Who is Bilal Hassani?
Bilal Hassani is a French singer-songwriter and social media star. He is best known for representing France in the 64th edition of the ‘Eurovision Song Contest,’ which is an annual international song competition. Hassani was considered one of the most popular singers to represent France in ‘Eurovision,’ thanks to his artistic identity and strong social media following. With a total of 105 points under his belt, he finished 16th at the ‘Eurovision’ final in Tel Aviv, Israel. On April 26, 2019, a record label called ‘Low Wood’ released Hassani’s debut studio album ‘Kingdom’ which peaked at number 24 on the ‘French Albums Chart.’ He is also popular for releasing non-album singles, such as ‘Heaven with You,’ ‘Mash Up,’ ‘Hot City,’ and ‘House Down.’
Childhood & Early Life
Bilal Hassani was born on September 9, 1999, in Paris, France, to French-Moroccan parents. He was raised along with his older brother Taha. Hassani started singing at the age of five. Subsequently, his family enrolled him to a singing class, where he developed his skills.
In 2015, his friend Nemo Schiffman, who was a finalist in the first season of ‘The Voice Kids,’ encouraged him to take part in the second season of the popular French TV series. He paid heed to Schiffman’s advice and participated in ‘The Voice Kids.’
During the auditions, he performed the cover version of Conchita Wurst’s ‘Rise Like a Phoenix’ which earned him a spot in the show. During the show, he was mentored by French singer Patrick Fiori. Unfortunately, Hassani was eliminated from the show during the ‘battle round.’
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Bilal Hassani started his career by posting cover version of famous songs on his self-titled YouTube channel. In 2016, he released a single titled ‘Wanna Be’ and then published the official music video of the song on his YouTube channel.
In 2017, he released two non-album singles, namely ‘Follow Me’ and ‘House Down.’ The official music videos of both the songs went on to collect more than one million views on YouTube. By 2018, he had become popular on social media platforms, such as YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram.
In 2018, he collaborated with musical artist Anton Wick to come up with a single titled ‘Heaven with You.’ He then joined hands with Leon Markcus to release another single titled ‘Hot City.’ He also released two other songs, namely ‘Mash Up’ and ‘Shadows.’ In the same year, Hassani was mentioned in the list of ‘30 LGBT+ [people] who move France’ by the popular LGBT magazine ‘Têtu.’
On December 6, 2018, it was announced that Hassani would be taking part in ‘Destination Eurovision,’ the national selection process for the ‘Eurovision Song Contest 2019.’ On December 20, an excerpt from a song titled ‘Roi’ was released. Written along with the musical duo ‘Madame Monsieur,’ ‘Roi’ was said to be Hassani’s choice of song for the competition.
On January 4, 2019, ‘Roi,’ which celebrates self-acceptance, was released on many music platforms. On January 12, he won the semi-final of ‘Destination Eurovision’ with a total of 115 points. On January 26, he earned 200 points to win the final and thereby becoming the French representative at the prestigious ‘Eurovision Song Contest 2019.’
Barely a month before the commencement of ‘Eurovision,’ Hassani released his debut studio album ‘Kingdom’ through ‘Low Wood.’ The album had 15 tracks, including ‘Roi,’ ‘Welcome to My Kingdom,’ ‘You Should Have Let Me Love You,’ and ‘Dans mon seum.’
At the ‘Eurovision Song Contest 2019,’ which took place at ‘Expo Tel Aviv’ in Israel, Hassani finished 16th after competing against performers from 40 other European countries. The contest was won by Duncan Laurence of Netherlands.
Family & Personal Life
Bilal Hassani is of mixed ethnicity as his family, which hails from Casablanca, is of Moroccan descent. While his mother is a naturalized citizen of France, his father lives in Singapore. He is close to his older brother Taha.
Hassani is a self-proclaimed gay. He came out of the closet on June 23, 2017, when he spoke about his sexual orientation on social media. Subsequently, he faced harassment as he received death threats and homophobic comments on social media.
In response to the threats, organizations, such as ‘Stop Homophobie’ and ‘Urgence Homophobie’ joined hands to initiate legal action against those who pass homophobic comments on social media.
Though he is in a relationship with a young man from France, Bilal Hassani refrains from revealing the identity of his boyfriend. He met his boyfriend at the ‘Stade de France,’ while attending a Beyoncé concert. In one of his interviews, he said that his boyfriend supported him when he competed in the grand finale of ‘Destination Eurovision.’
On February 1, 2019, an Israeli TV channel called ‘i24news’ unveiled tweets which were published on Hassani’s Twitter account in 2014. According to the tweets, Hassani had accused Israel of crimes against humanity. However, Hassani claimed that his relative who had access to his account might have posted the controversial tweets and that he was just 14 years at the time.