Discovered through the Eurovision - Australia Decides song portal, Leea Nanos is in with a chance,. with 'Set Me Free'.
Fiona Williams

8 Feb 2019 - 12:59 AM  UPDATED 8 Feb 2019 - 12:59 AM
On Saturday 9 February, Australians will get to choose which artist will represent us at the Eurovision Song Contest in May. We're getting to know each of the 10 contenders  as they prepare for the big live events on Queensland's Gold Coast. 

Tell us the Leea Nanos story.
Wow, that's out there! Well, I started performing and singing and songwriting when I was 11, so 6 years ago. And when I was 13 in year 7, I decided that's what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. When I got to high school, I just kind of found myself. And now I'm here!

I've worked extremely hard to get here. I hope that I don't come off cocky but I want it so bad. I've had so many knockbacks that I've lost count, I can't even remember. But now I'm here and that's the story, I guess!


Do you have a personal connection to Eurovision? 
Oh, yeah!

Look, I'm only 16 but my grandparents are obsessed with it. They've watched since before ABBA, so they've seen it since the beginning. As for myself, I've watched it since Australia's been in it. I loved [Krystian Kostov’s] ‘Beautiful Mess’ from Bulgaria, who came in second [in 2017]: Oh my goodness, amazing. Conchita Wurst, too! I sang growing up in 2014, ‘Sounds of Silence’ by Dami Im. 

I love Eurovision, it's all about the music, it's all about bringing the people together and it’s not what you look like, or your religion. It's all about the music.


And speaking of the music, tell us about your song, 'Set Me Free'

So I wrote ‘Set Me Free’ when I was 15, and it was originally about a guy I liked. I don't like him anymore by the way! But he doesn't know that. 

Over time, it's changed to be about setting yourself free from those that drag you down. I've had a lot of people that haven't supported me whatsoever; friends, even family. So I made it about believing in yourself and being yourself.

Leea Nanos: 'Set Me Free'

By Leea Nanos and Frank Dixon

All listen / download links



Can you give us some insights into the live performance?
I'm not too sure how much I can say. I have a big mouth! 

There are two things I can say: I have a mic stand and I'm wearing a jumpsuit. And... I guess that's pretty much it. And the lighting and the stage, all I'm gonna say is, it's absolutely ... I don't have words. I would say incredible and insane at the same time. 

It's mind-blowing. I was standing up there today, I had rehearsals and I was just ... I nearly started to cry, actually. I actually told the lady backstage, I'm like, “I think I'm gonna cry,” because I was so just gobsmacked at how incredible it looked, so it was amazing.

Yeah, it was very... overwhelming. 


Can’t wait to see it. Have you had a chance to meet your fellow artists yet?
Almost all of them. I haven't met Courtney or Mark Vincent yet, but I've met everyone else. Everyone is so sweet. To be honest I was a little intimidated because they're artists that I've inspired to be like growing up, so it was like, “Oh, my gosh, I'm with Alfie, I saw him on the TV.”

They're so lovely and no one has jealousy. I can't sense any bad vibes. It doesn't feel like a competition, if you know what I mean.


And if you should win, what do you think? Are you allowing yourself to think like that yet?
Look, I'm very incredibly honoured and blessed to even be at this stage, especially for my age. But if that were the outcome, this chance has changed my life. If that happened and I had the chance to go to Israel, it would ... I have no words, it would be everything to me. 

I feel like a lot of people think, “She's 16, she'll get another shot,” stuff like that. But I don't think it's about the age. It’s about loving music and how you impact people, I would love to do that, to just wake up the rest of my life and be doing music every day and impacting others. So to go there would be insane; I've only been overseas once, so Israel would be awesome!

But yes, it would change my entire life. It truly would.


Watch Leea perform LIVE at the Gold Coast in 'Eurovision - Australia Decides', along with with Sheppard, Mark Vincent, Electric Fields, Courtney Act, Kate Miller-HeidkeAydan, Ella Hooper, Tania Doko, and Alfie Arcuri. Be a part of history and see it live at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Friday 8 February, 7.30pm AEST (Not televised)
Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre

Saturday 9 February, 1.00pm AEST (Not televised)
Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre

Saturday 9 February, 7.30pm AEST
Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre
Live and Exclusive TV Broadcast on SBS


To purchase tickets:


Eurovision – Australia Decides airs Saturday 9 February live on SBS, when voting will be open to the public.

Broadcast times across Australia:

*Voting opens at 1:00am AEDT on Saturday 9 February. To register an SMS vote, voters must text the song number (as promoted in program) of their favourite Act to 1991 3773. Premium SMS must be enabled to vote. Voting costs $0.55 per vote and the maximum number of votes is 20 per mobile phone provider. By casting a valid vote for Eurovision – Australia Decides voters will automatically be entered into the “Eurovision – Australia Decides – Win the Ultimate Trip to the Gold Coast!” competition. 

How the Eurovision decider changes Australia’s history with the song contest
Australia, it is time to up our Eurovision game. And that means brushing off the sequins and flaring up the barbeques.
Eurovision - Australia Decides - Win the Ultimate Trip to the Gold Coast!
Vote for your favourite Eurovision - Australia Decides artist and you might win the trip of a lifetime.
What happens at a Eurovision national selection show (hint: disco-masks, pyrotechnics and … antlers!)
As Australia embarks on its first ever public selection for our Eurovision 2019 entry, Chris Zeiher reflects on his time at Melodi Grand Prix, Norway's national selection competition. Since 1960, it's produced three Eurovision Song Contest winners.
How the Gold Coast plans to host 'Eurovision - Australia Decides'
For many of us, Eurovision seemed like a far distant pop land that could only be reached if we made the big leap, song and dance all the way to a different continent. Not anymore.
Eurovision – Australia Decides: What happens at the Opening Night Show?
The premiere event in this party weekend has more riding on it than you might think.