Today is the day we find out the last three Norwegian finalists at this year’s Melodi Grand Prix. To get all of you ready for tonight’s shenanigans, we had the chance to interview KEiiNO a couple of days ago. During our conversation, we delved into their creative process of writing and producing songs, discussed their experience of visiting the hospital while on tour in Australia, and explored the inspiration behind their song for MGP 2024, ‘Damdiggida’. Stay tuned until the end of the interview for a special message from them.

Hello KEiiNO, welcome to ESCUnited! Very happy that you all wanted to take the time to speak with us today. How are you all doing today?

– We’re doing really good! We had our first rehearsal at NRK today, and it went very well actually. We’re closing in on the semifinal that we’re going to be a part of, so we’re really excited and happy. Very happy.

Congratulations on your third entry into Melodi Grand Prix! How would you say your music has evolved with each song you’ve submitted to the competition?

– Each song has fit in right with the moment where we entered with it. ‘Spirit in the Sky’ was the perfect entry song showing some of the beautiful Sami Joik.

‘Monument’ was at the time during lockdown. We felt that the song made a massive impact on a lot of people, so we’re really happy with that.

– And then with ‘Damdiggida’, we’re at a stage where we really wanted to crank up the tempo and make people move. We feel that Damdiggida’ is one of those songs that’s going to be amazing to perform live.

Photo Credit: Julia Naglestad

Now that you have been here before and done exceptionally well, might I add, what has drawn you to come back to Melodi Grand Prix again?

– Thank you! We love everything about Melodi Grand Prix. We love how it brings people together through their love for music. And we love the fact that we can show one of our songs to so many people, have cool staging, and make people feel something on a Saturday night. We’re really happy to be back.

You have described your music as a fusion of pop, dance, electro, and traditional Sámi singing (joik). Can you share insights into your creative process when it comes to combining these elements, and how do you ensure that each aspect is represented authentically?

– Not every song is written in the same way, but usually, we start with either a melody, a guitar riff, or a piano riff. And then from that, we are three individual artists and songwriters, and we bring something unique to the table, each one of us.

– It’s important for us to show some of the heritage. Like with some of the folk elements from Norway and some of the Sami joik or rap, but we don’t want it to be like… forced in. It has to be natural, but we are from Norway. Fred is from Sápmi, so it does come naturally when we just do something that we feel is right and fun.

– After the initial process, then we go into the fine-tuning. We spend a lot of time, many weeks and months in the studio, just working on every little detail of the song, trying to make it into a tasty perfectly layered cake.

Since competing at Eurovision, you have had concerts throughout Norway, the UK, and even Australia. Can you share a fun anecdote from your days on tour?

– Our trips are always fun. We love to play in new places, travel the world, experience new stuff, and meet people, happy people, and especially people who come to a KEiiNO concert for the first time.

– There have also been some quite exhausting journeys and tours as well. One time, our flight was three hours late. Therefore, we had to drive as fast as we could from the airport to the little venue in Edinburgh. We actually had to have our soundcheck when the venue was full. Imagine going on stage, like saying “Hello everybody”, and not even getting to change. We just went right on stage during the soundcheck.

– Also when we were on tour in Australia, Alexandra was attacked by a koala, which sounds so serious. She got scratched by a koala, and then she got an infection and was hospitalized. So that was, uh, fun. Oh, fun, fun. It was something to remember.

Before going on stage, do you have any rituals or things you typically do on the day of a show?

– We actually do! We have a thing where we sing one of the Sami lines in ‘Spirit In The Sky’ (Čajet dan čuovgga), but we have to sing it so out of tune that it sounds horrible. If it sounds horrible enough, then we know that the show is going to be great.

This year, there is a great mix of experienced- and newer artists at MGP. If KEiiNO were to collaborate with only one act this year, who would you choose and why?

– It would definitely be Gothminister, yes. That would be cool and some really fun and hard work.

I usually ask about some things outside of the music sphere. Now, all of you are pretty well known in and around the Eurovision community, but what is one fun fact about each of you that most people wouldn’t know?

– Tom: I’m a self-proclaimed dive master.

– Fred: Even though we are traveling a lot, I’m a little bit afraid of flying still. I’m not that comfortable in the air.

– Alexandra: I have like a fun fact list of these things. I’m 20% Irish. Found it on the MyHeritage test. Also, when I was in kindergarten I actually had eight slices of bread for lunch. Eight slices of bread. And then my mom said, “No, it’s not healthy for Alexandra.” Of course, it’s not. It’s way too much, but then the women working were just like, “Oh, but she’s so sweet. We can’t say no.”

As your semi-final is this Saturday, what should people expect to see from your entry ‘Damdiggida’? What does the song mean to you all?

– The song means “the thing that makes you happy.” The staging is really going to be a bit of everything. You’re going to see that we’re really happy performing ‘Damdiggida’. It’s going to be easy to see that. We don’t think it’s going to be too over-hectic as well. A very good mixture, like a fine line between bringing happiness with some coolness.

Before we wrap up this interview, is there anything you want to share with our readers at ESCUnited? 


KEiiNO is one of the six artists competing in this year’s Heat Three of Norway’s Melodi Grand Prix. Catch this final heat tonight (on Saturday the 27th), at 19:50 CET on, and see if they qualify for the final.

Would #YOU like to see KEiiNO return to Eurovision? Share your thoughts with us on social media @ESCUnited, on our Discord, or forum page. Stay updated on their current and future projects by following @keiinoband on Instagram or going to their website

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