The 32-year-old was announced as the UK’s entry back in March, and will be performing his original song “Space Man” at the grand final in Turin, Italy, on Saturday 14 May.
Before being selected to take part in Eurovision, Ryder had already made a name for himself on TikTok by sharing covers of hit songs – along with his own original music – during lockdown.
He’s currently one of the top five favourites to win this year’s contest, backing earlier comments from fans that “Space Man” is a considerable improvement on other recent UK entries.
We caught up with him ahead of the final to see how he’s doing.
Hi Sam – how are you feeling about Eurovision?
I feel absolutely fantastic! The energy is good, the arena is coming to life every day…
Did you have any hesitations about taking part in Eurovision?
No, because I’m a fan anyway, so if I had any hesitations I feel it would have been denying myself an opportunity and an experience that I wanted to be a part of, and that didn’t really seem right.
How’s the support been for you and ‘Space Man’?
It’s been phenomenal. The whole team have been working so hard going around Europe, using as much time as we could to do TV, radio, singing on street corners… Everywhere we’ve been, there’s been nothing but kindness and good vibes.
Did you have any idea of how you wanted your career to turn out – and how does the reality compare?
I had no idea whatsoever, so it’s been cool to come back to through this experience. With TikTok and sharing videos online throughout lockdown, I never had any expectation that it’d get to the point that it did, so if that taught me anything it was to go into [Eurovision] the same way, for the love of it, and not expecting anything or demanding anything in return.
Who are you looking forward to seeing perform this week?
Everyone has put so much effort into their shows and performance and staging… I think the whole thing is going to be unreal. Since the very beginning I’ve tried to watch as few spoilers as possible, so I’ll be watching as a fan as well as a performer.
Who’s the one to beat?
I’m not going into Eurovision with that mindset at all, like I said for me it’s the love of singing and songwriting, and of being a fan of Eurovision in general. The scoreboard needs to be an afterthought and the focus just on the song and enjoying the whole experience!