We are only three days away from knowing the Norwegian entry to Eurovision Song Contest 2015. One of the acts competing for the honor of representing Norway in Vienna in May is the duo Mørland & Debrah Scarlett. They will perform their song „A Monster Like Me“ in Melodi Grand Prix on Saturday.
You are new names to the Eurovision audience; can you tell us a bit about who you are, and your musical careers so far?
Mørland: I grew up in a small town on the Norwegian south coast called Grimstad, but migrated to the UK where I was resident for about 12 years. I think living in England has had a big influence on me as a songwriter and artist. I fronted a band called Absent Elk who I released an album with and toured all over Great Britain. Now I’m working on my solo debut in my studio in Oslo.
Debrah Scarlett: I have a great pleasure of being born into an artistic family that has given me a multicultural point of view. I’ve been playing music mostly around Switzerland with various artists, mostly with jazz-musicians where I have tried to combine my self composed songs with several other styles. In 2013 I took part in The Voice of Norway and made it to the semi-finales, which was a great opportunity. Back in Switzerland I was asked to join a very huge and interesting project called “The Rumours”. This project involved 13 artists from completley different genres finding one style on one stage. We released an album and toured between october-november 2014. Now I am working on my self-composed music with two musicians and producers, that I will release after MGP.
What/who are your musical inspirations?
Mørland: I’ve always been very inspired by british music, which was one big factor for me moving there. I grew up listening to the Beatles, like many others, and have always been a sucker for a good vocal melody. That is a must for me in a song. Other artists I listened to growing up are Bowie, early Elton John, Talking Heads, The Shins, Damien Rice, Ocean Colour Scene, Jeff Buckley, Radiohead etc. Nowadays I rarely listen to an album more than once.
Debrah Scarlett: Great question, hard to answer. I’ve grown up with a lot of different music like soul, blues/funk, pop, gospel, jazz and classical music. I love music that really expresses a true feeling and has a destinctive personality vocaly. I think St. Vincent, Florence And The Machine, Thom Yorke and Oh Land are great songwriters that bring a certain mystical world and have amazing stage performances. On the other hand I love artists like Frank Ocean, Sia, Paolo Nutini, Lianne Le Havas and Matt Corby with Soul vocals. And so many more…
Why did you decide to take part in Melodi Grand Prix?
Mørland: It was a bit of a coincidence really. I just saw an article about the deadline for entries and had a good few songs kicking about that I didn’t really have a release plan for. A Monster Like Me had this slight theatrical feel to it that I though could fit this platform and appeal to a wide audience. So we’ll see! It’s got good feedback so far at least.
Debrah Scarlett: It wasn’t planned at all. Mørland called me, while I was on tour in Switzerland with The Rumours. He asked me, if I wanted to join him on his duett. I immediately fell in love with this song and that’s when I decided to take part in MGP.
Was your song written especially for MGP?
Mørland: No, I wouldn’t write music like that. It has to come from the heart.
Kjetil, you also wrote the song. Can you tell us a little about how it „was born“ and what it is about? Is it a „typical“ song for you?
Mørland: It was one of those songs which just seemed to come out of the mood and energy in the room at the time. I wrote it really quickly. Very often when I sit down to write, it’s the first chords I play decide whether something will come. If I feel a connection between my mood and what I play the rest often comes by itself – at least melody-wise. This song isn’t miles away from the other songs I write, but it does have a very unique mood to it.
Your song has quickly made it to the top of „every“ list; people‘s personal favourites, betting companies, internet polls and more. How does that feel? And why do you think your song appeals so strongly to just about anyone who listens to it?
Mørland: It’s great to hear that people connect with the song – that’s what brings it to life! Ironically I really don’t see music as a competition though. Every song has it’s own audience and is good in it’s own way. I think Norway has some good contenders this year.
Debrah Scarlett: I think It’s great that people have their own feelings and thoughts about our song and the other songs. Why it has reached the top of some betting companies and sort of become a favorite, I can not explain. But it makes me very happy that a lot of people like it and believe in this song.
There is already a lot of talk about your video for „A Monster Like Me“, which is very beautiful, though kind of dark, mysterious and a little „crazy“. What was the idea behind the video?
Mørland: We wanted the video to be a bit different from other music videos and visually reflect the cinematic feel of the song. The song is also quite mysterious lyrically, and open for interpretation, so we wanted the video to play on those qualities too. I’m very happy with what we achieved ‘with a little help from our friends’.
Debrah Scarlett: We wanted the story to be told from the perspective of both people, as Mørland wrote the song as a monologue. People have different opinions of what makes a person a monster, and many of us have that secrets buried inside. We have a fear of being missunderstood or portrayed in the wrong way, if the truth is revealed.
Your song is the only proper ballad in the line up; do you think this will be an advantage?
Mørland: Not sure, but if anything it will set us apart from the rest, which I suppose could be a good thing. It will all hang on our performance on the night.
What kind of performance can we expect to see on stage in Spektrum on 14 March?
Mørland & Debrah Scarlett: It will be a beautifully intimate and simplistic performance keeping all the focus on the music.
Mørland & Debrah Scarlett doing their own version of Alexander Rybak’s “Fairytale”.
Do you watch Eurovision every year, and do you have any traditions with friends or family?
Mørland: No I can’t say I do, but I’ll probably watch it this year – on catch-up! (with a hangover). I do have some distant childhood memories involving staying up later than usual, half asleep in my mothers lap, watching Carola bless the world with ‘Fångad av en Stormvind’.
Debrah Scarlett: Well.. I would be lying if I said it was a tradition. But every time I have watched Eurovision, I’ve had a great night. Last year I was with some friends, had some drinks and dinner while we watched Conchita Wurst win. Since I’ve lived in two countries during my childhood I experianced that it was more of a tradition, or it felt like a party to watch Eurovision from Norway.
What is your favourite Eurovision entry?
Mørland: I really can’t remember many off heart, but I did like both last years winner and the duo from the Netherlands.
Debrah Scarlett: I really liked Euphoria from Loreen. Last year there were quite a lot of songs that I enjoyed. I remenber the Armanian song, that started as a ballade and turned into a dub step song. I thought it was kind of fresh. I had a similar feeling for the Hungarian song. Vocally my favorites were Molly Smitten from UK and Conchita.
What is the most Norwegian thing you can think of ?
Mørland: Piffi (allround spice that is used on far too much)