Dance-pop sextet Can-Linn was formed as Ireland's entry for the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest. The group was the brainchild of Hazel Kaneswaran, who had sung for the pop act Dove in the '90s and nearly became a member of Girls Aloud before she was disqualified from its parent talent show, Popstars: The Rivals, for being ten days too old. When she was chosen to "mentor" one of the five groups competing in Ireland's pre-Eurovision contest Eurosong for a chance to represent their nation in the grand final, Kaneswaran was already a well-known face on the Irish pop scene. She was good friends with X Factor judge Louis Walsh, for whose protégés Jedward she had written some songs, and was herself a judge on the RTÉ talent show You're a Star.
Teaming up with award-winning Swedish pop songwriters Jonas Gladnikoff, Rasmus Palmgren, and Patrizia Helander, she wrote the song "Heartbeat," an inspirational dance-pop number with a Celtic flavor, and set about putting together a group to perform the song. Featuring fiddler Sarah May Rogers, backing vocalists Jenny Bowden and Donna Bissett, and dancers Thomas Spratt and Tarik Shebani, the sextet was fronted by the charismatic Kasey Smith, who had once been part of Walsh's short-lived Irish girl group Wonderland. Kaneswaran named the group Can-Linn, which was promoted as having been "derived from the Irish for 'to sing together'" but actually means "sing with us." The group ultimately lost out in the Eurovision contest, eventually finishing 12th. Their song was released as a single in Ireland and went to number 39 on the charts.