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Eurovision Song Contest 2024: Ukrainian Maria Sur tells how she managed to escape from the war and get to the national selection in Sweden

Ukrainian Maria Sur may represent Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest 2024

Maria Sur is a singer originally from Zaporizhzhia, whom Ukrainians remember as one of the most prominent contestants of the 12th season of The Voice. The girl currently lives in Sweden, where she was forced to flee her hometown with her mother due to the escalating situation around the ZNPP. This is the second time the vocalist has competed in the National Selection for Eurovision in her new country. This year, the Ukrainian proved herself in the second semifinal, so now she has every chance of winning the final, and thus may represent Sweden at the international competition in Malmö.

In an interview with Channel 24, Maria told us how difficult it was to leave Zaporizhzhia and why her mother initially regretted this decision. When the singer found herself in Stockholm, she immediately began to think about how and where to realize her creative potential and at the same time help Ukraine.

"We hesitated for a long time, packed and unpacked our bags, but decided to leave when the situation around the ZNPP became tense. A lot of people started to leave after that. I remember that train station, a lot of people, lines, everyone crying. It was very difficult. We got on a train going to Poland. There were a lot of people there. We were traveling for about a day, but in the end we were simply not allowed to cross the border, so the train returned to Lviv. And it was cold back then. At the train station in Lviv, I fainted, and I still don't know why. Then a train arrived, which was more like a train, and we went to Poland, spending the whole night at the border. When we talked to my mother, she said that she had already regretted her decision to leave Zaporizhzhia 500 times. But compared to what is happening in the city now, everything was still calm then. Now it's a nightmare. It's just horrible," Sur said.

Eurovision Song Contest 2024: Ukrainian Maria Sur tells how she managed to escape from the war and get to the national selection in Sweden

The singer noted that her father and grandmother remain in Zaporizhzhia today, and it is hard for them, like all the locals, because of the regular shelling.

After leaving her hometown, Maria and her mother stayed in Poland for some time, hoping that they would be able to return home very soon. However, the situation was not getting better, so they decided to go to Sweden.

"We were invited by our aunt, who has been living here for almost 12 years, and we agreed. When we arrived in Stockholm, I immediately started thinking about what I could do. I had such an adrenaline rush after The Voice and a desire to work. I started Googling, looking for contacts, writing. I knew very little about Sweden, the local show business. I wrote to the local stars and ended up attending a charity concert that raised funds to support Ukraine. We managed to raise 8 million euros," the artist recalled.

Later, Maria managed to get into the National Selection 2023. The Ukrainian singer's performance was very strong, but unfortunately, not victorious. This year, the singer has every chance of winning. At the Swedish Melodifestivalen competition, she stunned the audience with her song When I'm Gone, receiving 94 points out of 96 in the semifinals.

"Last year I just came to Sweden, everything was new to me. I didn't even fully understand what was going on. This year, I already realize where I am and what is here. I think I have grown up this year. My vision of myself as an artist and my vision of my music has changed. I understand what I want and now I'm involved in songwriting... So we can say that this year we surprised people, because it was a contrast. Now many people say to me: "You've grown so much this year." My team and I are very happy with the result. We worked on a song and a number, made a laser show on stage, which has never been seen at Melodifestivalen," Sur commented.

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