Ukraine’s Eurovision contestants alyona alyona and Jerry Heil on heading to Malmö with a great cause

By Linnéa Pesonen

Ukraine's Eurovision contestants alyona alyona & Jerry Heil. Photo: alyona alyona & Jerry Heil

Vogue Scandinavia sat down with Ukraine’s Eurovision entrants alyona alyona and Jerry Heil, who – as well as making their way to Malmö for the big song competition date – have kicked off a vital fundraiser

The Eurovision Song Contest 2024 is mere weeks away, this year’s spectacle taking place in Malmö, Sweden. The bookmakers have been busy forecasting the top contenders, and among them sit dynamic Ukrainian duo alyona alyona and Jerry Heil, who were selected to represent their home country at the competition.


But for the pair, the contest is about much more than just pursuing victory. Their ethereal song, ‘Teresa & Maria’, a captivating pop ballad interwoven with rap vocals by alyona alyona, holds profound significance, serving as a tribute to the fortitude and bravery of women worldwide, especially in Ukraine. “It’s about the strong, courageous and resilient Ukrainian women who we see every day on the streets. And they’re both humans and divas because they hold such a heavy world on their shoulders,” says Jerry Heil. “But at the same time, we are all born as humans. So it’s about everybody’s duality – you shouldn’t look at yourself like you are just one thing.”

Performing as a duo – which the artists don’t always do, both having forged successful solo careers before teaming up on their first joint album, Dai Boh – the women strive to showcase the strength found in unity, on and off the Eurovision stage. “The main thing that we want to translate is unity and being together. I feel so supported – I would never feel anything like that if I was participating by myself,” says Jerry Heil. “We really want to remind everyone how united we all were at the beginning of the invasion in Ukraine,” alyona alyona chimes in. “Not everyone knew about our culture and our people, but they still felt this empathy.”

alyona alyona & Jerry Heil have an important mission for this year's Eurovision, and the duo can't wait to get to spread their empowering message. Photo: alyona alyona & Jerry Heil

‘Teresa & Maria’ was written when the artists’ home country was under attack, its hopeful and enduring spirit echoing through the lyrics, partly sung in English and partly in Ukrainian. One of the duo’s missions for Eurovision is to represent Ukrainian culture and its sounds, celebrating its vibrant heritage. “We feel like if you don’t know the music of a country, you don’t see its face,” says Jerry Heil.

Another big part of alyona alyona and Jerry Heil’s Eurovision run is the fundraiser that the two have just kicked off with United24, a Ukrainian non-profit organisation. Named ‘Unlock the Future for Ukrainian Children’, the initiative raises money for the Velykokostromska School that was destroyed during the war, leaving 250 kids without access to education. It’s a deeply meaningful cause to the artists, especially alyona alyona, who was once a teacher herself. “Now, we can unite people not only through music but also for a good cause,” she says. “My life’s mission is to show that giving brings more happiness than receiving.” Throughout the Eurovision, the artists, along with other entrants, will promote the fundraiser. Additionally, alyona alyona and Jerry Heil will present each participant with a wooden key, symbolising the keys given to students at the Velykokostromska School when they begin their education.

At Eurovision, alyona alyona & Jerry Heil will hand out a wooden key to each country's participant, symbolising the keys that are traditionally given to the students of Velykokostromska School as they begin their education. Photo: alyona alyona & Jerry Heil

As they prepare to head over to Malmö, the artists admit feeling the stress and the jitters (“For our country, the Eurovision is like the presidential election or the Olympic Games”); nevertheless, the prevailing mood is one of gratitude. “It’s a big honour that our music touches hearts, I’m so proud of it – we’ve had a lot of positive reactions from foreign countries,” alyona alyona says. “We were dreaming about this when we wrote the song and now, the dreams are coming true.” Planning a grand show for the stage, the artists remain tight-lipped on revealing what to expect. “The performance has a big message – it’s not just dancing,” alyona alyona hints. “You will be surprised,” adds Jerry Heil.

alyona alyona and Jerry Heil's ‘Unlock the Future for Ukrainian Children’ fundraiser together with United24 is live at until May 25. Everyone who contributes €10 or more will be able to partake in a raffle for a special video message from alyona alyona and Jerry Heil.