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Salvador Sobral vows to return to music after successful heart operation

Salvador Sobral
Salvador Sobral
By Charis McGowan
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Musician will be awarded European Border Breakers Award


Eurovision winner Salvador Sobral has said he's already planning a new album less than a month after undergoing a heart transplant.

The singer's success was rewarded with a European Border Breaker Award last night, as recognition for the international nature of his success, but he is not expected to make the ceremony in person.

“I feel better every day, but I have to keep in mind that an operation like this takes a long time to recover from,” Sobral told Euronews. “Otherwise I feel super motivated for what the future will bring, I'm already thinking about a new album and I can't wait to get back on stage.”

The Portuguese singer shot to fame after he was crowned the winner of Eurovision 2017 for his performance of “Amar Pelos Dois” (Love for Both of Us), a ballad written by his sister Luisa. His popularity across Europe was reflected when he topped Euronews' poll for the cultural personality of 2017.

Sobral was not the typical Eurovision success story. A timid performer with a voice which achieves to be graceful yet impacting, “Amar Pelos Dois” moved voters, winning over the more conventionally catchy electro-dance hits (for example, Moldova's “Hey Mamma” and Belgium's “City Lights”, which ranked 3rd and 4th place in the competition respectively).

“I think overwhelming would be the perfect way to describe the way I felt” says Sobral of his post-Eurovision fame. “It all happened so fast.”

However, the 28-year-old singer was not able to relish and experience his post-Eurovision fame as other winners have typically done. After performing a series of shows in Portugal last summer, a worsening heart condition forced him to take a break from his musical career. Having to cancel several tour dates, he performed an emotional farewell concert in Cascais, Portugal, in September. “It was a crying fest” he recalls. “I didn't know when I would be back, neither did anyone else, so it was incredibly emotional.”

Sobral is Portugal's first Eurovision winner and is a beloved figure in his home country. He is incredibly close to issues that affect his country; last summer he donated all the proceeds of his CD Excuse Me to a relief fund set up to provide services to Pedrógão Grande, a municipality in central Portugal that was devastated by wildfires, and performed for a benefit concert to support the fires´ victims.

Located in Groningen, the Netherlands, and partly funded by the European Commission, the EBBAs is a European award ceremony for emerging artists in the region. Sobral was selected among nine different European acts for his chart successes outside of his home countries. Previous winners have included the Dua Lipa, Aurora and Milky Chance.

“It always feels a bit strange as I don't feel I deserve any award," Sobral said. "All I do is sing, which is what I love, and it comes out naturally.”

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