Voyager: Meet the Eurovision die-hards finally representing Australia after coming close twice before

·3-min read

Australia may have only joined Eurovision in 2015, but the country down under is hoping 2023 could be its year thanks to the star power of prog-rock band Voyager.

The five-piece – whose current line-up features Daniel “Danny” Estrin, Simone Dowe, Scott Kay, Ashley Doodkorte and Alex Canion – first formed in 1999. Since then, the band have swapped out their members many times, releasing seven studio albums over 24 years.

Voyager are representing Australia for the first time in Liverpool this year, but this is far from their first shot at Eurovision glory.

The group were shortlisted to compete for Australia in 2020 (although they did not make it to the country’s final), only to become the runners-up in Australia’s competition last year, eventually losing out to the raven-haired belter Sheldon Riley.

For 2023, Voyager were internally selected to represent Australia with their song “Promise”, which is part pulsing synth track, part rock head-banger.

As with many Eurovision songs, such as this year’s self-empowerment anthem “Queen of Kings” by Norway’s Alessandra, Voyager’s track imparts a positive message.

Lyrically, “Promise” speaks to the importance of companionship in a chaotic world. “Sometimes we all just need a friend, partner or family to tell us it’ll be alright,” said guitarist Scott Kay.

Voyager is set to compete in the second semi-finals on Thursday (11 May) in Liverpool, where they will be up against Denmark, Armenia, Romania, Estonia, Belgium, Cyprus, Iceland, Greece, Poland, Solvenia, Georgia, San Marino, Austria, Albania, and Lithuania for a chance to compete in Saturday’s grand final (13 May).

 (Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)
(Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)

We spoke to guitarist Kay about the history of long-haired rockers in Eurovision and the pressures of going up against Sweden’s Eurovision favourite and competition darling Loreen in Liverpool.

Hi Scott! Congrats on your Eurovision entry track “Promise” – it’s a belter! What’s the backstory behind the song?

“Promise” began as an intriguing introduction, with Danny begging the question: “Have you ever done anything like this before?” to which our answer as a band was, “Nope!”.

It felt like a great idea to explore, so we delved into it together. “Promise” lyrically is a reflection of the chaos in the world, and that sometimes we all just need a friend, partner or family to tell us it’ll be alright.

Eurovision loves a long-haired rock star, who have been some previous favourites of the genre?

We love Blind Channel from Finland. The staging was epic, and the theatrics for the performance are epic. Their performance has influenced us, and we hope to capture that same energy.

Voyager are representing Australia (Getty Images)
Voyager are representing Australia (Getty Images)

Australia is still a relatively new addition to Eurovision – how has the country embraced the madness of the competition?

By staying up to ungodly hours just to simply watch Eurovision! We’re more dedicated viewers by default, I think. Australia is such a massive cultural melting pot, so it only makes sense that Eurovision would be embraced so deeply. We love theatre, drama, the discussion about the music and the outfits.

This isn’t your first attempt to represent Australia at Eurovision. What has made 2023 the right year?

We were internally selected this year, but won the popular vote last year with our song “Dreamer” in 2022. I genuinely think we were a point of difference for Australia last year; a heavy band with a pop sheen, and our song had immediacy to it. This year, we believe it only made sense to be chosen to represent the country considering how close we came in 2022!

What parts of Liverpudlian culture are you most excited to experience?

Liverpool is such an art-focused city, so it’s going to be great to be immersed not only in the Eurovision culture, but the music and art scene that already exists there. If we have time it would be great to get to a pub and watch some local talent, perhaps visit the Beatles Museum too.

Who’s your favourite past Eurovision winner?

“Euphoria” by Loreen is just such a captivating and powerful song, it’s hard to go past. It’s both amazing and slightly intimidating to be competing against her this year as well!