Zephaniah, or “Zeph” joined the ESCUnited team in late 2022 and is currently located in the Philippines. With a background in editorial news coverage hack home, they currently serve as our correspondent for Australia, Montenegro, Poland, and San Marino.
Tell me about your first Eurovision memory?
My first Eurovision memory is, funnily enough, Epic Sax Guy. Being the huge meme person that I was back in 2017, I was invested in the Epic Sax Guy meme, specifically “Runaway” and then I found out that they participated in Eurovision 2017 again with “Hey Mamma” and I just started watching the grand final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2017! I thought that it’s a fun event and a good way for me to discover new artists and music and ever since, I’ve been loving it!
What’s your favourite Eurovision song?
This is hard for me to decide as my favorite Eurovision song varies with time and what I’m going through. At the moment, my top 3 are “Mall” by Eugent Bushpepa, “Medo de Sentir” by Elisa, and “Brividi” by Mahmood and Blanco. As you can see, I’m going through it but, I’m fine.
What are some of your favourite musicians outside of Eurovision?
I have this “holy trinity” of artists and bands that influenced me to write and compose songs since 2013, namely: Muse, Avril Lavigne, and My Chemical Romance. I’m also a fan of Taylor Swift, Twenty One Pilots, and Glass Animals. As for Original Pinoy Music (OPM), I’m a fan of Ben&Ben, IV of Spades, and Moira dela Torre. I casually listen to other artists and bands as well as NoCopyrightSounds because I just happen to enjoy any song that gets me to be honest.
What about your favourite food?
As someone who cooks a lot, this is hard for me to decide as well. If Filipino cuisine, then probably Sisig. For international cuisines, I really love sushi, sashimi, Korean hotpot, chicken tikka masala, and pizza.
Do you have a favourite place to visit?
I’ve only been in Dubai internationally and that’s really it. However, my favorite place is probably Manila at the moment. Manila made me the person that I am today. It’s my safe space because I live by myself there.
Besides doing work for ESCUnited, how do you spend your free time?
Free time? What’s that? Just kidding, alongside being a Eurovision enthusiast, I’m also a Minecraft enthusiast, mainly about the popular competitions like Minecraft Championships by Noxcrew and Block Wars by Capollo Media. I’m usually on Reddit arguing who’s the best player on these events. I’m also into Minecraft Speedrunning and Vault Hunters. Tl;dr, I’m watching a lot of Minecraft livestreams on Twitch.
Despite looking like I have so much time on my hands, I’m currently in my final year of studying Electronics Engineering at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines – Manila. This is why I sometimes criticize the technical aspects of Eurovision. I’m currently busy on my thesis and board course but I’m more active as the President of my university’s College of Engineering Student Council. I also have like 17 affiliated organizations inside the university but all of them are tied to my current council work and activism work as a LGBTQIA+ and Women’s Rights activist and previous work as an Editor-in-Chief of my department’s student publication.
Tell us one interesting fact about yourself?
Music has been a part of my entire life. I’ve been singing for 19 years, dancing for 18 years, playing instruments for 13 years, and songwriting and composing for 10 years. However, the most interesting fact from these, I think, is that time when I did a Fuego dance cover for a solo school performance. My video of the Fuego dance cover got featured on the Jean-Baptiste Group on Instagram Stories in 2018!