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Who Is Sam Ryder? Introducing The UK’s Eurovision Contender
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In Depth

Who Is Sam Ryder? Introducing The UK’s Eurovision Contender

After finding fame on TikTok with his superb cover versions, Sam Ryder’s Eurovision entry, Space Man, is set to ensure his star keeps rising.

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While stuck in lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic, singer Sam Ryder started uploading TikTok videos of himself singing songs to stave off the boredom. Against all odds, he’s since become a social-media sensation and has now been chosen to represent the United Kingdom in the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest. In case you somehow managed to avoid hopping aboard Ryder’s TikTok train, allow us to introduce him to you – this is the story of how Sam Ryder went from hopeful TikTokker to Eurovision contender.

Listen to our TikTok Trends playlist here.

Who is Sam Ryder?

C’mon, surely you’ve seen his videos all over social media by now? They’re everywhere! Sam Ryder is a 32-year-old viral TikTok singer from Essex, with a spectacular voice that has set tongues wagging the world over. Having played as a session musician in multiple bands throughout the years, Ryder started posting videos of himself singing other people’s songs on TikTok during the first COVID-19 lockdown, in early 2020, and ended up closing the year as the most-followed UK music artist on the platform. Not bad for a lad from Essex, right?

In 2021, Sam signed with Parlophone Records and began working on his own music; after pairing up with Rag’n’Bone Man producer Jamie Hartman, he became one of the musicians to look out for in 2022. In fact, in March, it was revealed that Ryder will be heading to Turin, Italy, to represent the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest. Will he be following in the footsteps of Sandie Shaw, Lulu, Brotherhood Of Man, Buck’s Fizz and Katrina And The Waves? Watch this space!

How did Sam Ryder get famous?

It’s all about that incredible voice – that’s exactly what sent Sam Ryder viral in the first place. Thanks to his jaw-dropping cover versions of songs by Adele, Lady Gaga and Sia, Ryder has built a solid fanbase of over 12.1 million TikTok followers, and his impeccable rendition of If I Ain’t Got You impressed the song’s writer, Alicia Keys, so much that she even performed an impromptu duet with the man himself. And then there’s Ryder’s likeable and friendly personality to take into account – he’s attracted a huge amount of social-media support, and his followers are all rooting for him to become a massive success.

With his TikTok videos racking up a whopping 98.5 million likes, Ryder’s newfound fame no doubt helped him get extra exposure when sharing short snippets of his own material. Proving that he has musical ambitions beyond TikTok thumb-stoppers, he now has his eye on the UK singles chart. He is currently repped by Tap Music, the management agency whose roster of artists includes Dua Lipa, Lana Del Rey, Ellie Goulding and Dermot Kennedy. Yes, that’s the sort of company he’ll be keeping now. But let’s get Eurovision out of the way first, shall we?

What songs has Sam Ryder released?

Aside from flooding TikTok with powerhouse cover versions – from The Lazy Song, by Bruno Mars, to 4 Non Blondes’ classic rocker What’s Up? – Sam Ryder has wasted no time at all in establishing a songwriting career of his own. Since releasing his debut single, Whirlwind, in February 2021, he’s turned out an EP, The Sun’s Gonna Rise, and amassed over a million YouTube views for his charmingly optimistic song More.

Working with songwriter Jonathan Quarmby (Tom Walker, James Arthur) can be taken as a clear sign that that the TikTok superstar is currently looking for a breakthrough hit to rival Lewis Capaldi’s Someone Like You. There’s little doubt he’ll find it. With a voice like that, it won’t be long before the tastemakers at BBC Radio 1 reach out to him.

What is Sam Ryder’s Eurovision song?

After being officially announced as the singer for the UK’s 2022 Eurovision entry, Ryder unveiled the song Space Man, a sci-fi-tinged pop ballad that lets his far-reaching voice soar within touching distance of a far-off nebula. Co-written with Ed Sheeran’s songwriting partners Amy Wadge and Max Wolfgang, Space Man is a strong Eurovision contender which sits comfortably along a UK pop lineage that includes traces of Sam Smith and the odd hint of 90s Britpop.

“I hope to sing my head off in a way the United Kingdom can be proud of,” Ryder told Eurovision.tv, “and to showcase a song I wrote with my friends last summer makes the whole experience even more special.” Whatever happens in Eurovision, Ryder’s stratospheric rise seems set to continue.

Did Sam Ryder Win Eurovision 2022?

Sam Ryder came in second place at the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest, losing out to Ukraine’s entry, Stefania, by Kalush Orchestra. Though he didn’t win, the TikTok superstar made the UK immensely proud, with Space Man scoring 466 points as it skyrocketed up the leader board – a vast improvement on the UK’s 2021 effort, which scored nil points. Ryder dazzled on the night with his astronomical vocal range and his flamboyant pearly co-ord, and the Eurovision judges actually placed the UK in first place for much of the evening; it wasn’t until the televotes were counted that Ukraine pipped Ryder to the post and ran away with the victory.

He may not have emerged triumphant, but Ryder did a stellar job in turning around the UK’s Eurovision fortunes, leaving left no one in any doubt of his innate star power.

Looking for more? Find out the best songs of 2022.

Original article: 12 May 2022

Updated: 16 May 2022.

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