Ahead of the Melodi Grand Prix final next week we were able to sit down with autoqualifier Christian Ingebrigtsen for an interview. We talked about all things Norway and Eurovision, his past in performing and studying in the United States, and his passion for the contest. Read our full conversation below!

Hi there Christian – thank you for interviewing with us today! Why don’t you give our readers a quick introduction as to who you are?

Hello!  I’m a Norwegian singer, songwriter and producer.  Member of the band a1 for almost 25 years now, and also a solo artist.  I have a studio in Oslo, Norway, where I write and produce for many different artists, and I occasionally do a bit of acting.  I played Marius in the Norwegian west end production of Les Mis a few years ago, and I actually do quite a bit of voice-over dubbing.  I’m the Norwegian Flynn Rider in Tangled and I’m in Disney films like Brother Bear and Junglebook 2.

Awesome, thank you for helping them to get to know you! And I noticed you have a pretty long history with music, how did you first stumble into music as a passion and career?

I inherited my passion for music from my father and grandfather, both professional musicians, and I would go on tour with my dad from the age of 3.  I remember looking out on stage from behind the drumkit, watching my dad and the audience as he performed each night, dreaming of one day being like him.  My grandfather was a violinist, so my father first wanted me to go into classical music, coz he’d seen the difficulties a career in pop music can bring.  So, I started playing the violin, but changed to classical piano after a few years.  But my passion for songwriting made me realize I needed to learn how to sing, so when I started at the university, I changed to vocal as my main instrument.

If you had to describe your music or musical style to someone else, what words, phrases, or references would you use?

I guess I would describe my music as melodic, organic pop music, influenced by the music I grew up listening to, like Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, Bryan Adams etc.

And if you were able to collaborate on a new single with any artist in the world, who would you pick and why?

I guess I would pick Bruce Springsteen, as he’s been my biggest hero growing up, and has been such an inspiration to my songwriting.

Now you have a bit of a connection to the United States, as I know you were an exchange student and studied in the state of Kentucky for a while. What was that experience like and what did you learn from being abroad?

My year in the U.S. was life-changing for me.  I was a very shy young man with very low self-esteem when I left Norway, but I came home with lots of confidence and faith in myself.  The Americans have a way of celebrating talents and genuinely wanting others to succeed.  I came into a great musical environment, and my high school choir was voted one of the best choirs in America.  I was part of an elect barbershop choir, and we were mentored by a group of elderly gentlemen who quite literally were the real deal.  Little did I know how perfect this training was for joining a boyband.  There’s a truly wonderful, long tradition for vocal harmony groups in the USA.

As an American I can second this statement about barbershop, as I was once in a barbershop jazz ensemble in university – it was something. ha! Anyways, while I was doing some research on you, I noticed that you have a pretty long history with Melodi Grand Prix, as you’ve co-written six entries in past years including Ulrikke’s winning song “Attention”. What is it about MGP that excites you so much as a song writer?

I grew up dreaming of representing Norway in the Eurovision as a songwriter.  It started in 1985, when I was old enough that my parents let me stay up to watch whole ESC final.  Norway won that year, with Bobbysocks, and so the dream was born.  I wanted to be like Rolf Løvland, who had composed the song (and later won the competition again with Secret Garden).  To me, this is such a wonderful competition, because it celebrates songwriting, which has always been my first passion.  And as an artist, it’s one of the few television programs where you can actually do what you do!  Now a days, we have to either cook, dance or sing someone else’s songs or genres to get on tv.  But in the Eurovision, you can perform your new single to a much larger audience than you normally would, and you can totally be yourself.  I think it’s such a celebration of music and diversity.  So many different kinds of artists and genres, but with so much love for each other.  I truly love it.

You’ve also participated once in MGP with the boy band A1 that you are still apart of. What made you decide to enter the contest this year as a solo artist?

I’ve been working on a new solo album for some time, and like I mentioned above, it’s one of the few platforms that allows you to show your music to a large audience while being true to who you are as an artist.  So I figured It couldn’t hurt trying it this year.  I’ll still join a1 for the tours coming up this fall, and we are also in the middle of recording new music.  So who knows… Maybe a1 will join again some time?

Your song for MGP is titled “Wonder of the World” and as such references a number of places and monuments around the world. Could you tell me more about the message of the song, and how it was written?

Wonder of the World is a journey through some of the most impressive places I’ve seen around the world, but how there truly is no greater wonder than to love and be loved in return.  And when I’ve travelled to these amazing places, all I could think about is how I’d like to share that moment with  someone special.  I had the melody lying around for a few years, actually, stored in my ideas folder under the name “Eurovision winner”.  Then I started writing the lyrics with my regular co-writer Michael Ochs, who I’ve literally travelled the world with, through work. Then, when I considered MGP, we teamed up with Henrik Tala, who co-wrote and produced Spirit in the sky for Keiino.  That turned the song into a more “ESC”-friendly sounding record.

We’ve of course seen you perform already in the second delfinale – are you happy with how the performance looked on TV or are you planning some changes for the final performance?

I’m actually really happy with the way the lighting, effects and camera work turned out, so I think the only thing I’ll work on is my own performance in the final.  There’s some vocal things I’m rehearsing and also, hopefully, I’ll be able to relax even more into it, just conveying the message of the song and enjoying the moment.

I’ve always been told that practice makes perfect, so I’m sure this second time round will be even better! Now I imagine since you’ve written so many songs for the Norwegian Eurovision national final, you must watch the contest. Would you consider yourself to be a fan of ESC?

I’m definitely a fan of the ESC.  When I grew up, my friends and I would even dress up as our favorite ESC artists and perform the songs for each other before watching the final.  I was always Johnny Logan. 🙂

Now for those who want to connect with you ahead of or after Melodi Grand Prix, where can they find you and your music?

I can be found wherever you stream your music, I guess, and I have a website, www.christiansofficial.com where you can find more info.  I just started using YouTube, so it would be really fun if some of your readers wanted to subscribe to my channel at https://www.youtube.com/c/ChristianIngebrigtsen where I’ll be releasing the music video for Wonder of the World next Friday!

Alright, one final question for you – is there any message you’d like to share with our readers?

It would be an absolute honor and a dream come true to represent Norway in the ESC.  So, fingers crossed!  I won’t stop entering songs until I get there. 🙂

Well Christian, I want to thank you again for your time and we wish you the best of luck in the MGP final!

What do #YOU think of Christian’ song “Wonder of the World”? Let us know on social media @ESCUnited, on our discord, or on our forum page!

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