Ahead of this month’s Junior Eurovision Song Contest, Eurovoix.com talks to Manw from Wales, who will sing “Perta”.
How does it feel to be the very first Welsh representative in Junior Eurovision history?
It’s truly a great honour for me to be chosen by the Welsh nation to be a trailblazer by being the very first Junior Eurovision contestant for Wales. I’m over the moon and I’m bursting with excitement!
What made to decide to enter Chwilio Am Seren?
My parents have enjoyed the Eurovision Song Contest over the years. When my dad saw the advert on S4C, he was curious and he told me about the programme and process. I agreed that it would be fun to enter the competition. I polished a song that I was learning and auditioned …. and six months later, here I am, heading off to Belarus. Dreams really do come true!
During the final of Chwilio Am Seren, you performed a song by Ywain Gwynedd. How excited were you to find out that Ywain wrote your song?
I think it was written in the stars. For each round of the competition Chwilio Am Seren, I would work with my mentor, the amazing Tara Bethan, to choose, learn and perform a different song. It was a joint decision. I begged Tara to be allowed to sing “Fy Nghariad Gwyn”, which is a personal favourite of mine by Ywain Gwynedd, a few weeks before it was revealed that the song to represent Wales in the final on October 9 was “Berta” composed by him also! Singing one song by your favourite Welsh artist is wonderful, but realising that he had composed “Berta” was incredible! His songs appear so simple and catchy but they are full of honesty and carry an important message. I can really connect with his lyrics and I love “Berta”.
What does “Perta” mean to you?
It means everything that I find beautiful, treasure, respect and want to protect for the future. Wales is the land that I love and I value the contribution my nation makes to the world. Welsh is my mother tongue. I am also fluent in English and speak French and German but I feel and dream in Welsh. Nature and the environment makes life wonderful and the song reminds all of us that we must act now to protect our planet.
Your entry is the first ever entry in Welsh. How important is it to showcase Welsh to a wider audience?
We are a small country with a minority language but with a massive heart and pride in our rich culture and heritage. I believe that the beautiful Welsh language deserves to be shared with the rest of the world and what better way than through the international medium of music? The words I sing in “Berta” come from the heart. But I believe that the message in the song is universal. People from other small nations will understand how significant this is to me as a Welsh teenager.
You’ve competed several times in the National Eisteddfod of Wales. How does Junior Eurovision compare to that?
My culture and language have given me priceless skills. I’ve been encouraged to sing and perform in many different styles since I was a tiny girl. Welsh poetry and literature has enriched my emotions and all the opportunities and support from my family, teachers and tutors has given me the confidence to sing as a soloist on stage. However I fully realise that the Junior Eurovision stage in Minsk Arena will surpass anything I’ve experienced so far – I can’t wait to step in front of the lights. Wow! It’s going to be an amazing show! GWEFREIDDIOL ( thrilling)!
If you could take someone anywhere in Wales, where would it be and why?
Personally I think Ynys Llanddwyn beach and island on Anglesey is a mystical and peaceful place (It appears in the music video where there is an aerial shot of the sea and a lighthouse). I love going there for long walks with my family and my pet dogs. According to folklore, this is where princess Dwynwen dedicated her life to protecting everlasting love. I would take you there because Ynys Llanddwyn is so beautiful and hopefully the legend would inspire you to value the simple things in life.
What are you most looking forward to in Minsk?
I feel as if I already know the other competitors a little from their music videos and clips online but I’m most looking forward to meeting them face to face and making friends with other young people like me who love music, and of course the cherry on the cake will be performing live in Welsh for the first time on a world stage in the Junior Eurovision final!