The Norwegian ESC delegation is being beaten around in national press these days for bad media strategy and for mixing up business with pleasure. We asked the most professional musicians we know how it’s like being an artist in our country.
Many people were surprised when they heard the big stars of A1 were moving to Norway. Well, we do know there is a certain woman inspiring a certain man, but what is the point of moving your careers out of the UK pop heaven and into our small territory of farmers and pop hobbits?
The slow burner nation
The hunky men of A1 ensure us moving to Norway was due to working with many Scandinavian producers, not just the lovely ladies we present them with. The Brits are not that happy with their decision, though. “We get a lot of fan mail from people in the UK every day asking us when we’re coming back. Many are angry and want us to come back home”, Ben Adams says. We do get that. In Norway we feel extremely lucky to have such huge stars walking among us. What perks do they get out of it?
“Norway is much more of a slow burner. While everything has to happen real fast when launching a record in UK, here you can take your time and do stuff before the new music is launched”, Mark Daniel Read tells us. Also Christian Ingebrigtsen thinks it’s good for A1 to work from his home country. “Norway is such a strong territory and living here has really boosted our confidence. We have actually received more fan mail after moving here. People are so keen on hearing what’s happening”, he says. “Yeah, we’ve gotten a lot of new fans, like all these children and their parents”, Ben adds, pointing towards the 1500 choir kids that were off to sing with them in the concert house in Oslo Sunday. Those were some pretty lucky kids, we’d say.
Hitting the Norwegian Eurovision stage and loving it
One of the things that have been going on, is A1 participating in the Norwegian MGP – the national finals for Eurovision. Wow, we thought when we heard. How did Norway manage that?
“We were invited by the committee to write a couple of songs, so we submitted a few”, Mark tells us. Lucky committee, we think to ourselves, as there are three great song writers sitting in front of us. But A1 feel like they were the lucky ones, as they have gained a lot from participating. “Actually, we didn’t plan on participating ourselves”, Mark continues. “But now we are happy we did. It has been a great experience that has presented us with the opportunity to reach new fan bases traveling around the country. Even if we are an established band, we find it beneficial to participate”, he stresses.
In Good Evening Europe we can’t help but wondering what happened when young car mechanic/opera student Didrik Solli-Tangen beat glorious A1 in the grand final. But to A1 it was perfect to be the runner up. “Yeah, of course we would have loved to represent Norway in ESC, but we had so many plans already, winning would have messed up our schedule and made it hard to change everything around”, Christian says.
Would never participate for UK
But why not participate for UK? They seem to struggle to find someone who can perform a decent song over there. “No way, we would never participate in the UK”, Ben almost shouts. The boys seem to agree that while the UK finals for ESC are very cynical and low key, Norway has a much more healthy focus on the actual song contest with good contestants and high standards.
A1 don’t even think their participation in MGP is well known over there on their British home turf, since they didn’t do any press on it there, but of course the UK Eurovision fans know. Mark, Ben and Christian are moved by all the comments saying they should have won and esctoday.com awarding them with the “Best mid tempo song” prize.
Still, A1 don’t think they will participate in the contest again as performers, but maybe they’ll submit a few songs again. “Yeah, Eurovision is great for exposing your music”, Mark says. If you are an artist, get in line for performing A1’s material, we’d say.
No need for private parties
In Good Evening Europe we thought A1’s manager, Christian Dyresen, was really brave when telling our largest tabloid, VG, he believes there are too tight connections between the winners of MGP and our main emperor of MGP, Per Sundnes. Didrik has been attending Sundnes’ private dinner parties, he got a vintage car from Per’s husband and to some it seems Didrik was the internal favorite long before the final. What do A1 think about the importance of knowing the right people?
“It’s difficult to get away from the fact that everything in this world is based on human relations”, Christian Ingebrigtsen says. “Most people get jobs through people they know, for instance. But we think it’s important to not focus too much on this. It’s the people at home who does the voting, and we just approached the finals from the outside”.
No need for Didrik to be all dogfaced, though. His buddies in A1 think he is a great artist and believe he could do really well. A1 will in fact host their own private ESC party next Saturday together with one of the other MGP finalists this year, Bjørn Johan Muri. And they will all be cheering for Norway, not UK. “Nope. How could we be proud of UK when they present such crappy songs?” Ben says. His glamorous girlfriend Sara Skjoldnes adds she has done a lot of dancing and singing with Didrik while growing up in the same town. She gives him the best of recommendations stating he’s a very nice fellow. Well done charming the stars, Didrik!
A1 will launch their new record in October. In the meantime we can enjoy listening to their MGP contribution: