We continue our Melodi Grand Prix interview series today following a very lucky conversation with MGP 2020 winner and should-have-been Eurovision artist Ulrikke. “Honestly” we can’t believe it happened!

Ulrikke’s musical talent was first found when she won a local singing contest and acted in productions of Pippi Longstocking and Reisen til julestjernen. Her love of the theater would continue as she embarked on national tours of The Show Must Go On and The Thrill of Michael Jackson, but she would break into the Norwegian musical scene after her participation on the Norwegian Idol series in 2013. 2023 marks the third time that Ulrikke will compete in the Norwegian Eurovision selection show, with her first participation happening in 2017 where she’d place fourth overall.

Welcome to ESCUnited Ulrikke, and welcome back to Melodi Grand Prix! How does it feel to be part of the national selection once again?

Oh my God, it feels absolutely AMAZING! I am so happy to be back – and it feels like the right time as well. So I’m very excited to finally be back in this amazing contest.

You’ve been pretty busy since you last competed in MGP, but what I found most interesting is that you were tapped to voice Mirabel Madrigal in the Norwegian adaptation of Disney’s Encanto. What was that experience like and how did the opportunity come about?

It was a very new experience for me, but also what an honor. I mean, who hasn’t dreamt of being a Disney princess? And Mirabel is such a unique and special character, and I’m so honored and happy to be able to give her her Norwegian voice. 

That’s true – I’ve got a similar dream, though for a prince of course! You also made an appearance on the 2020 season of Maskorama, or The Masked Singer as others may be familiar with – and you won the entire season giving you two trophies that year! What was the most exciting and the most difficult part of being on the show? 

I think the most exciting part must have been feeling like a secret spy, running around in disguise and stuff like that. At the same time it was very difficult to lie to everyone and to keep it a secret. But really, it was one of the most fun things I’ve ever been a part of. Absolute madness. 

Our readers might think they know you rather well following your MGP 2020 win, but what are some things they’d be surprised to learn about you?

Hmm, good question! I’ve never had a nose bleed, or broken any bones. Lets keep it like that, haha. 

Yes let’s! Now I have to ask – when you met with NikkiTutorials online back in 2020, you talked about wanting to visit France to meet fellow Eurovision 2020 artist Tom Leeb. Have you maintained your friendship over the years and did you ever get to meet in person?

Haha, well, right after that interview I met my now fiancé Oskar – So Tom missed his chance, haha! But I heard he might be representing France again this year? So if I am lucky enough to win MGP, it would be fun to meet Tom in person in Liverpool – maybe we could sing a song together for the fans? 

Maybe – we are still waiting for France to announce their Eurovision selection plans! Speaking of, the Eurovision fandom has essentially been asking for you to come back to MGP every year since your win, but you said that you’d not return until you felt you had the right song. You’d go on to say in an interview with Wiwibloggs that you believe in “Honestly” more than you did “Attention” in 2020. Why is that?

I think it’s because “Honestly” is such a personal song to me. “Attention” was as well, and I love that song, but there is something really special with “Honestly”. Also I feel there is something really surprising and powerful in “Honestly”, and I hope others feel it as well. 

Would you mind sharing the personal story that inspired the entry with our readers so they can better understand its lyrics?

I had to be mentally ready to come back to MGP, ‘cause 2020 was a lot. First it was the whole chaos surrounding the voting system, then we got hit with Covid and quarantines, and then Eurovision got canceled. At this time I was living with Christoffer, my best friend and manager. My partner in crime in MGP. And what very few knew was that Christoffers dad had cancer throughout the entirety of MGP, and was going through chemo. And the day after Eurovision got canceled, he sadly passed away. 

Me and Christoffer handle sorrow very differently, so at that time we really had no clue how to communicate and be there for each other.  At one point I moved out to get some space, and realized we were drifting further and further away from each other. We were about to lose each other completely, both as friends, but also as coworkers. So “Honestly” is a song written to Christoffer, about our friendship. And how once you realize how important one person is to you, you have to fight and do what you can to save that relationship. I really wanted to be there for him, but didn’t know how to best comfort and take care of him. I am sure lots of people are able to put themselves in the same situation, and I’m pretty sure most of us have felt the pain of losing someone close, or almost losing someone.

We’ve seen two very different stagings from you in MGP – 2017 had choreography and lots of movement on stage, while your 2020 staging was more dramatic but featured less movement on stage. What information can you share about your team’s staging plans for this year?

I definitely want my voice and the song itself to be the most important part of the performance. I dont want too much fuzz and props to take away the attention from that. However I really feel our staging this year builds together with the song, and takes the viewers on a journey. Sadly this year we won’t be allowed to use pyro due to budget restrictions, however we have some moments planned regardless. I hope it will be a very strong and powerful performance. 

If you won MGP 2023 and would be going to Eurovision finally, what would be the first thing you’d do to celebrate?

Oh wow, good question! Probably enjoy the after party with all my friends and family – and then sit down with my manager the next day to plan out all the pre-parties and what we can do to win Eurovision. I mean, it really is my biggest dream to go to Eurovision and represent Norway in the best way possible – and I believe the best way possible would be to win the whole thing, right? Haha

In closing, do you have a final message you’d like to share with the readers of ESCUnited?

I just really wanna take the time to thank all the MGP and Eurovision fans. You guys are truly one of a kind, and I cant say enough how much I appreciate all the messages, comments and reaction videos. It means the world that you guys take the time to cheer me and other artists on. There is no other fan community like the Eurovision community, there is so much love and kindness.

Ulrikke 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.

Are #YOU team Ulrikke? Let us know on social media @ESCUnited, on our discord, or on our forum page!

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