Sweden: Cornelia Jakobs pulls us in closer10 May 2022 at 16:20 CEST
Having triumphed in a six-week pre-selection in her native Sweden to get here, the case could be made that Cornelia Jakobs already had a stage-ready performance to bring to the Eurovision Song Contest in Turin. And it seems the artist agreed. Living by the old adage that ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’, Cornelia has flat-packed her Melodifestivalen performance of Hold Me Closer, IKEA-style (as any Swede would surely approve of) and taken it with her to the PalaOlimpico. But it hasn’t been as easy as that might initially sound.
It was pretty difficult actually. There is quite a distance between me and the audience, which is different to how it was at Melodifestivalen. I was on a little island stage there, in the middle of the audience. So here, I will have to focus on giving more to the camera. But we have been really striving to get the same kind of essence and vibe to it. The feeling of the performance; to keep it small at the beginning and then big at the end.
One element of that performance which hasn’t needed to be re-thought for Turin, is the fact that Cornelia chooses to perform barefoot. One might think that this is following a Eurovision tradition that has accompanied Contest wins for the likes of Emmelie De Forest, Sandie Shaw, Dima Bilan and Sweden’s own Loreen, but actually, Cornelia just thinks it’s more practical for her style of singing.
When you have your toes and your feet on the ground, it’s so much easier to find balance. And since I close my eyes a lot when I sing, I sometimes lose my balance! So I’ve noticed that I sing better if I don’t have shoes.
Being comfortable and at ease while performing live is at the forefront of Cornelia Jakobs’ mind whenever she takes to the stage. In fact, this way of thinking also extends to the very start of the creative process, when she’s writing songs. If she can’t imagine it live, it’s difficult for her to imagine it working at all.
That’s the most important thing to me. It’s at the core of why I’m doing this. When I play live, it’s the only place I can get a rest from what’s going on inside my head. That’s when my head stops and I can just be in my emotions. It’s my way to get my emotions out. So it’s kinda like therapy to me. So when I write music, I write for that – performing. And now when I’m writing, if I can’t see in my head that this will work live on a stage, then I don’t get the vibe.
When Cornelia wrote Hold Me Closer, there was something else at the forefront of her mind, too; an experience she’d probably rather forget, but which she will now have to relive every time she performs the Melodifestivalen winner.
I was in the middle of a break-up period while it was written. Last summer. It was this on-and-off kind of relationship. Very passionate, but very toxic, too. No one is able to feel good when the relationship is like that. One day it’s great, and then the next day it’s like: ‘oh where is he?’. It was hard on me. And I was in the middle of that when we wrote the song, so it felt very natural to write about it.
Representing her country at the Eurovision Song Contest is the pinnacle of Cornelia Jakobs’ career thus far. It’s a career that has encompassed reality TV, major-label record deals, a girlband and artistic independence. Given all that, it’s fair to say that the artist is more well-versed than most in the workings of the music business. She has a pragmatic approach to it now, confident that she’s in it for the right reasons, and therefore for the long-haul.
It is a very special industry because we don’t have so much security and health benefits. It’s very: ‘you’re on your own’. If it goes good for you, then that’s great. But if it goes bad for you, then: ‘aww, too bad for you’. When you are writing music, no one gets paid unless you get a hit, and then you get paid one and a half years later. So it’s a super hard business to be in and it’s very important, more than ever, to be in this industry for the love of music. Because otherwise, you will tear yourself apart.
To see Cornelia Jakobs represent Sweden at the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest, you can tune in to the Second Semi Final on Thursday 12 May, where she’ll be performing Hold Me Closer.