This Saturday night, Boyz Award-winning Tia Kofi, from The Vixens and Two Box Productions, and Sum Ting Wong are hosting a screening of the Eurovision Final live at the Star of Kings near Kings Cross. And, get this, they have a live performance by the one and only Emmelie De Forest, who won the contest in 2013 for Denmark. Dave Cross had a catch up with Emmelie to find out more.
Are you looking forward to coming to London next month sing at the Eurovision party?
Definitely. I love London, it’s been my second home for one and half years. I’ve been there a lot for business, acting lessons and meetings and stuff, so I know London quite well.
Have you played at a lot of gay clubs around Europe?
Yeah I have. It’s always fun.
You started singing and performing when you were really young, around aged nine, and you sang with a choir and with your mum…
I started singing at my school when I was eight, and then at about 11, 12 when I started singing in the gospel choir with my mum. And it was a lot of fun. I got to sing different solos and even got to conduct the choir a couple of times too. It was hard but it was fun. Then at about 14 I started touring with Fraser Neill, the Scottish folk musician.
And you did an album with him, didn’t you?
Yeah, a couple of demo albums – I don’t know what you’d call them, they weren’t on a label or anything, but we recorded them ourselves in his studio, and we sold quite a few at our concerts.
And when you were young did you used to watch Eurovision all the time?
I did. It’s big in Denmark and really big in Sweden as well. My dad was Swedish, so he always loved watching it. My mum didn’t follow it every year but I always watched it growing up.
And why did you decide to enter? How did that happen?
It wasn’t that I entered or anything. I guess it happened… I was actually helping out at a radio station because they were casting the judges for X Factor, and they needed some singers. I was told it wasn’t going on TV but that they just needed some singers to see how the judges would work on screen. So I said I didn’t want to be part of X Factor but I will go there and sing in front of them, because I’d get two tickets for the cinema to do so. So I did that and they said they loved my voice and they wanted me to be in X Factor. And I said no, but I think it would be fun to be part of Eurovision. I’ve always watched it, it’s an old tradition. And they said they knew a guy who worked for Eurovision, so they gave me his email and so I contacted him, sent him some of my stuff, and he said that he had this song that could be perfect for me. So that’s how it began and he later became my manager.
I remember here when it came to the Final, everyone was talking and you became the favourite to win. What do you remember from the night itself?
I don’t remember much actually. Sometimes those crazy things feel like they didn’t even happen to you. Like something from a movie. It’s very blurry, I would say, that whole night. And even the moments after. For the Danish final I was definitely an underdog but for the international I was a favourite. And after winning it didn’t get any more quiet.
Well it changes your life, doesn’t it? It changes completely.
Yeah, my life is still changed because of it, because before I was just a schoolgirl who had moved to Copenhagen – I was a nobody singing in my free time. And then after I won it’s been a full time job ever since.
And anyone who’s won becomes part of a family, don’t they? There’s something special, because I’ve interviewed people like Bucks Fizz, who won for the UK years ago, and Gina G and Sonia, and it’s a family.
It’s true. When you travel around everyone knows each other. And winning is such a special thing, I think it’s hard for people on the outside to understand what it actually means when you win the whole thing. So it’s nice when you go to an event and you meet another winner who has been there and knows what you’ve been through.
And the Eurovision journey has carried on for you because you co-wrote the song Never Give Up On You for Lucie Jones for the UK. How did that happen?
Well I’ve actually written for the competition before, in 2016 for Anja Nissen, and then she went on to win and represent Denmark in the Contest the year after, if you remember? And then my manager asked me if I wanted to be part of a writing camp in Copenhagen. They have a writing camp in Sweden as well, and one in the UK, since the BBC wanted to make more of an effort to get a proper Eurovision song for that year. So it worked out really nice. And there was the You Decide show where people can vote. So I went to the camp and wrote a song with two guys and Never Give Up On You was one of the songs that was picked out. And then they tried different artists, that they always do, and then they tried Lucie, which was nice, because she’s such an amazing singer.
And you have a new album out right now, called History – what can you tell us about it?
The first single Sanctuary came in November, and I have a deal with a Swedish label called Cosmos. So I did the whole album myself with the help from my fans via a crowd funding site. I’d never done it before but it was successful and made the whole album possible. But there are six original songs and one cover song. I think you’d call it an EP because it’s quite long. But I’m always writing new songs.