We continue to go a slightly bit more alternative today with another fascinating new remix, which was send to us. Based on a first listen you might be under the impression you’re listening to the angelic voice of Icelandic superstar Bjork while its in fact Swedish born electro pop chanteuse Karin Park who’s responsible for the track ‘Thousand Loaded Guns’.
In fact, Park is quite a phenomena already in Scandinavia, especially in Norway, where she won two Norwegian Grammy Awards for her incredible versatility in music. ‘Thousand Loaded Guns’, the new single, features on the singers new album ‘Highwire Poetry’ which was released in May.
The track has now been remixed by Maya Jane Coles and edited as the ‘Nocturnal Sunshine Remix’ and will feature on the Norwegian based singer’s forthcoming EP release wich is due out 10th Sept.
25 year old Tooji won back in February the national final of Melodi Grand Prix, the Norwegian preselection for Eurovision Song Contest. GloPop caught up with the singer to talk about Eurovision, preparations for Baku, the future and the charity he supports.
Hi Tooji, thank you so much for allowing us to ask you a few questions before heading to Baku. First of all how are you? Congratulations on winning Melodi Grand Prix and representing Norway at Eurovision this year. Has the feeling of representing Norway at Eurovision in a few weeks time, fully sank in yet?
”Hi and thank you! I’m doing fine, it’s a crazy busy time since winning the Norwegian final. It is one my proudest and greatest achievements and an indescribable honor to represent my country in such a great event as Eurovision. I’m very excited about the upcoming competition, but I don’t think that the reality of it all will truly sink in until I’m actually IN Baku and ON the stage having my first dress rehearsal.”
You’re not a stranger to the Norwegian people are you? Can you tell us a bit more about yourself before you took part in Melodi Grand Prix?
” I started modelling when I was about 17-18 years old, I did a few small modelling gigs back then before I auditioned for MTV and got the job as a TV host there. I also have been focusing on my studies and I’m now working in the children’s welfare system here in Norway. At the same time I’m working with my music, so it’s a bit busy! But the Melodi Grand Prix was actually my big stage debut as an artist! ”
It’s said that Norwegians are very passionate about Eurovision. On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being completely crazy about Eurovision, how passionate are you about Eurovision?
”After I entered the competition personally, I’m definitely a 15! haha! But prior to this year, the Eurovision event wasn’t really a great priority for me, I would say maybe a 4?”
So, what made you decide to take part in Melodi Grand Prix and how did you come across ‘Stay’?
”I’ve been working with my music for a while, meaning writing songs and producing them for quite some time before entering the Melodi Grand Prix. It was actually my manager who encouraged me to enter MGP, she said to me “If you’re going to make a debut musically, why not go for it BIG?” And so I did!”
Did you co-write ”Stay”? Or was it specially written for you?
”I co-wrote the song with the two of the greatest producers in Sweden, Figge and Peter Boström. The main idea and theme came from me, I had the chorus and a visual of it in my head, before taking it to Figge and Peter. From there on out it was a close collaboration with them that resulted in “Stay””
The producers of ‘Stay’ are also behind Sweden’s entry this year ‘Euphoria’ by Loreen. What do you think of her song, and do you have any other favourites this year?
”I absolutely adore Loreen and I met her during the Swedish final! She is a really cool girl, I love her song and her voice. Out of the other entries that I’ve heard, she’s definitely my biggest favourite. And of course Cyprus with Ivi Adamou and her song La La Love!”
If you had to describe ”Stay” in three words, which words do you choose.
”I will describe Stay with passion, joy and love.”
Why these three words?
”The song represents for me these three things. It’s about releasing yourself to whatever it is that moves you – whether it is music, emotions or your own passion. I feel a lot of joy when I’m performing the song and hopefully also to the listeners. Stay is a song that speaks of love for your passion!”
Have you been promoting the song outside of Norway? How’s the reception been by the audiences?
”There’s been an overwhelming response to the song internationally. There are Facebook groups and fan pages popping up everywhere and I receive messages every single day from fans from across the world. It’s insane and makes me so happy!”
Do you check on fan forums to see what people say about your song and the other entries? Or are you trying to stay away from media at the moment?
” I prefer not to read too much into the media, partly because everyone is entitled to their personal opinions, whether it’s good or bad, and partly because I think one of the most important things is to keep focused and grounded, and never forget that the main reason I chose to get into this industry is for the music and not for the hype of it.”
You’re about two weeks away from the actual semi final, so you are very busy with rehearsing. Can you give us a short insight of what an intensive day of rehearsal means for you?
”It’s a busy time right now, with all kinds of different rehearsals going on. Anything from dance rehearsal, band rehearsal, to vocal coaching, to styling, interviewing, photo shoots and/or just a “normal” work out. Every single day varies depending on the day –and along with everything on going for the preparation for the Eurovision Contest, I still have my day job!”
Next month in Baku, you’ll be battling it out with 17 other countries for ten places in the final. Do you consider yourself as a competitive person? And who do you consider to be your main rival for the evening?
”I’m very much a competitive person, but in a good and mainly healthy way. I think any form of competition is good for any soul. I have to admit that my main rival would be Loreen from Sweden.”
Will you be making any changes to the performance which we saw during the national final?
”You just have to wait and see. So far the performance is to remain a bit of a surprise.”
Do you have any rituals before you go on stage? Or do you do something to control the nerves?
” I usually take a few minutes before going on stage to meditate in order to stay centered and focused- and to give thanks to the universe for guiding me where I am today. My breathing exercises help me calm the nerves and redirect them to the oncoming performance.”
The preview video for your entry is the live performance from the final. Are there any plans to record a video clip for ‘Stay’?
”We are working on it as we speak, and I hope it will be ready before arriving in Baku.”
Let’s assume on May 26, you are crowned the winner of Eurovision 2012. If the choice was yours which city should host the next Eurovision Song Contest in Norway. And why?
”I would have to say Oslo. I love Oslo as I grew up here, and think it represents a great, booming side to Norway that Europe and the rest of the world should see!”
Great choice, Tooji! Now what can we expect for the rest of 2012 from you any plans? Recording an album?
”I’m working on my album right now, it’s quite diverse and represents me on several levels as an artist and I’m very excited about it!”
We also noticed on Facebook, that you are the face of Redd Barna (Save the Children) campaign in Norway. Can you tell us a bit more about the organisation and what they do?
”Redd Barna is an organization focused on children’s rights around the world. We act as a voice for under privileged children all over the world and work towards fighting for their basic human rights. It’s a cause I’m extremely passionate about, to be able to represent children and make their voices heard with authorities and Governments worldwide.”
And last but not least, is there anything you would like to say to our readers and Tooji-fans?
”First of all, I would like to thank all of my fans and flames for all the love and support. I am so greatful and appreciate everything you’ve done for me! So, I’ll see you all in Baku! Let’s rock Eurovision 2012!!!!”
Thank you so much Tooji. We wish you all the best in your preparations and rehearsals for Baku. Have an amazing time!!
Tooji is representing Norway in the second semi final of this years Eurovision Song Contest on May 24. See the video for his entry below
(Special thanks to Tooji, Silje Marie Lien & NRK for the interview and photos)
Since 2008 the annual Eurovision Song Contest consists of two semi finalists which are responsible to deliver 10 qualifiers each to take part in the grand final where they join Italy, France, Germany, Spain and the host country, this year Azerbaijan. Over the past few weeks we’ve been going through the semi finalists. Today we have a closer look at the entries from Slovakia and Norway.
Slovakia: Max Jason Mai – Don’t Close Your Eyes
Those who were hoping to see Swedish metal group Death By April in the contest this year might appreciate the Slovakian entry at the contest this year. The country has taken part 7 times in the contest since it’s debut in 1994 but decided to withdraw after it’s bad result in 1998. Ten years later in 2009 they returned to the contest, but are yet to qualify from the semi for the first time. So no pressure for Max Jason Mai, who’s real name is Miroslav Šmajda. The 23 year old singer, was announced late last year by its broadcaster initially but denied rumours until in February it was finally confirmed the same singer had been picked, but would be using a more international sounding name. His song ”Don’t Close Your Eyes” is a hard-rock song and one you either love or hate. For the real fans of the genre, perhaps the lightest of light in this style, and sending this to the contest is somewhat a risk as none of the hardrock/metal songs we’ve had since the Finnish victory in 2006 have lived up to the expectations. Good on Slovakia though for showing it has some balls!
Norway: Tooji – Stay
Despite being an early favourite last year and winning the contest in 2009, Norway failed to qualify last year with their African pop princess Stella Mwangi. Seeing their neighbours Sweden, become 3rd with ‘Popular’ last year, the Norwegians have paid attention during Eurovision class and decided to vote in their final for 25 year old Tooji, a Persian/Norwegian singer, model and television host. How to describe ”Stay”. Well here’s the recipe: Mix some Benni Benassi beats with Persian influences, a slick dance routine and a singer who could be the brother of Sweden’s representative last year… and Bingo… You’ve made yourself a ‘Stay’. No seriously, in a semi final which is dominated by a lot of ballads, a decent europop song is refreshing. Tooji’s performance is very slick, very defined and if they can get the backings tuned perfect on the stage in Baku,then Norway is sailing through to the final where it might be one of the contenders for end victory. Norway’s won the competition three times, with its most recent victory in 2009.
6 FYR Macedonia
Up next are the last two semi finalists Bosnia Herzegovina & Lithuania.
We like our electropop, and especially after the likes of Minnie Oh during DGMP, we are heading once again to Norway to meet the synthpop group Donkeyboy.
The group which consists of brothers Cato & Kent Sundburg, Peter Michelsen, Thomas Drabløs & Alexander Garborg Ågeda rose to fame in 2009, when they were discovered by a Warner Music employee on Myspace. Their first single ”Ambitions” was released a few months later and was heavily promoted by NRK radiostation P3. The single received a 7x platinum status in Norway and would the following year serve as the lead single X Factor winner Joe McElderry in the UK. After a string of hits, throughout 2009 the band released their debut album ”Caught in A life” which would go tripple platinum in Norway. A year later in 2010, the group would also pick up a European Border Breakers Award for their international succes.
And now the guys are back with a new album called ”Silver Moon”. We got recommendations to check out their song ”Get Up” and actually got completely hooked on it, which we thought was a great reason to share it with you. So definately check it out if you like a bit of electropop by a good proper Norwegian boyband. With lyrics as ”I Don’t like Mondays” this is the perfect song to get you out of bed for a monday morning. Despite perhaps the sadness of going back to work this is a song that will at least bring a smile to your face on the way to work. And good news, the song is also available in the UK.
Enjoy the song!
”Get Up” by Donkeyboy can be purchased via iTunes.
Glory days in Eurovision land, as we’re in the middle of a few hectic weeks as many countries are choosing their representatives. Let’s head to Norway, which had it’s final this weekend.
Fairly from the beginning of the heats, the following band, Plumbo were the big favourites to win the ticket to Baku, probably provoced by one of the ”racist” comments the band made during the annual music awards. ”Ola Nordmann” is sung in Norwegian, and it’s got this ethnic little flute playing through the song. It’s not what you would expect from an adult rockband but it is infectious.
Despite being the favourite, and making it through to the superfinal which consisted out of 3 candidates, Plumbo finished behind Nora Foss-Al Jabri who performed a Disney ballad, and eventual winner Tooij.
We do prefer it over the Disney ballad of Nora, no offence, so we thought we give this one the wildcard for the ‘Those Who Didn’t Make it’. Enjoy the video.
Every so often, when looking across the boundaries of other nations, you find this one special pop star, which has all the potential to be globally the next best thing. And believe me this young lady has it all ahead of her:
Monica Johansen, better known as Minnie-Oh, could well be that new superstar. Reinvented electro pop is the trademark of this Norwegian beauty and her first new single for 2012 ‘You and I’ could be right there up with the big acts such as Robyn.
Minnie-Oh redefines the electro pop with a fresh reinventing style. She makes it sounds a lot more unique without going completely over the top, something Lady Gaga has been done since ‘Just Dance’. ‘You and I’ is a catchy earworm, without sounding too sugar candy poppy and Minnie’s voice is just so breath taking, it’s fragile and suits the beats so well, and therefore giving ‘You and I’ that perfect twist.
Calvin Harris feat Tinie Tempah - Drinking From The Bottle
The Risk - Missiles
Sinead O'Connor - 4th And Vine
Destiny's Child - Nuclear
Jessie Ware - If You're Never Gonna Move
Lawson - Learn To Love Again
Little Mix - Change Your Life
Tyler James feat Kano - Worry About You
Gabrielle Aplin - Please Don’t Say You Love Me
Tegan & Sara - Closer
Rita Ora - Radioactive
Wretch 32 - Pop
Angel - The World
Bastille - Pompeii
Laura Mvula - Green Garden
Ke$ha - C'mon
Ms MR - Fantasy
Nicole Scherzinger - Boomerang
Ed Drewett - Drunk Dial
Robbie Williams - Be A Boy (11/03)
Year chart 2012
These are GloPop Music's most listened tracks of 2012.
1 Florence + The Machine - Spectrum
2 Woodkid - Run Boy Run
3 Lana Del Rey - National Anthem
4 Solange - Losing You
5 Nina Zilli - L'Amore E Femmina (Out Of Love) (Italy '12)
6 Ellie Goulding - Anything Could Happen
7 Loreen - Euphoria (Sweden '12)
8 Adele - Skyfall
9 PSY - Gangnam Style (강남스타일)
10 Ivi Adamou - La La Love (Cyprus '12)
11 GuGabriel - Salvation
12 Christophe Willem - Starlite
13 Bright Light Bright Light - Waiting For The Feeling
14 Girls Aloud - Something New
15 Paloma Faith - Never Tear Us Apart
16 Calvin Harris ft Ne-Yo - Let's Go
17 David Guetta ft Sia - She Wolf (Falling Into Pieces)
18 Alphabeat - Vacation
19 Passion Pit - Take A Walk
20 George Michael - White Light
21 Azealia Banks - 212 ft Lazy Jay
22 Matt Corby - Brother
23 Sam Sparro - I Wish I Never Met You
24 Rebeca Ferguson - Glitter & Gold
25 Elton John vs Pnau - Good Morning To The Night
26 Scissor Sisters - Let's Have A Kiki
27 Voltaire Twins - Solaris
28 Marina & The Diamonds - Power & Control
29 Muse - Survival
30 Will Young - Losing Myself
31 Saint Lou Lou - Maybe You
32 Coldplay - Princess of China ft Rihanna
33 Lana Del Rey - Blue Jeans
34 Kate Bush - Running Up That Hill 2012
35 The Wanted - I Found You
36 Stooshe - Black Heart
37 Aiden Grimshaw - Curtain Call
38 Alphabeat - Love Sea
39 Gaitana - Be My Guest (Ukraine '12)
40 Caravan Palace - Rock It For Me
41 Roman Lob - Standing Still (Germany '12)
42 Afro-Dite - The Boy Can Dance
43 Rita Ora - R.I.P ft Tinie Tempah
44 Justin Bieber - Beauty & A Beat ft Nicki Minaj
45 Misha B - Do You Think Of Me 125
46 Kelly Clarkson - Stronger (What doesn't Kill You)
47 Katy Perry - Wide Awake
48 Jessie Ware - Wildest Moments
49 terminal - Don't Worry My Love
50 Labrinth - Beneath Your Beautiful ft Emeli Sande
51 Madonna - Girl Gone Wild
52 Elton John vs Pnau - Sad
53 Nicki Minaj - Pound The Alarm
54 Gotye & Kimbra - Somebody That I Used to Know
55 Kylie Minogue - Flower
56 Rihanna - Where Have You Been
57 Swedish House Mafia - Greyhound
58 One Direction - Little Things
59 Tulisa - Young
60 Archeo - The Payback
61 Christina Aguilera - Your Body
62 Avicii - Silhouettes
63 Cover Drive - Explode
64 Beyonce - End Of Time
65 Charlie Simpson - Farmer & His Gun
66 Usher - Climax
67 Chris Brown - Don't Wake Me Up
68 Aiden Grimshaw - Is This Love
69 Lawson - Taking Over Me
70 No Doubt - Settle Down
71 Madeon - Finale
72 Jakwob - Electrify ft Jetta
73 Shawnee Taylor - Colors
74 Playmen ft Riskykidd, Courtney & Elena - All The Time
75 Lana Del Rey - Ride
76 Celeste Buckingham - Run Run Run
77 Alex Clare - Too Close
78 SHM ft Knife Party - Antidote
79 Lil'Wayne - Mirrors Ft Bruno Mars
80 Pastora Soler - Quedate Conmigo/Stay with Me
81 Scissor Sisters - Only the Horses
82 Delta Goodrem - Dancing With A Broken Heart
83 FEM ft Cover Drive - Turn Up the Love
84 J.Lo ft Pit Bull - Dance Again
85 Jodie Harsh ft Mel C - Set Me Free
86 Bruno Mars - Locked Out Of Heaven
87 Tom Dice - Out At Sea
88 Paloma Faith - Picking Up The Pieces
89 Usher - Scream
90 Burns - Lies
91 Michael Kiwanuka - Home Again
92 Gossip - Perfect World
93 Jess Mills - For My Sins
94 Dune - Shoestring
95 The Script - Hall of Fame Ft Will.i.AM
96 Swedish House Mafia - Don't You Worry Child
97 terminal - Together We Are One
98 Little Mix - DNA
99 Icona Pop - I Love It
100 Yasmin - Light Up The World
Album Review: ‘Heaven (Deluxe Edition)’ by Rebecca Ferguson