Who is Sam Ryder? TikTok singer chosen as UK’s Eurovision 2022 pick with SPACE MAN song


here do you turn after your last attempt at Eurovision glory ended in an unmitigated nul points catastrophe? TikTok, of course!

Sam Ryder, the social-media-sensation-turned-major-record-label-signee, has today been confirmed by the BBC as the man we’ll be shipping off to Turin for the 66th Eurovision Song Contest in May, hoping to become the first UK act since Katrina and the Waves in 1997 to top the voting charts (or, you know, at least get a few points on the board, if nothing else).

But what is Ryder’s background? And does he have the power to crown us kings of the continent once again? Here’s the lowdown.

Who is Sam Ryder?

If you’re on TikTok, chances are you’ve already come across Ryder. He’s the man whose pop music covers and powerhouse voice turned him into an online sensation during the pandemic, generating more than 100 million likes and attracting some 12 million followers, with Justin Bieber, Sia and Alicia Keys among the megastars to give him their seal of approval.

His TikTok success drew the attention of Parlophone — the Warner Music Group label that counts industry titans such as Coldplay and David Guetta, as well viral stars including PinkPantheress, among its roster — through which Ryder released his debut EP, The Sun’s Gonna Rise, in 2021. It raced past 100 million global streams, and buoyed Ryder’s most recent tour, which was a sold-out success.

What song is he entering with?

The song that Ryder (and the Eurovision-watching British public) hope will catapult him to success is the already-released SPACE MAN. It’s a track he co-wrote with songwriter Amy Wadge — best known for her role in helping to pen Ed Sheeran’s megahit Thinking Out Loud — and Max Wolfgang, who has worked with the likes of BTS, Celine Dion and Years & Years in the past.

How will it fare at Eurovision? It’s hard to say. The cliché that bombastic, cheesy synth-pop is the way to get a surefire win is no longer true; Italian band Måneskin swept to victory with their rock-out anthem last year, and Dutch artist Duncan Laurence topped the votes with a bleary-eyed ballad in 2019. SPACE MAN is neither of those things, but it’s certainly a solidly written pop song; whether it’ll win over our European cousins remains to be seen.

What has Ryder said about it all?

“Having been a fan of Eurovision since I was a kid l I am so honoured to have been presented with the opportunity to sing at an event alongside some of Europe’s most talented creatives, performers and songwriters,” Ryder said. “I hope to sing my head off in a way the UK can be proud of, and to showcase a song I wrote with my friends last summer makes the whole experience even more special. See you in Turin legends!”

The Eurovision Song Contest 2022 final will take place in Turin, Italy, on May 14

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