Photo credit: ORF
When they were confirmed to be Austria‘s representatives for Eurovision 2023, both Teya & Salena and their song – ‘Who the Hell is Edgar’ – were shrouded in mystery. Since its release, the song has become a fan favourite and all eyes are on May to see how the pair will do in the contest.
Read on to find out more about both artists, the process of writing ‘Who the Hell is Edgar’ and their journey to Eurovision.
Who are Teya & Salena?
23-year-old Teya was born Teodora Špirić in Vienna to Serbian parents. In addition to singing, Teya has played the saxophone in a jazz orchestra and cites Adele and Amy Winehouse as her main musical influences. She has had aspirations to sing in Eurovision since she was a child, saying in a publication for the contest’s website:
Already as a child, I wanted to go to the Eurovision Song Contest because it embodied the idea that even big dreams can come true, no matter who you are and where you come from. I can hardly wait to get on that stage! Only then the seven-year-old me will believe that all this is real.Teya, Eurovision.tv
In 2018, Teya released her debut single ‘Waiting For’ which was followed in 2019 by her first attempt to represent Austria in Eurovision with the song ‘Judgement Day’. While Teya was one of the final three artists to make the shortlist, she was ultimately not selected, the accolade instead going to Paenda and her song ‘Limits’. Undeterred, she enlisted the help of her parents to translate the song into Serbian and submitted it to Beovizija 2020 under the title ‘Sudnji dan’, hoping to represent Serbia at Eurovision. She was one of the show’s finalists that year, placing tenth overall. You can watch her performance below:
25-year-old Salena was born Selina-Maria Edbauer in Leoben. Like Teya, she has also dreamed of participating in Eurovision since childhood, telling Eurovision.tv:
My biggest childhood dream is just becoming true. Back then I watched Conchita on stage and told my parents that this is exactly what I want – an enormous stage and people who feel the same way about music as I do. From there on, I worked even harder on myself and my singing. For me, the ESC stands for diversity and is a place for people with visions and dreams like the ones us two have. The moment we both stand on the stage, sing the first lines and realise that an audience of millions is watching is probably the moment I am most looking forward to – it’s when the dream becomes reality.Salena, Eurovision.tv
In 2017, Salena competed in The Voice of Germany, auditioning with ‘Green Light’ by Lorde and inspiring Mark Ćwiertnia and Samu Haber to turn their chairs. Choosing the latter to be her mentor, she made it as far as the show’s battle rounds. You can watch her blind audition below:
In another parallel with Teya, Salena also attempted to represent Austria at Eurovision in 2019 with her song ‘Behind the Waterfall’. However, she was ultimately not selected by Austrian broadcaster ORF. Teya and Salena’s paths would ultimately cross in 2021 when they both competed in the Austrian talent show Starmania. While the two of them did not reach the final, they became good friends and kept in touch.
Czech Songwriting Camp
Many Eurovision hopefuls take part in song writing camps to craft songs for the contest and in 2022, Teya and Salena both took part in one in Czechia. According to a recent TikTok posted by the pair, a series of coincidences led to them composing ‘Who the Hell is Edgar?’
Firstly, Salena was only meant to stay at the songwriting camp for two days, as opposed to the full three days, but was encouraged by Teya to stay. Subsequently, they were paired together to write a song. Drawing on their experiences as female songwriters struggling to be taken seriously in the music industry (for a deep dive into the song’s meeting, read our article here), they initially wrote the song to make the other participants laugh on the final night. However, to their great surprise, the group loved the song and they were encouraged to submit it to Austrian delegation ORF.
In a shift from previous selection processes, the ORF used a combination of fans, international jurors and Austrian jurors to choose a top 15 of potential songs which had to be performed live. Teya and Salena had to work particularly hard as their submitted solo songs were also in the top 15, meaning they both had to perform twice. In a further twist of fate, the top 3 ultimately came down to both Teya and Salena’s solo songs and ‘Who the Hell is Edgar’! Despite this added pressure, Teya said “We knew we would be happy, either for each other or together and we’re so grateful that in the end it was us together because we believe in the song the most.” You can watch the full TikTok below:
The Road to Eurovision
As part of the process for heading to Liverpool, Teya & Salena have performed at pre-parties in Madrid, Amsterdam and London, where they have received a positive reception from the crowds. As well as being taken by the song’s message, witty lyrics and catchy beat, the singers’ close harmonies have also been noted, drumming up excitement for what they will do on Thursday 11th May when they perform in the second semi-final.
Little is known at this point about how the entry will be staged. However, another recent TikTok posted by the duo showed them preparing temporary face tattoos depicting American writer Edgar Allen Poe. You can watch this below:
On Tuesday 18th April, photos were also posted of the pairs in their costume, keeping up the red, white and black aesthetic we have seen in their images and pre-party staging so far. You can see this below:
Given how much mystery has surrounded the song up to its release, we are certain to be surprised when we see it performed on the Liverpool stage. We certainly wish Teya & Salena the best of luck!
Teya and Salena also use the handles whothehellisteya and whothehellissalena on their individual Instagram, TikTok and Twitter accounts.