As Iceland's Greta Salóme looks ahead to her inaugural Eurovision performance at the first semi final, GMA decided it was time to turn the interrogation spotlight onto her. Remember only ten countries can progress from each of the two semi-finals and join the big 5 (UK, Italy, Spain, France & Germany) plus Sweden. Last year Iceland failed to qualify for the final for the first time, so Greta will almost certainly want to avoid the same fate - perhaps even going on to win Eurovision for Iceland for the first time ever!
Of course representing your country at Eurovision is such a huge privilege, and for Greta "It´s a once in a lifetime experience that I get to do for the second time so I´m very grateful and happy", her second time round has come about through her winning the Söngvakeppnin 2016 contest which ultimately determines who goes to represent Iceland at the ESC in each edition.
Although this news startled Greta, leaving her surprised and ecstatic, she is looking forward to and excited in joining the 'Eurovision bubble' (as Måns Zelmerlöw put it last year) expressing that she has faith in her song before adding that she "believes in the message behind it and I´m just excited to get that message out there and share my music with the world". Speaking of the world, we asked her what her thoughts of the likes of Australia participating once again, and whether the Eurovision should expand further afield, if so, who would she like to see join in the fun?
"The more the merrier! I´m really happy Australia is participating. It gives the contest even more diversity. I would love to see the Faroe Islands in the contest also. They have so many great musicians there. One of my favourite ones is Teitur."
The Faroe Islands have previously attempted to join the EBU in hopes of furthering their chances of Eurovision participation but have routinely denied due to their current status of being within the Danish Kingdom, which is slightly funny seeing as you have countries like Israel and Morocco who have been it and are not on the European continent yet are in the European Broadcasting area, funny no?
Portal, a Faroese media outlet posted about this news back in June 2015 and can be read here (non-Faroese/Danish readers should use Google translator): http://portal.fo/bjorn+kalso+limaskapur+i+eurovision+er+treytadur+av+at+landid+er+sjalvstodugt.html
Check out Greta's official music video for the Icelandic entry 'Hear Them Calling' below:
For Greta, 'Hear Them Calling' carries an important meaning and message:-
"The message of the song is that we should not listen to the negative voices and influences that we are so exposed to in today´s society. Instead we should focus on the positive voices and be a positive voice to others because they are the ones that will lead you where you need to go."
This resonates within the notion that music should be considered a form of positivity, that we can relate to songs and place them in context with our daily lives, be it pop, rock, metal, electronic music or whatever, music speaks to us and in relation to Greta's song 'Hear Them Calling', as she said we should be concentrating on "the positive voices and be a positive voice to others because they are the ones that will lead you where you need to go", safe to say Iceland's entry is more than just a song, it's a personal statement and it's this type of song that we reckon will finish in the top 5 in the finals... you read it, THE FINALS.
Post-Eurovision, Greta's activities don't stop there as she heads back to Disney in June where she has a contract with them performing on board the Disney cruise ship (which travels between Florida and The Bahamas) "and then will be travelling and performing until September and then it´s concerts throughout the year and new material. So it´s gonna be a big year." So we may yet see Greta reach the UK shores, here is an artist who has an agenda in check, she may well be one of Disney's and Iceland's princesses, but she has the potential to become the Eurovision Song Contest 2016 Queen.
Greta has a message to send out to her fans and fans of Eurovision:-
"Lets now let the negative voices bring us down and listen to the positive voices and be a positive voice to others!"
Eurovision Semi-Final dates:-
#1 - 10th May
#2 - 12th May
The ESC 2016 Final is on the 14th May.
It is that time of year again and Eurovision is already in full swing, with Tuesday's semi-final seeing Montenegro and San Marino go through to the final for the first time in Eurovision history. Furthermore they snatched those two places from countries that you would have expected to go through without any doubt, they are Portugal and Belgium.
But our attention towards Iceland, whose entry Pollapönk made it to the finals (live Saturday night on BBC1 - check your own national broadcaster), they mix punk rock with children's music, this however is overshadowed by the interesting fact that their back-up vocals are split amongst Óttarr Proppé (from Ham) and Snæbjörn Ragnarsson (from the Viking Metal band Skálmöld). You might as well admit that Iceland and Finland have both gone down the rock route this year (we would like to see more of this), what with Ukraine's Gothic pop entry also gone through, there is a little theme going on this year.
Rhys Stevenson managed to catch up with Pollapönk and talk to them about their Eurovision endeavors, their entry 'No Prejudice' and the Icelandic Rock Music scene. Many thanks to Haraldur
Gíslason for talking to us.
"Eurovision is a happy place".
Hey guys, first off how does it feel to represent Iceland in the Eurovision Song Contest?
It is a dream come true to get on to a big stage like this and to get our message out to as many people. We don’t feel any pressure, but we are determined to have fun and do our very best to make Iceland proud.
The song "Enga fordóma (No Prejudice)" is about a young person who has the habit of stuttering around others and fears to be mocked or bullied because of this. With this song it is Pollapönk’s aim to help eliminate all bullying and prejudice as everyone has the right to live in peace and harmony with the rest of the world. We think that the world needs to hear the "no prejudice" message. Especially from middle age, heterosexual, white men like us. Being middle age, heterosexual, white men makes us a group that is most unlikely to be discriminated against and we believe that we should use this opportunity to point out the injustice in this world. Of course we know that it will not instantly make the world a better place. It is our small contribution.
What inspired you to get the suits? Especially in vibrant colors :)?
With different colors we are calibrating diversity. We may look different on the outside but on the inside we are the same. Also we just look very good in these colored suits.
What does Pollapönk mean and why that name?
Pollapönk means two things. Punk for kids and puddle punk.
Could you tell us in the UK a bit more about the Icelandic Rock scene?
The Icelandic rock scene is very good. All the members from Pollapönk come from the Icelandic underground rock scene. There is a lot of good bands coming up and the scene is growing.
Now you have been going eight years, where have you played outside Iceland?
Not so much as Pollapönk. But Heiðar and Haraldur are in a band called Botnleðja that has toured a lot outside Iceland. Once they supported Blur in the UK. Gudni and Arnar are in a band called Mugison that has toured a lot as well. Bibbi or mister Orange as we like to call him is in a heavy metal band called Skálmöld. Our member of parliament Óttarr is also in a band called Ham.
Could you give a brief history of the band and how you met?
Pollapönk was founded in 2006 by guitarists Haraldur Freyr Gíslason and Heiðar Örn Kristjánsson of the Icelandic post-punk trio Botnleðja. They created Pollapönk when graduating as Bachelors of education from the University of Iceland. The purpose was to write and perform music that children and adults alike would enjoy and be able to sing-a-long to. The first album "Pollapönk" was a major hit in Iceland. In 2007 drummer Arnar Þór Gíslason who is Haraldur‘s brother and bass-player Guðni Finnsson joined Pollapönk which then became a quartet. Pollapönk have made two more albums, and played numerous gigs for children and grown-ups all over Iceland. In everyday life Haraldur Freyr is the chairman of the Association of Pre-school Teachers, Heiðar Örn is a Pre-school teacher and Arnar Þór and Guðni are professional musicians.
Finally are there any greetings you wish to send out? Any thank you's?
No prejudice! Spread the word.
The Eurovision Semi Final No.2 is on tonight on BBC3 (again check your national broadcaster) at 8pm and UK viewers CAN VOTE tonight - we'd like Malta, Israel, Lithuania, Finland and Slovenia to go through amongst others - Romania, Ireland, Norway, Poland and Belarus.
The Eurovision Final is on Saturday - BBC1 (again check your national broadcaster) at 8pm we believe.
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