Denmark: Hera Bjork and her Nordic alliance in Danish final

by Stella Floras 106 views

One of the entries in the Dansk Melodi Grand Prix, Denmark�s preselection for the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest, will be performed by Danish-Icelandic singer Hera Bjork but it can also boast a creative team spreading across the Nordic states. In a delightful interview, Hera and composers Jonas Gladnikoff and Christina Schilling spoke to us about Someday, their bid in the Danish final and much, much more.

Hera Bjork is no stranger to the Eurovision Song Contest as she has already tried her luck in the Icelandic preselection but was also one of the backing vocalists for Eurobandid in 2008. Swedish Jonas Gladnikoff and Danish Christina Schilling are the composers of the song which was penned by Swedish songwriters Henrik Szabo and Daniel Nilsson. But it doesn’t stop there. The final version of the song has been produced by Lars "Dille" Diedricsson who composed Sweden’s winning entry in 1999 and the vocals are produced by Danish Eurovision legend Soren Bundgaard of Kirsten & Soren.

Hera will be accompanied on stage by five ladies, some of them real Eurovision veterans. Britta Bergström was the backing vocalist of Lena Philipsson and Kate Ryan, and has extensive experience in Melodifestivalen. Angela Holland worked together with Carola on all her most recent tours, and is also a frequent backing vocalist in the Swedish preselection.

Knowing that, apart from accomplished music professionals, some members of the team are ardent Eurovision fans, what would it mean for a Eurofan to turn Eurostar overnight?

Jonas: I think that for someone who has followed the contest for a long time, like we all have, it would be a great thing to get the chance to go to Eurovision as an entrant! I don't know how much it takes for one to feel like a Eurostar though. Even when you are one, it probably takes a while to realise it. But the most important thing for me is to reach a big audience with my music. To have it performed while the whole Europe is watching would be a great experience.

If you were to choose the one single thing that makes you love this contest the most, which one would that be?

Hera: All the wonderful, great and awful songs, and their performances of course:) Not to mention all you darling fans all over the world:)

Christina: It's impossible to say just one thing. For me, it is the mix of music, nationalities and celebration! If you have been attending a Eurovision Week you will probably know what I mean. People are happy, excited, discussing, partying, listening to music and are just having fun together! Actually, for me I think the Eurovision Weeks capture the great spirit of Eurovision quite well 🙂

Jonas: I agree with the girls. It's a celebration of music, entertainment and different cultures. It's not that often so many countries get the chance to come together to be a part of a show like this. And singers and songwriters that would often not get the chance to showcase their work abroad are given the chance to do that. But most of all it's a lot of fun!

Hera was the backing singer of Friedrik and Regina in Belgrade. What has this experience taught her? What does she think are the elements to make or break a performance?

Hera: I had a fantastic time in Belgrade and learned a little bit about how things are behind the scenes! I also got to know the true Eurovision atmosphere and of course fell completely and utterly in love with it:)

What can we expect from Hera and her backing girls, Camilla Gottschalck, Christina Schilling, Annika Holmberg, Britta Bergström and Angela Holland on stage on the 31st January?

Christina: You can expect a performance with much heart, soul and passion! It will be elegant and at the same time powerful 🙂

Hera: First and foremost we are gonna have so much FUN:) And you will feel the magic when you see it:)

Which of the other songs taking part in the Danish preselection this year would you consider your strongest rivals?

Jonas: There are many good songs and we have a very tough competition. Therefore it's also very hard to say who is going to win. It could be one of the big names, or it could be one of the more unknown singers. But I think more or less any of the ten songs would make a worthy winner, even if I of course hope it will be ours 🙂

Christina: They're all strong contenders. Personally I think its one of the strongest years musicwise in the history of Danish Melodi Grand Prix.

Hera: There are no rivals! Everybody has a chance to win and the best way to go about this, I think, is to look at each song and performer as a part of the BIG team – We can only do our best and then it´s your decision which song & performance goes to Moscow! So choose wisely ;))

Do you feel that in the Eurovision Song Contest the best song wins eventually, or do you think there are other factors contributing to the victory? Would you say that a thing such as a magic formula exists?

Christina: The reason to why a specific song wins has something to with different elements, I think. It is a mixture of the song, the artist and performance and the overall – often unpredictable – zeitgeist, I think.

Hera: A magic formula does not exist! A song can be weak with the wrong performer and a performer can be weak with the wrong song! I am wise woman, I know:))

Then the question should maybe be: best song by whose opinion?! The song that wins is usually not my favorite song, and if that is the best or worse I can´t answer! Music taste is such a personal thing and because of all these different tastes in songs Eurovision is what it is: A great platform with a broad variety of songs for everyone to enjoy:)

I would like you to rate the following ingredients on a scale from 1-12 (Eurovision style of course)

A great song: 12Catchy lyrics: 12
A dress change (or two): 12, I am gonna do my best to keep the same dress on throughout the WHOLE song:))
An entertaining show: 12, I will try to hold my boobs in but who knows what will happen:))
A wind machine and/or pyros: 12 of each:)
Extensive promotion: 12 press-agents working 24/7:)
A famous (preferably non music related) icon on stage: 12 spirits of Christmas past
The artist's charisma: 12 on the richter scale:)
The artist's nationality: 12, just for DNA
All of the above: …..uuhh did I misunderstand this question:))

How do you feel the new voting system will affect the outcome, if at all?

Christina: I don't know. I haven't studied the new voting system into every little detail, but hopefully it will serve its purpose 🙂

Jonas: I don't think it will change the outcome of the contest much when it comes to the winner. But maybe in the lower placings there will be a difference. It is of course hard to tell what song juries will fall for. But maybe it will mean that good songs that would otherwise pass by unnoticed because they have a bad draw or not a very attention-grabbing performance will do better. But it will be very interesting to see what the difference actually will be.

Hera: I don´t know but I am really looking forward to see the results this year:)

And last but not least …your message to our readers please

Christina: Thank you for reading and wish you all a great Eurovision season!

Hera:Thank you all soooo much for taking the time to read and write about us – this wouldn’t be the same without you:) Have a happy Eurovision 2009 and hope to see you in Moscow 🙂

Jonas: Thank you for all the support so far, and I hope you will all have a great Eurovision 2009 season!

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Stella Floras

Thanks to Johnny Logan and Hold me now I fell in love with the Eurovision Song Contest, a love that's been going strong ever since with undiminished passion. My first memories date back to 1977 and the lyrics of Rock bottom, Dschinghis Khan and A ba ni bi are still engraved in my brain.

I joined in 2006 as a junior editor after being invited by Barry Viniker, I soon became Senior Editor and during the 2007 contest in Helsinki I was appointed Head of Communications. Today I hold the post of Head of Human Resources and I am proud to be working with the best editorial team in the world.