Wednesday 20 September 2017

Teen pianist (16) to represent Ireland at 60th Eurovision Song Contest

Molly Sterling performs Playing with Numbers, co-written with Greg French on the RTE Late Late Show Eurosong special. Picture Andres Poveda
Molly Sterling performs Playing with Numbers, co-written with Greg French on the RTE Late Late Show Eurosong special. Picture Andres Poveda

Brian Byrne and Geraldine Gittens

She was compared to contemporary and classic music stars such as Taylor Swift and Kate Bush by tonight’s Eurosong panel.

So it hardly came as a surprise when Molly Sterling (16) from Nenagh, Co Tipperary was chosen to represent Ireland at the 60th Eurovision Song Contest in Austria with her entry ‘Playing with Numbers’.

***Embargoed untill each act appears live*** Repro Free:27/02/2015
Nikki Kavanagh pictured singing Memories, written by Lee Anna James, Elena Morosanu, Simon Gribbe, Johnny Sanchez & Dimitri Stassos on the RT? Late Late Show Eurosong special. Picture Andres Poveda
***Embargoed untill each act appears live*** Repro Free:27/02/2015 Nikki Kavanagh pictured singing Memories, written by Lee Anna James, Elena Morosanu, Simon Gribbe, Johnny Sanchez & Dimitri Stassos on the RT? Late Late Show Eurosong special. Picture Andres Poveda

But the teen, who is a fifth year student in St Andrew's College in Dublin, is still adjusting to her success.

“I’m still walking around this morning going 'what’s happened?',” she joked. “My family still don’t know what’s going on either.”

 “I don’t remember anything from the green room when the announcement was made to the performance, it’s crazy.”

Molly told RTE's Aine Lawlor this morning that this week was a whirlwind, so much so that she wasn't able to meet assignment deadlines at school.

Erika Selin pictured singing Break Me Up Picture Andres Poveda
Erika Selin pictured singing Break Me Up Picture Andres Poveda

“When they were doing the votes, I was meant to be preparing myself, you know: back to school, how am I going to explain all this late stuff I’ve handed in?”

But she said: “I can’t express how supportive everyone has been. Back home in Tipperary there were people putting banners out on the road, my old primary school put up a banner, and Kilkenny College and Andrews College.”

“It’s nice because people you haven’t seen in ages contact you.”

Molly, who wore a black leather jacket and jeans for her crucial performance, was praised for her style last night.

Molly Sterling performs Playing with Numbers, co-written with Greg French on the Late Late Show Eurosong special. Photo: Andres Poveda
Molly Sterling performs Playing with Numbers, co-written with Greg French on the Late Late Show Eurosong special. Photo: Andres Poveda

“There was talk of ‘it’s the Eurosong, will we put you in a dress?’... but for me, I am a songwriter, I play the piano and that’s what I love to do. My go-to is the leather jacket and jeans.”

“It was all so new that I wanted to feel comfortable... I couldn’t have asked for a better team to be honest.”

However, it was a two-horse race as the young singer and pianist edged out runner-up ‘Anybody Got a Shoulder’ by four points with a total of 104, on RTE’s ‘The Late Late Show’.

Read more: WATCH: 10 Irish Eurovision entries from the forgotten decades

Ms Sterling, who co-wrote the song with composer Greg French, was described as a “major talent” by panel member and songwriter Phil Coulter.

Fellow panel member and entertainer Panti Bliss insisted “this is the song for me”.

“The lyrical maturity of that song, for a 16-year-old, is astounding.”

Panellist and broadcaster Mairead Farrell added: “What’s also great is she’s young, but she’s also styled young. Nobody has tried to make her look ten years older than she is.”

READ: Eurosong on the Late Late Show review -'as ridiculous as always, run to the same format as always…it was two hours of rambling, absurd, vaguely shambolic fun'

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