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Norway: 4 previous Eurovision acts among 21 Melodi Grand Prix artists

04 January 2023 at 14:00 CET
Subwoolfer won MGP 2022 and represented Norway in Turin
Norwegian broadcaster NRK has revealed the 21 artists hoping to win Melodi Grand Prix (MGP) and represent Norway at the Eurovision Song Contest in Liverpool this May.

Among the competitors are 4 artists who have already experienced the Eurovision stage, as well as a treasure trove of established and new Norwegian talent.

The MGP format is slightly different this year, with the top 3 performers from each semi-final qualifying for the grand final in Trondheim on Saturday 4 February.

They're all hoping to replicate and improve on the success of Subwoolfer, who finished 10th in Turin with Give That Wolf A Banana.

Shall we meet the participants? 

Semi-Final 1 - Saturday 14 January

These songs will be available to enjoy on Monday 9 January. 

Ulrikke Brandstorp - Honestly

Lyrics and music: Jim Bergsted, Helge Moen, Ben Adams, Ulrikke Brandstorp, Joshua Oliver and Christoffer Gunnestad  

Ulrikke Brandstorp - Melodi Grand Prix 2023 NRK

Ulrikke Brandstorp has had a big place in her heart for Melodi Grand Prix for many years. You may remember her from the 2020 season when she won the competition with the song Attention

Though officially a returning Eurovision Song Contest participant, the Contest was cancelled that year - so now she is back hungrier and more motivated than ever. 

In recent years, audiences have seen her as the Troll in Maskorama (The Masked Singer), in the mud at Kompani Lauritzen (Celebrity Taskforce), and not least in the lead role as Sophie in the musical Mamma Mia

Ulrikke is back in MGP with her most personal song so far: Honestly. The song is based on her own life; it’s about how you want to be there for someone you love when they go through bad experiences, but it’s often difficult to know how to stand up for the other as best as possible, without losing each other completely. 

Eirik Næss - Wave

Lyrics and music: Viktor Ljungqvist, Amalie Olsen and Eirik Næss 

Eirik Næss - Melodi Grand Prix 2023 NRK

Eirik Næss  is an artist and songwriter from Larvik. He moved to London straight after high school, lived there for seven years and spent much of that time playing his own music in the city. 

Eirik has been a session guitarist in Oslo since he moved to the capital, where he has, among other things, been in the Stjernekamp band. 

Since the start of the corona period, Eirik has spent a lot of time writing music. He has been to Nashville, the Bahamas, Amsterdam, the Seychelles and Seoul to write new songs, and will be hoping to add a trip to Trondheim to the list! 

Last year he went to the Maldives after being contacted on Instagram. There he met the artist Ljung, and they became friends quickly. Afterwards, they travelled a lot together and wrote several songs. One of these is the song Wave, which is about taking a chance and saying yes to the opportunities in life. They have written the song together with Eirik's pal Amalie Olsen. 

Kate Gulbrandsen - TÃ¥rer I Paradis

Lyrics and music: Kjetil Mørland and Kate Gulbrandsen 

Kate Gulbrandsen - Melodi Grand Prix 2023 NRK

Another previous Eurovision Song Contest participant… It's Kate Gulbrandsen! She finished 9th in Brussels 1987.

Kate became a celebrity after the victory in MGP 1987 with her catchy song Mitt Liv and her long hair. In 1994, Kate sang the song Welcome to Lillehammer, which Rolf Løvland composed for the Winter Olympics. 

Four years later, she was the voice behind the Paralympics song Med Gullet For Øyet, written by Jørn Hansen.

Now she is ready to enter the MGP stage again with the song TÃ¥rer I Paradis

Rasmus Thall - TRESKO  

Lyrics and music: Rasmus Simon Vedvik Thallaug, Farida Louise Bolseth Benounis and Robin Alexander Vedvik Helmersen 

Rasmus Thall - Melodi Grand Prix 2023 NRK

Rasmus Thallaug is a songwriter, producer and artist from Tønsberg. He goes by the stage name Rasmus Thall, and has been making music for 15 years. 

In MGP last year, he was both producer, co-songwriter and pianist on his girlfriend Farida's contribution Dangerous. Now he is back in the competition with a song he will sing himself. Rasmus is the grandson of the well-known Norwegian artist Anita Thallaug - who participated in the Eurovision Song Contest in London 1963.

This year marks the 60th anniversary of that participation with the song Solhverv, and now it is the grandson's turn to stand on the MGP stage.

Rasmus has written TRESKO together with Farida and his older brother, Robin; in fact, the song is about his brother and their everyday life after an accident he suffered in 2010.

Alessandra Mele - Queen of Kings  

Lyrics and music: Henning Olerud, Stanley Ferdinandez, Alessandra Mele and Linda Dale 

Alessandra Mele - Melodi Grand Prix 2023 NRK

Alessandra Mele is a Norwegian-Italian artist and songwriter. The 20-year-old has lived most of her life in Italy, but decided to move to Norway two years ago after finishing high school as she wanted to get closer to her Norwegian family and to develop her interest in music.

From a very young age she began to sing, dance and cook with her mother to the sound of Frank Sinatra. She took part in her first singing competition when she was 6 years old and won it all with the ABBA classic Dancing Queen. She loves being on stage and feels that this is the place where she can be herself. 

The song Queen of Kings is about daring to be yourself and coming out stronger after difficult times in life. 

Byron Williams Jr & Jowst - Freaky For The Weekend

Lyrics and music: Byron Williams Jr and Joachim With Steen 

Bryon Willams Jr & JOWST - Melodi Grand Prix 2023 NRK

OK, so as if this semi-final didn’t have enough Eurovision alumni… guess who’s back?

A music match made in Oslo! When the artist Byron Williams grew up in warm Miami, he had no idea that he would end up on the MGP stage in small, cold Norway. MGP was one of the first shows he saw on TV when he moved to the Norwegian town Fredrikstad. He wanted to stand on that stage himself - and now it is about to become a reality. Byron has been a member of the group The Drifters, and is known to many Norwegians through his participation in The Voice in 2021. 

Joakim With Steen (Jowst), who won Melodi Grand Prix with Grab the Moment in 2017, has since been streamed over 30 million times, and added to over 400,000 individual playlists and reached over two million monthly listeners on Spotify. Jowst has shared the stage with artists such as MØ and ItaloBrothers, played on VG-lista and festivals throughout Europe, and participated in Eurovision in Ukraine in front of more than 187 million viewers. 

Together they make catchy EDM pop and are soon ready to release an EP that includes the MGP contribution Freaky For The Weekend, a song about getting ready for a party - and that’s exactly what the boys will do at MGP.

Umami Tsunami featuring Kyle Alessandro, Kristian Haugstøyl & Magnus Winjum - Geronimo  

Lyrics and music: Torgeir Ryssevik, Carl-Henrik Wahl, Bjørn Olav Edvardsen, Sindre Timberlid Jenssen, Lasse Midtsian Nymann and Kristian Lund. 

Umami Tsunami - Melodi Grand Prix 2023 NRK

Umami Tsunami is a project that started in the summer of 2022, in what would become a community of songwriters, artists, producers and people who work with design and visual expression. 

Three young talents are featuring artists on Umami Tsunami's MGP song Geronimo: Kyle Alessandro (16) from Steinkjer is known from TV programs such as Norske Talenter and Allsang PÃ¥ Grensen. He has collaborated with renowned artists and producers such as André Jensen from the duo Hagle, Jesper Borgen, Erik Fjeld, Ola Klæbo (OKEY) and Lars Rosness. 

Kristian Haux (20) from Ã…mli comes from a musical family and has been singing for as long as he can remember. In 2020, Kristian participated in Idol. Kristian has been a parkour instructor, as well as a substitute teacher and support contact. 

The leader of the group, Magnus Winjum (17) from Lillestrøm, has taken part of MGPjr and participated in BlimE! and Allsang PÃ¥ Grensen. He has held several concerts and been on Christmas tours. In addition, Magnus has had the lead role as Troy in High School Musical, worked as a voice actor in several series, and was an actor in the series Klassen on NRK. 


Semi-Final 2 - Saturday 21 January

These songs will be available to enjoy on Monday 16 January. 

Sandra Lyng - Drøm D Bort

Lyrics and music: Sandra Lyng, Erlend Torheim, Ferdinann West and Kristina Blakli  

Sandra Lyng - Melodi Grand Prix 2023 NRK

Sandra Lyng from Mosjøen became a well-known name in Norway after she participated in Idol as a 16-year-old. She has gradually gained a long career in the music industry as an artist and a songwriter. In the time after Idol, she released the single Sommerflørt, which was at the top of VG-lista for five weeks.

After her debut album, she toured extensively and made various TV appearances, before jetting to Brazil and eventually the US where she worked as a songwriter.

In addition to creating hits such as Play My Drum (which has been streamed close to 30 million times on Spotify), Sandra has appeared regularly on TV screens in her home country.

In recent years, Sandra has focused on family, on education in mental training and now holds courses in life management. She is participating for the first time in Melodi Grand Prix as an artist with a self-written song. Drøm D Bort is a song about vulnerability, hope and strength.  

JONE - Ekko Inni Meg  

Lyrics and music: Morten Franck, Christopher Colin Archer, Christine Ekeberg, Audun Agnar Guldbrandsen and Jonas Nes Steinset  

JONE - Melodi Grand Prix 2023 NRK

Jonas Nes Steinset (JONE) is participating in Melodi Grand Prix for the very first time with the song Ekko Inni Meg

After changing schools in the 9th grade, he was introduced to music, which led him to complete a bachelor's degree in songwriting and production at Kristiania University College. It was here he met Daskeladden, his constant companion, with whom he currently tours and produces all his music. 

Since 2020, JONE has specialised in sing-along-friendly, catchy party music, with singles such as Et Sted PÃ¥ MontebelloJag Gillar Dig and Livet PÃ¥ Bøgda. In 2021, he was nominated for a Spellemann award in the ‘party music’ category, and received a gold trophy for the single Eventyr.

Swing’it - Prohibition

Lyrics and music: Martin Jarl Velsin, Jonah Charles Hitchens, Vebjørn Mamen and Sam Peter Norris 

Swing'it- Melodi Grand Prix 2023 NRK

Swing'it started their career as street musicians in Tønsberg in 2014. The dream was to show the world that jazz also belongs in the 2020s. Since then, the band has played hundreds of concerts around Norway, Europe and the USA. They have played on everything from large festival stages to private yachts in Ibiza, parade concerts in New Orleans, secret jazz clubs in London and cruise ships in the Caribbean.

In 2018, they created the concept ‘Prohibition’, a show with 1920s dance, burlesque, cabaret and music where everyone in the audience dresses up in Gatsby style. This culminated in Norway's biggest New Year's party at the start of 2020. 

The band consists of Martin Jarl Velsin, Leif Peter Vilhelm Grahn, Edvard Bondi Knowles, Jan Ivar Ekroll, Vebjørn Mamen, Håvard Mathisen Tanner and Håkon Kvam.

Ella - Waist

Lyrics and music: Raphaela Antônia Souza Silva, Timothy John Adam Gosden and Tristan Henry 

Ella - Melodi Grand Prix 2023 NRK

Ella, also known as Raphaela Antônia Souza Silva, was born in Belo Horizonte in Brazil. Throughout her life she has been very influenced by her parents' eclectic music taste; aged 2 she was introduced to Sarah Brightman’s La Luna concert and decided right there and then that she wanted to be an opera singer. 

Ella held on to that dream throughout her life and between ups, downs and a lot of moving, started at one of Belo Horizonte's most renowned choirs, ‘Palácio das Artes’, as a soprano in 2010 at the age of 12. One year later, Ella moved to Tromsø in Norway.

In 2022, she released her debut single Criminal. The track, featuring the French and Brazilian superstars Franglish, Xamã and JS O Mão de Ouro, was the theme song to the Brazilian movie Me Tira da Mira.

After a successful debut hit, Ella continued the mission to mix Scandinavian and Latin styles with her single Oh!, featuring singer and Tiktok phenomenon Yina Rose. 

Alejandro Fuentes - Fuego

Lyrics and music: Alejandro Fuentes, Nermin Harambasic, Chris Young and Mateo Camargo 

Alejandro Fuentes - Melodi Grand Prix 2023 NRK

We first got to know Alejandro Fuentes through Idol in 2005. After the competition, he released his debut album Diamonds or Pearls, which spent a total of 17 weeks on VG-lista. 

Alejandro has a successful career as a solo artist and as part of De nye Gitarkamaterene. Together with Espen Lind, Kurt Nilsen and Askil Holm, he toured around Norway to packed halls with Hallelujah - Live. The success gave them a Spellemann award in 2006 and a new tour in 2009 and 2019. 

Alejandro participated in MGP in 2018 with the love song Tengo Otra, which was sung in Spanish, like this year's contribution Fuego.

Bjørn Olav Edvardsen - Turn Off My Heart

Lyrics and music: Bjørn Olav Edvardsen, Christian Ingebrigtsen and Henrik Thala 

Bjørn Olav Edvardsen - Melodi Grand Prix 2023 NRK

Bjørn Olav Edvardsen  is an artist, actor and songwriter living in Nord-Odal, but raised on Tromøy outside Arendal. He makes his debut in Melodi Grand Prix as an artist, something he has dreamed of all his life. 

Bjørn Olav had his breakthrough as an artist when he became a finalist in Idol in 2005. Since then, he has been seen on many stages and TV productions, including The Voice. He currently runs his own record company and has worked with several Norwegian artists. 

In the last three years, he has explored and developed his writing skills. He was a songwriter in MGP 2021 on the entry I Can't Escape, and this year he is also one of the writers on Umami Tsunami’s song Geronimo.

Elsie Bay - Love You In A Dream  

Lyrics and music: Elsa Søllesvik, Andreas Stone Johansson and Tom Oehler 

Elsie Bay was 1 of the 3 qualifiers from Melodi Grand Prix semi-final 2
Elsie Bay - Melodi Grand Prix 2023 NRK

Elsa Søllesvik is an artist and songwriter who has been in the industry for many years, despite her young age. The Haugesund girl had her big breakthrough as a 17-year-old with the pop duo Elsa & Emilie, which led her to by:Larm Festival, P3-listing, Lindmo and VG-lista. At the time of writing, the duo has been streamed over 50 million times on Spotify.  

In 2014, Elsa was nominated for Spellemann with the album Endless Optimism, which was the soundtrack for the cult TV series Skam.

Elsa has been heavily involved in MGP writing Witch Woods in 2021 and Hammer of Thor in 2022, as well as Death Of Us, which she sang herself last year.

Semi-Final 3 - Saturday 28 January

These songs will be available to enjoy on Monday 23 January. 

Skrellex - Love Again

Lyrics and music: Kai Thomas Ryen Larsen, Michael James Down, Will Taylor, Primoz Poglajen and Jonas Gladnikoff 

Skrellex - Melodi Grand Prix 2023 NRK

Skrellex is a drag artist from Moss living in Oslo. She is a familiar name to many Norwegians having enjoyed several years in the spotlight, and is the alter-ego of musician Kai Thomas Larsen. 

Among other things, Kai played the lead role of Romeo in Lykken Er at the Edderkoppen theatre, came 2nd in the talent show Grease, and won the title ‘Mr. Gay Norway’ in 2008. In 2010, Kai released the song Be Proud, Mr. Gay Europe’s official theme song, and toured around Europe afterwards.

It is Skrellex who participates in MGP. When she performed in All Together Now, 99 out of 100 judges got up from their chairs - she’ll be hoping to bring some of that winning magic to Trondheim. 

Tiril Beisland - Break It  

Lyrics and music: Emma Steinbakken, Emilie Hollow, Lars Rossnes and Benjamin Pinkus 

Tiril - Melodi Grand Prix 2023 NRK

Tiril is a 21-year-old artist and songwriter from Lillestrøm. Surrounded by a very musical family, her youth was all about dance, theatre and music. From an early age she liked to write stories and songs, both alone and with friends. 

Today, storytelling and communication are the most important things in her music. Tiril gets inspiration from big artists like Adele, Florence + The Machine and Christina Aguilera. She has been an actor in Skedsmo Amatørteater, a dancer in the Norwegian Ballet Institute and as a county representative in UKM. 

She has had a burning desire to become an artist since she was in elementary school, and the dream became more realistic after her year at the pop music school LIMPI. In the time since, Tiril has made a lot of new music that she is looking forward to sharing with people.

Akuvi - Triumph

Lyrics and music: Beatrice Akuvi Hosen Kumordzie, Andreas Stone Johansson, Anderz Wrethov and Konstantinos Vlastaras 

Akuvi - Melodi Grand Prix 2023 NRK

Beatrice Akuvi Hosen Kumordzie is a Norwegian-Ghanaian artist, songwriter and entertainer. She participated in Melodi Grand Prix in 2020 with the song Som Du Er. She is also known as the Norwegian voice behind animated characters such as Dolores in the Disney film Encanto, as well as the rapper Karma in the Netflix series Karma's World.

The Asker girl has lived in South Africa for five years in connection with her studies, and it was also there she started exploring her sound and musical landscape. Akuvi's Ghanaian roots shine through in her songs.

Atle Pettersen - Masterpiece

Lyrics and music: Andreas Stone Johansson, Hannah Dorothy Bristow and Atle Pettersen 

Atle Pettersen - Melodi Grand Prix 2023 NRK

Atle Pettersen is an artist and presenter with a long and rich career behind him. Many Norwegians know him from the music program Beat for Beat. He has also been a part of television productions like Julemorgen, SommerÃ¥pent, Idrettsgallaen and VG-lista. Atle has starred in several musicals and revues, including the lead role in Singin' in the RainJersey Boys and The Beatles. He has his own podcast, En Pappa I Livet, where he talks with guests in the studio about the joys and challenges of being a father. 

Atle has taken part in several music competitions the last decade. He had his big breakthrough in X Factor in 2010, and later took part in Stjernekamp in 2013 and The Hit in 2014. Music has always been a big part of Atle's life, and he both performs and produces music for himself and others.

Eline Thorp - Not Meant To Be

Lyrics and music: Jonas Holteberg Jensen, Andreas Stone Johansson, Elsa Søllesvik and Eline Thorp 

Eline Thorp - Melodi Grand Prix 2023 NRK

Eline Thorp comes from Hamarøy in Nordland, but lives in Oslo. She had her first concert at the Bodø festival KjerringrÃ¥kk when she was 16 years old. Afterwards she became a well-known name in the music industry. 

She became ‘Ukas Urørt’ in 2011, and played the same year at festivals such as by:Larm, Hovefestivalen, Slottsfjell- and Buktafestivalen. She later formed a band, and her debut single The Game was play-listed on the radio in both Norway and the United Kingdom.

Maria Celin - Freya

Lyrics and music: Sindre Timberlid Jenssen, Anna Timgren, Gaute OrmÃ¥sen, Benjamin Alasu and Erik Fjeld 

Maria Celin - Melodi Grand Prix 2023 NRK

Maria Celin Strisland is a 25-year-old from Mandal. She has always loved being on stage and has performed in theatre and musicals since she was 9 years old. Some of these include Rock of AgesFootloose and High School Musical.

Stig van Eijk - Someday

Lyrics and music: Stig van Eijk and Beate Helen Thunes 

Stig van Eijk - Melodi Grand Prix 2023 NRK

And finally, a fourth Eurovision Song Contest legend will take to the MGP stage…

It has been 24 years since Stig van Eijk had his big breakthrough as an artist. He won MGP in 1999 and represented Norway in Eurovision in Jerusalem as a 17-year-old with the song Living My Life Without You

Stig works now as a lyricist, composer and producer.

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