Bambie Thug on hopes to break Ireland's 28-year Eurovision curse, trolls and opening doors for alt artists

EXCLUSIVE: The singer, 31, weighed in on calls for them to boycott this year’s contest from fellow Irish artists
Irish Eurovision entrant Bambie Thug
PA Media
Lisa McLoughlin 1 minute ago
The Weekender

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Bambie Thug shared what winning the Eurovision Song Contest as an independent artist would mean, amid Ireland's 28-year winning dry spell.

Ireland and Sweden are tied for the most wins in Eurovision history, both with seven victories each.

However, prior to Bambie, the last Irish contestant to reach the final was Ryan O'Shaughnessy in 2018 with Together, and the last time Ireland claimed victory was in 1996 with Eimear Quinn's The Voice.

Yet, after their mesmerising performance in Tuesday's semi-final, Bambie has emerged as one of the top contenders in the contest with their "Oujia Pop" anthem, Doomsday Blue.

Before the Eurovision Final in Malmo, Sweden on Saturday night, the non-binary singer confessed that securing a spot in the top 10 would hold immense significance for them as an independent artist.

They also expressed hope that this achievement would pave the way for more alt Irish performers.

Bambie Thug performing on Tuesday during the first Eurovision semi-final
TT News Agency/AFP via Getty Ima

“It would be amazing, and it would ensure that Ireland didn't go back to its ways of sticking to safe music,” they told The Standard. “I think it would open doors for more alt artists in Ireland.”

Adding: “It would be incredible to win because I would win it unsigned, unpublished, unmanaged, completely independent so that also would be amazing for me and just the fact that I've been in the industry for seven years, it would be a real like, ‘okay Bambi, you got this’ [moment].”

But Bambie, who is performing 10th on Saturday night, isn’t getting ahead of themselves, admitting that they can’t predict how viewers will interpret their song at home.

“But then again you don't know what's going to happen on the night, you don't know what the viewers are going to be feeling, you don't know whether everyone will understand [my performance] but I mean the platform is incredible regardless and even having an online platform for people to see my abilities you know will hopefully do good things for my me, my life, my music,” they continued.

“It's anyone's game but I think we should all crown the witch honestly my personal opinion.”

Ahead of the final, Bambie has been enjoying support from former two-time Irish Eurovision entry Jedward and revealed that 2014 winner Conchita Wurst told them to “just go and win it.”

However, the backing comes in the wake of an open letter signed by over 400 prominent Irish artists two weeks ago, urging the 2024 Eurovision entry to boycott the event due to Israel's involvement.

In the letter, 407 high-profile Irish musicians, artists, dancers, writers, and poets implored Bambie to "heed the call from Palestinians to boycott the competition," as released on the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign website.

Despite Bambie's vocal stance against Israel's participation in the contest and their military actions in Gaza, the singer has consistently argued for the necessity of a pro-Palestinian presence at this year's Eurovision.

Following Tuesday’s semi-final, they criticised the organisers of the competition for asking them to alter a pro-Palestinian message during their performance.

The Cork-born singer, 31, told a press conference in Malmo they were forced to change their body paint in early medieval Ogham script, which translated to ‘ceasefire’ and ‘freedom for Palestine’ to adhere to the competition's regulations prohibiting political statements.

The singer will perform 10th on Saturday night’s grand final
TT News Agency/AFP via Getty Ima

When questioned about whether the calls for them to boycott the contest were misplaced and should instead be directed at RTE's director-general Kevin Bakhurst and the EBU, the singer responded: “100% I don't think that it should be targeted at us as artists who are not the ones in charge, you know?

“But we are easy targets.

“Obviously the EBU I think made the wrong decision, as I said in my statement, but the end of the day it is them, it's their choice, it's a singing competition – and it's unfortunate that they're making that choice.”

The fallout hasn’t been easy for Bambi, who has had to endure hurtful remarks online, including numerous instances of misgendering, so much so they’ve come off social media platforms like X entirely to protect their mental health.

“There's a lot of people saying nasty things and then completely misgendering me as well while doing that,” they shared. “And then I'm just like, ‘if you want to be nasty about me, like, get my pronouns, right’, as well.”

Referencing Austria’s entry, Nemo, they added: “I know, Nemo has been experiencing transphobic abuse as well.

“And it just seems to come from every angle, like it feels like nothing I say or do is going to please everybody. It's never going to be correct for everybody. But it needs to be correct for me at the end of the day.

“And I will continue to use my voice as much as I can where I can, you know. So that's all I can really do.”

Looking back on their “whirlwind” Eurovision journey, Bambie expressed gratitude to their supporters and takes pride in inspiring young individuals to embrace their authentic selves.

“The fans are amazing,” they said with a smile. “I've had so much so many people drawing me and making me bracelets and making cute things and you know, loads of lovely messages from parents about their children loving the song and about some queer kids feeling like they can come out.

“You know, like, just incredible responses.

“…I'm really grateful to have this platform, especially as a non-binary person and as an alt little goth. So, yeah, I'm super proud - and I'm just excited to go and kick some a** on stage.”