Ben & Tan release new single "Iron Heart"

They’re the “Yes” singers who won the right to represent Denmark at Eurovision 2020. And now, Ben & Tan are ready to take the world by storm with their newest single “Iron Heart”the same track that was rejected from Dansk Melodi Grand Prix 2021 by the Danish broadcaster. We sat down with the former DMGP champions for an exclusive interview about “Iron Heart” and the DMGP 2021 drama.

Interview: Ben & Tan on “Iron Heart” and Dansk Melodi Grand Prix 2021

Welcome Ben & Tan! Thank you for talking to us today, and congratulations on the release of your new song “Iron Heart”. It’s a very uplifting and inspiring track, similar in genre to your Eurovision hit “Yes”. What’s the message of the song?

Thank you so much for having us. We are super excited about “Iron Heart”. The message with our new song is to rise up when life gets you down, and that we can conquer any obstacles that may come our way.

How do you feel you have evolved as musicians since “Yes”?

We would definitely say that we have improved on recognising each others’ work processes. It takes a lot out of you to sit in a studio from 10:00-18:00 and deliver a good vocal and guitar track over and over again. Now we’ve matured to be able to look past a bad vocal take every now and again and are more in tune with each other when creating music.

Can you talk about the songwriting process behind “Iron Heart”?

We could’ve written a lot of different sad songs about the challenges we’ve faced in the last year. Instead, we wanted to show our fans that we want to overcome our hardships and always rise up when you get pushed to the ground. The song is very fitting to our own personal experience and situation and is very dear to us.

You initially said that you would not compete in Dansk Melodi Grand Prix this year. But fans still held out hope that you might return, and fly the flag for Denmark at Eurovision 2021. What made you change your mind and submit an entry?

Our reason for our answer the first time around, was that DR announced in April of 2020 that they would not invite us back for DMGP 2021. We always wanted to participate in DMGP 2021 but our interpretation was that we were not invited back, regardless of which song we presented. “Iron Heart” was not presented to DR before November 2020, so we feel it’s a no to Ben & Tan as artists, and not to the song per se.

A lot of fans were unhappy when they learned that DR rejected “Iron Heart” from Dansk Melodi Grand Prix 2021. Some of them have even campaigned for DR to give you a wildcard pass to competition. What are your feelings about this situation?

The first two times we spoke to DR about our return to DMGP, “Iron Heart” did not exist. DR rejected having us return to DMGP 2021 back in April of 2020, before we had a song to present to them. As we mentioned, “Iron Heart” was written in November of 2020. So the third and final time we talked to them we sent “Iron Heart”, but we were told once again that they did not want us back. We are delighted to hear that our fans are supporting us as much as they are. It means a lot and we see all the lovely comments and words sent our way. We are hoping they will keep following and supporting us on our journey and that they will like our future projects.

Have you listened to this year’s Dansk Melodi Grand Prix entires? If so, what are your thoughts, and who are your favourites?

As we have relations to three of the songs in DMGP 2021 we are of course rooting for our friends. We wish all the contestants good luck going forward.

Would you consider returning to Dansk Melodi Grand Prix again in the future?

As of right now, we would have to say no. But who knows what the future brings. Right now our main focus is promoting and releasing “Iron Heart”, of which we are feeling very proud and positive.

Finally, “Iron Heart” marks your first release of 2021. Can we expect more new music soon?

We are working hard to present new music to our fans and everyone who supports us, and we are very excited about what 2021 will bring.

The music video shows Ben & Tan side-lit by regal blue and gold lighting. Lyrically, “Iron Heart” is an ode to perseverance and the power to get back up when life knocks you down — it speaks to the difficult year the duo faced in 2020.

In an empty Royal Arena in Copenhagen, Ben & Tan won Dansk Melodi Grand Prix 2020, but unfortunately their song “Yes” never made it to the Eurovision stage after the contest was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Despite that, they’ve enjoyed chart success across Europe. Their winning DMGP track “Yes” and the later “Summer Nights” have been big radio hits. Since release, “Yes” has amassed a whopping 18 million streams on music services. And in Sweden, “Yes” charted in the airplay top 20 for more than 6 months. With “Iron Heart”, the duo are hoping for an equally big success.

“Iron Heart” rejected by Dansk Melodi Grand Prix organisers

The duo’s song was the subject of drama within in the Eurovision community when fans learnt that Danish broadcaster DR rejected “Iron Heart” from Denmark’s selection show, Dansk Melodi Grand Prix. With the downscaling of DMGP this year to include just eight finalists rather than the traditional ten, fans expressed disappointment that DR had failed to give Ben & Tan a space in the final. Responding to the backlash, DR issued a statement to reiterate that they judged all the DMGP 2021 entries impartially on equal footing.

But just because they’re not appearing in DMGP this year doesn’t mean the end of the line for Ben & Tan. The duo plan to release more music in very near future, so watch this space!

What do you think of “Iron Heart”? Are you excited for more music from Ben & Tan? Let us know in the comments below. 

Read more Denmark Eurovision 2021 news here

Photo credit: Michael Thygesen / Good Evening Europe

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Paul Tatum
Paul Tatum
2 months ago

i maybe wouldve understood if all the songs in the selection were amazing and better than iron heart but thats not the case, and then just not even letting them perform as an interval act like ulrikke in norway is just insane, iron heart wouldve qualified pretty easily and wouldve gotten a respectable result whereas the entry they chose……..

Honesty
Honesty
2 months ago

Denmark did wrong.

BeepBoop
BeepBoop
2 months ago

I feel like there is so much more going on we do not know ….

Kris
Kris
2 months ago

I do understand that Ben and Tan would have expected the basic courtesy to be invited back by DR. And DR has not been courteous. This Ben and Tan got to know as soon as they were not given an automatic final spot. But Ulrikke had for this very reason refused to participate this year cause she wanted to get selected based on merit of her song and not of her past year’s song. Maybe in order to ensure an even playing field DR did this. DR didn’t show the courtesy last year People should have come up in support… Read more »

Kris
Kris
2 months ago

To be honest , I don’t think Iron heart is a standout. And if Denmark didn’t decide to have the policy of automatically letting the last year’s winner have a spot in the final , so be it. But if they don’t let them perform in the final and let them promote their single , that will be bad.

Zander25
Zander25
2 months ago

I think there’s more to the story and both sides are just careful with their words not to oust a real truth.

Pastora Soler
Pastora Soler
2 months ago

Something is missed here. They, and DR, are hiding things.

Ag89
Ag89
2 months ago

This just proves these broadcasters, instead of being purely rational, have to include some emotions too. Time to time, specifically in this time of the pandemic . I can understand DR’s rational point of view, but this level of heartless, cold behaviour is hard for me to understand. They really couldn’t give them a spot no 9? Seriously?!

esc1234
esc1234
2 months ago

It this kind of problem was met in Italy where san remo is the most important tv event, i would probably understand that their song didnt made the cut. But excluding them from a one night event with eight songs is p a t h e t i c

RavensHeart
RavensHeart
2 months ago

Why are Nordic countries like this? I say Nordic, the rot exists in Germany too, and apparently not in Iceland.

Sweden, Norway, Finland all refused to readopt their singers, but at least Sweden and Finland let them compete.

Denmark seems to have really gone a step further saying not only are you not reselected, you can’t even try to get reselected.

Why? What purpose does this serve DR?

Ifty
Ifty
2 months ago
Reply to  RavensHeart

Frankly it’s a song contest. Not a singer contest. It’s fair to give the artists from last year a chance to return. I think it’s appropriate to even ensure that they receive a spot in the final. But I don’t think it should be mandatory to just send them again when you don’t know what the song will be, and when you have an established competition format for many years such as with Melfest. However, not even allowing them into the final, in such a weak year, when they have a perfectly acceptable song, and then coming up with some… Read more »

myoozik
myoozik
2 months ago
Reply to  RavensHeart

To be fair, Norway also would’ve let Ulrikke compete, but she decided not to enter. I would say this is so specifically in the Nordic countries because pretty much all the national finals bring in huge viewing figures. For example, the final of MGP this year was watched by 67% of the audience. I can kind of understand that they don’t want to skip this even for one year. I also would’ve preferred if all artists were given another chance, even if I’m also glad we at least got to see some national finals. I wouldn’t call that a “rot”… Read more »

Heartbeater
Heartbeater
2 months ago
Reply to  myoozik

Ulrikke Also said that she wanted to compete because of her song and not who she was so she decided to wait

voix
voix
2 months ago

these nasty people working in DR need to realize that they are working in a public broadcaster. They are not paid to exclude artists because they do not want them again. Plus, they did everything to kick them out. 8 songs instead of 10 are competing this year(!), and they are all mediocre forgettable entries. There was space for Ben and Tan.

Last edited 2 months ago by voix
Jamie
Jamie
2 months ago

They did them dirty.

Last edited 2 months ago by Jamie
Jake
Jake
2 months ago

there must be more to this story…even RTP had Elisa back to sing her new single in Portugal as did NRK with Ulrikke in Norway…it seems like DR would be more than happy to have their reigning champs back to present new work even if not competing…there has to be a real reason why DR washing their hands of these 2

Kalla
Kalla
2 months ago

Wow, good on them for shedding even more light on how badly they have been treated. Takes a lot of guts to speak out against a national broadcasters behaviour as young artists. Again shame on DR, but now knowing they rejected them before hearing any music, really bad form.

OpenUpToKazakhstan
OpenUpToKazakhstan
2 months ago

Talk about sore losers.
It’s as bland as they were last year. Don’t be so bitter.

Daniel
Daniel
2 months ago

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
And they are actually complaining they weren’t selected! XD
Please, I know the average level of this year’s DMGP is the lowest ever, but c’mon! This charade of a song is more horrible than any of the 8 competing entries.

Just give up.

Heyey
Heyey
2 months ago

It’s not too late to include them in the nf (Germany 2019 style) or just select them internally and hold DMGP this year as a “Danish music” festival (never gonna happen, I know). If DR is too cowardly to give a chance for Ben & Tan then shame on them. It’s like DR hates Ben & Tan or something, seriously what’s wrong with them?

Last edited 2 months ago by Heyey
notyourtoy
notyourtoy
2 months ago

Well, “Iron Heart” is much better than any song in DMGP since at least 2018 (excluding the winner), but the Danish Broadcaster doesn’t think it’s good. Well, guess who’s not reaching the finals after 3 consequtive qualifications

Erasmus
Erasmus
2 months ago

can it get any worse.

BadWoolfGirl
BadWoolfGirl
2 months ago
Reply to  Erasmus

The song or the situation?

Erasmus
Erasmus
2 months ago
Reply to  BadWoolfGirl

the situation and the unfair treatment hahah. I really don’t get their logic (from the broadcaster)

Marseille
Marseille
2 months ago

WTF? This is better than most, if not all, of the entries in this year’s DMGP! They would have deserved a spot as finalists even if their song wasn’t that good, but that’s not even the case. Did Ben and Tan do something to personally offend the big fish of DR? I can think of no other explanation.

Daniel
Daniel
2 months ago
Reply to  Marseille

Had it been my decision, I would have been personally offended by their lack of talent and their tasteless music.

Mr Vanilla Bean
Mr Vanilla Bean
2 months ago

I’m not excited by this and yet, it’s still better than everything DR chose. 2013 really is a long time ago, there is absolutely nothing left of the Denmark that cared and wanted to win.

Pasadena
Pasadena
2 months ago

I respect the choices of DR, but I’m just very puzzled.

ArveprinsKnud
ArveprinsKnud
2 months ago

Hopefully, this is the last year DR organises the Eurovision on behalf of Denmark. TV2 would do it a 100 times better.

Chris
Chris
2 months ago

So in 2004 the national broadcaster of Greece, did that 5-months long tv program Eurostar, a talent-show, to select the representative for that year. They didn’t like the winner, in between the government changed one week before the final, and 3 days after the final they announced that they are going to send Sakis Rouvas directly in Eurovision.
Noone inside or outside of Greece blamed the the broadcaster for the decision and no-one will blame the Danish broadcaster if they do a small mischief.

esc1234
esc1234
2 months ago
Reply to  Chris

Plus, the top 3 contestants were the backing vocalists of Sakis. DR is just pathetic

Kosey
Kosey
2 months ago

You can love Ben and Tan and still show respect to the other artists in DMGP you know! There is a lot of disrespect being shown to the current year artists and your anger at the organizers does not justify it!

Good Evening Europe
Good Evening Europe
2 months ago

We are happy, that you cover the situation with DR and BEN & TAN.
But could you be a sweetheart and credit us (Michael Thygesen) for the picture, you borrowed 🙂

https://good-evening-europe.dk/2020/04/03/ben-tan-ikke-forhandskvalificeret-til-dansk-melodi-grand-prix-2021/

Robyn Gallagher
Admin
2 months ago

Happy to do so! 🙂

Ashton Schier
Ashton Schier
2 months ago

I will be supporting their upcoming music. Shame on you DR, and have fun staying in the semi this year.

Euro
Euro
2 months ago

Shame on you denmark

So terrible

Romy
Romy
2 months ago

Tbh I think ‘Iron Heart’ is 3 times as good as any song in their national selection this year. It’s a shame they couldn’t compete. 🙁

Dida
Dida
2 months ago

If there’s any justice in the world Denmark will stay in the semifinal! All of their songs in the national final are weak, generic and boring. Ben&Tan had an amazing song, for the second year in a row. Best of luck to them!

Deema
Deema
2 months ago
Reply to  Dida

Please have some respect for the artists in the selection. Those artists haven’t done anything wrong.

trabzan
trabzan
2 months ago
Reply to  Deema

Neither Ben & Tan.

Thisisntourlastdance
Thisisntourlastdance
2 months ago
Reply to  Deema

They have. Their songs are bad

Daniel
Daniel
2 months ago
Reply to  Dida

Ben & Tan had a horrible, bland, mediocre song for the second year in a row. There, you have been corrected.

AM2PM
AM2PM
2 months ago
Reply to  Dida

Except they will sail into the final like. Every year they fly in under the radar with a worse song than the previous year and still place on the left hand side of the board. It’s mind boggling.

AM2PM
AM2PM
2 months ago
Reply to  AM2PM

Though I’m going to contradict myself and say that Say Yes was such a anthem and would have been their first deserved qualification since Emmelie.

Una
Una
2 months ago

Blue heaven!! All these elements and new bits of information and somewhat contraditions and missing details in the like of my fave “Scandinoir dramatic mystery” genre!!

Colin
Colin
2 months ago

This is better than at least half of participants of DMGP, if not majority. And even if it was a total dud, a place in the finals should have been theirs (adding a 9th song wouldn’t harm anyone). For a country that loves cute and uplifting stuff so much, the broadcaster certainly acted less so on this occasion.

Robert
Robert
2 months ago

This has the same vibe as Say yes but a great song nonetheless.. Should’ve at least been a finalist..