Eurovision 2024 winner: ‘I don’t identify as male or female’, who is Nemo and what does his song ‘The Code’ say?

Eurovision 2024 winner: ‘I don’t identify as male or female’, who is Nemo and what does his song ‘The Code’ say?
Eurovision 2024 winner: ‘I don’t identify as male or female’, who is Nemo and what does his song ‘The Code’ say?

Nemo won Eurovision for Switzerland on the evening of Saturday May 11 with “The Code”, a very personal song about being non-binary. Portrait of this 24-year-old artist.

Nemo deciphers in “The Code” the realization of being a non-binary person, and this very personal song propelled the Swiss artist to the top of Eurovision in the evening.

Nemo Mettler, 24, gives the small Alpine country its third crown.

What does the song “The Code” say?

“The Code is about the journey I began by realizing that I am neither a man nor a woman,” says Nemo.

“Finding myself has been a long and often difficult process for me. But nothing beats the feeling of freedom I gained from realizing that I am non-binary.”

“I don’t identify as a man or a woman. I’m just Nemo,” the artist revealed in November on Instagram.

Nemo expresses his preference for the neutral pronouns in English “they/them” or “iel” in French: “I like to think of gender as a galaxy, to imagine myself as a little star, floating somewhere inside”

From Biel to Berlin

Now living in Berlin, Nemo is originally from Biel in northwestern Switzerland, the country’s largest bilingual city and the heart of the watch industry for which the Alpine nation is famous.

The Neue Zurcher Zeitung – an austere leading daily – described the artist this month as “incredibly talented, extravagant, but at the same time simple”.

“Before the eyes of Switzerland, Nemo went from being a young star to becoming a veteran of the music world,” writes the NZZ.

Piano, violin and drums

Nemo started playing the piano, violin and drums at a young age.

Enrolled in a musical at 13, he broke through in 2016 with a rap in Swiss German that went viral on social networks.

After winning the best talent prize at the 2017 Swiss Music Awards, the artist won so many trophies the following year that public television renamed the event the “Swiss Nemo Awards”.

“Du” (you in German) took fourth place in the Swiss charts.

Work of art

In 2020, Nemo began releasing songs in English and writing and producing for other artists.

If “The Code” tells the story of the artist’s journey on his identity, it is also the incarnation of his musical eclecticism: “the artistic manifesto of my personal journey, a distinctive piece of music that combines rap, drum and bass and opera.

“Defend the entire LGBTQIA community”

Nemo prevailed over more than 400 competitors to represent Switzerland at Eurovision.

Congratulations Nemo on this crazy victory! A spotlight on your multiple talents and recognition of your personality marked by exuberance, sensitivity, intimacy and audacity. #Eurovision2024 pic.twitter.com/jC2qe9Kv2e

— Elisabeth Baume-Schneider (@elisabeth_baume) https://twitter.com/elisabeth_baume/status/1789426803875930297?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

“This platform provides a huge opportunity to build bridges between different cultures and generations,” explains Nemo, “which is why it is very important for me, as a queer person, to advocate for the entire LGBTQIA+ community” .

In the wake of Celine Dion

In Switzerland there is traditional yodeling, but the local music scene is probably better known internationally thanks to events such as the Montreux Jazz Festival and the great artists who have lived and recorded in the country, rather than local talent.

Switzerland, however, has a very enviable pedigree at Eurovision. She won the very first Eurovision contest in 1956 thanks to Lys Assia and her “Refrain”.

“The Code is not just a song”

More improbable, it was the Canadian Céline Dion who gave the Confederation its second victory in 1988 with “Ne parter pas sans moi”.

Eurovision describes “The Code” as an adventure full of energy and emphasizes that Nemo’s music “addresses themes such as gender identity, mental health and finding one’s place in this world.”

“The Code is not just a song, but a safe space through which everyone can find their truth.”

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