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.”
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.”
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“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.