Georgia has always been one of our favorite Eurovision participants, and our fascination with them started from day one.
They made an audacious debut at the Eurovision Song Contest with Sopho Khalvashi’s “Visionary Dream.” Their entry acted as a three-minute introduction, but in hindsight, it can also be seen as a kind of mission statement. Georgia always seems to do things a bit differently at Eurovision and they laid the marker down from the very start.
“Visionary Dream” kicks off with the sounds of acoustic instruments for some neo-traditional folk flair. When Sopho starts to sing, an undercurrent of strings adds a touch of the classical era. At the bridge, the soaring vocal and the cascading strings build up tension.
But the release of that tension comes from an unexpected place: rubbery synthesized notes that abruptly drag the song away from its folk styling and into modern electronic pop music. The music bed under the chorus is crunchy and a bit dissonant, yet it accentuates the song’s central conceit: “Sailing through my story/Sharing my history.”
The rest of the song bounces around the traditional and the modern, a wild stew of musical notes that somehow still sound cohesive. It shouldn’t work, but it does.
Well, at least on the recorded track. Much to our dismay, but not our surprise, the live presentation ended up being a bit of an audible mess. While Sopho has the pipes to carry “Visionary Dream,” she ended up shouting more than singing. Maybe the adrenaline generated by both the song and the occasion took its toll on her performance.
Still, “Visionary Dream” did generate one of our favorite staging moments ever at Eurovision. When Sopho sings, “Clouds containing lakes/And in the haze of morning light/I feel embraced,” the camera pans back to reveal LED animation of faces blending together. It still gives us the chills over a decade later.
This was Georgia introducing itself to Europe, and we think they did a great job doing so. As for Sopho, she went on to become deputy mayor of her hometown of Batumi. Keep sharing that history!