A little over a week ago, we introduced you to six of the acts competing at UMK 2014. Now it’s time to dig a little deeper and get more information on the remaining six. You can watch the introduction episode (including the jury performances) of these last six acts here.
The first live show of UMK will take place on Saturday 11 January and five of these—MIAU, Dennis Fagerström, Softengine, Lili Lambert and Hukka ja Mama—together with Jasmin Michaela from the first six, will fight for one place in the final.
MIAU – God/Drug
MIAU is a three-piece girl group, which combines indie rock with pop and dance music in a brand new way. On their Facebook page they describe their music as “too skronky to be pop, too sensitive to be punk and definitely too raw to not to be taken personally”. The band members—Anu Kaukola (drums, vocals), Henna Juvonen (guitar, vocals) and Susanna Tikkanen (bass, keyboards, vocals)— say that MIAU is their own “experimental laboratory” and they don’t set any limits with their music. They have already released one, self-titled EP and three singles through Konkurssi Records.
The story of the band began in 2010 when Susanna and Anu, from Kuopio, met Henna, from Helsinki. They picked up their instruments and started to learn how to play them. They are all singing teachers in pop & jazz music.
The song, “God/Drug” has influences from dance music as well as from 90’s grunge rock. It explores the impact that someone can have on you, in both a good and bad way. They have written and produced their song by themselves, but have been helped by Erno Laitinen.
Dennis Fagerström – My Little Honey Bee
Just like a few other participants, 25-year-old Dennis Fagerström had his first public appearance on The Voice of Finland. He advanced to the semifinal of the second season of the program, but got eliminated just one week before the final. Dennis says that before The Voice he didn’t even like performing that much. His vocal coach is Hanna Marsh, who took part in Finnish selection for Eurovision back in 2008 with the song “Broken Flower“.
If his fellow contestant Lauri Mikkola is the Justin Timberlake of Finland, then Dennis is the Michael Bublé. As a matter of fact, Bublé actually is one of Dennis’ idols. He thinks after tje long melancholic time, Finland need a bit of sunshine and that’s what “My Little Honey Bee” is all about.
Almost all of the writers of the song have some experience in Eurovision, or at least the selections. The song has been composed by Michael James Down, Niklas Hast, Andreas Anastasiou and Primoz Poglajen (together with Dennis himself) and it’s written by Dennis and Michael James Down. Michael James Down is almost a veteran in Eurovision selections and he’s written songs like “I need a hero” (performed by Samanta Tina, Dziesma 2013) and “Runaways” (performed by Boris Covali, Moldovan selection for 2013) and this year he took part in Swiss selection as a solo artist with the song “It’s not impossible“. Primoz Poglajen wrote the song “Meðal andanna” (performed by Birgitta Haukdal, Söngvakeppnin 2013) together with Down and Niklas Hast wrote the song “Sacrifice” (performed by Gabrielius Vagelis) to the Lithuanian selection for 2013. Andreas Anastasiou however already has some experience in Eurovision, he co-wrote last years Belgian entry, “Love Kills” (performed by Roberto Bellarosa) and Cypriot entry from 2011, “San Aggelos S’agapisa” (performed by Christos Mylordos).
Softengine – Something Better
Softengine was born in 2011, when two friends, Topi Latukka (vocals, guitar) and Kasimir Kantonen, decided that they want to have their first, own band. Soon also Ossi Mäkelä (guitar, keyboards) and Eero Keskinen (bass) joined the band and Softengine’s first line-up was complete. Later Kasimir left the band, and two new members, Henri Oskár (keyboard) and Tuomo Alarinta (drums) joined the band. Even the youngest member of the group is just 17 years old, the band has achieved a lot already. Their debut album, “Hmm“, was recorded at Topi’s grandparents’ summer cottage and their first single “Endless Waterfall” got some success around the Finland, mostly in their home town, Seinäjoki. Since then, they have taken part in few competitions and performed lots of gigs.
Their entry, “Something Better” is written by Topi and Henri and it’s written in the same cabin as their debut album was. The song tells a story about old man, who thinks that he hasn’t reached anything in his life, until his wife, the love from his childhood, dies and he realized that she was his biggest achievement.
Mikko Pohjola – Sängyn reunalla
Mikko Pohjola is one of the best-known artists in this year’s UMK. In 2010 Mikko was signed to Universal Music and after couple, lots of airplay receiving singles later, he released his debut album, “Menkää te, minä jään” (You go, I’ll stay) which also climbed to the Finnish album chart. In 2013 he released two new singles, “Kuuluuko, Kuuntelen” (Do you hear, I listen) and “Jos mä sinut saan” (If I get you).
Mikko is a true multi-talent; he doesn’t only sing, he also writes all of his songs and plays bass, guitar, keyboards and mandolin. He says that he wanted to participate to the UMK, because he thinks that many know his songs but not who’s behind the music and he wants to bring his face more “in front of the music”. His song, “Sängyn reunalla” (On the edge of the bed) is also his own composition.
Lili Lambert – Let me take you there
Just like Dennis, Lili took part in the second season of The Voice Of Finland in 2012 and made it to the live shows. 33-year-old Lili Lambert (born Jenni Isoviita) has received her musical roots by singing in a church all her live and at age of 6, she already sang in the studio. Gospel is still hearable in Lili’s sound, which you could, in her words, characterize as a good mixture of r&b, pop, dance and funk. Her biggest influences come from artists such as Mariah Carey, Brandy, Brian McKnight, Usher, Chaka Khan and Whitney Houston. In Finland she has been working with many well-known artists, such as Jenni Vartiainen, Chisu, Cheek and Finland’s Eurovision representative from 2002, Laura Voutilainen.
Lili’s entry, “Let me take you there” is written by Lili herself together withJoonas Kaikko and Lasse Piirainen.
Hukka ja Mama – Selja
Hukka ja Mama consist of two childhood friends, who met in scouting in a little town called Vääksy. “Hukka” (born Lasse Hukka), 31-year-old singer and guitarist writes the lyrics and “Mama” (born Martina Myllylä) sings them. They describe their music as little toy-like, but not too plastic. On their Facebook-page they write, that they “want to write songs that are like good candy: sweet, but sour”. The other bandmembers, Jaakko Suni (drums), Simo Saukkola (bass) and Jami Auvinen (guitar) are also duo’s childhood friends. Their song, “Selja”, is also written by Lasse Hukka, with little help from Martina and Simo.