In just two days time the second semi-final of Festival da Canção will kick off, and we will know the last six finalists for the selection.

One of the many hopefuls competing for a spot in that final show is artist Rita Onofre, who we had a chance to interview last week. Get to know a bit more about who she is as an artist and the meaning behind her song “Criatura” by reading our interview below!

Hello Rita Onofre and welcome to ESCUnited. We are super excited to be able to interview you today. How have things been for you since the Festival da Canção announcement?

I’m very happy for the space to talk about the song, so thank you. Since the announcement there’s been some new listeners arriving to my music, people who connect with what I do and that has been beautiful. I’ve been emerged on the song’s universe, making sure it translates on stage on the 2nd of March.

Now, of course you’ve known about your participation long before the announcement was made. What was your first reaction when you got the news? Similarly, how hard has it been to keep it all a secret?

I was selected from the free submission, so I was very thrilled and surprised to hear I’d get to be on Festival da Canção. I was home, at the end of a working friday, so that call from RTP was the perfect beginning to my weekend. It was hard to keep it a secret, but the hardest part was the wait until the songs were released.

How would you describe your music and sound to our readers? Are there any artists that influence or inspire you as a musician?

I write songs to translate or understand what goes on inside my mind and my heart, so that quality also lives in the sound too. It’s an indie pop vibe, connecting acoustics and electronics, and highly dependable on vocal stacks. There’re many artists who influence me: BANKS, Kimbra, Bon Iver, Tim Bernardes, Cordel, Tom Jobim. Many portuguese artists influence me to risk more and embrace originality: Joana Espadinha, EVAYA, Silly, Slow J, D’Alva, Jura, Carminho, Salvador Sobral, Ana Lua Caiano… the list goes on.

Ok, it’s time for some rapid questions so our readers can get to know you better! When you’re not performing music, how do you spend your free time?

Something that characterizes me a bit is taking long walks on the forest. me and my dog, and sometimes someone who wants to join. I love my people, spending time with friends and family, cooking for them or doing some random activity together. 

You’re tapped to create a Eurovision cover album and get to decide the track list yourself. What songs would you put on the album?

  1. Voilá – Barbara Pravi
  2. Amar pelos dois – Salvador Sobral
  3. Medo de Sentir – Elisa
  4. Telemóveis – Conan Osíris
  5. Tattoo – Loreen
  6. Taken By a Stranger – Lena

And if you were able to take your dream vacation right now free of charge and multiple stops are allowed, where would you be going?

Iceland is a big dream trip of mine, some really active vacation, and then I’d sit still in Dubrovnik for as long as possible.

Your song, “Criatura”, was written and composed by yourself. What was the songwriting process like?

I wrote it as a letter to myself. I needed to feel stronger, to connect the dots from this anxious and scared kid to the powerful and liberated person I’m becoming. The process was consciously one of catharses, to release the shame, the guilt, all these emotions keeping me from being as big and happy and loud as I can be. The chorus felt like what it sounds: letting go of something held up inside.

Now, I know that your staging concept for Festival da Canção is under wraps. But if I have you 10 words to describe what we’ll see on the second semi-final, what would you tell me?

It will be a moment of expansion and release, an empowering ritual.

For those who want to connect with you ahead of or after the selection, where can they find you and your music?

Find me on instagram and tiktok @ohhrita_onofre, but mostly on spotify where you’ll find my music and all my collaboration since 2020.

In closing, do you have a final message you’d like to share with the readers of ESCUnited?

Pay attention to portuguese artists, all contestants of Festival da Canção, there’s something in the water here. 

Thanks so much, Rita Onofre! We wish you the best of luck in Festival da Canção!

If #YOU want to support Rita Onofre’s pathway to Eurovision 2024 make sure you tune in to their semi-final on Saturday March 2nd and vote!

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