Spain 2024: Nebulossa
Photo: Valero Rioja / RTVE

Nebulossa from Spain: "The message with Zorra is crossing borders"

INTERVIEW Looking back at Benidorm Fest, the duo behind Nebulossa appeared concerned that the message behind "Zorra" wouldn't get through to international audiences. A few months later, they're confident that it's crossing borders and helping people from all over the world

María "Mery" Bas and Mark Dasousa are this year's Spanish representatives as part of the electropop duo Nebulossa.

Nebulossa competed at this year's Benidorm Fest and went on to win the whole thing thanks to their song "Zorra," which went viral and stirred up controversy in their country, Spain.

While "Zorra" in its pure translation means vixen (a female fox), it has a double meaning and can also be interpreted as the English version of the word "b*tch." Therefore, some accused the duo of seeking attention with the song, which is far from accurate.

"Zorra" will obviously turn heads of Spanish-speaking people, but if you dig deeper into its lyrics you'll understand the social and relevant message of empowerment it narrates. In general terms, anyone who's ever felt like an outsider, or who's been marginalized by society, can relate to it. More specifically, it's an empowering anthem for women that embrace all the criticism they have to go through on a daily basis just for being... women.

– A few years ago, I'd be bothered by the negative comments. Nowadays, I don't care, Mery said back in one of Benidorm Fest's press conferences.

"Even if I take over the world, I can't enjoy a single second." "If I have fun, I am even more of a b*tch." "I already know I am the black sheep, misunderstood and made of stone." Those are just a few quotes from "Zorra," an electropop song filled with synthesizers that bring back the sound of the '80s and could be sonically compared to the likes of the Pet Shop Boys or Eurythmics.

Two different lives

Becoming well-known around the globe has been a radical change and a wild ride for the couple, parents of two, who before Spain's national selection contest were just living their normal lives:

– Our life has drastically changed, Mery states.

– We went from working in our day-to-day jobs to living a dream.

– It's like we have two different lives now, Mark completes.

Nebulossa performs "Zorra" in Madrid

The scenario hasn't changed much for Mark given the fact he's been playing music since an early age, only in terms of magnitude and recognition. It was his grandfather who taught him the first chord on the accordion when he was just 9, and later on would give him his first keyboard, an instrument he's a master at nowadays. Later on, he became a music producer and opened his own music studio and label – Atomic Studio – which lives on today.

María, on the other hand, owns a salon that was once her mother's and will soon be her daughter's. The music dream had always been there, but as a plan B. It was in 2020 that Nebulossa came to life and Mery started taking it more seriously:

– It was a dream of hers. One day, she told me she wanted to build a musical project that would cover the songs she used to listen to when she was young. It took us to where we are today, Mark shares.

A year later, in 2021, they released their first and only album to date titled "Poliédrica de Mí," fully influenced by the '80s. And earlier this year they became massively known throughout Spain thanks to their Benidorm Fest participation and "Zorra." Taking part in the contest was Mery's secret idea.

We went from working in our day-to-day jobs to living a dream.Mery

Without Mark's knowledge she submitted the song to RTVE, Spain's EBU broadcaster, and it eventually got selected. In order to make his wife happy and fulfill her music ambitions, Mark agreed to do it.

It wasn't a first. A few years ago, more specifically in 2022, the duo auditioned for San Marino's national selection competition, Una Voce Per San Marino. They didn't make it to the live shows.

Is it possible to maintain a normal life?

– Slightly. Our personal life has been left behind a bit amongst all of this since we are fully focused and dedicated to our music and to Eurovision. It has become easier to deal with it, but I will say that the beginning was unsettling, Mery explains.

– As of now, since we are completely into this, and we're wearing our characters, it's become our routine to deal with all the promotion activities, interviews and rehearsals.

Since their victory in Benidorm Fest 2024 Nebulossa has traveled the world. The Eurovision pre-parties were part of the promotional tour, but there were more stops such as Italy and America. In the United States the duo went on to promote their project and got to meet Mexican star Danna Paola, and even got to perform with popular Mexican singer Gloria Trevi. Since then, they've also released an alternative version of "Zorra" with Gloria.


We go back to the song's message and to Benidorm Fest:

– I think the message will get through, Mery told us after the winner's press conference.

She seemed concerned and stressed out about the possibility of Europe not understanding the message behind "Zorra."

Spain 2024: Nebulossa – "Zorra"

Now that they've been in Amsterdam, New York, Rome and Stockholm (only to mention a few), the doubts turned into security:

– Back then, many people were unsure that the message of "Zorra" would be understood by international audiences. But the truth is the message is being fully understood and we're very happy, Mery says.

– People have made the song their own, and the message is crossing borders. You have no idea of how many messages we receive on a daily basis from people all over the world, Mark adds.

The response has been so authentic and positive that their initial goal for participating in Eurovision has also massively changed:

– In the beginning, we decided to participate to get Nebulossa's name out there, we did it for exposure, but that has changed, Mery says.

– We feel like we're helping a lot of people and that's important for us. We want to support everyone who has ever been marginalized or hurt in their lives.

Mark goes back to the song's two meanings mentioned in the beginning of the article:

– There are two concepts in the song, the "zorra" and the black sheep. The concept of the black sheep is how I identify with the song being a man, he says.

We feel like we're helping a lot of people and that's important for us.Mery

– When I decided to pursue music, I was judged because many people didn't see it as a real or respectable job. Mery obviously connects with it by being a woman and all the struggles they go through.

Was Eurovision a dream for you?

– It was and still is. What's happening around us is amazing because Eurovision is a platform that introduces you to the world, Mery explains.

– We didn't know about its magnitude, to be honest.

The couple has already stepped onto the Eurovision stage in Malmö for their first rehearsal. The staging is similar to what they presented in Benidorm Fest, but massively elevated thanks to the possibilities they have in Sweden that they didn't have back in their national selection performance.

The possibility of performing in the Semi-finals is another highlight for the duo:

– We think that it's great for us. Because comparing it to our Benidorm Fest experience, from the Semi-final to the Final, we were much more relaxed the second time we did it than the first time. We were extremely nervous, Mark recalls.

– We hope it will be the same here. Besides, we are not up for competition in the Semi-final, so it also helps to feel less stressed out. We're lucky to have it this way this year.

Nebulossa will perform "Zorra" in the second Semi-final of Eurovision 2024. However, they'll only be competing in the Grand Final on 11 May as part of the Big-5.

About the author: Pedro Santos (Portugal)

authorPedro comes from Lisbon, Portugal. He's 30 years old and graduated in journalism. He has attended Eurovision Song Contest three times live - 2018, 2019 and 2022 - and covered the show twice more (2021, 2023) but his first Eurovision memory takes him back to 2007 when Sarbel delivered his catchy "Yassou Maria" performance. Pedro's favorite Eurovision song is Albania's 2015 "I'm Alive" by Elhaida Dani which is also his favorite Eurovision edition.

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