They’re the Norwegian-Sámi trio that became the people’s champions after winning the televote at Eurovision 2019. And now, KEiiNO – that’s Fred Buljo, Alexandra Rotan and Tom Hugo – have topped off a stellar year with the release of their debut album OKTA.
The release of OKTA follows a busy year for the trio. After their success at Eurovision, the Norwegian super-group have been touring their songs around the world and very recently celebrated their nomination for a Spellemannprise – also known as the Norwegian Grammy Awards. Their Eurovision entry “Spirit in the Sky” was nominated in the Song of the Year category. Although they didn’t take the prize, it’s still an historic moment and an incredible achievement for KEiiNO. This was the first time a Eurovision song had ever been nominated for the award.
OKTA features a total of ten songs. Those who have been following KEiiNO’s post-Eurovision discography will recognise previous singles “Black Leather”, “Would I Lie”, “Dancing In The Smoke”, “Praying” and “Colours”. But, there’s also four brand-new tracks for fans to sink their teeth into.
KEiiNO – OKTA
KEiiNO are all about mixing the music of indigenous people with pop music. Naturally, there’s plenty of Sámi influences thanks to Fred Buljo. But, the group have also collaborated with artists from other indigenous cultures. In addition to their previous collaborations with Aboriginal-Australian group Electric Fields and Inuk throat singer Charlotte Qamaniq, OKTA also features indigenous-Canadian rapper Drezus and Australian-Māori group Te Hau Tawhiti.
In order to celebrate the release of their debut album, KEiiNO are streaming an online concert on YouTube and Facebook tonight (15 May) at 19:00 CEST. The trio will perform brand new tracks from the album and even a collection of covers chosen by the viewers. They will also show exclusive behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with the artists they collaborated with for OKTA.
We were so excited, that we had to catch up with Alexandra Rotan to give us the latest scoop on the new album and digital concert!
Interview: Alexandra Rotan of KEiiNO
Congratulations on the release of your debut album OKTA! First, can you please tell us what does OKTA mean?
OKTA means “1” in Sámi, the language of Fred’s people.
You have been frequently spoiling us with really incredible songs (“Colours” is still top of my playlist right now). What other surprises are on the album?
Thank you! Our album includes both our old songs and new ones! In the album you get to hear both me (Alexandra) and Fred rap!!
Is there anything that you have brought forward from your Eurovision experience to OKTA?
All the songs have been written after Eurovision, so I think it had a huge impact on how the album turned out. Both because ESC brought KEiiNO closer together, and because it was through the Australian delegation that year that we met Electric Fields!
You have been so busy touring around the world and also being invited to perform at several national finals. When did you find the time to make the album and how long did it take to complete?
We created the album on the road. We wrote the songs on the plane, backstage and in hotel rooms. And the songs with Te Hau Tawhiti and Electric Fields were written when we were on tour in Australia. So yeah, it’s been quite busy! It took us about half a year to complete.
Is there any particular song that means the most to you?
I have a connection to all the songs I think. Listening to them now brings back memories from writing them. But my personal favourite is “Bed With The Wolf”. It’s light, catchy and I can’t wait to perform it live tonight!!
Yes your concert! We cannot wait for it! Can you give us a little sneak peak what we might expect tonight?
Hmmm, don’t wanna say too much…just tune in and see what happens! 🙂
You tease! Do you see a different KEiiNO now compared to when you first started? How has your music developed?
KEiiNO has become a family. And we know each other way better now than we did the first time we met, obviously. And I feel that we get better every time we write music together, so I’m excited to write some more!
Will we get to see you again touring the album??
Hopefully! We were going on tour, but then Corona happened… So we are working on other solutions right now. But we actually have an ONLINE RELEASE CONCERT TONIGHT 7 pm (CEST)!!! So check it out!!
And finally, how have you been dealing with the constrictions of Coronavirus? Do you have a message for your fans in this time?
Stay in, stay safe and we can’t wait to see you all again. We miss you so much and hope that OKTA will make you happy in a time like this!
For a link to KEiiNO’s concert, click here!
What’s your favourite song from OKTA? Are you looking forward to KEiiNO’s digital concert tonight? Let us know in the comments below!