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[2021] KiiM: „Eurovision is like Olympics and connecting people by music”

We invite you to read the written version of our second interview from this Eurovision season. Kamil Kowalski got opportunity to chat with KiiM, the finalist of this year Melodi Grand Prix!

Feel free to watch this interview, under the link which is tagged here!

Hello, my name is Kamil and I’m from Destination Eurovision. Today I have a great pleasure to be joined by one of the artists that will fight for the privilege of representing Norway at the Eurovision 2021 in Rotterdam next week. Kiim – it’s so great to have you here today!

Thank you, thank you for having me! It’s an unreal week in my life, it’s just crazy.

So maybe, first of all, how are you? Are you already excited about everything that is about to come this week?

It’s gonna be, yeah… I’m good, I’m healthy, full of good energy and I’m really looking forward to just be standing on stage again in the finals, but I’m excited. It’s gonna be a tough week, a lot of rehearsals and I just hope that I won’t be too excited and sing the song like… 100 times before the final, because it’s possible because it’s a hard song to sing, so yeah… but I’m in a good faith and I’m just gonna enjoy each second of this moment.

We also know that music has played a very important part of your life basically since the very beginning because you could be seen in various programmes like The Voice or Allsang on the border. We also know that you were a member of a band, so could you tell me something about music in your life. Has it been present in your life basically ever since and how did it all shape you as an artist?

Well… the thing is that I’m from a family that we always sang, all the time, not the family at home, but for example during family dinners, from, for example, my grandparents, my uncles, my aunts, my cousins… when we were together we didn’t just eat and talk, we just sang all the time so from the beginning we just sang some gospel and stuff like that. But when I got older I was the only guy in my class that actually sang so like at every school event I had to be the guy that sang, but that’s okay… now I feel like it’s okay but then it wasn’t that much fun. But it’s been present all the time. I’ve been in a couple of bands and I just think that everything you do in your life if it comes to music, as a musician, everything you do you learn something, for example, when you’re in a band you learn how to be in a band… in musicals you know how to do that… so yeah, it’s been present almost all my life. But I haven’t been on stage before I was I think 12. So I’m not a type of vocalist who says like <<I was singing since I was like 2>>. So it wasn’t a thing with me, I didn’t have like public… I was in a church choir, but I wasn’t standing on stage as a solo before I was like 12.

So as we already know you’re already in the final of Melodi Grand Prix, just one step away from Eurovision. How does it all feel, like, would winning MGP be a dream come true for you?

You know, I think everyone in Europe has a strong connection to Eurovision and their own national Eurovision selection… and it’s a dream, yeah it is, because we, artists, all know that standing at the Eurovision stage is an opportunity to show yourself to all of Europe. I’ve been telling in previous interviews that Eurovision is the thing that unites Europe and is a kind of music Olympics and all we talk about is music and that’s what unites us and to be like winning MGP and be able to represent Norway would be an honour, it would be amazing, especially with the ballad that means a lot to me.

So maybe let’s focus a bit more on MGP. How was the decision to take part in it made? Was it a spontaneous decision that you decided “okay, I have a great song so let’s give it a try”, or maybe you’ve planned to enter MGP a bit earlier?

Well, I think I’ve been thinking about MGP for like 10 years, but I never had the right song and because everybody wants to be a part of a big show. I don’t think there are people who say like <<oh Melodi Grand Prix, oh Eurovision – boring>>. No, it’s not boring, it’s a big thing. But I just needed to feel that I was ready and I had the song that I had the feeling that would be high up, because in my opinion if you want to be a part of MGP or Eurovision, you have to believe deep inside that it is the song that means a lot to you and you think that it’s a top 5 song… or top 4. And I had this feeling with this song. The thing is that MGP called me and asked like “Kiim, do you want to be a part of MGP, do you have any songs that you could sing” and I was like <<No, I actually don’t, but it would be cool>>. So they connected me with the songwriting camp and on day two, after lunch, we wrote My Lonely Voice. So yes, the song is there.

Okay, so you have just compared Eurovision to the Olympic Games so what does Eurovision mean to you? Imagine you’re standing on this stage and representing your country in front of the millions of viewers. How would it feel?

I have no idea. But the thing is, you know, it’s two parts because one thing is representing your country when all of Europe’s eyes are on you and it’s massive. People talk about it all the times, even months before it actually happens. Yes, it’s a big thing, it’s a big competition, but it’s full of joy and acceptance and that’s what I love. But then again, as an artist, it’s something else, because you have the opportunity to stand in front of so many people with your music and you can get fans from all over the world, like for instance KEiiNO, who is competing this year have massive support from outside Norway and when you know that everyone with an internet connection can visit the NRK website and vote from every part of the world, I think you can use logic and understand that it’s gonna be hard to beat KEiiNO this year. But it’s gonna be amazing anyway.

I can imagine. Now sticking to the topic of Eurovision, could you tell me what is your favourite song in general and favourite song that represented Norway.

My favourite Norwegian song is I Feed You My Love by Margaret Berger. I love the mystic vibe in it, I just love the music, and her dress was amazing. I think that I’m gonna tell you a secret because on my Instagram and Facebook there gonna be a couple of Eurovision covers in the upcoming week and one of my favourites is on, it’s gonna be released, because I’ve recorded it. So Euphoria is coming up! It’s iconic, everything about it is iconic because she made that performance herself and that’s one of the songs and I also think it is a kind of a guilty pleasure because it’s a song that often comes to my mind – My Number One by Helena Paparizou. That’s the song that I often like to start singing and I have no idea why, but that’s probably one of my favourites because it just pops into my head.

And now, could you tell me something more about your MGP entry My Lonely Voice, what is the story behind this song and what kind of message would you like to spread by this song?

The story behind this song is that I met a guy in July 2019 in London, I was there on a weekend and we just had the best time ever and we both thought that we found our prince, our soulmate because everything was so right. We kept in touch and I came back a couple of months later and we like were gonna figure out when he’s going to Norway and just everything was just gonna is planned. But when we met again it was something that was off, it was something that we don’t know what, but it just wasn’t the same feeling. I thought or we both thought that we found our prince, but something was just wrong and I think that’s something that a lot of people can relate to when you meet someone and you think he/she is the one and then you just realise after a while that it wasn’t and you need to start searching again. This song replicates the feeling that I had when I was at the airport, on the express train back to Heathrow and I was crying, felt bad, angry, and I was sobbing. The message is more like it’s okay to be sad, but you will find him/her one day, most likely you will, but it’s gonna take time. I’m 30, still single, but I’m not gonna stop looking. I just think that even though you’re past 30, it’ll happen, I hope.

Now we know all the songs of the MGP 2021, and also we know 11 out of 12 songs that will compete in the grand final of the show. Out of all these songs, which one you think will be the most serious contender to defeat on this fight for the ticket to Rotterdam?

That’s a tough one, but I think KEiiNO, Raylee, Blasemafian, and I think that I’m gonna be the top 4 so I’m the fourth one <<laughter>>

We also know that you had some time in your life when you were planning on giving up on music, but luckily you didn’t and now you’re there where you are. Could you tell me something more about this journey from planning on giving up on music to the final of Melodi Grand Prix?

I think every artist out there has doubts about what they’re capable of and when you feel like the things are really going backwards then it’s time to either think like okay it’s a fault or I go all on. And that’s what happened to me, I was going through this kind of thoughts a couple of times and now I’m just like okay, I’m gonna go all on. I’m 30, it’s pandemic, music makes me happy, I’m gonna do music. So I just signed with MTG Music in Norway and the plan is to release 2 or 3 more singles this year. I have the upcoming single after MGP or Eurovision (you never know), it’s gonna be released in April or May. That’s also a song I wrote a couple of years ago. We’ll just see, what gonna happen I don’t know yet. But the thing is I’m gonna go all in and I really hope that people like Kiim – who he is and what he wants to say because I might have a bit more attitude than in My Lonely Voice.

I can tell you that we’re already excited to see what you have in store for us.

Thank you, it’s gonna be fun, it’s gonna be a little bit more uptempo because that’s what I’m actually known for, so a lot of people were actually shocked that I’m going to do a ballad and just sing calmly because usually I’m standing on the table and singing on the gigs, so it’s gonna be a little bit different, but it’s going to be honest, straightforward and that’s something that I’m eager to continue with because I need to be honest and straightforward in my lyrics and how I communicate the way I am.

What can we expect from you in the final of Melodi Grand Prix, meaning your performance, will it be similar to what we’ve seen in the semi-final, or maybe you’re planning to enhance it a little bit?

The thing is that this song is all about reaching out to the audience on the other side of the screen. It’s also all about not moving too much because it’s a technical song so I’m not gonna dance <<laughter>>. We’re gonna do small changes, I think we’re gonna look how everything is, camera angles, because it’s all about the communication with the people on the other side of the screen, because you need to feel the song. If you don’t feel the song in my performance, then the high notes are just for nothing, because then they don’t mean anything. We’re not gonna do a lot of changes, but it might be a little bit bigger at the end. I’ve had a couple of thoughts about the ending and how the dancers should be presented.

And from these more interesting things, you got wishes from Johnny Logan, the Eurovision legend himself. Could you tell me something about how does it feel to have support from such legends, from such established artists, how does it feel?

I almost get moved when I saw it because it’s so weird. Johnny Logan listened to My Lonely Voice and thought <<let’s send a little high and hello, good luck to you Kiim>> message to me, or to Eurovision, or to MGP. I think it actually made me calmer because then I knew if Johhny Logan approves my song, then it has to be good! You have to hear that I mean every word I say, it’s a big, big honour, it’s really fun, it’s amazing, it’s just surreal.

From your social media, we can also learn that you’ve recently debuted as a voice actor in one of the films. Could you tell me whether it is a kind of a hobby for you or maybe something like an alternative career?

Netflix made a film Jingle Jangle and I have one of the parts in it, I’m kinda the bad guy. It is a Christmas movie, in which there are dialogues and a lot of music. So it was just really, really fun. It is something I would like to do more of because it’s fun to play with your voice, try to make it unrecognisable. A couple of my friends called me and said <<Which one is you, I can’t hear it’s you>> and then the singing part starts and they’re like <<okay, that high note, it’s Kiim>>. So it’s really fun to stand in the studio just look at the screen, look at the mouth and try to just, yeah, it’s so fun. I really hope Netflix calls again.

I can definitely say that we’re excited to see you in further productions and we also hope Netflix will contact you.

Yeah, I really hope so. It was a fun experience, as I said it’s fun to play with your own voice, to sing and talk like weird guys, it’s fun.

Okay, in this way we’ve come to an end so Kiim, thank you very much for being with me today, thank you very much for agreeing to talk to me, and I wish you the best of luck not only for the Saturday and the final but also for all your future plans and I hope you’ll succeed in whatever plans you have for the future.

Thank you very much and thank you for having me! It’s so nice to be a part of the big Eurovision family and talk to people all over the world. I really appreciate that you took the time to contact me and wanted to talk to me, thank you. It’s gonna be fun to see what Kiim will do in the future. Hopefully, it’s mostly singing and artist stuff, but also some movies, you never know. Good luck in Eurovision you too, It’s gonna be fun. This year is gonna be amazing!

Thank you and once again best of luck on Saturday and thank you for being with me today!

Thank you, and have a good evening!