It’s a competition that celebrates all things kitch and colourful, but in recent years Britain’s Eurovision entries have, with very few exceptions, been hopelessly bland. Last year, all six shortlisted acts were failed X Factor contestants.
Breathe a sigh of relief, then, for the arrival of SuRie. The 29-year-old, whose stage name is a portmanteau of her real name, Susanna Marie Cork, might be our best hope in years. She’s a classically trained pianist and oboist, who studied at the Royal Academy of Music. She’s spent years building her credibility on the indie scene as a songwriter, working with edgy young playwrights and poets.
And now the mainstream pop critics have given her thumbs up. Her Eurovision song Storm left Telegraph reviewer Charlotte Runcie very impressed, while even PopJustice – a gleefully scabrous music site known for tearing duff Eurovision entries to shreds – admitted it was “quite good.”
Known as “Squidge” to her friends, Cork was born in Harlow, Essex, in 1989, and grew up in Bishop’s Stortford. To outsiders, that tweedy market town might not sound like a hotbed of bohemian creativity and pop-star glamour, but Cork disagrees. “When I was in Stortford I did literally everything I possibly could artistically,” she gushed in a recent interview. “The town was just huge for me, dramatically and musically.” She hasn’t yet repaid this debt by mentioning the town in a song, but perhaps she’s still trying to find a rhyme for “Stortford”.