Following the win of Kalush Orchestra at the last Eurovision, all eyes were on the country’s selection process this weekend, to determine who they’re pinning their hopes on to try and repeat their success.
Next year’s competition will be held in Liverpool after the second-placed finish of the UK’s Sam Ryder. It’s normally customary for the winning nation to host, but that was called off due to the ongoing invasion by Russia in Ukraine.
On Saturday, the underground metro station of Maidan Nezalezhnosti was turned into the host venue for the final stage of the country’s ‘Vidbir’ – the country’s national selection competition for Eurovision.
Ten acts took part in total, whittled down from 299 participants who were aiming to make it to the final ten.
Of those final acts, Tvorchi came out top with 19 points from a possible 20 – one point ahead of both singer-songwriters Jerry Heil and KRUTЬ – with their performance of ‘Heart of Steel’, set against the backdrop of movable text and nuclear warnings across four screens. So, now that they’ve won…
Who are Tvorchi?
Formed in 2018, in the western Ukrainian city of Ternopil, Tvorchi consists of vocalist Jeffery Kenny and producer Andrii Hutsuliak.
The pair met by chance after Hutsuliak (born in the Chortkiv Raion region in western Ukraine) tapped Kenny (real name Jimoh Augustus Kehinde, who was born in Nigeria) on the shoulder to ask how good his level of English was. From there, they began discussing their mutual love of music and began their artistic endeavours from there.
They’ve been fairly prolific, too. Since the release of their debut single ‘Slow’ in 2017, they’ve released four studio albums: The Parts (2018), Disco Lights (2019), 13 Waves (2020) and ROAD (2021).
What’s more they’ve made a lot of headway on a shoestring budget. The music video for their 2019 track ‘Believe’ was made with just $100 (£82) and has since garnered 2.6 million views, 400,000 of which came in just a few days.
They’ve also had various award nominations in their homeland, including for four categories at the YUNA 2021 Music Awards – Ukraine’s equivalent of the BRIT awards.
Last year, they went a stage further at the YUNAs, winning awards for Best Concert Show and Best Song in Another Language.
What song will Tvorchi be performing at Eurovision 2023?
The song that’s led to them representing Ukraine next year, and which they’ll be performing at Eurovision 2023 is ‘Heart of Steel’.
Inspired, somewhat inevitably, by the ongoing war and bloodshed currently ongoing in Ukraine, the song was written by the pair last spring. Specifically, it was inspired by events they witnessed at the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol.
“We came across a video of the defenders of Azovstal,” Hutsuliak has explained of what inspired the track. “When I looked into their eyes, I saw fire, strength and steadfastness. I couldn’t imagine how hard it was, but what I saw gave me goosebumps. And we transferred those emotions to this song.”
The song is designed as a track of defiance, not just for those suffering in wartime, but also for everyone who’s struggling and keeps moving forward.
With the track, Tvorchi won’t just be looking to add to Kalush Orchestra’s victory at the last competition, but will seek to add to a fairly impressive history in the Eurovision Song Contest for Ukraine. Since they first entered the competition in 2003, the country has won three times and only finished outside the top 10 a lowly six times.
Tvorchi are now the fifth act to be revealed for next year’s Eurovision, alongside acts from Israel, Slovenia, Cyprus and the Netherlands. All 37 countries taking part, including of course the UK, have until the end of March to confirm their acts. For now at least, all eyes remain on defending champions Ukraine, amid its ongoing bombardment from Russia.