Samanta Tīna competed in the Latvian selection for the Eurovision Song Contest no fewer than six times, finishing a frustrating second twice. Never one to give up, Samanta twice took aim at her second home, Lithuania. In 2020 everything changed when she won a ticket to Rotterdam – and Covid happened. But she’s here now, and Rotterdam is everything she anticipated.
“The first time I walked on the Eurovision stage I got so close to tears,” she admits. “But that’s when I knew it was worth all those years waiting for this moment. Of course things were hard last year when I finally won my place at the Contest. I wanted to sit in a corner and say ‘why me’. But if I’d go through all of this again to be here.”
You might say Eurovision is in her blood. More than some artists who discovered the contest later in their careers, Samanta became a fan from the word go.
“In 2002, Jessica Garlick sang ‘Come Back’ for the United Kingdom and I fell in love with that song. I begged my mother for the money to buy the record, and it was my first record. I paid 25 LATS which was a huge amount of money in those days – about 40 Euros even now. I loved the song so much and I sang it in lots of young talent shows.”
“As a musician Eurovision was always one of my biggest ambitions. I’m not the sort of person who gives up when things go wrong. I’m stubborn. Ask any of my team.”
Over her eight attempts at Eurovision, the songs she sang evolved. We wonder if she’s given any consideration to what sort of music she might try next.
Samanta laughs. “It’s hard enough to remember which camera to look into on stage right now, without making big decisions. I love to experiment and I don’t want to be pigeonholed and stick to one type of song. I like to mix things up.”
On being a queen
So onto the things that count – what’s the song all about?
“Just be a queen,” she says with a wink. “Love yourself, crown yourself queen with the two hands God gave you. The most important thing is how you feel inside.”
She projects such an imposing image on screen, is she the same queen off stage?
Samanta shakes her head and beams. “Of course I’m different at home with my family. I’m a daughter and a sister. I’m glad I get to share my attitude of loving ourselves. I see how tough it is to live your life and not find acceptance. I’m so lucky to be here and sharing my story. I can be a queen for the night on stage, and I also get to share the stage with three other queens.”
So, if she gets the chance, will she give Eurovision yet another run?
“I’m a performer, I’m a singer and I love to be on stage. That’s where I’m at home and happiest and where I get to share love and energy and passion. I love having an audience and getting that energy back. The four of us came off stage the other day, and we all said the same thing. This is our place. We’ve decided we’d all like to do this again. A lot.”