Each day leading up to the rehearsals in Rotterdam, we will be showcasing each of the 39 acts taking part in this year’s contest and profiling their journey to this point!
Next up is Spain’s Blas Cantó, who has had a more unique journey than most. After multiple attempts, Blas will finally get his chance in 2021, and his story over the last year in particular shows how much it will mean to him to be going to Rotterdam…
Who is Blas Cantó?
Blas Cantó took a road well-travelled for solo performers, having been part of a popular boy band in Spain with Eurovision connections! Blas was born in the Murcian town of Ricote on 26th October 1991 and started his musical career early, beginning in 2000 at the age of eight when he joined the children’s talent show “Veo Veo” and emerged as the winner.
Four years later, Blas already became known to a wider Eurofan audience with his participation in “Eurojunior 2004”, the Spanish national selection for Junior Eurovision 2004. Blas performed two songs, “Cantaré” and “Sentir”, advancing with the latter but ultimately losing out to María Isabel’s “Antes muerta que sencilla”. All things happen for a reason though, as Spain earned their only Junior Eurovision victory that year!
While Blas would cross paths with the Eurovision world again much later in his career, he continued to ply his trade with music. He eventually became part of the boy band Auryn in 2009, where Blas found enormous success in his home country. The five-piece, which also included Junior Eurovision 2006 representative Dani Fernández, amassed a large following in their native Spain, releasing four albums (three of which went to number one in the Spanish charts) and 16 singles (half of which achieved a top ten in the charts).
Following this successful period with Auryn, the group went on an indefinite hiatus in 2016 as the members sought solo careers. Blas went on to take part in and win “Tu cara me suena”, a now-controversial show which saw singers impersonate famous artists for the public vote each week.
Blas Cantó signed with Warner Music Spain in 2017, releasing his first solo single “In Your Bed” which peaked at number 57 in the Spanish chart. Cantó did find immediate success with his debut album “Complicado”, which topped the charts in 2018, and has continued to perform as a solo artist ever since.
How did Blas get to Rotterdam?
As well as the aforementioned Junior Eurovision attempt, Blas and his group Auryn were participants in Destino Eurovisión in 2011, shortly after their formation. The group performed two Eurovision classics in the semi-final stages – “Fly on the Wings of Love” and “Eres tú” – then performed three candidate songs in the show’s final; “Evangeline”, “El sol brillará” and “Volver”.
The latter was selected to proceed to the superfinal, where the group finished second to Lucía Pérez who ultimately represented Spain in Düsseldorf with “Que me quiten lo bailao”. Nevertheless, their performances in the Spanish selection springboarded the boy band to success in their native land.
Blas would finally be given his long-awaited Eurovision opportunity in October 2019, fifteen years since his first attempts at European glory. “Universo” was unveiled as the Spanish entry on 30th January 2020, with Blas fully focusing on his preparations for the contest, telling Spanish website Bekia “I am very aware of my voice, the choirs, the staging… I’m really looking forward to it, it’s going to be very exciting. I am afraid not to listen to myself well. I trust that everything will be in its place but it is what gives me the most respect.”
Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic had its way with Eurovision, with the contest being cancelled in March 2020. The pandemic particularly impacted Spain and Blas himself quite hard, with the singer tragically losing both his father and grandmother to the disease last year.
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Reacting to the news of the contest’s cancellation, Blas bravely laid bare his emotions to fans and the media, writing the following in April 2020; “The only thing I have excelled at since I was a child has been singing. I dreamed of performing on big stages, I went through competitions that made me dream big, and one day, one of those dreams came true: Eurovision. As real as the dress for Cinderella… but at some point it struck twelve and I didn’t even realize it. My heart broke into a thousand pieces and I went back to where I started.”
How has Blas been preparing for Eurovision since selection?
Immediately as the 2020 contest was cancelled, RTVE were quick to give Blas his opportunity once again for the 2021 contest. In December 2020, the Spanish broadcaster confirmed that a gala would be held for Blas to select his entry for Eurovision 2021, which would also see numerous guest artists perform.
Two songs were selected from a shortlist of ten for the gala, “Memoria” and the eventual winner “Voy a quedarme”. The show took place from Madrid on a busy Saturday in the Eurovision world on 20th February, and a number of guests were invited to perform – Vanesa Martín, Nia, Andrés Suárez, Cepeda, Roi, Pastora Soler and Edurne among others.
After over three million votes were cast between the two songs, “Voy a quedarme” (I will stay) was selected as the Spanish entry for Rotterdam, heading straight to the final on May 22nd. The song carries the emotional toll of Blas’ annus horribilis, with the song written in memory of his father and grandmother and others who lost their lives to COVID-19.
In an interview with RTVE, Blas explains; “I wrote this one at the most difficult moment of my life. I composed it at the time my father was passing away. Then I recorded it when my grandmother was passing away from COVID and it was a very hard moment. In fact, the emotion is noticeable in the voice, I think. It is a song that gives off sensitivity and a lot of strength at the end. What happens is that you always have the beginning that is like that, slower and such, but then it grows in a brutal way.”
Following the selection of his song, Cantó has been working on promotion for the contest, including with the LOS40 radio station and MARCA. He has also teased an English version of his entry, and appeared with other Eurovision stars Soraya, Kate Ryan and Natalie Horler of Cascada for an EU Agriculture initiative.
Los cantantes @BlasCanto @SorayaArnelas #NatalieHorler y #KateRyan participan de la nueva campaña de @FruitvegEUROPE Hoy, día de grabación del video-spot @Cute4you_EU @EUAgri @EU_Chafea @jwojc #CONSUMEUROPE #CuTE4You #EnjoyEUAgri #CHAFEA #EUAgriPromotion pic.twitter.com/VTlLPPUg1D
— Tactics Europe (@Tactics_Europe) March 18, 2021
Blas Cantó will also be an advisor to Vanesa Martín in the upcoming sixth season of The Voice Kids, a role he was set to take up in 2020 before the show was postponed.
Spain’s Blas Cantó will perform “Voy a quedarme” at the final of Eurovision 2021 on May 22nd as one of the pre-qualified entries.
What do #YOU think of Spain’s entry for 2021? Share your thoughts on this article in the comments below, on our forum HERE and on social media!