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Eurovision 2022: Real-life of UK entry Sam Ryder from TikTok fame to running vegan cafe in Hawaii

By Ellie Kendall

Being a Brit is usually a rather sad affair when you're watching the Eurovision Song Contest, especially in recent years.

If the competition isn't cancelled because of a global pandemic, chances are the UK won't make it into the top half of the scoreboard - even if we have every faith in our entry that year.

After the heartbreak of watching James Newman come last with a gutting score of zero points in 2021 - and not getting to even compete the year before - those Eurovision fans among us are hoping that this year's competitor, Sam Ryder, has better luck with his song 'Space man'.

Read more:

But just who is Sam Ryder, where has he come from and, most importantly of all, does he have a shot at winning this year's Eurovision Song Contest in Turin for the UK - finally?

He shot to fame on TikTok

Born in Essex, Sam began singing when he was a child and is said was inspired to pursue a career in music after he saw Canadian rock band Sum 41 live in concert, MTV reports.

Sam rose to prominence on social media platform TikTok, posting covers of popular songs during the first lockdown of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020.

He caught the attention of musicians including Elton John, Alicia Keys, Justin Bieber and Sia and, by the end of 2020, he had become the most-followed UK artist on the platform.

After that, he signed a record deal with Parlophone and manager David May and, in 2021, he released his debut EP 'The Sun's Gonna Rise' which has since received more than 100 million streams and was followed by a sold-out tour.

He's a huge Eurovision fan - even learning the guitar after being inspired by one winning act

Sam, 32, has said he's a big fan of Eurovision and has memories of watching the competition with his family while growing up in Essex.

At a recent press conference for the 2022 contest in Turin, the 32-year-old reportedly even revealed that he was inspired to learn to play the guitar after Finnish rock band Lordi won the Eurovision Song Contest in 2006.

But he's been in the music industry for more than a decade

Despite only releasing his debut EP in 2021, Sam has actually been in the music industry for much longer.

He first made his debut in the industry as a singer and guitarist in 2009 and even co-founded the band 'The Morning After, releasing two studio albums together.

In 2010, following his time with the band, he toured as a guitarist for Canadian Band 'Blessed by a Broken Heart' and, in 2012, he was announced as the band's new lead vocalist.

He even contributed to their Billboard-charting album 'Feel the Power'.

After their split in 2013, Sam began working as a frontman for an American rock band called 'Close Your Eyes' and released one album with them titled 'Line in the Sand' before leaving in 2014.

He then began to pursue a career as a solo artist and, in 2016, he travelled to Nashville, Tennessee to record an album with producer Brian Wilson, who had worked with British rapper Stormzy on his album 'Gang Signs & Prayer', but Sam's album was never released.

He's a vegan

Following the album that was never released Sam, who is a vegan, opened up a vegan cafe in Hawaii for a time.

When he made the decision to close it, he spent some time performing at weddings and clubs.

His other hobbies include...

Aside from writing, performing and touring - both solo and with bands - Sam Ryder's other hobbies include surfing the English coast, driving around race tracks in sports cars and skating.

More about 'Space Man'

Sam wrote 'Space Man' during the pandemic, before it was chosen to represent the UK at the Eurovision Song Contest in 2022.

As the final on Saturday, May 14 approaches, Sam's odds of winning the competition have been slashed by bookies and he currently sits as second-favourite to win, behind Ukraine.

See if he can finally bring that crystal microphone trophy to the UK once more on Saturday at 8pm on BBC One.

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Dive Deeper:
Eurovision sensation Sam Ryder's rise from juice bar owner to TikTok star
Essex lad Sam Ryder, 32, has gone from being "the Black Death" for bands to the shining light for the…
Sam Ryder unrecognisable as he flashes bum in unearthed music video with old band
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Who should win Eurovision? Rank the finalists and see how your scores compare
Rank your top 10 favourite Eurovision entries and see how your scores compare
Eurovision 2022: Who is Sam Ryder?
Singer-songwriter and TikTok star will represent the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Sam Ryder on taking to Eurovision stage: ‘Just trust in everything’
Sam Ryder has said he just had to “trust in everything” as he took to the stage during the grand…
Eurovision Song Contest final: Sam Ryder ignoring ‘hype’ as UK seeks redemption
The 32-year-old singer from Essex said: ‘I just want to do everyone proud, and do the best job I possibly…
Get all your news in one place