Embers

Album: single release only (2021)
Charted: 47
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Songfacts®:

  • The BBC gave singer-songwriter James Newman a second chance to take part in Eurovision 2021 after the event was canceled the previous year due to COVID. Though critics praised his 2020 entry, "My Last Breath," Eurovision rules meant he had to scrap it and write an entirely new song for the 2021 contest. He came up with this upbeat tune.
  • James Newman wrote the song with Conor Blake, Danny Shah, Tom Hollings and Samuel Brennan. Newman told BBC's Newsbeat they wanted to write something "fun and upbeat" to mark his return to the competition. An ember is a piece of red hot coal or wood that remains after a fire; Newman sings of not burning out to symbolize Eurovision's return from the ashes of the 2020 contest.

    "'Embers' is about those sparks that don't die out," he explained. "When we were writing this, it felt like I wanted to show everyone that we were coming back together. It's about having that connection and something re-igniting. It's about us emerging from this rubbish time we've been having. It fits with the idea that Eurovision is coming back."
  • The word "ember" also describes the smoldering remnants of a love or passion. "It's about the spark between people who love each other," said Newman. "Just because you don't see the people you care about all the time, doesn't mean that spark isn't there."
  • The upbeat and positive song is a huge contrast to the somber ballad "My Last Breath." Newman said his 2020 entry was written in a pre-pandemic environment, so he wanted to write something more positive. "Eurovision is a celebration of music and Embers fits in that vibe. Hopefully people like it," he said.
  • This is Newman's fourth Eurovision attempt. Besides "My Last Breath" and "Embers," he co-wrote the winning Eurovision song for Azerbaijan, "Running Scared," performed by Ell & Nikki in 2011. Six years later, Newman co-penned Ireland's 2017 Eurovision entry, "Dying To Try," which got knocked out in the semifinals.
  • James Newman is a successful singer-songwriter who won a Brit Award for British Single Of The Year for "Waiting All Night," performed by Rudimental and Ella Eyre. His other credits include Jess Glynne's "All I Am" and Calvin Harris' "Blame." The other four songwriters also have extensive resumés.

    Songwriter Conor Blake's most notable co-writes came with the 2019 Meduza featuring Goodboys worldwide hit "Piece of Your Heart."

    Danny Shah is a songwriter and producer who has written for Kylie Minogue ("A Lifetime to Repair"), David Guetta ("Battle") and Sigala (Somebody").

    Tom Hollings and Samuel Brennan are writers who have worked with Melanie C and 220Kid. They were both involved with Nathan Evans' 2021 chart-topping version of "Soon May The Wellerman Come."
  • James Newman, Conor Blake, Danny Shah, Tom Hollings and Samuel Brennan wrote the song in late 2010 during a writing camp at Tileyard Studios in London. Newman told Officialcharts.com he wanted to make a huge dance banger, along the lines of Joel Corry and Nathan Dawe's singles. When Conor Blake suggested the "Embers" title, Newman loved his idea. "It was like the glow in the fire that can be reignited," he said. "It's a party song, but it's what you can do, lyrically, to make it feel bigger than that. Not just a relationship thing, but more universal. People can take it however they want into their life. I'm really happy with it."
  • The song came in last place with "nul points." The only other time the UK entry finished at the bottom of the Eurovision pile with zero points was back in 2003 when Jemini's performance of "Cry Baby" was criticized for being off key.

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