Laoi is our Irish writer who has been following ESCUnited for a number of years before joining the writing team as our correspondent for Ireland and the UK. His insight and experience with Eurovision and RTÉ’s organizational plans has greatly helped our coverage of the Celtic island since 2022!
Tell me about your first Eurovision memory?
The first Eurovision I remember watching was in 2003 — I was incredibly invested in our Irish entry that year, Mickey Joe Harte, after watching him win RTÉ’s selection show at the time, You’re A Star. After that year, I tuned in religiously to each Eurovision; though I think the moment that my love for the contest really solidified was when Lordi won for Finland in 2006. I’ll never forget jumping around the room in excitement when ‘Hard Rock Hallelujah’ was announced as the winner!
What’s your favourite Eurovision song?
This is such a difficult question, but two jump to mind. I think I would choose MARO’s ‘Saudade, Saudade’ (Portugal 2022), which is such a balm for the soul. I also absolutely adore Francesco Gabbani’s ‘Occidentali’s Karma’ (Italy 2017); I’ll never not yell “alé!”
What are some of your favourite musicians outside of Eurovision?
I love listening to a broad variety of genres, though I’m particularly a big fan of Alternative/Indie sounds. I really enjoy artists like The 1975, The National, The Band CAMINO, and Novo Amor, alongside synth-pop like Sigrid or electronic music like Bonobo. Every now and again, I also love giving in to my soft spot for Pop Rock — sometimes you just need to throw on Avril Lavigne or Busted hits and lose it!
What about your favourite food?
You really can’t go wrong with pizza, fried chicken or yummy chocolate things. My diet is a bit of a mess!
Do you have a favourite place to visit?
I need to do some more traveling (I’m terrified of flying), but I’ve really enjoyed visiting Italy in particular. I’ve also really enjoyed trips to London in the past!
Besides doing work for ESCUnited, how do you spend your free time?
I’m a huge nerd and have a terrible problem when it comes to collecting things. I can usually be found either building LEGO sets, opening trading cards or playing video games. I’m a huge Pokémon fan in particular, but I also love playing game series’ like Fire Emblem or The Elder Scrolls, or losing countless hours to Civilisation VI.
Tell us one interesting fact about yourself?
I am the proud self-appointed overlord of my own LEGO city! The citizens don’t have many essential services, because I keep building more and more restaurants.