Melbourne artist Tanzer has agreed to audition for Eurovision Song Contest in San Marino


If Hayley Tanzer had a dollar every time someone told her to try Eurovision, she wouldn’t be living in a “half-moldy rental apartment in South Melbourne”.

The performer represents everything the international song competition is loved for – glamor, extravagance, ridicule, campness, that Eurovision I do not know what.

“The casual listener sees what I’m doing, and they immediately make the association,” she said.

But despite his candidacy for Australia’s Eurovision Decides in 2019, 2020 and 2022, the full-time artist – known by the stage name Tanzer – has failed to fulfill his lifelong dream.

“I had peacefully assumed this would never happen,” she said.

However, his perspective quickly changed.

Next month, she will travel to San Marino, a tiny landlocked microstate of 33,000 people surrounded by northern Italy.

She auditions with her own music to represent the nation in the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest final in May.

While unexpected, it’s something she’s inadvertently prepared her whole life.

Fan of Eurovision since the beginning

Tanzer says the song contest was a “huge” part of his formative years, having spent his childhood in the heart of Eurovision.

She moved to Rome, Italy from Australia for her father’s job and became obsessed with the performances she saw on television.

“It touched me,” she said.

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The song contest was her “escape” and became the foundation of her art as she got older.

“Becoming a creative, there was always that element of high glamor, of ridicule with a straight face that I learned from Eurovision.

“I created a new world of escape for myself.”

Tanzer modeled his art on the aesthetics of Eurovision Song Contest.(Provided: Hayley Tanzer)

But when Australia was welcomed into the fold of Eurovision, Tanzer discovered it wasn’t quite his home.

“All artists [who get in] are amazing, but I’m not on Eurovision’s radar. “

She got a little taste of Eurovision fame, playing bass guitar with Killing Heidi’s Ella Hooper in Australia’s Eurovision final in 2019.

“It was a real honor to play with someone of his caliber,” she said.

“But I had given up hope of getting involved in my favorite thing.”

San Marino beckons

After a Polish artist approached her to write a song for their Eurovision Song Contest, Tanzer did some more investigation into the entry requirements.

A woman dressed as a sequined cowboy
Tanzer will bring his Eurovision-inspired art to San Marino in January. (Image: Jo Duck)

Almost all countries required that an interpreter be from that country.

Except San Marino.

The small European nation – “with the same population as [the Melbourne suburb] Frankston “- was receiving entries from any country in the world as part of a tourism campaign.

“Of course, I sent my song, and they answered me right away and said, yes, you are suitable for this competition,” she said.

Tanzer was shocked – she would be flying overseas in a few weeks to take on a few hundred more people on January 11.

But she quickly discovered that she had an affinity with the country – not only does she speak Italian, but she also considers herself an “outsider”, just like San Marino.

“I’m such a fan of San Marino at Eurovision Song Contest,” she said.

A woman posing and holding a cowboy hat in the air
Tanzer said going to San Marino “seems like a dream”.(Provided: Luke Austin)

Tanzer said she was inspired by “the amazing” Valentina Monetta from San Marino.

The artist failed to advance to the grand final in her first two attempts, but then reached the song contest grand final on her third try, making her her country’s first to the To do.

And in another twist of fate, Tanzer will remain in Valentina Monetta’s spare AirBnb throughout the audition process.

“Even up to my accommodation, it feels like a dream,” she said.

“The Underdog Adventure Australia Needs”

Auditioning is a long process, however – Tanzer has to go through several rounds to reach a televised final in February.

This is where nine “emerging” and nine “established” artists from San Marino compete against each other, with the winner representing the nation in Turin, Italy.

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While the next few months will undoubtedly be intimidating, Tanzer has a loving and growing social media community that celebrates his every move.

She is committed to documenting her entire trip on Instagram – but is also looking for someone to accompany her and film her trip.

“Everyone following me was obviously super excited, but then all these people that I didn’t know started following me, and all these Eurovision fans,” she said.

Ultimately, whatever happens, Tanzer can’t wait to be a part of the world that changed his life – and to take everyone with him.

“This is the underdog adventure that Australia needs,” she said with a laugh.

“People can say: look at this deranged, sequined woman from Melbourne, who travels to one of the smallest countries in Europe! “


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