’t speak highly enough of people of that ilk (Bonnie Tyler and Engelbert Humperdinck) and they were great performances, but with regards to the competition and looking at other acts that have won I think the winning acts have done well and deserve to be up there.
What’s in store for us?
It’s not going to be an easy competition at all, they all seem really nice and Ruth Lorenzo, is an absolute babe. It’s been really nice chatting to her.
Last year there were quite a few gay moments… Any thing gay this year?
I don’t know if there are any… But you know what, great if there’s a bit of controversy and rebellion, I’m all for it. You’ve got to let people be.
If you could hang out with anyone from music history, who would it be and what would you talk about?
I would love to hang out with Debbie Harry… I feel like her coolness might rub off on me. And John Lennon, I really believe he had such good ideas about peace and the potential of human nature, I really like his ethic.
Are you going to be keeping sober after the performance?
Hell no. Not even a little bit.
Have you practiced your poker face for when we’re not getting Douze point?
I’ve got, unfortunately, one of those faces that really like says how I’m feeling, I might find it really hard… I’ll be trashing the green room.
Is there a diva streak in you?
Probably, when I get tired and under pressure, I do get a bit snappy, but generally no, I’m not high maintenance or anything. Just normal. I wish I was a bit more of a diva actually. It could be quite fun to make diva-ish demands and say things like… ‘Hey where’s my champagne?’
Who was the last celebrity you spoke to and what did you talk about?
Mark Feely from west life, he was at my gig last night, so we talked about my gig, he said, I’ve got a great voice and he really enjoyed the show.
So he’s a bit of a fan then?
I think so, (giggles)
Any other VIP fans?
Hugh Jackman after Graham Norton (show)! He was really nice, I’m not sure if I’ve got any VIP fans.
How are you finding the newfound fame?
It’s a whole new level! Fine… Yeah, good actually! I was a bit sort of thinking what was going to happen. I didn’t know what to expect really, but it’s been fine and fun actually. I don’t think my profile is quite getting stopped on the street or anything, although I did get spotted in Stockholm and that was really surreal. That was fun. I’ve not really had a chance to take it all in, because it’s all happened so fast at the minute.
Is there anything so far in your career that demands that you be added to the rock and roll hall of fame?
Hummmm, getting the goody bag after the Graham Norton show. In the dressing room there was this amazing goody bag, with all really nice products in and I was so excited is as was like ‘Ahhhhhhhhh. Free stuff!’ They were like, ‘It’s so nice that your excited about the goody bag, so many celebs don’t even take it…’ And I was like WHAT? These people are mad! It’s free, so I love a freebie.
Do you have a favourite phrase or saying?
Reach for the top of the trees and you won’t leave the ground. Reach for the stars and you might reach the top of the trees…
Ooooft that’s deep, where did you get that from?
A nun! I went to a convent school!
Milly Smitten Downes will be performing at the Eurovision Finals Saturday 10th May
The editor and chief of THEGAYUK. All in a previous life wrote and produced songs on multi-platinum records.