keiino monument

They’re the reigning winners of the televote at the Eurovision Song Contest, having climbed all the way to the top with the public in 2019. And it’s now very clear that KEiiNO feel like they have unfinished business. How do we know? Because they’ve just been confirmed to compete in Norway’s Melodi Grand Prix 2021 with the song “Monument”. Below you can sip on some very hot and nourishing tea. They discuss their upbeat entry, whether they can win over the jury if they make it to ESC and whether it’s a gamble to return to the contest following their huge success in Tel Aviv.

Tell us about the song.

Alex: “Monument” is about the most important moments and people in a lifecycle. The song honors those who enrich other people’s lives without receiving medals or having streets named after them.

Tom: “Monument” is an uptempo electro pop-song with Nordic melodies, Sami rap and joik. It was written in a simple cabin on the Norwegian coastline and produced in Berlin and Kristiansand. As with almost all other KEiiNO songs, it’s written and produced by the band together with Alexander Olsson and Rüdiger Schramm. But to make it sound monumental, the recording includes our live band, a crazy amount of samples and live strings by musicians from the Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra.

How do you think Eurovision fans will react to “Monument”?

Fred: We hope they will love it, of course. Although some fans might be disappointed that our second try for the trophy isn’t as Euroschlager as “Spirit in the Sky”. And we’re not mad if people prefer “Spirit” over “Monument”. But it didn’t make sense for us to do the same all over again. We’ve grown both as a band and songwriters, and we feel “Monument” represents the group in a better way. And the reactions from people to whom we’ve played the song make us believe that “Monument” will be appreciated by many.

Given your current status as Eurovision royalty, is it a gamble to enter MGP again?

Alex: Well for sure. We know we are competing against some big names in the national selection. And some voters might prefer to send an artist that hasn’t been to Eurovision before. But athletes repeatedly try to qualify for international competitions, and we still feel we haven’t shown our full potential on the Eurovision stage, so when we found ourselves with a song with something special, we just went for it.

You say you’ve written a song to please the juries. You didn’t sound too pleased with them after Eurovision 2019…

Tom: I might have said that we didn’t care what the juries think. But I blame the disappointment and an inflated ego after the televote win. Now, after watching quite a few recaps of various past Eurovision’s during lockdown, I have to admit I’ve changed my mind about the function of the juries. The quality of the show has definitely improved after they were re-introduced, and I think a professional opinion about the music does have a purpose. How big their say should be and how many professionals should be included could be debated, but I have no problem saying I was wrong.

Well color us excited! What do you think of KEiiNO’s return? Are you excited to hear the song? Let us know what you’re thinking down below!

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gilpgilpgilp
gilpgilpgilp
3 months ago

I remember in 2019, NOBODY on wiwibloggs predicted Norway would do this well. Nobody. But they won the televote in Europe. And nobody predicted North Macedonia would do well, but it won the jury vote. These were great examples of the massive disconnect between the Eurovision fans and the greater European audience.

Alex
Alex
3 months ago
Reply to  gilpgilpgilp

Fans loved North Macedonia even before the rehearsals. Wiwi supported the singer from NM as well.

Keiino were big pre-favourites even from the moment their song was announced, i remember that! However, as a fan favourite, we thought it will have the fate of Saara Aalto.

I agree that NO ONE expected Keiino to win the televoting. It’s still odd to me that Italy, Switzerland and Netherlands scored less points.

mark dowd
mark dowd
3 months ago

Very diplomatic words from Tom about the juries. Whatever he thinks privately about their mean 2019 voting.

Azaad
Azaad
3 months ago

They are coming for the juries which is honestly a good strategy since if they get to Rotterdam they’ll have masses of televote support anyway.

Alex
Alex
3 months ago
Reply to  Azaad

No, it’s not a given that they will have massive support. They’re not a big name in Europe. They are big with eurofans but the arena will not be full so it’s a disadvantage.

Tom is smart so I think he has a strong song that can capture juries and viewers. I still can’t understand why juries snubbed them, even in Scandinavia.

Chambermusicberlin
3 months ago

I like part of the song that goes “ don’t judge, don’t stare, don’t hate, don’t care. The time to doubt will disappear”.

Tibor
Tibor
3 months ago

Don’t worry, Fred, if this will really be less “euroschlager” than “Spirit in the sky”, some of us will be thrilled.
And I agree with Joe: Tom’s words about the juries show a thoughtfulness we should never take for granted.

Whisker
Whisker
3 months ago

Release date 15 Jan? #igtoldme 🙂

Adrian Trujillo
Adrian Trujillo
3 months ago

Spirit in the sky was my favorite song at esc 2019. I look forward to Monument.

Joe
Joe
3 months ago

What Tom said about the juries was really smart and clear-headed. Good for him. Excited to see what they’ve got in store! I have at least a slight inkling of the feeling I had when Alexander Rybak was announced as one of the 2018 competitors (aka “He’s gonna win”) but let’s not be hasty.

Sabrina
Sabrina
3 months ago

I wasn’t expecting them to come back so soon, especially in a year where we’ll already have lots of “sort-of-returning artists” in ESC. But I’m excited anyway. I really like what they have been doing with their music and I think some that only know them for “Spirit in the Sky” may be surprised about what else they have to offer. They seem to be the nicest people and I loved Tom’s mea culpa on his complaint about the juries. The juries played an important part on the improval of the entries, the discussion should be always about how they… Read more »

Lisa
Lisa
3 months ago

It’s sad that they won’t do a euroschlager as I think that is something which is missing in eurovision. That’s probably a reason why there song in 2019 was sooo hyped. ( loved it too) but we will see who it goes. If they win, it’s going to be an amazing year

Whisker
Whisker
3 months ago

I can’t wait to listen to the song! I’m super excited about the joik and the Sami rap! Hooray hooray or whatever the equivalent in Sami and Norwegian! #joiklove

Jacob S
Jacob S
3 months ago

here’s my opinion on this, when i first heard about KEIINO back in 2019 i fell in love. i have listened to their music ever since after eurovision and i’ve never stopped. although i’m SUPER EXCITED, i personally feel that it may be a little too early for them to return and i wouldn’t want them to pull a lena like another person said. but i do feel if they win (another point, i feel they will already win knowing how good they represented norway back in 2019) that it would be a really good competition against big people like… Read more »

WannaEatMySpaghetti
WannaEatMySpaghetti
3 months ago

I love them and I wish the best but I’m afraid their song won’t be appreciated as much as Spirit In the Sky has been. Apparently they are already aware of it.
I hope it won’t be like Lena (Satellite was my 2nd of 2010 but Taken by a Stranger was my 1st of 2011 and it finished 10th) or Alexander Rybak, etc…

Nicky
Nicky
3 months ago

Winner, just select them internally

Erasmus
Erasmus
3 months ago

OK really appreciate this interview, it really shows they have grown as artist, I also love the fact that they aren’t going for another Euro Schlager. Not sure about Sami rap… we’ll see about that part otherwise I am excited

CROISSANT
CROISSANT
3 months ago

I´m really curious about them, cause they haven´t made any bad songs yet, so we really can expect something huge I guess. Anyway it would have to be pretty strong song to win the competition. Dadi Freyr and others will definitely not be easy to beat…

Nicky
Nicky
3 months ago
Reply to  CROISSANT

Dadi is overrated, about time he faced a bigger threat

Una
Una
3 months ago

Excited for sure! Lykke till, KEiiNO!!