Participant(s): Farid Mammadov Song: Hold Me Writer(s): John Ballard & Ralph Charlie Al Fahel Composer(s): Dimitrios Kontopoulos Start position: 04. (1. Semi-Final)
This year there has been a nation final in Azerbaijan again. Out of ten songs the winner was the 21 years old singer Farid Mammadov with the power ballad “Hold Me”. For the first time in the short history of Azerbaijan in the Eurovision Song Contest it’s a solo male singer. Before there were only women or duos singing at the ESC.
Farid is a pop singer who loves jazz and soul, Stevie Wonder is one of his idols. His passion for music comes from his parents who shared their love for music with Farid. Beside of music his second favourite interest is sport, Farid is doing free style wrestling. His mother was a successful athlete in the former Soviet Union. In the age of eight he was involved in the band Bülbüllər. At the moment he is a student of the Azerbaijan State University of Culture and Arts and works for the Baku Jazz Center. At the new international music talent show “The Big Stage” (Böyük Səhnə) Farid has met the composer Dimitro Kontopoulos who wrote songs for former ESC participant Ani Lorak and Sakis Rouvas. Dimitro has had several #1 hits in the Greek charts.
The ballad “Hold Me” is a nice and pleasing entry and is presented by Farid in a very sensitive and impressing way, he already is treated as one of the finest vocalists of Azerbaijan in years. That’s how the good looking singer has convinced televoters and jury with his appearance. The song title “Hold Me” has a good omen as “Hold Me Now” by Johnny Logan has made a first rank in 1987 for Ireland. Due to the surplus of ballads this year a good stage show is mandatory to reach the final.
Biggest success: 1st place “Running Scared” by Ell & Nikki in 2011, 1x 3rd place “Always” by AySel & Arash, 1x 4th place, 1x 5th place 1x 8th place
This is the 6th time only since Azerbaijan is participating in the Eurovision Song Contest. The debut entry was “Day after Day” by Elnur & Samir in 2008 in Belgrade and reached a respectable 8th place. From that year on Azerbaijan took part every year and shaped up very well. The Azerbaijani entries were not that exotic like from the Caucasian neighbour countries, there were mainly contemporary music styles used, only last year “When The Music Dies” by Sabina Babayeva had the typical Azerbaijani music influence in it, which is called “Mugam”. This brought the host entry to a very special glance and has been highly appreciated with many votes. Often composers and producers from other countries have given their input for the success of Azerbaijani entries in the other years. Azerbaijan always qualified for the final and was always in the Top 10. These were the most successful songs: “Always” by AySel & Arash in 2009 (3rd), “Drip Drop” by Safura in 2010 (5th), “When The Music Dies” by Sabina Babayeva (4th) and of course the winning entry from 2011 “Running scared“ by Ell & Nikki (1st).
After the great victory of Ell & Niki, Baku has hosted the ESC 2012 in a wonderful way. The impressive Crystal Hall and the greatly illuminated city of Baku have surprised the visitors and watchers of the ESC, which will remain in good memories.