She’s the Finnish singer who went into Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu 2017 as a huge fan favourite with her folk-pop song “Circle of Light”.

Now, several months after what she describes as “the worst performance ever”, Emma has published an emotional video addressing the experience and her battle against depression.

“I actually filmed for the past few weeks exactly the same kind of video I’m going to make today, but I couldn’t upload them,” she says at the start. “I made videos but I was crying in all of them and I felt like, ‘no — I don’t want to put this out there.'”

Taking deep breaths and putting on a brave face, the music teacher opens up about the difficulties that followed UMK, where she placed third following a performance wrought with technical errors and mishaps.

“I’ve been extremely depressed for the past six months. I kind of lost myself. I just felt so bad. As you can notice right now I can’t even find the words to describe how I’ve been feeling.”

“It all started after my participation in the UMK. And don’t get me wrong — I didn’t get depressed because of my participation or anything like that. I have the happiest memories in my life from my experiences in UMK. From getting my first song out there, making a music video, getting to know so many amazing people, artists, songwriters and singers. People offstage, backstage, on stage. I’ve been truly, truly blessed and I just have happy thoughts about it.”

“The thing that got me lost in life, if you can say it like that, is things that happened afterwards and things that just got so wrong on my actual performance.”

She says that she would rather have finished last and had everything go right — as they did in her private rehearsals — than to have finished near the top even as everything on stage went wrong.

“On the actual final the stars just weren’t on my side,” she says.

“My voice cracked, my voice was shaking, I got off. Some things I couldn’t control myself. I just felt on stage that I was drowning and drowning and drowning. The only thing I wanted to do was to run out and cry. That is what actually happened afterwards. I cried for like 30 minutes. That was the worst performance ever.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=matU6RIsmHM

It takes time to overcome any trauma, and it now seems that UMK exacted a toll on Emma.

“I am a good singer. I am a good performer. I am a perfectionist. I know my sh*t on stage. So that was really tough on me ever since that performance. Now I don’t do that any more, but every single night since that performance I dreamt about it. Every single detail — what happened before, during and afterwards. Things I could have changed, things I could have done differently.”

“I was promised a record deal. I was promised new songs. I was supposed to do this and that and after that performance everything was taken away — slowly and painfully.”

The music business is tough. But so are Eurovision fans and music enthusiasts.

“To me it feels like the whole world now thinks I’m a bad performer and doesn’t deserve anything. I’ve been reading comments about how bad I am and [there was] so much hate about me that it actually got to me.”

“But I realised one very very important thing during all of this and it’s that I will not let hate define me — who I am as a person or who I am as an artist. I know my place in this world. I know my skills. I know my potential. I know what I can do. And I know where I am going and heading. I will get there one way or another. I won’t let hate get in the way of that. Which it kind of did for the past six months.”

Emma at UMK 2018?

Despite the shade and occasional troll, Emma still has big ambitions — among them singing at UMK.

“I did actually apply as an artist without a song,” she says, “’cause you can apply as an artist without a song, and as a songwriter without an artist and they can [pair] you up.”

“I haven’t heard from anyone, so right now I am 100% sure that unfortunately I won’t be participating this year, even though this is still one of my biggest dreams to represent Finland. This year will not be my year, but I think it will be another year, another time, another place. Right now I am climbing my way back up again.”

In addition to writing music, Emma is set to appear in a program for Finland’s MTV 3, where Finnish personalities take viewers abroad. But ahead of that you can stay up-to-date with Emma by watching her YouTube channel Emma J. Olivia.

“Right now this channel right here is my main platform where you will see me. I love this. I love YouTube. I love making these videos. I love talking to you.”

Emma closes the video by thanking all of the fans who have helped her push through this difficult period.

“I have a few people who have made the past six months durable in one way or another, especially you followers and ‘Circle of Light’ fans who have Instagram pages like Emma of Edits who makes my day every day, who writes so beautiful things to me and about me and I feel like OMG this is the sweetest girl in the world.”

Are you as touched by Emma’s video as we are? Are you sending her loads of love and support? Let her know how you’re feeling in the comments box below. 

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Kermit
Guest
Kermit

Good with honest singers like her. Like Agnete last year. Kudos for those open about their inner pain. ESC is not about shallow glamour, but about musicians, artists with human feelings

Tina
Guest
Tina

I think Finland should send ALMA to Eurovision, if they want to reach the final again.

beccaboo1212
Guest

Hopefully Emma represents Finland at Eurovision next year! 🙂

sam
Guest
sam

she literally said theres an 100% chance she wont

Alex
Guest
Alex

Your fans love and support you, Emma, myself included. Best of luck in your all your creative endeavors.

Manuel Moreira
Guest
Manuel Moreira

Anyone who saw her rehearsal videos knows that she is a great live performer! <3

Robyn Gallagher
Editor

Even though the “Circle of Light” live performance was rather troublesome, everything up to that point was good. Emma proved that she could source a great song, record a stirring version of it, and put together a compelling promo for it. She has talent and I’ve love to see UMK make the most of it in future! 🙂

azaad
Guest
azaad

Her jury performance was supposed to be fine, so maybe if it was just down to that she could’ve gone to Kyiv. Although we all ended up loving Blackbird, Circle of Life had a more immediate impact and would’ve avoided sounding like Portugal and the Czech Republic, which could’ve given Finland a spot in the final….

Xaver
Guest
Xaver

Bad song, bad performance. Finland is METAL. Bring it back on ESC!

Kamila
Guest
Kamila

Finland isn’t only Metal. That country has great pop artists like Jenni Vartiainen or SANNI.

escphbelgium
Guest
escphbelgium

You do realize that Finland also brought us Darude, Saara Aalto and ALMA, right? So saying Finland is Metal is as stupid as saying Water is solid.

Kermit
Guest
Kermit

YAY for more metal in ESC. And Finland has had lots of great rock songs in ESC. So more rock would be good!

escphbelgium
Guest
escphbelgium

Or how about you let the country decided on what song and genre they want to send because it can’t always be rock songs all the time (sometimes, too much isn’t even worth it).

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

I’m glad she is working things out. That UMK performance was the cruellest fate. It would be good to see her return one day. Get that songwriting deal worked out.

Polegend Godgarina
Guest
Polegend Godgarina

The song was a bop, those technical mistakes were just very unfortunate. I love her and I hope she tries again.

Pastora Soler haha!
Guest
Pastora Soler haha!

She had a bad night, but that doesn’t define her as an artist.

Keep triying

jp
Guest
jp

She is so lovely! I felt so bad that she was so unlucky in the UMK final. If I were a singer, I would probably never read people’s comments about me, some people can be so nasty and full of hatred, they don’t seem to understand that artists are human beings with feelings too.

escphbelgium
Guest
escphbelgium

True. Same thing could be said to other artists this year from both Eurovision and National Finals like Blanche, Kerli, Manel Navarro, Yulia Samoylova, FO&O, etc.

David
Guest

That video was touching – trolls are just idiots – hope emma gets the success- Circle Of Light is an awesome song too

Misha
Guest
Misha

It’s easy to blame trolls, but my opinion is more unusual. Yes, trolls are bad, but I think that ‘DEPRESSION’ and ‘MENTAL ILLNESS’ are overused words. Don’t give the government the power to control you, by accepting the label ‘MENTAL ILLNESS’. It is dangerous. When a woman-politician in Russia fights against the government and says that it should stay away from private life, the western media went mad, and said that Russia has made a law that allows domestic violence. Nothing like that.

Polegend Godgarina
Guest
Polegend Godgarina

I knew you would be Russian as soon as I read ~Western media~ lmao anyway mental illnesses are serious and can be diagnosed

Misha
Guest
Misha

Sorry but it is true what I’ve said, your laws turn against you, this girl does not have mental illness, it was normal stage fear, so what?, nothing unusual, she is not ill. It is sick to make her believe she is ill. She is a perfect normal girl with all the challenges in life. What is next? If she has a child the government will make her believe she will not be a good mother, somebody else will raise her child. It is sick to make her believe she is sick. She is a perfect woman and life is… Read more »

Polegend Godgarina
Guest
Polegend Godgarina

How do you know? She might have developed depression after that episode, which is more than justified. Do not assume things you don’t know about, please.

Ugnius
Guest
Ugnius

Are the first part of your comment about ‘depression’ and ‘mental illness’ and the second one about Russian govenment anyhow related ?

Polegend Godgarina
Guest
Polegend Godgarina

They just have to throw the ~Western media~ everywhere, don’t they?

esc fan
Guest
esc fan

You are not being fair. Tabloids from Europe love to say weird or bad or strange things about Russia. Maybe it’s fair game Russia doesn’t love all your politics. Don’t play the victim. Love.

Polegend Godgarina
Guest
Polegend Godgarina

Let’s not act like Russia respects human rights and is corruption-free, because this is not the case sweetie.

Jo
Guest
Jo

One of the worst things of this new century is social media. It provides an opportunity to coward monsters to get out of the basement and do everything in their power to diminish someone else.
She’s doing right, try again! Life is so beautiful and full of opportunities to let people put you down.