Hyvää iltaa, Suomi!

It was crazy and party with Käärijä in 2023, who got Finland’s next best result in Eurovision ever by winning the public vote and getting 2nd place overall.

Now Finland will try and emulate that success in UMK24, where the 7 acts were revealed tonight. They will compete in the biggest UMK show ever at Nokia Arena in Tampere on 10 February 2024 at 21.00 EET (19.00 GMT/20.00 CET).

The UMK24 songs will be revealed one song at a time on every weekday beginning from tomorrow, Thursday 11 January 2024. Each song will be released at midnight EET (22.00 GMT/23.00 CET) on each artist’s reveal day on Yle Areena and YouTube, as well as on Spotify and other streaming services.

Release date for the entries can be seen under each artist description.

UMK24 contestants

Cyan Kicks – “Dancing With Demons”

(Release: Wednesday 10 January 22.00 GMT/23.00 CET)

In 2022, Cyan Kicks competed in the Contest for New Music UMK with its entry Hurricane, placing second in the final. Their success in UMK was followed by numerous gigs all over Europe, a headline tour in Germany and, just recently, a tour in the United Kingdom and continental Europe along with rock group Smash Into Pieces.

The band is made up of vocalist Susanna Alexandra, guitarist Niila Perkkiö, bassist Leevi Erkkilä and drummer Pietari Reijonen. Cyan Kicks’ sound is easily identifiable, thanks largely to the band’s guitarist and producer Niila. Described as being “electric”, their ultimate sound finally took shape in 2017.

“You could say that our music is a metal heart in a pop wrapper,” states Niila.

The UMK entry Dancing With Demons is the result of long, hard work. It received its finishing touches in London’s legendary RAK Studios with the help of British songwriter Dan Lancaster. The song deals with harnessing one’s inner demons and turning them into a strength.

“Everyone has their own weaknesses and demons, which we’re ashamed of and don’t want anyone else to see. Then, we thought what if we were able to make our own inner demons our allies – what would happen?” describes Susanna.

Sexmane – “Mania”

(Release: Thursday 11 January 22.00 GMT/23.00 CET)

Sexmane, a.k.a. Max Sene, is currently one of the most listened-to artists in Finland. His 2019 debut album Sextape was a roaring success, sitting on the Official Finnish Albums Chart for over 100 weeks. His second album Väärinymmärretty earned the artist four Emma nominations (Finnish Grammys) His 2023 album Sextape II sealed his success. After the album’s release, 18 of its 20 songs made the Finnish Top 50 chart. Sene was nominated for four Emmas in two consecutive years and won the title of Finnish Artist of the Year.

Music was a big part of Sene’s life already in his early childhood. Sene grew up in a religious Laestadian community, where it is common to sing hymns and the community’s own songs. Commercial music was forbidden in the community, but the attraction to it was powerful.

His UMK entry Mania was formed slowly from different pieces. Sene wrote the song at different times and in different moods, which is also apparent in the song lyrics.

“The words in the chorus crystallise my thoughts: it’s quite all right to be a bit ‘crazy’ I know that a lot of young people are struggling with mental health challenges. I want to give them the strength and courage to hang in there.”

Until now, Sene has followed UMK from the audience, as his older brother Isaac Sene competed in UMK in 2022, with his hit song Kuuma Jäbä. Now, Sene has his sights set on doing what Finland just missed out on last year.

Sara Siipola – “Paskana”

(Release: Sunday 14 January 22.00 GMT/23.00 CET)

Sara Siipola’s dark and soulful voice has enchanted Finns with such songs as Rohkee sydänSusta tulee tähti and one of her latest, Uusi musta. A veritable forge of hits, Siipola grew up in the Ostrobothnian town of Laihia, where finding herself was not easy. In school, those with big dreams were quickly put into their place.

Siipola had trouble finding her own place when she was young. In 2016, she graduated with a vocational qualification in business in Vaasa. Shortly thereafter, she began her singing career. Within five years, she had a raft of singles, a debut album and music programme Tähdet Tähdet under her belt.

“I love writing songs on big topics. I really want people to be able to listen to my songs whenever they want to feel self-confident and connect with others.

Her UMK entry Paskana (“I’m a f***ing wreck”) is about a friend who loses their father and the feelings that the loss stirs up. During one evening, Siipola watched how her friend tried to be present at a dinner party after experiencing such a loss.

Paskana deals with grief and lets the listener feel heartbroken: why do others go grocery shopping and go on with their lives when my own world has stopped cold? According to Siipola, the power of the song stems from the fact that it doesn’t romanticise the idea of grief, that there will be a happy ending.

Jesse Markin – “Glow”

(Release: Monday 15 January 22.00 GMT/23.00 CET)

With his debut album Folk in 2019, Jesse Markin became one of Finland’s most captivating new artists overnight. Markin was voted Newcomer of the Year and his album won the Critics choice award in the annual Emma Gaala (Finnish Grammys). His popularity manifested on sold-out gigs, including everything from the iconic rock club Tavastia to the massive stage of Flow Festival.

There was some push to brand Markin as a rapper, but he felt it was too restrictive. He says he understands that many artists choose a single genre and style to focus their efforts on. However, Markin wanted to infuse his own music with many different worlds.

He found inspiration for his music in movies, literature and his own life. Where Folk focused on social perspectives, his 2021 album Noir explored Markin’s personal life. In addition to everything else, Markin has also made music for the second season of the Moominvalley series.

Markin decided to enter UMK because his entry Glow felt right. The song is an excellent example of how Markin combines genres and styles that are important to him right now in one single.

“One of the main points of the song is ‘don’t give up’. Even the smallest spark can get things going if you just try. Musically speaking, the song contains afro-vibes, cosmic soundscapes and so much more,” describes Markin.

Windows95man – “No Rules!”

(Release: Tuesday 16 January 22.00 GMT/23.00 CET)

Windows95man is an embodiment of the 90s, who frees a once timid family man from his everyday life. It all started when Teemu Keisteri’s home videos on Youtube began to circulate all over the world. One of the videos even ended up in a commercial aired during an NHL game.

In 2013, a DJ gig the Flow Festival brought the character known as Windows95man to life. His artist costume consists of a pair of very cut-off shorts made by Keisteri’s friend and a Windows95 t-shirt ordered online. Since then, Windows95man has performed at Helsinki’s New Year’s celebration in 2022, as an opening act for Käärijä at the Helsinki Ice Hall and at numerous smaller events. 

Many have also come across his character, who is known for his wild and crazy stage performances, in a Youtube video, where he gets an entire planeload of passengers to lose control to Darude’s Sandstorm.

At UMK, Windows95man will be releasing his very first single, No Rules. The song title refers to the artist’s motto, which appears in both his music and other artistic productions. In addition to his DJ gigs, Keisteri is a visual artist who is known for his artist persona, Ukkeli: a representation of cultural phenomena.

Henri Piispanen is the singer in No Rules. Keisteri explains that the chorus of the song was so challenging that he had trouble finding a singer with enough technical skill to pull it off. Piispanen was the only one whose voice could go high enough.

“In my opinion, all Finns are a bit looney-tunes deep inside, and I wanted to bring that out more. Now I can share my music with an even bigger audience as well as spread the joyous message of No Rules,” says Keisteri.

Sini Sabotage – “Kuori mua”

(Release: Wednesday 17 January 22.00 GMT/23.00 CET)

Having sung and played music since childhood, Sini Sabotage rose to fame with her 2013 hit Levikset repee. The song shot up the Official Finnish Charts to number one for Singles and Downloads, and it went gold in 2013.

Sabotage’s accomplishments blazed a trail for female rap artists in Finland. 

Sabotage’s first album 22 m² was released in 2013. The album was well-received and brought added exposure to Sabotage’s music. After 2013, Sabotage has released one EP and numerous singles: her meteoric rise to the top of Finnish music left a permanent mark on popular culture. 

Sabotage considers her 2020 album Blueberry Makkonen to be one of her most important works. The album is the first one that Sabotage says she was able to write without any outside pressure

UMK marks a new chapter for Sabotage, or in her own words, a completely new book. According to Sabotage, the colourful contest entry Kuori mua (“Peel me”) was inspired by “a few fireball shots” and a collaborative brainstorming session. The song’s co-creator Vilma Virintie described how Sabotage is like an onion, with its many layers. 

“We’re never just what we appear to be on the outside at any given moment. We all have many sides and so much more to give than just one picture, song or moment,” says Virintie.

Mikael Gabriel x nublu – “Vox populi”

(Release: Thursday 18 January 22.00 GMT/23.00 CET)

Mikael Gabriel and Estonian rapper nublu are among the most successful rap artists in their respective countries. Released in 2010, Mikael Gabriel’s debut album Pohjosen poika was well received, and the singles on his 2015 album Versus broke streaming records even before the album was officially released. 

Nublu rose to become Estonia’s biggest artist and rap phenomenon when he was voted Hip-Hop/Rap/R&B Artist of the Year in 2020. A collaboration by Gabriel and nublu, Universum, was released that same year, quickly rising to become the most listened-to single in both countries on Spotify.

Gabriel and nublu found each other through social media. Gabriel had heard about nublu, but did not know anything about Estonian rap music. Gabriel admits that he had certain preconceptions, but hearing nublu’s material turned them right around.

Mikael Gabriel x nublu’s UMK entry is called Vox Populi. The song talks about how it is sometimes hard to know what’s true and what isn’t in such polarised public forums. According to the artists, the song is extremely topical in today’s world, which is filled with populism and people droning on endlessly about their own truths.

“The song deals with political and cultural divides, saying that even though we’re all entitled to our own opinions, it doesn’t necessarily make them true. Everyone should use their voice, but at the same time you should also keep in mind that you will be judged no matter what,” says Gabriel.

How to watch UMK24 

You can watch the UMK24 on 10 February from 19.00 GMT/20.00 CET on YLE Areena – or on YLE1 if you’re in Finland.

During the live broadcast, the Finnish public can vote for their favourite song. Each entry will also be scored by an international jury with industry professionals from 7 different Eurovision countries.

The winner will be determined by tallying the public votes with the scores given by the international jury, with the public vote accounting for 75% of the final score and the jury panel for the remaining 25%.

Who are you most excited to see in the lineup? Do you think Finland can win the public vote in Eurovision again with one of these entries? Let us know in the comments below.

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Fast Food Music Lover
Fast Food Music Lover
1 month ago

I think they will withdraw soon but these songs are great nevertheless

jercle
jercle
1 month ago

Unlikely, why would YLE go to the effort of announcing the songs and the singers only for then to pull out?

Denis
Denis
1 month ago
Reply to  jercle

They also say in the broadcast the winner will compete in Malmö. So yeah, unlikely

Roro31
1 month ago

onestly I am quite excited by the participants this year for my favorite national selection!!

In 2022, I already supported Cyan Kicks and seeing them again this year excites me even more! I think their song will be less powerful than in 2022 (it always does when our favorites come back) but it will still be very good and Susanna ensures live!

For the others I am quite excited to discover the song of Sara Siipola, Window95Man & also Sini Sabotage!

Thank you Finland !

Jake
Jake
1 month ago

Looks like they all have slick music video packages again…is Cyan Kicks the first ‘returning’ artist since UMK reformatted this way? I wonder if they are helped by that…looking forward to see what they are presenting as the best 7 songs they received.

BadWoolfGirl
BadWoolfGirl
1 month ago
Reply to  Jake

I think they are. They are the first returning artist to umk in recent years.

GojoSatoru
GojoSatoru
1 month ago
Reply to  Jake

Nope. The first one was Aksel Kankaanranta.

Brian
Brian
1 month ago

So excited! I hope they bring back the option to stream with the lovely English-speaking commentator!

Purple Mask
Purple Mask
1 month ago

I’ll echo what Jonas said. I’m excited for this UMK selection, and they all know fans will have high expectations after last year. It should be great fun to watch.

The Voice of Reason
The Voice of Reason
1 month ago

Wow so the leaks were true?! So much for ‘Debunked lol hahahaha’ logic! I was CERTAIN Beast in Black were instead of Cyan Kicks but No, they’ve rebranded it seems! Without knowing much about the other artists I reckon they will have the strongest song. They were severely robbed in 2022 in hindsight so I think a top 10 entry at Eurovision for Finland by them will be justice! Looks like I was right about there being someone from Estonia! Specifically 200+ minutes meant the artist couldn’t have lived in Finland anyway! A very colourful and interesting cast of characters!… Read more »

Eurovision fan
Eurovision fan
1 month ago

Cyan Kicks is winning

Yuarith
Yuarith
1 month ago

It sucks that the leak was true. Don’t get me wrong, the lineup is amazing and I’m looking forward to listening to the tracks! But it took the guessing and the surprise factor away.

jercle
jercle
1 month ago
Reply to  Yuarith

Is there a leaker going around again? I hated that Crystal Ball account last year, is it back again?

Yuarith
Yuarith
1 month ago
Reply to  jercle

No, this time it was a teenager on an anonymous messaging app called Jodel

jercle
jercle
1 month ago
Reply to  Yuarith

I feel so old…I have no idea what Jodel is.

Yuarith
Yuarith
1 month ago
Reply to  jercle

idk what is it exactly either, it’s available in only a handful of countries and Mexico (where I live) isn’t one of them lmao

Teddi
Teddi
1 month ago

Interesting enough – all the names from that leak page were CORRECT! However, names of the songs were all wrong.. I wonder if it was on purpose.

The Voice of Reason
The Voice of Reason
1 month ago
Reply to  Teddi

Maybe it was the generate hype by the broadcaster or maybe the names got changed?

Abdi
Abdi
1 month ago

So generic and predicable

Kimi
Kimi
1 month ago
Reply to  Abdi

Like your comment.

Whisker
Whisker
1 month ago

Woo-hoo, I’m ready to open the prezzies!

Grft
Grft
1 month ago

Unfortunately the songs have leaked.
Love the Cyan Kicks track even if it’s not as catchy as Hurricane.
I have the feeling it’s gonna be between windows95man and Cyan Kicks. I hope they go with rock this time. We have already enough joke entries in other countries

Telkke
Telkke
1 month ago
Reply to  Grft

I want to hear the full version of each, otherwise a song might not come as it should. For context: last year I loved Ulrikke’s snippet of “Honestly”, but the full version wasn’t what I expected.

Ari
Ari
1 month ago
Reply to  Telkke

a major fail, that song. Honestly!

Telkke
Telkke
1 month ago
Reply to  Ari

Love the wordplay, haha!

The Voice of Reason
The Voice of Reason
1 month ago
Reply to  Telkke

It wasn’t a bad song and the fact it got 2nd in OGAE shows how powerful it was.

Jake
Jake
1 month ago

if you want to know how OGAE votes, it goes this way usually:
1st place: Sweden
2nd-5th place: Returning artists who they’ve heard of before and liked regardless of song
6th-10th place: pop bangers
10th-15th place: ethnic songs
last few: ballads

Jonas
Jonas
1 month ago
Reply to  Grft

Leaks suck. I hope some good soul has taken a sledgehammer to the crystal ball this year. Then dynamited the room just to make sure that no trace remains.

Ari
Ari
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonas

Yeah, I kinda want those leakers to face legal consequences.

The Voice of Reason
The Voice of Reason
1 month ago
Reply to  Ari

What kind of ‘consequences’?

The Voice of Reason
The Voice of Reason
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonas

He was most likely an EBU plant to get us hyped. Leaks in the Eurovision community tend to be like that.

Steven
Steven
1 month ago
Reply to  Grft

We have had more then enough rock entries from Finland, and they need to switch a bit, or a bit more to be honest. Very unoriginal if it’s a rock entry coming from Finland

Dandi Dansa
Dandi Dansa
1 month ago

Some real bangers incoming, super exciting days to come!

Ari
Ari
1 month ago

This is what Norway, Spain, Estonia etc. do better: they reveal all songs at once. I think this is both the fairest and most convenient way. It’s not as annoying as Sweden revealing songs over a month but still. Now, exicted to hear the Finnish songs, especially the ones in Finnish, hoping Käärijä set a language standard for Eurovision.

Dandi Dansa
Dandi Dansa
1 month ago
Reply to  Ari

I feel opposite, it’s better that each song has it’s own day and since there’s seven songs it’s not long wait to hear all of them. Otherwise people make those TOP lists and eventually some song will fall behing everyone else, as the attention only shifts to the main favourite.

Ari
Ari
1 month ago
Reply to  Dandi Dansa

It’s a competition. Everyone but one will always fall behind either way. I mostly want this for selfish reasons: I wanna listen to any batch of NF songs all at once and be done with it. But I also think it’s fairer to release everything at once. Everyone starts at the same time and the chips fall where they may. Ofc I see what Finland is doing. They went for quality over quantity and are treating every entry like it could be the one. Which is a nice approach, indeed.

Dandi Dansa
Dandi Dansa
1 month ago
Reply to  Ari

I see your point, for me waiting for next song(s) is part of the excitement, whether it’s UMK or Melodifestivalen.

Jonas
Jonas
1 month ago
Reply to  Ari

For me, Sanremo-style is the best. A full reveal of “the whole package” on the night. Adds to the anticipation and excitement. Gives a reason to actually watch instead of just waiting for the results.

Melodifestivalen ALMOST have this, but ruin it by giving us “snippets”. Which to me is the worst way of revealing a song and presentation.

Yuarith
Yuarith
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonas

Sanremo’s style is the best for its format. I mean, Sanremo has 25 songs a year, while UMK just 7. I like both styles myself 🙂

Nikita Zhukov
Nikita Zhukov
1 month ago

I can’t believe Cyan Kicks are back
There was some article about UMK a few months ago on this website, and I literally said I wanted Cyan Kicks back, but I didn’t think that would actually happen, I’m extremely happy about that
As much as I love The Rasmus, my heart has been shattered for 2 years because Cyan Kicks didn’t get to Eurovision with Hurricane, but now I get to watch their UMK journey once again
I hope they win this time, no other rock entry to split the vote with this time

The Voice of Reason
The Voice of Reason
1 month ago
Reply to  Nikita Zhukov

Hurricane was the vibe back in 2022!

Nikita Zhukov
Nikita Zhukov
1 month ago

Still is

Jonas
Jonas
1 month ago

Exciting, these acts obviously have a tough act to follow. Expectations are high!