He took home the trophy at UMK 2020 with “Looking Back”. And he even suggested that he hadn’t submitted a song for 2021. But, in the end, Aksel Kankaanranta is trying his luck again with “Hurt”.
Finnish broadcaster YLE is sticking to last year’s formula, although expanded: this year there will be seven acts competing rather than six. Their songs will be revealed one by one every weeknight at midnight Finland time (23:00 CET) until 21 January.
Aksel “Hurt” (UMK 2021)
The reigning champion of UMK is back with “Hurt”, a “powerful yet sensitive ballad about how looks can be deceiving”.
“Someone may look like they’re ok on the outside, but they could still be in terrible pain on the inside. When you’re hurting, you also end up hurting the ones you love. I’ve lived that experience, so I’m truly able to identify with this message. My song is also a reminder that you don’t need to be anyone but yourself”, he explains.
Aksel believes that he is better prepared to focus on his performance this year, as he is now more familiar with the contest and its production process.
The grand final of UMK will take place on 20 February. The number of competing acts was whittled down from 278 entries, and only seven entrants will take the stage.
The songs were selected by a jury of industry professionals, led by radio YleX’s music manager Tapio Hakanen. He had praise for the applicants, saying, “The level of the songs and artists was incredibly strong and I am confident that we have coming in the spring of 2021 the toughest UMK of all time. I’m really happy and grateful to each and every musician who sent a song to Yle.”
The winner will be chosen by a mixture of jury and public vote. Rather than the usual 50/50 split, the public will hold 75% of the power.