Eighteen acts will participate in this year's UMK, Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu, the national selection of Finland for the Eurovision Song Contest. They are divided into three semi-finals which take place every Saturday between the 6th and the 20th of February. The Final takes place on the 27th of February.
Krista Siegfrids and Roope Salminen will host the semi-finals and the final of UMK 2016, which will be streamed live on UMK's official site every Saturday in February at 20:00 CET. You can check all the music videos of the entries in the same site from today at 12:00 CET. At the same time the UMK 2016 album including all 18 participanting songs will be released globally on Spotify and, on iTunes, the songs will be available from Wednesday the 13th of January (in Finland only).
Semi-final 1 (Feb 6th)
ClemSO - Thief
Nigerian-born ClemSO is the stylistic ambassador for afrobeat rhythm and groove, colour and shine. His songs are rich in the imagery of love and humanity. His song Thief ties together afrobeat, modern pop and Yoruba language in an interesting and international way. ClemSO has been making music for a long time and he has, for instance, previously sung in a Nigerian boy band (LOG2G1 Boys). The man of many academic degrees came originally to Finland to study, but now is the time for afrobeat.
Eini - Draamaa
If UMK were about longevity of career or the amount of hits, there would be no contest. Eini’s first hit was a cover of Baccara’s Yes Sir, I Can Boogie back in 1978! Often also referred to as ‘The Finnish Queen of Disco’, Eini is still as active and as brilliant as ever and about to release a brand new cover album this January.
Mikko Herranen - Evil Tone
Mikko Herranen is a singer, songwriter, musician, sound engineer, producer and a real DIY man. For the past 20 years he’s been involved in such bands as Velcra and RUST, played over 2000 gigs, been a contestant in The Voice of Finland and released many albums. There seems to be nothing he cannot do, which really is quite impressing considering he’s also visually impaired.
Pää-Äijät - Shamppanjataivas
The fusion of northern madness, reckless machismo, dance pop and a dash of country music may not sound like everyone’s cup of tea but you shouldn’t find this tune hard to digest. Champagne Heaven (Shamppanjataivas) awaits Julmari and JaBa a.k.a. Pää-äijät when they sail the seven seas – of at least a small slice of the Gulf of Botnia hoping to reach Stockholm this spring!
Saara Aalto - No Fear
In 2011 Saara Aalto finished second in the Finnish national ESC selection but, at the same time she melted the hearts of the Finns with her enchanting voice and appearance. Since those days she has released five studio albums, one of which was sang in Mandarin Chinese and released in China. She’s performed on big venues worldwide and starred in musicals. No Fear is Saara Aalto 2.0 and and she’s ready to conquer the world.
Stella Christine - Ain’t Got Time for Boys
A young lady with a deep, powerful voice and a guitar - that can be quite a compelling mix! Stella Christine comes from a musical family, has studied music for many years and is inspired by soul, r&b and jazz. This talented beauty wants to create music on her own terms which means she’s written most of her songs by herself, including Ain’t Got Time for Boys.
Semi-final 2 (Feb 13th)
Annica Milán & Kimmo Blom - Good Enough
Big emotions and powerful voices – that’s what this couple is all about. You may remember Kimmo Blom as Angelo De Nile in last years’ UMK, but he’s an established professional vocalist who has sung on various albums and done many roles in the world of musical theater. It was actually on a stage production where Kimmo met Annica Milán, a young and lovely talent who had already gained attention in The Voice of Finland.
Attention 2 - Ready For The Show
16-year old sparkly and bubbly twins Anni and Nina make catchy, melodic pop and Ready For The Show is their smashing debut. The Attention 2 girls are fans of One Direction and comic book superheroes as well as Jedward, the Irish twin duo all Eurovision fans are more than familiar with. Twin power!
Cristal Snow - Love Is Blind
The enfant terrible of Finnish dance pop likes to do whatever hell he wants. And he’s done a lot: besides music he’s well known as a radio host and a participant in Finnish version of Dancing with the Stars, among other things. However, it has always been a dream of his to perform on stage at the Eurovision Song Contest and this year his dream may well come true with supercatchy Love is Blind.
Mikael Saari - On It Goes
Mikael is a 27-year old singer-songwriter from the city of Lahti, Finland. The audience was charmed by him already back in UMK 2013 when his ballad We Should Be Through finished second in the contest only to be beaten by Krista Siegfrids’ Marry Me! Lately Mikael has been working as an actor in various theaters around Finland but he also continues composing and performing music in various line-ups.
Rafaela Truda - Rise Up
Rafaela Truda is passionate about singing, rapping and dancing – the elements all of which are manifested and celebrated in her UMK 2016 song Rise Up. This young lady is a true cosmopolitan as she was born in FYR Macedonia, has lived most of his life in Finland and also worked longer periods in Norway. She may be a newcomer but she sure isn’t shy.
Ylona - Blazing Fire
22-year old Ylona is a versatile songstress who has been performing with diverse lineups for many years. Her UMK 2016 song Blazing Fire was written by two Finnish hitmakers: Tero “Kaivo” Kaikkonen and Jaakko “JS16” Salovaara, one of the most talented and successful Finnish producers ever. Needless to say, Ylona’s team is confident that Blazing Fire is perfect for big arenas – such as Globen in Stockholm.
Semi-final 3 (Feb 20th)
Barbe-Q-Barbies - Let Me Out
When you hear Barbe-Q-Barbies’ music you’re instantly reminded of heyday sounds of such hard rock legends as AC/DC or Kiss. When you see them live it’s like nothing you’ve seen before - they are an amazingly tight and energetic live band and have gained reputation also outside Finland having toured with such names as Girlschool, W.A.S.P. and New York Dolls. Their third album Driven was released in 2015.
Gušani Brothers - Poom Poom
Ladies and gentlemen: baila baila poom poom! Melodic and sunny dance pop doesn’t really get better than this. The three Gušanis - Irfan, Sami and Meho – are originally from Croatia and formed the trio in 2010 although the guys have been making music and performing since the tender age of 6. The brothers compose, play and produce everything by themselves and will no doubt climb to the top by themselves as well.
Lieminen - Pehmeiden arvojen vaalijat
For this guy participating in UMK was really a game of chance. Thankfully Lieminen’s record company loved his idea of representing Finland in ESC – so here we are! A ”singer-songwriter-slacker” from Helsinki, Finland, Lieminen has already released a number of well-received singles and actually releases his debut album on this day of the UMK press conference!
Pietarin Spektaakkeli - Liian kuuma
This band is known to combine various styles of music, from hip hop to jazz to blues and old rock’n’roll. Their music is both playful and groovy and each of the three maestros that form Pietarin Spektaakkeli (Pietari, Mitja and Tyko) is an established and respected musician. The group released their critically acclaimed debut album in 2015.
Sandhja - Sing It Away
Sandhja is a young Finnish singer-songwriter with roots in India and Guyana. Her style is urban soul, her voice is powerful and her stage presence bursts with joy and positive attitude. Back in 2014 Sandhja released her debut album, which was loved by both critics and the audience. Now it’s time for some new music & new challenges in UMK 2016.
Tuuli Okkonen - Don’t Wake Me Up
Here’s another familiar voice & face for those who’ve followed UMK over the past years (2012 and a band called Leola to be exact): Tuuli Okkonen may be in the early stages of her solo career but she has been singing all her life and the Finnish viewers became familiar with her in The Voice of Finland where she finished third in 2014. Her song Don’t Wake Me Up deals with the moment you realize your heart is broken and in pieces.