They’re a fan favourite to win Melodi Grand Prix 2019 in Norway with their feel-good number “Spirit in the Sky”.
But KEiiNO — that’s rapper and “joikeren” Fred Buljo, pop songstress Alexandra Rotan and singer-songwriter Tom Hugo — wanted to show you guys another kind of collab. So they asked their fans to suggest a song for them to cover. After going through all the suggestions, Emmelie de Forest‘s “Only Teardrops” won the day and the group covered it…in an ice hotel in Alta, Norway!
The igloo has never been so hot, and we’re pleased to exclusively premiere it here on wiwibloggs.com.
You let your fans pick your cover. Were you happy it was “Only Teardrops”?
Definitely! We asked our fans, and “Only Teardrops” was suggested by quite a few of them. Like “Spirit in the Sky”, the melody has a touch of Scandinavian folk, and it feels close to our hearts. When testing it on a rehearsal, we thought adding Fred’s joik worked well, so we went along with it.
Why did you film in an Ice Hotel? Did that present any challenges?
Just being in an ice hotel has been a dream for us «southerners», Alexandra and I, for a while, so when we got the chance we had make the most of it. The most obvious challenge was the temperature, as it was close to -10. Our sound card stopped working, and playing guitar wasn’t very pleasant. And we didn’t think of the obvious fact that it’s pretty dark inside, as the hotel is a massive block of ice and snow with only a few LED-lights. But our crew of media students did their best with what we had at hand.
Does singing in the cold affect your voice? I remember you gargling with hot water at the Wiwi Jam in Lisbon!
It can be challenging for sure. Especially on a Sunday morning after a gig the night before. The hot-water gargling would have been great, though there weren’t any taps (or kettles) anywhere close. But we were pumped up by the fact that we had to finish before a busload of Asian cruise-tourists had booked the hotel, so it wasn’t too bad actually.
How are you guys preparing for MGP?
We are rehearsing a lot of course, and will perform a few shows leading up to the big night. Tomorrow we’ll fly up to Finnmark again to take part in the major Sami Talkshow «Studio Sapmi» and we’re performing at WinterPride in Lillehammer on Saturday.
Will you guys plan a group outing to go see the Northern Lights?
We hope to catch the Northern Lights in Karasjok a few days from now! The weather forecast looks good, but it’s hard to predict if we’ll get lucky. The first draft of the lyrics was actually written on a night when Alex (our main lyricist) had seen it, so it would be great to sing the song to the phenomena as a «thanks for the inspiration».
Can you give us any clues about your MGP staging?
We can’t reveal anything other than the staging will reflect the song in terms of the sound and elements we sing about. But there won’t be a lot of special effects. Our goal is to deliver our message and spark an emotion with our performance rather than high-tech, supported by two amazingly talented dancers.
You guys are also running a joik contest, I hear?
Yes! We’re launching a joik-challenge. Fans can get in touch with their inner joiker, record a video and use #keiino or #joikchallenge and be in the running for a KEiiNO T-shirt. The winner will be announced next Monday! Here’s the backing track for their joik: https://soundcloud.com/user-890238087-194525491/joik-challenge-by-keiino