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Stuart O'Connor mentoring Eurovision hopeful

Story by John Donohoe

Wednesday, 6th February, 2013 6:30pm

Stuart O'Connor mentoring Eurovision hopeful

Stuart O'Connor of the Navan-based Spotlight Stage School is mentoring Ryan Dolan, one of the five Irish acts and songs competing to represent Ireland in this year's Eurovision.

The public will get the chance to hear each of the five songs for the first time tomorrow (Thursday February 7th) on Mooney on RTÉ Radio 1 from 3pm.

Last November RTÉ nominated five mentors with proven experience in the Irish music industry and asked them each to select an act and a song which they believe has the potential to be a Eurovision winner.

Stuart O'Connor is a director of Spotlight Productions and is one of Ireland's top producers and choreographers. Stuart is the man behind the successful Jedward pantos and all Jedward's live tours in the last three years. He devised the performance of Waterline at last years' Eurovision. Stuart recently produced and directed The Best of Eurovision Show with six previous winners Johnny Logan, Linda Martin, Niamh Kavanagh, Dana, Charlie McGettigan and Paul Harrington. He was a judge on RTÉ's Supercrew and choreographed the highly acclaimed RTÉ Big Music Week Lipdub YouTube video.

He has chosen Ryan Dolan a young singer-songwriter from Strabane in Co Tyrone as his act. Ryan is the only songwriter performing his own composition Only Love Survives. He has played support to many acts over the years including Tinchy Stryder, Jedward and many more. Ryan has been described as one of the most exciting homegrown musical talents to be discovered in Ireland in recent years. His YouTube channel has received over 800,000 hits. Ryan has teamed up with music producer and composer Wez Devine. Wez is a 34-year-old songwriter/producer originally from Malahide, Co Dublin now based in Lifford, Co Donegal. So far the fruits of their labour include being featured on BBC Radio1 in the UK in 2012 - their track titled The Secret by Zenemy DJz featuring Ryan Dolan found great support and was daytime play-listed by the giants of the station Sara Cox, Hugh Stevens and Scott Mills.

They are hopeful that their latest composition Only Love Survives will make it to Malmö for the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest and bring Eurovision back to Ireland for the eighth time.

Stuart O'Connor said: "As soon as I discovered I was going to be a mentor I was determined that given the opportunity I would send an Irish singer / songwriter to Malmö this year. I was delighted to receive a large volume of songs from all around the world but as soon as I heard Only Love Survives I knew this was it - it ticked all the boxes. I immediately set about gathering a full Irish team including backing vocals by Leanne Moore and percussion by Nicky Bailey founder of Extreme Rhythm who has performed with Riverdance and most recently on X Factor with Kelly Clarkson. The result is a modern song with an Irish vibe that will appeal to audiences across Europe."

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