I'm not scared... I'll put on a Sterling show, says Eurovision hopeful Molly Sterling
Molly Sterling is one of the youngest Eurovision entrants but says she wasn't nervous about it until people started asking her if she was.
The 17-year-old was selected to represent Ireland at the 60th Eurovision Song Contest in Austria with her entry Playing with Numbers.
Molly will compete in the second semi-final on Thursday, May 21 and the grand finale will take place on Saturday, May 23.
"It has really settled in over the past few days that we're leaving next week," she told the Herald.
"We started rehearsing this week which has been great because last week I was thinking about it way too much and people had to tell me to stop.
"I was getting a bit overwhelmed because people were asking me: 'Are you worried?' and saying things like: 'It must be so daunting because you're so young'.
"I'm not scared but when people kept asking me, it made me feel more worried about it," she continued.
"A lot of people are talking about my age - but to me it just feels like I have been doing this for ages.
"I feel like I'm in the right hands with (co-writer) Greg French and the team and now is the right time. Why should I miss an opportunity just because of my age?" she added.
The Tipperary native, who now lives in Dublin, is a self-taught pianist and singer songwriter and says her school, St Andrew's in Booterstown have been incredibly supportive about her heading off to the Eurovision.
"My school has been unbelievably supportive," she said.
"I'm in fifth year - I'm just taking some time out and I'll catch up over the summer.
"I was doing extra classes after I won the Eurosong but I was spreading myself too thin with gigs as well so I want to focus on this," she added.
She says her wonderful team are helping her prepare for the big event.
"The team are great and have pressed upon me that if I'm over there and it's three in the morning and I'm worried to call them because that's what they're there for," she said.
"I've had a lot of input and in the whole process I've never felt uncomfortable which is great.
French, song writer and producer who co-wrote Playing with Numbers, has been a constant support, she adds.
"Molly is an amazing singer. I'm so proud of her, she has an incredible ability to convey raw emotion and she'll be a wonderful ambassador for Ireland," French said.
She will be going up against singers from 39 other countries - including wildcard Australia - but admits that she hasn't been looking up her competition to see what she's up against.
"I haven't really checked out the competition, I came across some videos but they're all really cool," she said.
"I probably should be looking at it more as a competition but I'm not, if you do that it takes the enjoyment out of it.
"I don't have to look at it as a competition to do my best performance. I get adrenaline from the stage and the buzz of it all. I see the other acts as future friends and connections in the music industry," she added.
Meanwhile, the Austrian ambassador to Ireland, Dr Thomas Nader held a party at his residence last night before Molly leaves for Vienna on Tuesday and she will also appear on the Late Late Show tomorrow evening.
"The crew and the band and everyone from RTE will go over next Tuesday and my family and friends will go over on May 19," she said.
"I can't believe it's all come around so quickly but I've had incredible support from all my family and friends," she said.