EUROVISION 2016 - STOCKHOLM - SWEDEN

INTERVIEW - ICELAND - Greta Salóme

 

 

 

 

 

GRETA SALÓME

 

HEAR THEM CALLING

 

With thanks to Greta and Valgeir Magnússon.

 

Interview by Douwe Reveler for Sechuk.com

Published by Gary Speirs for Sechuk.com

 

Iceland celebrates 30 years of participating in the Eurovision Song Contest this year ! They are the only Nordic country still waiting for a victory, their best result being two 2nd places in 1999 and 2009. This year Greta Salóme returns to the contest with the song 'Hear Them Calling'. We caught up with Greta recently and spoke with her about her preparations for Stockholm, what she has been doing since her last appearance on the Eurovision Song Contest stage and about her favourite Icelandic Eurovision song.

Greta, many congratulations on winning the Icelandic ticket to the Eurovision for the 2nd time. How are you feeling and how are the preparations for Stockholm going ?

I'm feeling very excited and preparations are going great! 

Before we talk about 'Hear Them Calling' in more detail can you introduce yourself ? Where were you born and are you still living there ?

Can you describe the place ? I'm born in Reykjavík , Iceland and was raised in a town called Mosfellsbær which is very close to Reykjavík. I just moved back to my hometown very close to where I grew up, but due to my performance schedule I travel a lot so you could say I live out of a suitcase. 

You are a singer / songwriter and violinist. Can you tell us at what age you started singing, writing songs and playing the violin ?

I started playing the violin when I was four years old and have been playing and performing ever since. Growing up, music was always a center point in my life. 

Who are your main musical influences ?

Coming from the classical world I have some favourites there that have been a huge influence on my career. First and foremost is a composer named Shostakovich and the Estonian contemporary composer Arvo Paart. 

Do you come from a musical family and if so can you tell us about them ?

My family is very musical even though they don´t play professionally. My mom used to be a singer so she has always been an inspiration to me. 

Did you enjoy a musical education ?

Very much. I studied from the age of four until I was 26 and I´m still learning every day. 

Let us imagine you had to choose another profession. What would you like to do if you were not a musician ?

There has never been another option than music so I can´t think of another way to live my life. 

You took 'Never Forget' to Baku in 2012 together with Jónsi. Can you tell us about that experience and what did it teach you ? Are you still in contact with Jónsi ?

I loved singing with Jónsi and we still see each other when our performances cross paths. I have been away from Iceland performing a lot during the last few years so I haven´t seen him for a while. This last experience taught me a lot, more than anythin it taught me to believe in myself and chase my dreams. 

Can you remind us about 'Never Forget' and the meaning of the lyrics in Icelandic and English ?

Never Forget is based on an old Icelandic love story. The song is very dramatic and as is the story. 

Can you tell us what you have been doing in the last 4 years ? How has your career developed ? What is your link with Disney Enterprises and can you tell us more about this link ?

It´s been a whirlwind for the last few years. I have been very busy with performing and writing as well as traveling with Disney Cruise lines. 

This year you had 2 songs in the final 12, 'Hear Them Calling' and 'Á Ný'. What made you decide to sing 'Hear Them Calling' and not 'Á Ný' ?

The last time I participated I also had two songs in the final and had to choose between them right before the final. This time I wanted to get a different singer for my other song from the get go so I could focus on performing Hear them calling and focus on being the composer of the other song. Hear them calling was the right song for me and Á ný was the right song for Elísabet. 

Can you tell us a little about 'Á Ný' and Elísabet Ormslev ?

Á ný is about losing someone or something you love and thinking about the times you had with them. I´ve known Elísabet since I was a kid and wanted her to represent this song. 

What made you decide to return to the contest and were both songs written and composed specifically with the Eurovision Song Contest in mind ?

I returned because I had the right song and no they were not written for Eurovision.

In the first semi-final you performed the song in Icelandic ('Raddirnar') and in the final in English ('Hear Them Calling'). Which version came first and what made you choose to perform in English in the Eurovision Song Contest ?

I wrote the song in English which is the original version. The Icelandic one is the translation but of course that version was the first version people got to hear. To me though the English one is the original and it´s important to me that people understand the message of the song which is reflected in the stage performance. 

Can you talk us through the lyrics of the song and what it means to you ?

The lyrics are about positive and negative influences in todays society and that inspired me to write the song. The message of the song is to listen to the positive voices because in the end they are the once that will hopefully lead you to where you belong. Don´t let the negative voices weight you down.

What are the strengths of this song in your opinion that will hopefully make the people of Europe and Australia want to vote for it ?

I think the strengths of the song is the message and the mission we´re embarking on. If people like it then they will vote for it, but that is not what truly matters. 

Tell us about the video clip. When and where was it filmed and what message did you want to convey?

The video was filmed on stage in the finals here in Iceland and the message is about listening to the positive voices and not letting the negative voices weigh you down.  

Can you tell us about the plans for the staging of the song in Stockholm ? Will you be alone on stage or will you have some backing vocalists ?

I will be alone on stage and we will stay true to the concept and message but be prepared to see some unexpected changes. 

Have you followed the Eurovision Song Contest closely over the years and what does it mean to you ?

Eurovision is very big in Iceland and everyone follows it. I love the contest and I think it´s a great way to bring different nations together. 

Do you have a favourite winning entry and as Iceland is celebrating 30 years of being a part of the Eurovision family, which Icelandic song is your absolute favourite and why ?

I love Molitva from Serbia and my favorite Icelandic song is No prejudice from 2014 especially because I loved their message. 

How important is the Eurovision Song Contest in Iceland ?

It´s very big here. 

Can you tell us more about the Icelandic music scene ?

The Icelandic music scene is much bigger and versatile than you would expect. 

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Photo Credit : Olöf Erla Einarsdottir

 

A promotional tour in the weeks leading up to the contest has become very popular in recent years. Do you have any plans to promote 'Hear Them Calling' internationally and if so where will you travel to ?

I will be performing at Eurovision in concert in Amsterdam and also at the London Eurovision party. I´m excited to go and see all the fans and followers. 

Do you have any different versions of the song planned for promotional purposes ?

have a very special acoustic version coming out next week and I´m excited to share that with all of you. 

Did you receive words of advice or congratulations from any previous Icelandic representatives and if yes what did they say to you ?

Yes since it was the 30th anniversary they were all there. Hera Björk of course said: "You go girl"

The contest this year will take place in Stockholm . Will it be your first time there or perhaps you already know the city ?

I´ve been to Stockholm about 20 times and absolutely love the city. I also played with The Symphony orchestra Orkester Norden in Malmö in 2003 and stayed there for a while. 

Sweden is the most successful Nordic country in the Eurovision Song Contest. What is the key to their success in your opinion ?

Great songs and of course inspiration from ABBA! 

Did you enjoy the winning song last year ('Heroes') ?

I loved that song. I think last year was one of the strongest ones in the history of Eurovision and in my opinion there were so many great songs. 

Would you consider yourself a fan of the group ABBA and which of their songs is your favourite ?

Definitely! My favorite song of theirs is Last summer (Slipping through my fingers)

What are you most looking forward to and what do you hope to gain from participating in the contest again ?

My aim is that the message of the song will reach  people and that they will be influenced by it. 

You are the 3rd returning artist from the contest in 2012. Will you have a little reunion with Kaliopi and Donny in Stockholm ?

I really hope so and I´m looking forward to meeting them. 

Since 2015 Australia has joined the contest. What is your reaction to this development ?

The more the merrier and I love what they have brought to the contest. Also one of the key people on my team is an Australian named Jonathan Duffy and he is the one who made the graphics in my act. 

Have you listened to any of the other competing songs this year and if so do you have any favourites ?

I love the French song. 

You will be the musical ambassador for Iceland in Stockholm . Can you tell us some interesting things about your country you feel people really need to know ?

Iceland is all about nature, all kinds of culture and originality. 

Iceland is well known for its spectacular landscape. Can you name one place in your country people should visit ?

Jökulsárlón, a beautiful glacier lagoon. 

Do you enjoy cooking ?

I do, but I rarely have time for it. 

What is your favourite Icelandic food ?

My moms lamb steak. 

Do you have any time for hobbies and if so what do you enjoy doing ?

I love exercising and running. I do Bootcamp which is a navy seal kind of training and I´m thinking of running a marathon this summer. 

If you could sing with any artist or artists (dead or alive) who would you choose and why ?

I would choose to play my violin with Shostakovich. 

Do you perform any rituals before you go on stage ?

I always have pepsi max before I go on stage. It is my drug of choice. 

What are your plans immediately after the contest in May ?

I´m going back to Disney in June and doing a lot of shows this summer so I will be traveling quite a lot. 

Do you have a message for the readers of this interview ?

It´s the message of the song to listen to the positive voices because in the end they are the once that will hopefully lead you to where you belong. Don´t let the negative voices weight you down.

Greta, thank you very much for taking the time to speak with us ! Every success in the contest and have fun in Sweden !  

 

Photo Credit : Olöf Erla Einarsdottir

Photo Credit : Olöf Erla Einarsdottir