Leonora Colmar-Jepsen (known by the singular name Leonora) will represent Denmark at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv with her song “Love Is Forever”. It’s a quirky finger-clicking ballad and its heartwarming message will leave you smiling.
Danish broadcaster DR chose Leonora through its tried-and-tested Dansk Melodi Grand Prix selection show. She survived a field of ten finalists, and then a superfinal against much more established artists Sigmund and Julie & Nina, both of whom were considered strong favourites.
With Leonora’s performance in the second semi-final drawing closer by the day, we’ve gathered a list of ten facts that you need to know about Leonora. Lad os gøre det (Let’s do this)!
1. She hails from Hellerup
Her mix of style and simplicity was cultivated in this wealthy residential suburb to the north of the capital, Copenhagen. With a population of just under 18,800, one might think that Hellerup is a sleepy hamlet with not much going on. But Hellerup was home to the famous Tuborg brewery. It was an independent company for almost a hundred years before it merged with the better-known Carlsberg in 1970. Hellerup is also renowned for its boutiques and as a playground for the well-to-do as they cruise about on their yachts and boats…sign us up!
Interesting fact about Hellerup: It is also home to a popular science centre called the Experimentarium which was featured on Time Magazine’s list of the World’s 100 Greatest Places in 2018.
2. She has many passions
Her Instagram and Pinterest accounts reveal that Leonora is a young woman with many varied passions in life. A trip through her Instagram will reveal a love of friends, nature, figure skating, and provide a chronicle of her journey through Denmark’s Eurovision selection. A stroll through her Pinterest account uncovers a treasure trove of content, with everything from workout/training tips and inspirational quotes, to music (a fondness for former One Direction singer Harry Styles is very evident), fashion/photography, skating, and food/drink — everything from easy to prepare healthy dishes to decadent desserts. Leonora is obviously a foodie who doesn’t mind indulging. Give her a follow.
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I går modtog jeg en smuk buket fra Gentoftegade Bibliotek, som ønskede tillykke med grandprix-sejren. Det har jeg aldrig prøvet før. Jeg har spillet på deres scene På Gulvtæppet flere gange (med mine egne sange) gennem et samarbejde med Musikbunkeren – senest spillede jeg support for Aske Jacoby (billede 3). Tak til personalet for buketten, opbakningen og ikke mindst for at gøre koncerterne til nogle gode og mindeværdige oplevelser. #LoveIsForever – Leonora ????
3. She supports others’ Eurovision journeys
Leonora was in attendance for both the dress rehearsal and the final of neighbouring Sweden’s Melodifestivalen and showed her support to everyone, even taking pictures with Hanna and Liamoo, Wiktoria and winner John Lundvik, who will join her in Tel Aviv.
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#MelFest ? Congratulations to @JohnLundvik – the winner who will be representing ?? in Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv ? “ Hands up for all the runner ups! So many great songs and strong performances ?? I also got to see @melaniewehbe ? Long time no see ?? • • #MelFest ? Earlier the same day we went to the dress rehearsal for Melodi Festivalen ?? (Swedish Eurovision), and oh my were they good! The roof almost elevated ?? Wonderful to finally witness the culture of #MelFest in person ?? #loveisforever – Leonora #daretodream #ESC #Eurovision
4. Danish media has given her high-pressure nicknames
During DMGP, various media outlets christened her “The new Emmelie” (after Denmark’s Eurovision 2013 winner, Emmelie de Forrest) and “The Danish Lena” (after Germany’s Eurovision 2010 winner). It remains to be seen if Leonora can give Denmark its best finish since Emmelie’s win.
5. “Love is Forever” includes multiple languages
In her Eurovision song, Leonora effortlessly transitions through four languages — English, Danish, German and French. While this is the most languages included in one Eurovision song in a long time, it pales in comparison to three others. The entry that used the most languages is “It’s Just A Game”, sung by the Bendik Singers for Norway in 1973. It was performed in English and French, with some lyrics in Spanish, Italian, Dutch, German, Irish, Serbo-Croatian, Hebrew, Finnish, Swedish and Norwegian – a staggering 12 languages.
Bulgaria’s 2012 entry, “Love Unlimited”, had an equally mind-blowing 11 languages. Sung predominantly in Bulgarian, it also contained phrases in Turkish, Greek, Spanish, Serbo-Croatian, French, Romani, Italian, Azerbaijani, Arabic, and English. And the 1969 Yugoslav entry “Pozdrav svijetu” was mostly sung in Croatian, but included words in Spanish, German, French, English, Dutch, Italian, Russian, and Finnish. That’s nine languages!
6. Leonora isn’t afraid of paying her dues
While other up-and-coming artists with dreams of worldwide stardom might baulk at starting small, Leonora has written many of her own songs (which she hopes to release on an album), and has performed in cafés, libraries, and small school concerts throughout her homeland.
7. Her songwriting team boasts formidable credentials
The songwriters behind Leonora’s “Love Is Forever” include none other than Danish singer/songwriter Lise Cabble. She has written more than ten songs for DMGP and Eurovision performers over her decades-long career. This includes the 1995 Danish song “Fra Mols til Skagen”, co-written with Mette Mathiesen and performed by Aud Wilken. Her most notable credit is, of course, “Only Teardrops” — the winner of Eurovision 2013. It was co-written with Julia Fabrin Jakobsen and Thomas Stengaard and performed by Emmelie de Forest.
8. Her love of fitness and skating isn’t just a hobby
During the DMGP process, Leonora was working as a figure skating trainer and choreographer. Gotta pay those bills!
9. She’s an international ice queen
Leonora was previously a two-time Danish national junior champion in ladies’ singles (2015-2016), as well as a national junior champion in ice dancing in 2017. She also competed on the international stage, making appearances for Denmark at the ISU Junior Grand Prix at Riga Cup 2015 in Riga, Latvia and the 2016 World Junior Figure Skating Championships in Debrecen, Hungary.
10. It runs in the family
Leonora isn’t the only talented one in her family. She won her 2017 Danish title with her younger brother Linus. Linus himself has skated nationally and internationally, winning a Danish national junior bronze medal in 2017. He also competed at the 2019 World Junior Figure Skating Championships a week ago in Zagreb, Croatia. He represented Spain in ice dancing with his partner, Sofia Val. Amazingly, 16th March was also his 18th birthday.
Do you have enough love for Leonora? Do you think she can come close to equalling Rasmussen’s ninth place from Eurovision 2018? Let us know in the comments below.