Corinna May, Germany`s representative in the Eurovision Song Contest and one of the favourites at Talinn, yesterday dismissed comments that being blind would gain her votes.

British bookmakers William Hill last week saw punters back her from odds of 10:1 to 7:2 favourite.

"I have been blind since birth and it has never stopped me. I am a singer with my heart and soul and my blindness should not mean favouritism. What is important is my song and that I am a singer - nothing else," Corinna said in an interview.

Corinna arrived in Malta on Monday night and was yesterday playing tourist in between lobbying for support, before leaving for Germany tomorrow.

She is accompanied by her composer Ralph Siegel, her dancers and backing vocals. Corinna is one of the 24 contestants taking part in Eurovision, being held in Tallinn, Estonia, on May 25.

Her visit was made possible with the help of the e-mobile company, iDeasTank and the organising committee of the Song for Europe Festival.

Speaking about her song, I Can`t Live Without Music, Corinna said it was more than just a title because music was her life.

"Music means everything to me - it comforts me when I`m down and lifts my spirits when I`m happy," she said.

Inspired by American music legends such as Aretha Franklin and Barbra Streisand, Corinna first started singing with a school choir when she was 12.

"I was awful at the beginning and, anyway, in the early teens it seemed it was no longer cool to sing in a choir," she laughed.

At 18, she joined a gospel choir and immediately felt at home, because it was the sort of music which inspired her and gave her life.

Corinna has taken part in Germany`s preliminary contest for Eurovision on three occasions, and this year she finally clinched the right to go on to Eurovision.

She placed first in 1999, but her victory was annulled after it turned out that the composer had performed the song earlier.

It was a great disappointment, but Corinna has put the experience behind her and is looking ahead to the future.

"It`s an honour to be one of the favourites. I hope they like the song - I feel it`s got the right ingredients. The greatest thing for me in life is to be on stage and perform."

Mr Siegel said the song is a melody which he hoped would touch the heart of the audience and inspire them to sing along.

"It`s a fun song that combines dancing and dreaming and delves into the importance of music, which brings down all boundaries and has no colour or creed," he said.

So did Germany take the Eurovision as seriously as the Maltese?

"A few years ago there was a bit of apathy towards the contest, but I now feel this has changed. I mean we take it easy, but at the end of the day it`s an honour to represent your country. We take our job very seriously," Mr Siegel said.

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