Linda was born in Belfast and joined the band Chips when she was 16 years old. Chips had several hits in Ireland with Linda as the lead singer. They tried to represent Ireland at the Eurovision Song Contest four times:
- 1976, finishing 2nd with “We Can Fly”
- 1977, finishing 4th with “Goodbye, Goodbye”
- 1978, finishing 4th with “Happy Days”
- 1982, finishing 8th with “Tissue of Lies”
In 1983 Linda won the Castlebar Song Contest, an international song competition held annually in Co. Mayo in Ireland, singing “Edge of the Universe”. The song was written by Shay Healy, himself no stranger to Eurovision having written Johnny Logan’s winning song “What’s Another Year?” in 1980. This success spurred Linda to follow a solo career, including a second win at the very last Castlebar Song Contest in 1988 singing “If I Should Ever Lose Your Love” (again written by another Eurovision winning songwriter, Brendan Graham).
Linda’s first attempt to represent Ireland at Eurovision as a solo artist was successful, winning the Irish national final in 1984 with “Terminal 3”. Again her song was written by another famous Irish songwriter, Johnny Logan. In Luxembourg she finished 2nd, just eight points behind Swedish singers The Herreys.
Linda clearly got the Eurovision bug and made three further attempts to represent Ireland at Eurovision:
- 1986, finishing 4th with “If I Can Change Your Mind”
- 1989, finishing 6th with “Here We Go”
- 1990, finishing 2nd with “All The People In The World” (as Linda Martin and Friends)
She kept trying and her persistence paid off in 1992 when she once again won the Irish national final with another song written by Johnny Logan. “Why Me?” stormed to victory in Malmo, beating the UK’s Michael Ball by 16 points and kicking off Ireland’s amazing run of four Eurovision victories in five years.
Linda is one of Eurovision’s most successful artists being one of only five people to have both won and come second at the Eurovision Song Contest along with Lys Assia, Gigliola Cinquetti, Elisabeth Andreassen and Dima Bilan.
Since winning Eurovision, Linda continues to be seen on TV shows in Ireland including as host of The Lyrics Board and as a judge on numerous talent shows. Including, of course, the notorious incident on The Late Late Show in 2014 when Linda sprang to the defence of Louis Walsh who was being insulted by Billy McGuinness, the mentor of one of the singers in the Irish National Final. Linda referred to McGuinness as an “odious little man” and “gobsh*te” in a stand-up row in front of a live TV audience, and in the process she cemented her position as a Eurovision legend.
Previous performers at Eurofest:
- Sestre – November 2015
- Chiara – July 2015
- Valentina Monetta – April 2015
- Suzy – January 2015
- Kati Wolf – November 2014
- Linda Bengtzing – August 2014
- Conchita Wurst – April 2014
- Lindsay Dracass – January 2014
- Velvet – November 2013
- Hera Bjork – July 2013
- Omar Naber – April 2013
- Shirley Clamp – July 2012
- Nicki French – April 2012
- Hazell Dean – January 2012