Salvador Vilar Braamcamp Sobral (born 28 December 1989) is a Portuguese singer. He won the Eurovision Song Contest 2017 for Portugal with the song “Amar pelos dois“, written by his sister, singer-songwriter Luísa Sobral. He gave Portugal its first ever win in the contest since its debut in 1964, ending the longest winless run by a country in Eurovision history (53 years).
Sobral was born in Lisbon, into a former noble family, the son of Salvador Luís Cabral Braamcamp Sobral, and is related to politician Hermano José Braamcamp de Almeida Castelo Branco. He has lived in Lisbon most of his life.
At the age of ten, he participated in the TV programme Bravo Bravíssimo, and at 20 he was one of the ten finalists of Ídolos, the Portuguese version of the Idols franchise. As a finalist he sang music by Stevie Wonder, Leonard Cohen and Rui Veloso.
As an Erasmus student (he studied Psychology in the Instituto Superior de Psicologia Aplicada, in Lisbon), Salvador moved to Mallorca, where he started singing in bars.
After he left the Psychology program, he applied to the Taller de Músics, a music school in Barcelona, where he finished his studies in 2014.
In 2015 he participated in the Vodafone Mexefest and EDP Cool Jazz festivals.
In 2016 he released his first album, Excuse Me.
Salvador Sobral is a fan of Chet Baker and bossa nova singers (Caetano Veloso, Chico Buarque). He speaks four languages: Portuguese, Spanish, English and a little Italian.
In 2009, he competed on season three of Ídolos, Portugal’s version of the Idols franchise. He placed seventh in the competition. His sister, Luísa Sobral, is also a singer who previously placed third on season one of Ídolos.
2016–present: Excuse Me & Eurovision Song Contest
On 2 August 2016, Sobral released his debut single “Excuse Me” as the lead single from his debut studio album. On the same day he released his debut studio album Excuse Me. The album peaked at number 10 on the Portuguese Album Chart. “Nem Eu” was released as the second single from the album on 27 October 2016. In 2017, Sobral was confirmed to be taking part in Festival da Canção 2017, with the song “Amar pelos dois“. He went on to win the competition on 5 March 2017, and represented Portugal in the Eurovision Song Contest 2017. He could not perform in the first rehearsals because of a serious heart condition that forced him to rest ahead of the performance in the semi. His sister took over the role of singer during the first rehearsals. He won the final with 758 points.
Salvador Sobral drew attention to the European migrant crisis by turning up to the first semi-final winners’ press conference in an ‘S.O.S. Refugees’ shirt.
‘If I’m here and I have European exposure, the least thing I can do is a humanitarian message,’ Sobral said. ‘People come to Europe in plastic boats and are being asked to show their birth certificates in order to enter a country. These people are not immigrants, they’re refugees running from death. Make no mistake. There is so much bureaucratic stuff happening in the refugee camps in Greece, Turkey and Italy and we should help create legal and safe pathways from these countries to their destiny countries,’ he added, earning a round of applause.