Eurovision 2021 UK act James Newman wants iconic contest to be hosted in Leeds

UK Eurovision Song Contest hopeful James Newman has revealed his ideal place to host the next instalment of the iconic singing competition would be in Leeds.

The proud Yorkshireman, born in Settle, opened up about his hopes for Saturday’s Grand Final at his official virtual welcoming reception on Monday at The Hague.

He's currently in Rotterdam preparing for Saturday's Grand Final at the Rotterdam Ahoy arena.

Welcomed by the UK ambassador to the Netherlands, Joanna Roper CMG, and quizzed by Dutch music journalist Martin Kuipers, the star admitted he’d rather like the next incarnation of the contest to be held close to his hometown.

"So other than in the UK, which city would be your perfect place to host the contest?" Martin asked. "And let’s pick one in the UK too, if you win!"

"Outside of the UK, I think I would love to go to maybe Copenhagen," James confessed. "Because I go there all the time to write songs, and the food’s amazing, the people are amazing. It’s an amazing city, so Copenhagen I would say.

"And in the UK, I would pick Leeds because I’m from Yorkshire and Leeds is in Yorkshire. And I think the Eurovision Song Contest would be amazing in Yorkshire."

"Sounds great – well, it’s up to you then!" Martin joked.

James grew up in the Yorkshire Dales alongside his famous brother John, who has collaborated with acts like Calvin Harris in the past, as well as topping the UK charts with his track Love Me Again.

And James admitted he was in "floods of tears" seeing his brother perform at Coachella with Calvin back in 2016.

"What was it like for you to see your brother John’s success?" Martin queried.

James replied: "It’s been amazing. I have cried in so many different festivals and music venues watching my brother perform. Growing up, it was just me and my mum and my brother, and we were such a tight unit and we had nothing else apart from each other.

"So to see my brother do so well and see him play in these amazing places, it just makes me so proud, and that’s all I’ve ever wanted – for him to do well.

"He played with Calvin Harris at Coachella music festival a song we wrote together called Blame, and Calvin and John played the last song on the last night of the last weekend, they closed down the festival and it was like ‘aaargh’, I was in floods of tears just so proud of my brother up on that stage."

James said John could be summed up best with his hit track Love Me Again.

"He carved out a sound of his own that a lot of people have been influenced by," he commented.

And on the advice John had for James for the Song Contest, James said: "We speak all the time, and he says you’ve just got to enjoy every minute of it.

"He’s done so many massive things – not as big as this, because this is huge, he’s never sang to 180million people – but he’s sang to thousands and thousands and been on huge TV shows.

"He said it’s an amazing experience and you’ve just got to take every moment in and not let it pass you by because being up there on that stage is a gift, and it’s beautiful.

"He knows what it’s like so it’s great to have him as a confidant."

And it definitely seems like James has taken his brother’s advice to heart, as he has been fully embracing the Netherlands' culture, and particularly enjoying the local foods.

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"I’d recommend trying a stroopwafel," James explained. "It’s a thin, crispy waffle squashed together with caramel in between. It’s really nice – kind of soft, and it melts when you put it in your tea."

He added that if it wasn’t for coronavirus restrictions confining him to his hotel room, he’d love to get a close-up view of Rotterdam’s iconic windmills.

James is set to perform his upbeat track Embers at Saturday night’s Grand Final, and believes he can score a win for the United Kingdom.

But if not, he definitely wants to wind up on the left-hand side of the board.

The Eurovision Grand Final airs on BBC One at 8pm on Saturday, May 22

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