Finding Nemo: Eurovision winner’s journey of self-discovery

Finding Nemo: Eurovision winner’s journey of self-discovery
Finding Nemo: Eurovision winner’s journey of self-discovery

Hello and welcome to the details of Finding Nemo: Eurovision winner’s journey of self-discovery and now with the details

Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - Nemo Mettler, 24, Switzerland’s entrant in the kitsch annual pop extravaganza, sailed to victory in the contest in Malmo, the culmination of a winding road to international stardom. — AFP pic

GENEVA, May 12 — Nemo, who won the 2024 Eurovision Song Contest today, has encapsulated the journey towards realising non-binary gender identity in the highly personal song The Code.

Nemo Mettler, 24, Switzerland’s entrant in the kitsch annual pop extravaganza, sailed to victory in the contest in Malmo, the culmination of a winding road to international stardom.

The Code is about the journey I started with the realisation that I am neither a man nor a woman,” Nemo said.

“Finding myself has been a long and often difficult process for me. But nothing feels better than the freedom I have gained by realising that I am non-binary.”

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In November last year, the artist announced on Instagram: “I don’t identify as a man or a woman. I’m just Nemo,” adding: “My pronouns are they/them.”

“I love thinking of gender as a galaxy, picturing myself as a little star, floating somewhere within.”

Now living in Berlin, Nemo hails from Biel/Bienne in north-western Switzerland, the largest bilingual city in the country and the heart of the Alpine nation’s watchmaking industry.

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The Neue Zurcher Zeitung newspaper earlier this month described the singer as “incredibly talented, extravagant, but at the same time uncomplicated”.

“Before Switzerland’s eyes, Nemo went from a teen star to something of an old hand in the music business,” the NZZ article said.

Nemo began playing piano, violin and the drums as a small child. Cast in a musical at 13, their breakthrough came in 2016 when a clip of the teenager rapping in German on a Swiss online youth radio station went viral on social media.

After claiming the best talent gong at the 2017 Swiss Music Awards, Nemo was the big winner at the following year’s event, taking the best male solo act, best breaking live act, best hit and best live act awards.

The best hit gong came for Du, which reached number four on the Swiss charts.

Building bridges

In 2020 the vocalist began releasing songs in English, and writing and producing for other artists.

Besides their non-binary realisation, The Code also takes in Nemo’s musical progression.

Nemo described the English-language song as “the artistic manifesto of my personal journey; a distinctive piece of music which combines rap, drum and bass and opera”.

More than 400 artists put themselves forward to represent Switzerland at this year’s Eurovision, with various panels whittling them down to five by December 2023.

Studio versions were recorded, with Nemo announced on February 29 as the winner clutching a golden ticket for the finals in Malmo, Sweden.

“This platform offers a huge opportunity to build bridges between different cultures and generations,” Nemo said.

“That’s why it’s very important to me as a gender-queer person to stand up for the entire LGBTQIA+ community.”

Memories of Celine Dion

Besides traditional Alpine yodelling, the Swiss music scene is probably best known internationally through events such as the Montreux Jazz Festival and major artists having lived and recorded in the country, rather than home-grown talent.

Switzerland does have Eurovision pedigree though, and is now one of only 12 countries with more than two victories.

Switzerland won the first-ever Eurovision in 1956, with Lys Assia singing Refrain, a French-language chanson.

Switzerland’s only other victory came in 1988, in the unlikely form of Celine Dion — before she became a global megastar.

The then 20-year-old Canadian sang Ne partez pas sans moi. It was a turning point in her fledgling career, launching her beyond just the French-speaking world. It remains the last song in French to win the contest.

Eurovision described The Code as a high-energy adventure.

“In their music, Nemo deals with themes such as gender identity, mental health and finding one’s place in this world,” the competition said.

The Code is being heralded as not just a song, but a safe space through which every person can find their truth.” — AFP

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