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Music Interview

Blue

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Blue for Eurovision

© BBC

It's been almost ten (ten!) years to the day since Blue first commanded us to 'All Rise' - the days when you could buy a single, on tape, from your local Woolworths, for the princely sum of £3.99. Fast-forward to 2011, and they've taken the curious step of using the Eurovision Song Contest as the platform to launch their much-discussed comeback. Intrigued, we met up with the boys to ask how they rate their chances and, naturally, to press them for details about their forthcoming album.

Congrats on the new single 'I Can'. Are you pleased with the response so far?
Duncan: "We've been pleasantly surprised actually! Obviously when we first announced we were doing Eurovision there was the shock factor, especially when our former manager said we were committing "career suicide". For us, this is a great opportunity. The music industry has changed so much since we were last together, and this is a great platform for us to let everyone know that we're back."

You were once huge in Europe - is that why you're entering the competition?
Simon: "That's part of it. Europe was a big market for us and obviously this is the best way to let everyone know we're around again."
Duncan: "The thing is, there's no music programmes on television anymore. Back in the day there was a Top of the Pops in every country, and now they've all been replaced with X Factor. It's hard for acts to have an impact across Europe nowadays."

And you've teamed up with Stargate again for the project...
Anthony: "Yes! Not many people know that we worked with them ten years ago on some of our biggest singles - they also executive produced our first two albums."
Simon: "Back in the day they were known for remixing - there was a much bigger market for remixes back then."

Was the track chosen specifically for the contest?
Duncan: "This would have been our comeback single regardless, we didn't write it especially for the competition. It just so happens that the message in the song fits with the theme of it!"

If you don't win, do you think it will affect your UK comeback?
Duncan: "Obviously we're feeling very positive about it and we fully believe in the song, but should the worst happen, we're still going to press ahead with the album. It won't be the last of us - we're all fully committed to this band again."

How's the new album coming along?
Duncan: "It's done, isn't it Lee?"
Lee: "It'll be done when I'm fed up of songwriting! I'm going to keep going until someone tells me to stop. We're constantly coming up with ideas and I think when that process comes to a head naturally, then we'll put it out."
Simon: "Hopefully it'll be ready by the end of the year. We want to get this single out and see how it does, but Eurovision is our big focus for now."

We hear that you've been working with Ne-Yo on the record.
Lee: "We've been writing with Ne-Yo, and I've written at least a couple of songs on my own that will probably make the album. We've also been working with Bruno Mars on a song called 'Black And Blue' - he's sending his parts over from a demo we recorded a while ago. It's got some haunting notes on the chorus."

You've had some amazing collaborations in the past, are you aiming to top them on this album?
Lee: We're going to try, but how do you top Elton John and Stevie Wonder?! I'd love to work with Aretha Franklin - someone old school. We're not the type to get someone current to jump on a track to make us look cool."

What do you make of the current music scene?
Anthony: I'm a big fan of it. You've got to move with the times. When we first started I remember people would buy our music on CDs, and now I can download a track on my phone."
Duncan: "The last time we were together, Woolworths was still around - we used to sell loads of singles there."
Lee: "I feel privileged to have experienced that, and still have the chance to release music today! There aren't many acts that have experienced those changes in the music industry and come out successful on the other side."

Blue release 'I Can' on May 8. They represent Britain in the Eurovision Song Contest on May 14.

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