Iceland is known to be one of the less populated countries in Europe but nevertheless, in a similar fate to Malta, vocal talent is abundant and very much available around every possible corner. Taking into account the recent history of the nation in the Eurovision Song Contest, one had to realize that since the semi-final system was introduced, there have been mixed results but then again, from 2008 onwards, they have always managed to get through to the final stages of the competition including a runner-up finish in 2009 thanks to Yohanna and her entry Is It True? which was given the maximum points from the Maltese public. It seems that 2013 is bringing a renewed interest in the competition with a record number of 240 submissions out of which, twelve have been chosen.
RÚV, the Icelandic broadcaster made sure to appoint a specific jury to select the best songs out of the bunch and it seems that their deliberation has officially been made with the announcement coming forth on the national media within the hour. The list includes an intriguing amount of individuals including none other than Birgitta Haudkall who represented Iceland back in the 2003 Eurovision Song Contest with the track Open Your Heart eighth place with a total of eighty one points. Nevertheless, other prominent figures include Jonas Gladnikoff who co-wrote the Irish entries in 2009 and 2010 respectively; those being Et Cetera and It's For You. Local songwriter Sveinn Rúnar Sigurðsson co-wrote the entries for Iceland in 2004 and 2007, being Heaven and Valentine Lost and last but not least Ashley Hicklin who co-wrote the most successful Belgian entry in years, Me and My Guitar in 2010.
- Augnablik (Sveinn Rúnar Sigurðsson, Ingibjörg Gunnarsdóttir)
- Ég á Líf (Örlygur Smári, Pétur Örn Guðmundsson)
- Sá Sem Lætur Hjartað Ráða För (Þórir Úlfarsson, Kristján Hreinsson)
- Þú (Davíð Sigurgeirsson)
- Vinátta (Haraldur Reynisson)
- Ekki Líta Undan (Sveinn Rúnar Sigurðsson, Ingibjörg Gunnarsdóttir)
- Kem Til þín (María Björk Sverrisdóttir)
- Lífið (Hallgrímur Óskarsson, Bragi Valdimar Skúlason)
- Ég Syng! (Elíza Newman, Gísli Kristjánsson & Ken Rose, Hulda G. Geirsdóttir)
- Til þín (Sveinn Rúnar Sigurðsson, Ágúst Ibsen)
- Meðal Andanna (Birgitta Haukdal, Sylvía Haukdal, Jonas Gladnikoff, Michael Down & Primoz Poglajen)
- Hjartað (Hallgrímur Óskarsson, Ashley Hicklin)
RÚV is hosting two semi-finals this time round rather than the usual three semi-final process noting that six songs will be competing in each stage. Three entries will be making it through each semi-final through tele-voting with the jury having the option to select a seventh entry to join them in the final as a wildcard choice. The first semi-final which will be live from a television studio in Reykjavík will air on the 25th January with the second semi-final taking place the following day on January 26th respectively. The final is set to the following week on the 2nd February live from the Harpa Concert Hall. escflashmalta.com will be covering the Icelandic final live hopefully should it not interfere with the Malta Eurovision Song Contest which could fall on the first weekend of February or the last weekend of January. The performers of the songs will be revealed in due course so stay tuned.
Artists who compete in the Eurovision Song Contest must treat the showcase as an opportunity for them to move further ahead within their respective music career especially if it is somewhat a first major experience, something which could be said to the likes of Greta Salóme who was one half of this years' representatives from Iceland noting that she performed the track Never Forget with the experienced Jónsi. Iceland has managed to make it through to the finals each and every year since 2008 noting that the end result in the final has not been that positive finishing in the bottom echelons of the scoreboard for the past three years. Nevertheless, being rank outsiders, people expected them to qualify this year especially after having such a strong performance during the semi-final stage of the competition.
Greta who has just finished obtaining her masters degree in music has decided to release her debut single as a solo artist and the first piece of music following the Eurovision Song Contest. The brand new track which will serve as a debut single is entitled Everywhere Around Me and which she completely wrote in both the music and the lyrics departments. The producer of the song is none other than the renowned Þorvaldur Bjarni Þorvaldsson who also worked with none other than former Eurovision Song Contest runner-up Selma back in 2000. This song is very much different to the track performed at the Eurovision Song Contest because despite it being absolutely mysterious in several areas, it is still very much upbeat. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com in the coming weeks as we follow artists all across the continent.
Source: Official Facebook Page
The Team of Radio International is back this week and would like to invite to join the weekly Ultimate Eurovision Experience to overcome to Post Eurovision Depression. The Show is broadcast on 106.8FM and Digital Cabel 41 in the Netherlands and also via the internet via www.radiointernational.tv and will also be web-televised via the show's own Live Video Channel via the website. The simulcast will be from 2000 – 2300 hours CET this Wednesday.
Interview with Greta Salome & Jonsi (Iceland 2012):
Iceland was represented at the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 by two of the finest artists from their country Greta Salome and Jonsi. Jonsi is no stranger to the audience of the Eurovision Song Contest as he has been there before in 2004 singing the song "Heaven" in Istanbul representing Iceland and coming 19th. The Icelandic entry in 2012 was written by Greta and is called "Never forget" and reached Number 20 in the Grand Final in Baku. Lilian, Roger and JP met the singers right after their first Press Conference and Rehearsals in Baku for a little interview. Enjoy it!
Interview with Jon Ola Sand - The Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest:
Radio International had the big honour and pleasure to meet and interview the Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest - Mr. Jon Ola Sand who took over the post from Svantes Stockselius in 2010at the European Broadcasting Union- the EBU. JP & Lilian talked to him about the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 and also the future of the contest.
Eurovision Song Contest Spotlight - Eurovision 2012 - The Aftershow Party:
The 57th Eurovision Song Contest was staged on 26 May 2012 in Baku and each of our Eurovision Correspondants will each week be giving us their assessment of how they watched the shows and what they think of it. Of course, it goes without saying, it is spiced with their choice of songs from this year's Eurovision Song Contest. Continuing this new mini-series is Ross Bennett who is our Irish voice in the Team.
Interview with Roman Lob (Germany 2012):
Roman Lob represented Germany at the 57th Eurovision Song Contest in Baku with the song "Standing Still" written by Jamie Cullum. Germany is part of the Big Five countries at the Eurovision Song Contest and thus did not need to go through the Semi Finals and was qualified directly into the Final. Roman Lob emerged out of a casting show in Germany especially for the Eurovision Song Contest and now has already on the market his first album called "Changes". At the Eurovision Song Contest "Standing Still" ranks at Number 8 in the Final. Radio International together with ESC Radio and a Russian Radio Station teamed up to have a short interview with the singer in the Press Conference.
Euro Friends Song Contest 2012 with Andy Simon:
Continuing this week with the Euro Friends Song Contest in search for the ultimate Eurovision song as voted for by the many fans around the world. Andy Simon joins us again next week to reveal the qualifiers for the next round. The website of the Euro Friends Song Contest you will find here where you can easily vote for your favourite Eurovision song per country and also see The Euro-Friends TV Show as hosted by Andy Simon. You can also join the Facebook Group here. Andy is back this week and he reveals the next qualifiers from Heat 49 (France).
Eurovision Song Contest News with Luke Fisher from escXtra.com:
Check out the latest developments connected to the Eurovision Song Contest. Whether it is music releases of Eurovision performers, appearances, special concerts, gossip, news, etc. Luke will have the latest updates during this week's edition of the show.
Interview with Fridrik Omar (Iceland 2008):
Fridrik Omar is also no stranger to the world of the Eurovision Song Contest as together with his singing partner Regina they are known collectively as EUROBAND who represented Iceland in the Eurovision Song Contest 2008 with the song "This is my life" which reach Number 14. Fridrik Omar was part of the Icelandic Delegation this year and Eric & JP chatted with the singer just before the Semi Final in which Iceland took part.
Eurovision Music Requests/Eurovision Quiz:
A big part of the show is playing listeners' requests. Submit your requests and / or greetings to your Eurovision friends through Radio International via the CONTACT Link on www.radiointernational.tv. But also don’t miss out on the weekly Eurovision Quiz where you can win a dip into the freshly filled up Goodies Bag or pick a Eurovision Song Contest from the past on DVD. More interviews with the 2012 Eurostars will be on the next editions of Radio International. Watch out for them every Wednesday.
Souce: Team of Radio International, Eurovision.tv
Despite a late start to the day due to unforeseeable technical problems causing everyone to move their watches and schedules back by an hour and a half, there were no other major issues during the day with the rehearsals keeping their respective forty minutes which were allocated to them initially to rehearse on the stage in Baku, Azerbaijan where the Eurovision Song Contest is being held for the very first time following the victory of Ell & Nikki last year with the song Running Scared written by Swedish songwriters. Nine countries took to the stage today and there have already been talks of changes in some performances but one which was perfect in terms of setup, visual presentation and vocals was surely Iceland who are being represented by Greta Salome & Jonsi with the dramatic ballad Never Forget written by the female counterpart.
Following Montenegro, many songs will look strong but Iceland has always been one of those songs which people have been talking about. Despite the fact that it received a lot of positive acclaim when it was in Icelandic, leaving the people wanting more when in English, they managed to turn that around and received warm applause from the people in the arena and also those in the press centre. The song which is entitled Never Forget as mentioned above has been set in a dark blue setting with beautiful mountains in the backdrop. What also makes it impressive is the spotlights which shine around the stage and also the foggy mist effect that is being emitted. The staging is just superb and the addition of the backing vocalists is just an aid to the already powerful vocal range emitted. It is a stunning presentation and it should go down well with the rest of Europe. I do not want to give the song the kiss of death of course but I must say that this is now officially a contender having even rise to seventh place to win with the bookmakers whilst placed third in the semi-final just behind Russia and Denmark who will both be taking to the stage tomorrow.
Iceland have not yet managed to win the Eurovision Song Contest and actually host an extremely similar record to Malta noting that this will be their twenty-fifth participation in total with their best results thus far being runner-up finishes in 1999 thanks to Selma and her track All Out of Luck and also in 2009 when Yohanna took to the stage with the incredible Is It True. One was a ballad whilst the other was an uptempo pop song. It is important to note that following years of disappointment with the introduction of the semi-final system, Iceland managed to turn the tables around with the song This Is My Life sung by Regina Osk and Fridrik Omar, the latter of which just happens to be the head of press for this years' Icelandic delegation. Last year, they also managed to reach the final with Sjonni's Friends and the song Coming Home. This years' duo spark interest because apart from their incredible vocal capabilities they have strong people skills noting that their press conference was a huge success. Our team present in Baku, Azerbaijan also managed to get an exclusive interview which you can see below. Good Luck Iceland, keep the good performances coming along!
Following the revelation of the premier review, we move onto the second country competing for a spot in the final by competing in the first semi-final set to take place on the 22nd May 2012 within the city of Baku, Azerbaijan. There has been talk that this round in the competition is slightly easier to get through due to the mediocre number of songs but nevertheless, it seems that Iceland falls into a pile of entries which is receiving sublime criticism and praise from most fans and critics all over the continent. Since turning their results around, the nation has been very successful actually with consecutive qualifications and hoping to keep that record in tact are the lovely Greta Salóme & Jónsi who will be performing the track Never Forget which has been written by one of the singers; Greta Salóme.
Greta Salóme Stefánsdóttir was born in 1986. Music runs in the family as her mother Kristin Lilliendahl made some records in her teens, and her grandfather Karl Lilliendahl was a guitarist and renowned bandleader. Greta began her violin studies in 1991 when she was only four years old and has never looked back. At thirteen she entered Reykjavik College of Music. In the autumn of 2004 she was accepted into the Iceland Academy of Arts, where she continued her studies. She graduated with a bachelor‘s degree in 2008. Currently she‘s working on her master‘s degree at the Iceland Academy of Arts and is studying advanced vocal technique called Complete Vocal.
She is a professional musician and has a position as a violinist in the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra. She regularly performs with classical and pop music ensembles, has made several radio and TV appearances and is a busy studio musician. In 2011,Greta Salóme had another song ready in her mind. This was Mundu Eftir Mér which she and Jónsi finished recording early last summer. When hearing the song a colleague urged Greta Salóme to try for the Söngvakeppni Sjonvarpsins, Icelandic selection process for the Eurovision Song Contest. She took his advice and actually ended up having two songs in the final.
Jónsi, or to quote his full name, Jón Jósep Snaebjörnsson was born in 1977 in Akureyri the biggest town in northern Iceland. He started singing at an early age and took part in a national college song contest before moving to Reykjavik in 1997. Two years later he joined the soul orientated pop group ‘Í Svörtum Fötum’ who dressed in black suits and white shirts and started his singing and songwriting career. The group had already abandoned the Blues Brothers image when they released their first self financed album in 2000. They made three successful albums and after a year long break released a "Best Of" album in 2009. The band is currently active touring Iceland. Jónsi starred as Danny with Iceland‘s 2003 Eurovision entrant Birgitta Haukdal as Sandy in the musical Grease in 2003 and other musicals followed during the next years.
In 2004, Sveinn Runar Sigurdsson, the composer of Heaven asked Jónsi to perform the song in the Eurovision Song Contest 2004 in Istanbul. Jónsi made his first self titled and critically acclaimed solo album in 2005. Over the last few years he has had some TV experience acting in shows and films along with hosting the Icelandic version of Singing Bee and presenting the youth sports programme Skolahreysti. Jónsi is married with two children and lives with his family in Reykjavík.
The Critics Voice Their Opinion
Jan Van Dijck
- Nice dramatic song with some ethnic elements. Very well performed with strong emotion. Believe that this song will make it into the big final. I believe that seven (7) points will work for this entry.
- Now we’re talking! Iceland is one of my favourite Eurovision-countries, and they certainly don’t let me down this year. Beautiful voices, enchanting melody and terrific arrangement, the string attacks add drama and emotions to the song. Personally I would love them to sing in their wonderful native language, but this is after Serbia the best ballad in this year’s contest, and for me the best song of the first semi. As you might have noticed, I am quite fond of this song, hence nine (9) points would suffice.
- A beautiful rock song with a touch from Iceland. It has a dramatic sound with nicely added strings and piano. Vocals are good, especially the chorus. The song has good potential to reach a top 10 position. Despite the positives, we will give it a resounding six (6) points.
Performers: Greta Salome & Jonsi
Composer: Greta Salome
Author: Greta Salome
Song: Never Forget
History of the Nation
Iceland has been competing in the Eurovision Song Contest as much as my native Malta and will this year be commemorating twenty-five years which is quite an interesting milestone for nations who are yet to record a victory. Also, like Malta, the Scandinavian country has finished in the runner-up position twice, the first time coming in 1999 thanks to the musical stylings of Selma and her track All Out of Luck finishing behind Sweden and second time round came in 2009 when Yohanna performed the beautiful ballad Is It True, finishing behind Norway. The country has turned their wrong fortune around and have been in the final each and every year since 2008 when Euroband had represented Iceland with the song This Is My Life. They will be hoping that the betting odds and the fans are correct and that they will look forward to a top ten in the final.