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Eurovision 2022: Who is Sam Ryder?

Singer-songwriter and TikTok star will represent the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest

Nicole Vassell
Saturday 14 May 2022 11:57 BST
Eurovision: Sam Ryder is UK's 2022 entry with song 'Space Man'

Back in March, Sam Ryder was announced as the UK’s entry for the Eurovision Song Contest for 2022.

He will compete with his song “Space Man” at the finals in Turin, Italy – this year’s host country, following the victory of Italian rock band Måneskin in 2021’s competition.

Prior to his selection as this year’s hopeful, the singer-songwriter had made a name for himself on TikTok through his covers of major hits, as well as his own original music.

Ahead of his attempt to score high at Eurovision, here’s a guide to this year’s UK competitor.

Who is Sam Ryder?

Sam Ryder is a 32-year-old singer and musician from Maldon, Essex.

Though he’s been active in the music industry since 2009, Ryder has seen significant career and profile growth since becoming active on TikTok.

How did he become a TikTok star?

Ryder’s popularity on the video-sharing platform began to grow during the early stages of the pandemic in 2020.

Through sharing his covers of 4 Non Blondes’ “What’s Up?” and Queen’s “I Want to Break Free”, as well as songs by Sia, Rihanna and Beyoncé, Ryder has established a dedicated fanbase, with some videos garnering millions of views.

As of Tuesday (3 May), he has amassed 100.7m likes on TikTok and has 12.3m followers.

As well as his ever-growing follower list, Ryder has also had some A-list endorsements of his talents.

Alicia Keys shared a clip of herself reacting to his cover of her ballad “If I Ain’t Got You”, saying: “Yo, he killed this. This is hard for me to sing.”

Plus, Sia shared a video of him singing her song “Chandelier” on Instagram, writing: “We all think you’re amazing! Well done dude! I love you, keep going.”

How did he respond to being chosen as the UK’s Eurovision choice for 2022?

As a self-described fan of Eurovision since childhood, Ryder was excited to share the news on his social media platforms.

“Having been a fan of Eurovision since I was a kid I am so honoured to have been presented with the opportunity to sing at an event alongside some of Europe’s most talented creatives, performers and songwriters,” he said in a further statement.

"I hope to sing my head off in a way the UK can be proud of, and to showcase a song I wrote with my friends last summer makes the whole experience even more special. See you in Turin legends!”

How’s he faring ahead of the Eurovision finals?

Since he was announced as this year’s UK Eurovision pick, Ryder has seen a wave of support from viewers and music fans, eager for him to do well.

Fans on Twitter declared the choice to send him to Turin “so much better” than those who’ve been put forward in the past, while others declared this to be the chance to overturn the UK’s run of low-placed finishes on the final leaderboard.

Yet not everyone has been quite so enthusiastic about Ryder being picked to represent the UK for 2022. The Independent’s critic Mark Beaumont called out the decision to send “another over-egged electro-soul bellow ballad” to the contest, while chalking Ryder up as one of many British “bearded white blokes wailing by-numbers R&B”.

But Ryder has been defended by his followers, as well as the likes of BBC Radio 1 presenters Greg James and Scott Mills. While making the official announcement of Ryder as the UK’s pick in March, James told listeners to see this as a chance for a “fresh start”.

“I truly believe in him,” he told show listeners.

What song will he be singing at the Eurovision finals?

Sam Ryder will attempt to win voters over with his performance of “Space Man”. You can watch the official music video below.

Sam Ryder – Space Man

The Eurovision Song Contest final will air on Saturday 14 May from 7pm on BBC One.

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