Separately, they won Melodi Grand Prix in back to back years and earned the ticket to represent Norway at Eurovision. Now, JOWST and Agnete are teaming up for a new collaboration. Their new single “Barely Breathing” featuring Spanish DJ and music producer Azzip hit streaming services on Friday 12 March.
Ahead of release, we caught up with JOWST and Agnete to chat about their collaboration, future music releases and all things Eurovision.
Interview: JOWST and Agnete release “Barely Breathing”
Hello JOWST and Agnete! Thanks for talking to us today. Congratulations on the release of your new single “Barely Breathing”. Can you tell us about the meaning of the song?
JOWST: Hello! And thank you! “Barely Breathing” was made to just bring the best of both my and Agnete’s world into a song, and that is normally positive songs that mention bad things or feelings. The song is about a challenging relationship, but still something worth fighting for.
This is an epic collaboration between two Melodi Grand Prix winners. How did you two meet, and how did the collaboration come about?
JOWST: We met backstage at the Melodi Grand Prix final in 2017. Agnete was going to sing a new version of her song icebreaker. And a few months after that I invited her to the studio to write a new song with me. And after we did that we just kept in touch, and became friends, but mainly through Instagram. Around the time Magnus Bokn was going to be in the MGP final, I invited Agnete to the studio again, to write a song with me and Magnus. And we made this song “Barely Breathing”. And now a year later, we’re finally releasing it.
Can you talk about the songwriting process behind “Barely Breathing”?
JOWST: It’s pretty simple. I write songs all the time. Probably one every three or four days. We had our songwriting session, with a guitar, a piano, a computer and a microphone. And made stuff that sounded awesome when Agnete sang. And Agnete always sounds awesome, so that was simple. We mainly focused on doing something that had a lot of energy, but still a hint of melancholy.
JOWST, you have collaborated with lots of Eurovision artists including Manel Navarro and Kristian Kostov. You’re part of the Eurovision family! What has it been like being able to work with so many different artists?
JOWST: Yes, I have been able to work together with a lot of Eurovision artists. And I feel blessed that they want to work with me. But also, it’s pretty simple; I produce songs, and most of the Eurovision sing songs, so I need someone to collaborate with in order to make a song that has lyrics and so on. And most artists want to release more songs than what they are actually releasing, so whenever I ask someone to work, there’s usually a positive response. And as a lot of the songs have been released, the results from that “work” must have been pretty good.
As an artist and a music producer — or just in general a person in the music industry — you would want to try to level up your collaborators and the people you work with at all times, and the level of artist that has been in Eurovision is really high. And as a part of the Eurovision family, I seem to find better collaborators through that network than my local network. It’s been great working with them. And I am currently working with more than what people know!
How has your sound evolved since your Eurovision 2017 appearance?
JOWST: I could talk about this for a long time. I hope that people who are interested in knowing the answer for this question, listen through to the songs that I’ve released, and find out for themselves. But I’ve been through a lot. I see myself more as a songwriter and composer and producer than an artist with a certain sound, image, and message. I need to do a lot of different things. So I’ve released slow and fast songs, EDM, trap, pop, and alternative stuff. But I guess you could say that my sound is going with the industry, and what’s hot within EDM and pop. The new thing now is “slap house”. And “Barely Breathing” is almost that. Just a little bit too fast.
And Agnete. In the past, you have talked about how difficult your Eurovision experience was with regards to stress and anxiety. You have showcased great strength and we are very happy that you have been able to share your mental health journey with the world. What have you learned about yourself through that experience?
Agnete: Thank you so much! During Eurovision I had the most difficult time of my life. Anxiety and depression are something I have struggled with most of my life and when I got older it became more challenging to handle and understand. During Eurovision it got even worse because of the pressure and stress. That experience was a big wake-up call for me, I had to take a break, take care of myself and learn how to live my life the best possible way despite my challenges with my mental health. So I did that, took a break, got help and now I’m feeling much better.
You’re back on the music scene, with two songs released recently — “Boo” and “Beginning of the End”. What has the fan reception been like since your return to the music scene?
Agnete: I am so happy that I’m back doing music, because that is what I love doing. And my listeners are excited and happy that I am back and they give me so much love and support. I am so thankful for that.
And to you both, our readers want to know — would you ever consider returning to Melodi Grand Prix and maybe Eurovision?
Agnete: MGP and Eurovision is not something I’m planning on doing in the near future. But you never know, maybe I’ll be back one day.
All of us at wiwibloggs wish JOWST and Agnete continued success both with their “Barely Breathing” collaboration and their individual careers.
JOWST and Agnete’s latest single features Azzip — a 16-year-old DJ and music producer from Madrid, Spain. The track is about holding onto your strength to make it through the rough patches in a relationship that’s worth fighting for. As Agnete sings “holding my head above the water”, JOWST’s production shines through with an epic drop that is bound to find its way into European clubs and singles charts.
JOWST and Agnete at Eurovision
Agnete rose to fame as a teen star, singing in the punk band The BlackSheeps. She won Melodi Grand Prix in 2016 and went on to represent Norway at Eurovision with her song “Icebreaker”. Agnete has also been very open about her struggles with stress and anxiety surrounding her Eurovision experience. Prior to travelling to Stockholm, she cancelled her promotional tours, telling fans she needed to prioritise her mental health. In late 2016, Mental halse Norge awarded Agnete the Transparency Prize, for her openness surrounding her struggles.
Following a brief pause from the public eye, Agnete returned to the music scene in 2020, appearing on the Norwegian reality show Hver gang vi møtes. There, she once again spoke openly about her mental health journey. “I think the most important thing is that you do not allow yourself to be limited by challenges, and that you do what you feel you want to do — despite anxiety, despite things that can be scary and challenging”, Agnete says. “Because that’s how you grow, and that’s how you learn.”
Meanwhile, JOWST represented Norway at Eurovision 2017 with the song “Grab The Moment”. Alongside vocalist Aleksander Walmann, JOWST secured an impressive tenth place finish for Norway, with a total of 158 points. Since then, he’s stayed close to the Eurovision circle, collaborating with song contest stars like Kristian Kostov, Manel Navarro and Nathan Trent. And in 2018, he even submitted songs to You Decide — the United Kingdom’s selection process for Eurovision 2019.
What do you think of “Barely Breathing”? Are you excited to hear more music from JOWST and Agnete? Let us know in the comments below!