As reported earlier by esctoday.com, the artists for Norway's first round of selections have been made public. Here, you can read more about the artists chosen for the Kongsvinger event on 24th January.
Song 1: U Look Good
Music: Surferosa and Lars-Erik Westby
Lyrics: Mariann Thomassen
U Look Good is a song with a positive and energetic vibe, with the message that it’s OK to be different, and you must have confidence in yourself, regardless of what others say. It’s a song for everyone, and a call to be proud of yourself.
Surferosa is a synth-led trash-pop band which was formed in 2000. The band consists of Mariann Thomassen (vocals), Andreas Orheim (synth), Henrik Gustavsen (drums), Kjetil Wevling (guitar) and Sigurd Løvik (bass). They debuted in the album charts with Shanghai My Heart (2003) and since then have also released The Force (2005) and The Beat on the Street (2008). Surferosa has played over 1000 gigs around the world, and has a reputation for being a band which always gives 100% in order to entertain the audience. The have toured internationally with mainstream bands such as The Killers and Turboneger.
The band has had many big radio hits such as Lucky Lipstick, Saturday Night, The Future and Open Your Eyes. This is the first time that they have taken part in the Melodi Grand Prix.
Song 2: Men, men, men
Artist: Chicas del Coro
Music and lyrics: Hilde Marstrander
Men Men Men is a fun, glamourous and cheerful 1940-s Western-style swing song inspired by 40s stars such as Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire.
Chicas del Coro were formed in 1998. This ‘little choir’ consists of Hege Austheim and Hilde Marstrander, and they are taking part in the Melodi Grand Prix for the first time. Both of them live in Oslo, and they describe their music as underground, retro western music, country with steel guitar, blues, jazz and rockabilly. The girls have a particular style inspired by 40s and 50s fashion.
Hilde was involved in starting up The Rebelettes, and was also part of the surf band Honey Lulu’s. She has written several hits, including Drive On which was a radio hit for Vidar Busk. Hilde works as an editor, journalist and illustrator. Hege Austheim has a background in a TV company.
Artist: KeSeraMusic: Robin Nordahland Thomas Ewel
Beats and riff: William (Nasty Kutt)
Party is about having fun with anyone who wants to join in, and as such is a very inclusive song. The boys like to celebrate life, something you can tell from listening to Party. This is the very first hip-hop song to grace the Melodi Grand Prix!
KeSera consists of Raymond David Henriksen (20) and Nahom Feshatzion (22) who produce captivating Norwegian hip-hop with party beats. They were both born and raised in Ellingsrud in Oslo. Nahom’s roots are in Eritrea. They began to make music together early on. They live together in Oslo, and besides music they are both big football and snowboarding fans.
William Larsen is better known as Nasty Kutt, and is the producer and beatmaster behind Party. Nasty Kutt is the force behind a whole range of songs for artists such as Jaa9&Onkl P, el Alex, Phillip and Don Martin.
Song4: Two of a Kind
Artist: Espen Hana
Music: Trond Andreassen
Lyrics: Trond Andreassen and Christian Bloom
Two of a Kind is a 1950s crooner-style song of love which leaves the listener with a dreamy impression. It is the kind of song which would suit the soundtrack to a David Lynch film.
Espen Hana comes from and lives in Stavanger, and has a very good understanding of the Melodi Grand Prix. He works these days as an actor, as well as lyricist and songwriter.
Espen Hana worked as a musician at Rogaland Theatre’s Children Theatre before beginning his studies at the Statens Teaterhøyskole in 1988. After three years of drama study, he returned to his home town for his debut at the Rogaland Theatre, and since then has played many lead roles both there and at other important venues. Espen Hana is also known as one half of the duo Brødrene te bølten. He debuted with the album Tunge kyss in 1996, and eleven years later another album followed, Eg reise aleina. He names his musical role models as Tom Waits, Keith Jarret, Sting and Jan Eggum.
Song5: Sweeter Than A Kiss
Music and lyrics: Christian Ingebrigtsen and Laila Samuelsen
Sweeter Than a Kiss is a ’young’ pop song all about finding that great, overwhelming love in your life. It is written by the strong songwriting duo Christian Ingebrigtsen and Laila Samuelsen, who both have extensive careers as songwriters and artists.
17-year-old Charite comes from Trondheim, and is taking part in the Melodi Grand Prix for the first time. Despite her young age, she is an experienced performer, counting the MGP Junior 2002 amongst her extensive experience. This led to a Summer tour, and the filming of the video to the single Little Seniorita in Spain. Charite scored a huge hit with her first single Sunshine in 2007, and since then has been featured twice on VG’s top 20 hit list. Her second single School’s Out appeared in 2008, and received great reviews.
Her debut album is planned for release in 2009. She has a unique vocal, and with her dancing abilities she really stands out on the stage. Her greatest dream is to be able to earn a living from music, and travel around the world.
Song6: Det vart en storm
Artist: Thomas Brøndbo
Music: Svein Gundersen
Lyrics: Rolf Mokkelbost
Det vart en storm is a pop song about a love that comes to an end, and is written by the accomplished songwriter Svein Gundersen, whose big hits include Har en drøm and Se ilden lyse.
Thomas Brøndbo (34) comes from Namsos, and is the youngest of three musical brothers. Older brothers Bjarne and Eskil are known from participating in DDE. Thomas began to sing and play the drums as a 13-year-old boy, and his experience includes time as a backing singer for Åge Alexandersen and DDE. Thomas’ style can be described as adult folk-pop in Trøndersk dialect, with musical influences from the likes of Phil Collins, Bryan Adams and the Dum Dum Boys. In 2007 he released the EP Du sa æ va en drøm, and its title track spent 12 weeks at the top of the Norwegian charts. In September 2008 his debut album of the same name was released by Universal, and has already sold 8000 copies to date.Thomas came to the attention of Norwegian TV audiences in 2007 when he scored second place in the NRK programme Lyden av Lørdag.
Music and lyrics: Hanne Sørvaagand N2, Niklas Bergwalland Niclas Kings
Tricky is a Britney Spears-style pop song which is all about trying and failing in the love game. Even if your experience in love is difficult, you carry on trying.
Velvet is an Oslo-based girl band which consists of Thea Bay, Chalotte Øverland Våset, Cornelia Børncik and Annette Amelia Larsen. This is the first time the girls have taken part in the Melodi Grand Prix as a group, but Charlotte was a backing singer for Stig Van Eijk at the Eurovision Song Contest 1999 in Jerusalem. Thea Bay was also one of the two spacegirls behind Jannicke Abrahamsen in the 2006 Norwegian final. The same year, Annette Amelia Larsen competed solo with the song Unbelievable.
These four songbirds represent the cream of Norwegian music, and together have extensive experience in the industry. Combined, the girls have starred in over 60 theatre productions and musicals such as Chicago, West Side Story, Fame, Hair and Jesus Christ Superstar, amongst others. They have worked as backing vocalists for a number of well-known artists, and have danced and choreographed shows from the MGP itself to modern ballet productions. All four of them were part of the musical Evita along with Mia Gundersen, and it was at this time that they came up with the idea to form the group Velvet. They believe the opportunity to take part in the Melodi Grand Prix is a unique chance to present themselves to a large audience, and showcase an unbelievably cool song written by one of the country’s greatest songwriters, Hanne Sørvaag.