Hanna Pakarinen, the best selling Finnish female artist who sings in English and the early favourite to win the Finnish Euroviisut and fly the Finnish flag in the Eurovision Song Contest 2007, gave an interview to Z-magazine to talk about her new album, Eurovision plans and memories, fans and her gay following.
Hanna says she has been following Eurovision Song Contest all her life. The first she remembers well is 1986 and Sandra Kim. "I just loved that song! The video and her pink trousers” she says and surprises the clients in her favourite café where the interview is made by bursting out with the chorus of J’aime la vie. “I really was in love with that song. I used to step on a chair and sing it after sauna with my sister” she laughs and tells how she later even made up her own song 'in French'. She was five years old. “Even later as a teenager I may have been out with friends on Saturday night but I always rushed home towatch the Eurovision Song Contest when the others stayed out. I always followed it.”
But J’aime la vie isn’t her all time favourite Eurovision song. “I must say it is Hard rock hallelujah! It’s a real thing and kind of music I personally like. I decided to accept the invitation this year also because it iseasier to be yourself now in the post-Lordi Euroviisut. I won’t be doing any Eurovision bubble gum stuff but my own music. I will be myself even in Eurovision: me and my band on stage and no dancing or discoing. Hanna doesn’t dance and do disco, not even in Eurovision!” she concludes withself sarcasm.
“Eurovision is so much more than the three minutes on stage. If I am selected for Helsinki it will be such a circus but I can promise that at least in our semi final in Tampere we will have fun and make it one huge party. Of course it will be exciting but I’m not afraid of cameras or crowds!” Hanna says with the Idols winner’s tv-experience behind her.“We Finns have a special relationship with Eurovision, quite different from many other countries. Especially in the 1990’s I think we were panicking so much for success we lost it completely. Great songs were written but somehow they never ended up in Euroviisut. We wanted to succeed so much we always got it wrong. With Lordi we finally sent musicfor which we areknown abroad and have had success with, hard rock. And it worked.”
Hanna speculates.Hanna is also in close contactwith her fans and she regularly chats with them on her website. “It’s amazing to see how my fans have become friends with each other, how they support and help each other and keep following me on tours. I seem to be very popular with lesbians for no apparent reason but thinking back about my first appearance in Idols: in walks this boy-girl, a truck driver, a tie in her neck to sing a manly rock song… No wonder some people thought I was a lesbian! So maybe it comes from the very beginning?” she laughs.
Hanna has just finished recording her third album Lovers to be released in February. It’s also her first onewritten entirely by Finnish songwriters. Music is also more variable and a step away from her previous American radio rock and it also includes her Euroviisut songs, “the ballad and the other one” as Hanna puts it. She has been very much involved in the making of this album. “Everybody is always saying this is my best and most personal album ever” she says “but this time it is really true.” Her previous albums When I become me and Stronger have sold platinum and gold in Finland. After winning the first Finnish Idols in 2004 she has given hundreds of concerts and been in dozens of tv-programmes scoring several radio hits.
Hanna Pakarinen will perform Tell me what to do and Leave me alone in the first Finnish semifinal in Tampere January 20. The day after she will perform live in Helsinki’s DTM club.