As we head into Eurovision week, we are almost at the end of our Road to Rotterdam, covering all 39 acts and their journey to the contest.
Next, a lady who surely needs no introduction to Eurovision fans. Samanta Tīna has finally made it to the contest for Latvia, so let’s take a look at her story so far…
Who is Samanta Tīna?
Born in Tukums near the north-western coast of Latvia on 31st March 1989 and with claims that the singer is of Russian, German, Belarusian and Turkish descent, Samanta Poļakova is a Latvian singer, songwriter and composer who has had a storied history with the Eurovision Song Contest.
Performing in singing contests has always been a big factor in the career of Samanta Tīna. In 2010, performing as Samanta Tīna which she uses as her stage name to this day, she won the Latvian music show “O!Kartes akadēmija” which gave her the chance to attend the Tech Music School in London for three months, with organisers praising her strong voice and creative stage performances as a factor in her victory.
In 2011, she competed in “Golden Voices”, a Moldovan singing competition and won the Moldovan Cup in the competition. In an interview with Delfi after her performance, she said “On the first day of the event, I had to draw a performance number. I pulled out number 19, which made me very happy because I like to perform at the end of the event.” This bodes well for 2021! During the competition she performed Ani Lorak’s “Shady Lady”, Ukraine’s entry for Eurovision 2008.
In 2012, Samanta performed in the “Slavianski Bazaar” in Vitebsk and finished in second place overall, behind Bobi Mojsoski of North Macedonia. Her debut album was released in 2013 called “Tagad esmu cita” (Now I’m Different) and featured 23 songs overall, recorded between her competition debut in 2010 and 2013.
She continued to take part in singing competitions outside of Eurovision selections by entering “Lietuvos balsas”, the Lithuanian version of The Voice, and finished in the top eight of the competitionin 2015. Samanta also took part in the famous “New Wave” contest in Sochi, Russia in 2016, finishing in tenth place.
Samanta’s varied and eclectic music takes in the genres of dance pop and RnB, with some other elements often included in her music.
How did Samanta get to Rotterdam?
The long way round, basically. It’s difficult to imagine any other artist in this year’s contest who has been trying so hard to make it to Eurovision!
Samanta’s first attempt at entering the contest came as she was announced on 1st December 2011 as a contestant in Eirodziesma 2012, alongside Dāvids Kalandija. The duo performed “I Want You Back” and qualified from the semi-final, winning the jury vote in the superfinal but eventually finishing second in the competition behind Anmary’s “Beautiful Song”. She had also performed solo in the competition in the second semi-final, with “For Father”, but she did not qualify.
Samanta returned to Dziesma in 2013, with “I Need a Hero”. She qualified all the way through to the superfinal once again but finished as the runner-up behind PeR’s “Here We Go”. In 2013, Samanta Tīna also took part in the Lithuanian national selection for Eurovision, “„Eurovizijos” dainų konkurso nacionalinė atranka”, finishing fourth in the first heat with “Hey Chiki-mama”, a duet with Vudis.
Samanta would not be discouraged, and in Dziesma 2014 she returned with “Stay”, eventually finishing third in the superfinal of the competition. Aarzemnieki’s “Cake to Bake” would win the competition and go to Eurovision for Latvia.
The Latvian selection for Eurovision was rebranded in 2015 to Supernova, and Samanta returned to the selection in 2016 with two entries; “We Live for Love” and “The Love Is Forever”. The latter song made it to the semi-final of the competition, before Samanta decided to withdraw from the competition. She then returned to the Lithuanian selection in 2017 in another duet, this time with Tadas Rimgaila. The song “Tavo oda” did not qualify from the heats.
After a few years out, and six previous attempts to get to Eurovision, Samanta Tīna returned to Supernova in 2020 with “Still Breathing”, an energetic electropop entry. She was announced as one of the finalists of the competition on 8th February 2020. Samanta finally found success on this occasion, winning Supernova and finally earning the right to represent Latvia in the Eurovision Song Contest.
Sadly, it would seem that Samanta’s dreams would be dashed once more, as the 2020 contest was cancelled by the COVID-19 pandemic. Luckily, the national broadcaster LTV confirmed that Samanta would represent Latvia again in 2021 on 16th May 2020.
The second entry, “The Moon is Rising”, was eventually revealed on 12th March 2021, bearing many similarities to “Still Breathing” but with more of a trap beat. The song was co-written by Tīna, 2015 representative Aminata and Oskars Uhaņs and was revealed at the end of a documentary series called “Kā uzvarēt Eirovīzijā? Samantas Tīnas ceļš uz Roterdamu” (How to win at Eurovision? Samanta Tīna’s Road to Rotterdam).
How has Samanta been preparing for Eurovision since selection?
Samanta’s song was performed live for the first time on March 17th, in an appearance on the award ceremony for the Latvian music recording industry, “Zelta Mikrofons”. The performance saw Samanta perform a choreographed routine with a dance troupe of female dancers.
Samanta has been busy with domestic promotion for Eurovision, and has also been involved with the Latvian second season of “The Masked Singer”, which had been adapted to allow for social distancing.
View this post on Instagram
An acoustic version of “The Moon is Rising” was released onto the official Eurovision YouTube channel on April 18th. On May 10th, Samanta shared a picture of the stylish way her team arrived at Riga Airport to leave for Rotterdam.
View this post on Instagram
Latvia’s Samanta Tīna will perform “The Moon is Rising” in the second semi-final of Eurovision 2021 on May 20th, performing fifteenth on the night.
What do #YOU think of Latvia’s entry for 2021? Share your thoughts on this article in the comments below, on our forum HERE and on social media!