Lesley Roy: Finding her way in the world

Lesley Roy at Eurovision 2021
Lesley Roy at Eurovision 2021

With ‘Maps’ Lesley Roy promised to bring something unique to the Eurovision stage. She sat down to talk about her Eurovision experience and talk us through the world of ‘Maps’.

After a rocky start, things slotted into place for the second rehearsal and she arrived at the follow-up press conference visibly relieved. “We’re really moving towards the place that we’ve envisioned it,” she said. “It’s getting very close now, and it’s really nice seeing everything coming together.”

Because of Covid and the cancellation of the 2020 Contest, it’s been a long road to Rotterdam for everyone. It’s a journey Lesley wanted to capture with the staging of her Eurovision song.

“My entire journey for this whole Eurovision over these past 14 months, I’ve been trying to tell this story,” she said with a sigh. “And what you see on stage now is a miniature paper world version of a journey that I’m going through to get to my inner self. Life can be complex, but sometimes parts of it move together so well. The idea behind the show is that I travel through a small paper world and out onto the open stage, finding my way back home.”

With the Contest moving ever more into high-end effects and pyrotechnics, the Irish team has taken an abrupt left turn.

No fireworks

Lesley Roy, Ireland, Second Rehearsal, Rotterdam Ahoy, 12 May 2021
Lesley Roy, Ireland, Second Rehearsal, Rotterdam Ahoy, 12 May 2021

“We wanted it to have texture and be tangible and be analogue and be different from the usual beautiful Eurovision lights,” Lesley explained. “So, I’m so excited for people to see all our paper forests, and our city and our ocean. I’m helped on stage by Ingrid and Malin and we wanted to make sure you see their hands. The flip book is a great example. I didn’t want it to look like a graphic. Even the rain wall at the end is powered by them. There are no fireworks to come either.”

“We really wanted to hand-build this different world that wasn’t the world that we’re used to in the Eurovision. That’s why we brought it down so small; we wanted to centre and focus the viewers at home on this journey.”

The way back home

She’s having a great time at Eurovision and hopes to use it as a springboard back from New York to spend more time working on writing, producing and performing in Ireland.

“I would love to be back in Ireland much more, performing and writing for other Irish artists too. I grew up watching and loving Eurovision with Niamh and Paul and Charlie and Linda. I lived down the road from the Point Depot and it’s great to follow in the footsteps of such legends. I’m on a massive stage with worldwide talent and amazing songs and artists and everyone’s put so much work into being here. You dream about this kind of thing as a kid, but the reality is even better than I ever imagined.”

She next takes to the stage for the full show rehearsals on Monday.

“There’s still a few small little pieces to get right to have things exactly as we planned, but you’ve seen the main props now. We’ll be watching the tapes and working out what we can do better or more of. I’ll work with my boys who co-wrote the song and decide what we’re happy with and there’s always room to improve for any performer, so I’ll be pushing even harder next week.”

Lesley is in Rotterdam with her wife, Lauren. “She’s the only family member I could bring, and she’s been along with us for the whole journey. She’s not just been the wind beneath my wings, she’s been the lights, the power … and the paper.”

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