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patriot's tune Eurovision contestant Lesley Roy is 'so happy to sing my song and represent Ireland'

Gutted that her Eurovision dream was nixed last year, singer Lesley Roy is determined to do Ireland proud in Rotterdam. She tells us why she has always loved the competition

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Lesley will represent Ireland in the Eurovision semi-final on May 18 in Rotterdam

Lesley will represent Ireland in the Eurovision semi-final on May 18 in Rotterdam

Eurovision star Lesley Roy

Eurovision star Lesley Roy

Lesley Roy with her wife Lauren

Lesley Roy with her wife Lauren

Lesley Roy performing

Lesley Roy performing

Lesley Roy looking glamorous

Lesley Roy looking glamorous

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Lesley will represent Ireland in the Eurovision semi-final on May 18 in Rotterdam

Imagine achieving your childhood dream only for the rug to be abruptly pulled from underneath you.

Lesley Roy had always hoped to one day represent Ireland at the Eurovision Song Contest, and after spending over a decade living in America, the Dubliner was whisked from being relatively unknown at home to becoming a fresh face who was in with a real chance of becoming our record eighth winner in the extravaganza.

Her pop track last year, Story of My Life, was seen as a 'banger' and was a genuine contender before Covid caused last year's contest to be shelved. The result was that all the songs lined up for the contest in Rotterdam were null and void.

It takes a very brave woman to go back to the drawing board, and rather than cry into her pillow, Lesley was hell-bent on getting on that plane to the Netherlands with a fresh tune which would be equally as good if not better than Story of My Life. She came up with the catchy Maps and RTÉ rubber-stamped her boomerang-style return.

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Eurovision star Lesley Roy

Eurovision star Lesley Roy

Eurovision star Lesley Roy

"It took me a lot of songs to get to Maps," explains the 34-year-old. "I was getting quite anxious and frustrated. I think that was the moment out of this experience where I felt the most amount of pressure, to try to write this brilliant song that people were waiting for."

She admits that with Story of My Life "it was just kind of a nice surprise for Ireland in the Eurovision to have such a poppy, puffy song".

The gorgeous Lesley recalls that she was constantly being asked online if she was going to try again.

She says: "I'm really glad I did. I went through a list of things I wanted to try and I eventually went full circle.

"It's kind of what the song is about, actually trying to find the song is researching in this frustrated lost place and try to get back to what your true sense of self is.

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Lesley Roy looking glamorous

Lesley Roy looking glamorous

Lesley Roy looking glamorous

"Instead of looking in the mirror over this last year, we have all been forced to look inward; to be like, 'Well, who am I, who have I actually become' and it's within that looking, in that searching, that Maps came to me."

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Lesley insists that she won the nomination this year on her own merit, and when she sent the song to RTÉ she was delighted when she got the stamp of approval.

"I had no automatic selection just because people would feel bad for me that it was cancelled," she stresses.

"It's the Eurovision Song Contest, there has to be a song so we agreed as soon as it got cancelled if I can go and write a song that's better than Story of My Life and we all get on the same page about it, then we can have the conversation about me representing Ireland.

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Lesley Roy performing

Lesley Roy performing

Lesley Roy performing

"But there was no sympathy vote, there was no, 'Ah, poor her'. This was, 'How do you write a brilliant song and come back and then we will have the conversation'."

Lesley has always dreamed about entering Eurovision.

"Some of my best memories are of the Eurovision," she smiles. "And some of my first memories of having a question relate to it - 'OK, so this is not like the soccer that everyone watches on the Sunday, this is not like what I've seen on the Olympics, this is something that is solely based around a song'.

"So the Eurovision is one of my very first memories of this weirdness or obsession around songwriting and I have very fond memories of watching the Eurovision with my sister when I was very young. Clearly it carried over because I have been obsessing over it for the past 12 months."

While living in America for 12 years, having signed a record deal with Sony, she met her wife Lauren and lived in New York, Nashville and Los Angeles, primarily focusing on songwriting.

She and her New Yorker therapist partner then relocated to Ireland and are now based in Lesley's hometown of Balbriggan.

"Having gone from the lockdown in New York to lockdown in an apartment in Balbriggan, it wasn't that much different, it was just a little bit colder in Balbriggan," she says.

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Lesley Roy with her wife Lauren

Lesley Roy with her wife Lauren

Lesley Roy with her wife Lauren

"Myself and my wife, we are fairly civil people. Sitting down having a cup of coffee and a glass of wine is definitely something that we try and push to have time to do on the weekends.

"She is a fantastic therapist. I love discussing the mental health world. So much of it actually criss-crosses into the music industry."

Lesley describes herself as a "jeans, T-shirt and boots kind of girl" and reveals that her passion of yoga has been a saviour in recent times.

"I'm really glad I had yoga," she admits. "I don't think I would have handled the entire year as well as I have if hadn't I had that yoga practice.

"At this point of my life I try to meditate as much as I can."

Lesley sings in Tuesday's semi-final with the second semi on Thursday. The final is next Saturday, May 22.

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