In mid-February the annoucement was made by ITV that Nadir Rustamli (Rüstəmli in Azerbaijani), the recent winner of the Voice of Azerbaijan or Səs Azərbaycan, would represent them in Turin this upcoming May.
At that time, the broadcaster had received over 300 song submissions for Rustamli to perform live on the Eurovision stage, and shortlisted a total of six for final consideration. On March 7th Rustamli announced on his Twitter account that they had finally selected the song for Turin and it was one he was extremely happy with.
I’ve been absolutely thrilled to share this news with you – WE HAVE THE SONG! I am super happy cause it is the one I’ve been really hoping for!#NADIR #Eurovision2022 #ESC #Turin2022 #teamNADIR #Italy #music #GoldenBoy pic.twitter.com/Ae72wzReTv
— NADIR RUSTAMLI (@NadirRustamli) March 7, 2022
Just before the announcement, the Instagram account songfestival.azerbaijan announced that Rustamli would perform an “emotional ballad” for the 2022 contest, a sharp departure from their latest run of pop-infused entries at the contest. And with today’s song release of “Fade to Black” it appears that the inital reports and rumors were in fact correct.
About Nadir’s song – “Fade to Black”
The song features Nadir’s ability to communicate emotion through his voice, and also features an impressive falsetto moment towards the end. Stylistically, the song tells the story of a relationship breaking apart and the emotional aftermath of the event. The music video is full of impactful cinematography, and features a number of transitions from the lighter, happier version of Nadir and the same darker, emotional side of himself. The music video ends with his two sides coming face to face.
Rustamli’s song was written by Thomas Stengaard and Andreas Stone Johansson, who have a fair bit of Eurovision songwriting experience between them. Stengaard is well know in the Eurovision community as part of the songwriting team for “El Diablo” (Cyprus 2021), “Adrenalina” (San Marino 2021), and “Only Teardrops” (Denmark 2013) – three highly memorable entires in the community. Johansson also helped to write the well-known song “Too Late for Love” (Sweden 2019) for the contest in Tel Aviv alongside Eurovision artist and singer John Lundvik.
Who is Nadir Rustamli?
Rustamli was born in 1999 in Salyan, Azerbaijan and began his singing career in 2016. When he was younger he was trained to play piano at the Gulu Asgarov Music School in his hometown and since then has picked up guitar as well. In 2018 the band Sunrise of which he was a part was awarded a Brand of Azerbaijan Award as the Favorite Music Group of the Year, however the group no longer appears to be active.
He would go on to compete in the Youthvision 2019 International Song Contest, placing second out of twenty-one artists from around the world. In 2021 he graduated from the Azerbaijan University of Tourism and Management with his degree in Business Administration, and would immediately audition for the Voice of Azerbaijan.
While on the show Rustamli was coached by Eurovision 2011 winner Eldar Gasimov and their collaboration resulted in jaw dropping performances of a number of hit songs like Bruno Mar’s “Just the Way You Are”, Imagine Dragon’s “Bad Liar”, and Sam Smith’s “Writing’s On the Wall”. He would also perform a number of former Eurovision entries like Elnur and Samir’s “Day After Day” (Azerbaijan 2008), maNga’s “We Could Be the Same” (Turkey 2010), Duncan Lawrence’s “Arcade” (Netherlands 2019) and duetted with coach Eldar for his song “Running Scared” (Azerbaijan 2011). We went on to win the final with 46.2% of the televote.
You can read more about Rustamli’s journey to Eurovision on our “Five Things to Know about Nadir Rüstəmli” article.