Welcome to a new calendar year and a new year of interviews here at ESCUnited! Make sure to check back frequently, as we have a number of interviews to post in the coming weeks but we’re excited to kick off our interview season with Eirik Næss from Norway!
Eirik was born in Larvik, Norway and moved to London after graduating from school. He lived in the UK for seven years before returning to Oslo where he’s since focused on his career as a singer and songwriter. Learn more about Eirik and his excitement for MGP below!
Welcome to ESCUnited.com Eirik, we’re excited to help our readers get to know you better in the build up to Melodi Grand Prix Semi-final One! How are preparations going for the show?
Thank you for having me! It’s very exciting to get to play a part in this “circus”. Preparations are going well. I can’t wait for Saturday!
You’re no stranger to musical competitions as you competed on the 201 season of Norwegian Idol, making it all the way to the final show. What did you learn about yourself as an artist through that experience?
I think most of all what Idol taught me is that I wasn’t quite ready as an artist yet. I didn’t have any songs to release and I didn’t have any direction when it came to the types of songs I wanted to sing. I guess musically I was more focused on playing guitar. In the last couple of years I’ve been 100% focused on writing songs, and that helps a lot as an artist.
Speaking of songs, after listening to your music catalog I get the sense that your music drifts around a number of genres and influences. How would you personally describe your musical style to our readers?
I think one of the things that are difficult for me as an artist is to restrict myself to a certain genre. I’ve found that I am happier and more creative when I get to float around in different soundscapes. I am really into a variety of genres and I guess that needs to come out in my music somehow. Writing for other artists and for my other bands takes off some of the creative “load”, so it doesn’t get too crazy. I’m trying to keep my artist project to revolve around the pop-format but aside from that all soundwaves are welcome.
I love that perspective, as it allows for a lot of variability in your music and also allowed the creativity to flow through! Here’s another fun question – what is one thing our readers would be surprised to learn about you?
I think a lot of people see me as a surfer dude, but I’ve only tried surfing once and it was only a couple years ago.
The casting process for Melodi Grand Prix can be a very long process, with the submission window for entries closing mid-September and the artists just recently being announced. What made you decide to submit an entry for MGP 2023?
Actually, joining MGP came as a surprise for me and quite late in the game. My manager Øyvind convinced me to sign up and for a long time we didn’t hear anything. When Stig finally called us to give us the news I had already started making other arrangements for January. Luckily we managed to turn around.
Oh wow that’s amazing you were able to make everything work out on such short notice! Was this the first time you’d considered entering or has participating in the preselection and possibly Eurovision been a long-term goal of yours?
I hadn’t considered it before. Growing up as a metal-kid, I considered MGP to be uncool. (Obviously changed my mind about that one, haha) Later on I guess I didn’t feel like I had a song or that the timing was right. There’s lots of great excuses not to take a step forward into something like this. I think MGP/Eurovision-man Åge Steen was the one to make me open my eyes for it.
One night after a writing session we got to talking about MGP and after I sort of shrugged it off he nearly pushed me up against a wall and screamed “GET YOUR ASS TO THE FRONT OF THE STAGE!”. All in the name of love, of course. Later on Øyvind chimed in and I think after watching the movie “Yes-man” I adapted that mentality. And I’m very happy I did!
I also noticed that you have a friend in the competition with you, fellow competitor Alejandro Fuentes whom you just finished a Christmas tour with! Did you know that you were both entering the selection or was this a complete surprise for you?
At the start of our tour Alejandro told me he “had some secret TV-appearances in the new year” and I immediately guessed MGP. I then told him that I was joining, and I think he was kinda shocked for a while as he mainly knows me as his guitar player. Throughout the tour both him and Chris Medina whom we also share the stage with have been very supportive and offered lost of great advice and guidance so that’s pretty cool!
It’s actually pretty funny that I’ve backed a lot of the other artists in this years MGP as well on various TV-shows and live-gigs. When we all met on January 4th it almost felt like a high school reunion.
Your biography from NRK stated that your MGP song “Waves” was written during your travels with another artist Ljund, but was not the only song you wrote together during this time. Why did you choose to submit this song over others you had written?
That’s right, Ljung and I met on a beach after we both took a leap of faith in the form of an instagram-message. Since meeting we’ve written a bunch of songs together, one which we’ve already released and a few that are coming up. Wave actually came about in a hotel room. Along with Amalie, Ljung and I wrote it while looking out on the sea. The hotel Farris Bad has a very nice ocean view and luckily we let it inspire us.
Among the other songs we’ve written together I think Wave is one that stands out in many ways. When joining MGP I wanted to have a song that came with a message. I love a good love song but when I have this platform I wanna try to use it for something important. ESC is all about positivity, love, togetherness etc and that’s what Wave is all about too. I think this is represented musically as well. The song invites the listeners to get involved and sing along which I think is really cool. I want it to be OUR song and not just mine.
That’s a fantastic story, and I’m excited to hear what some of these other songs are! Speaking of that, for our readers who want to follow and support you before and after the national final, where can they find you? Any plans or upcoming projects you’d like to promote while we have you?
I’m on most social media platforms and my music gets released on most streaming platforms, so come find me! This year I have a lot of music coming out!
In closing, do you have a final message you’d like to share with the readers of ESCUnited?
Make love not war!
Eirik Næss will compete in the first semi-final of Melodi Grand Prix on Saturday January 14th starting at 19:50 CET. A total of three artists will be selected through a voting process to advance to the Grand Final on February 4th. The winner of the Grand Final will win the right to represent Norway at the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest in May.