Laila Samuels will participate in Saturday’s Melodi Grand Prix at the Oslo Spektrum with her song ‘Afterglow’ where she will compete against nine other artists for the right to represent Norway at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Stockholm
We managed to grab a chat with Laila where she told us all about herself, her song, and what she has planned for Saturday evening, among other things!
Hi Laila! Thanks for taking time to chat to us! For those of us who don’t know you, can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m from Oslo, Norway. A real city girl. My family is from the north, so I feel the Arctic blood a little, especially now that I’m living in Berlin. I love playing frisbee golf, football, playing all kinds of games really. Gambling, all kinds of fun stuff I probably shouldnt do! Except drugs. That’s a no no.
What was your first reaction when you were told that you had made the selection for this year’s Melodi Grand Prix? Who was the first person you told?
I was ecstatic! I told everyone around me, and made them keep the secret for me. I couldnt have kept it to myself! 😉
How did ‘Afterglow’ happen to be entered into Melodi Grand Prix?
I did it the old school way this time. I made the song, and sent it to the committee and waited, hehe. It was fun and nerve wracking.
The song is about losing someone. I guess thats pretty obvious, but it’s also about not losing yourself when that happens. You have two choices in bad times, go down or fight back. I have discovered that I am a fighter, and in a way it really helped writing this song. So many good things happened in my life after that. Crazy changes. I’m loving life right now.
Do you have any plans to release any more music after Melodi Grand Prix?
YES! I am working on my album in Berlin with my awesome producers there – The Beatgees, who co-wrote ‘Afterglow’ along with Jan Weigel and myself. Hopefully I can put it out this summer!
How would it feel to represent your home country on the Eurovision stage?
Oh man! I would be so ready!
Have you always followed Eurovision? What are your favourite Eurovision songs?
Yes – it was a total highlight in my house growing up. We had the voting systems and points for short skirts or no shirts. My whole family has always been into music a lot. Johnny Logan is the Eurovision king….and Rolf Løvland with Nocturne…and Abba wasnt so bad either! 😉
Yeah, I mean, it was a little like a fairytale. We did an album, it took like a year. Then we did 1, just one, concert on a small stage in Oslo, and there were two talent scouts there from the US from Arista Records. One week later we were on a plane to America where we did a showcase and signed a deal! So crazy for a little Norwegian band. Good times!
You’ve written songs for a number of established pop stars – who has been the most fun to work with and why?
Oh, thats really hard to say because I have worked with so many, and a lot of them have stayed friends, and we always worked more together than on one album. But somebody i respect a whole lot is Marlon Roudette (Mattafix). He has had massive success, sold millions and has managed to stay the most grounded out of all the people I know. He is such a sweet guy. Lena Meyer-Landrut (Eurovision 2010) is super fun too, she is so quirky. And in Norway, Hanne Sørvaag (Melodi Grand Prix 2012) is one of my best friends now. We did all kinds of crazy stuff together, and she is so much fun!
When in the song writing process, do you have a specific process?
That depends on who I am writing with. In order to stay fresh, I feel like I have to change up my routines every now and then. Moving to Berlin totally shook my world up as a writer. I have learned so much living here!
What are you doing to prepare for your MGP performance? Can you tell us a little bit about what you have planned for your live performance?
My main goal, and what i am working on, is just to enjoy everything and not stress about anything. I want to give the people a good show. I want to give them something real. I wont have a big crazy production, as it’s not a fireworks and wind machine kind of song. It’s honest and very personal, so thats what I will try to project.
So our readers can get to know you a little better, what is your favourite:
Song: Whiter Shade of Pale, maybe
TV Show: Game of Thrones, Nashville, The Affair, Six Feet Under, Empire, The Sopranos, Weeds, Breaking Bad, The Wire, Orange is the New Black, Unreal, Pretty Little Liars…haha! I LOVE TV series!
Movie: The same! The Departed, Legends of the Falls, The Sixth Sense, Donnie Brasco, Breakfast at Tiffanys, Catch Me If You Can…I love movies too.
Book: John Irwing is a great writer!
City: Right now, Berlin
And finally, do you have a message for our reader of ESC Bubble who will support you at Melodi Grand Prix?
I am just amazed by this Eurovision universe! I had no idea that there were so many communities, or such a big one, with such hardcore fans. and they are so sweet. I can’t believe the love they have for Eurovision, it’s awesome, and I think I will become one of them. Maybe I always was in a way, I mean, it truly is a great show, in the sense that it unifies all of Europe for a few weeks every year. All conflicts are set aside, and we cheer each other on. It’s a beautiful thing. Keep on loving!
Laila will perform as song number 7 on Saturday’s Melodi Grand Prix, and you can catch her performing an acoustic version of ‘Afterglow’ below!