Tuuli Okkonen: ”if you have something that is important to you, hold on to it.”

Tuuli Okkonen, from Finland, will participate in the third semi-final of Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu 2016, with her song ”Don’t wake me up”. She will compete, alongside 5 other acts, with the hope of qualifying for the Final.

Tuuli took the time to talk to ESCBubble about her song and about her forthcoming participation in the Finnish national selection for Eurovision:

What was your first reaction when you were told that you had qualified for the Finnish national selection for Eurovision?

I knew that there will be a lot of songs applying for UMK, but I was hopeful. I felt that this song should be in it! 🙂 When they then called me, I was totally shocked and couldn’t stop screaming and laughing!

Is there a message behind your song?

The song is a different kind of love story. It is a story of forbidden / impossible love that tears you apart. A person with their heart in a thousand pieces prefers to stay, even if for just a little while, in a dream where they can be with their loved one, rather than accept the cruel real world. My message is, that if you have something that is really important to you, someone who really means the world to you, hold on to it no matter how the surroundings would feel impossible! Love is the one thing to fight for.

Could you tell us a bit more about yourself and your musical career?

I am Tuuli, 33 yrs old multitasker from Espoo, Finland. I live a very normal but lovely life with my wife and two furry cats 🙂 I have loved music since I was a child. After high school I started to study theatre. After many years of theatre I ended up being a part time photographer and a full time hairdresser. But all in all singing has always been the big love of my life. In 2012 I participated in UMK the first time, that time with my former band Leola. After that I decided to try my wings as a solo artist, and succeeded to come in third in a TV -show The Voice of Finland 2014. Now the desire to sing and make my own music has led me here in UMK 2016!

Do you have any special ideas for your live performance during the national selection (choreography, dress,…)?

The performance is going to be stylish and simple but big, and there are going to be some special elements that are also mentioned in the lyrics 😉 I think my dress will be very big and beautiful! It is not ready yet…

Do you have other plans for 2016?

To have fun, to make as many dreams come true as I can, and to work hard for them.

Do you have any goals for the contest?

At this point my goal is to get to the final, and to make a good performance during the semi-final. My main goal is to win myself and to share this wonderful song with you all!

Why and how did you decide to enter the contest?

The need to make music and to let people hear it took me to UMK. The decision to participate was also made because I felt strongly about this song. I believe that if I feel so strongly about it, it must do the same for others as well. I think that in life you must trust your instincts and see where it takes you! We were also in UMK 2012 with our band Leola. Our song was “Rytmit Rikkoutuu”. I still think it is a very good piece of music.

What would it mean for you, to represent your country in Eurovision?

I LOVE Eurovision and I watch the show every time. I enjoy the celebration and the feeling that all borders in Europe suddenly seem to disappear and music is the only language. There has been many good songs during the years, and here are some of my favourites (foreign): Marie Myriam: L’oiseau et l’enfant, Dana international: Diva, Linda Martin: Why Me, Secret garden: Nocturne, Marija Serifovic: Molitva, Loreen: Euphoria, Sanna Nielsen: Undo, Conchita Wurst: Rise like a phoenix, and Mørland & Debrah Scarlett – A Monster Like Me!

What do you think of the previous Finnish participants in Eurovision?

Of course I must say Lordi, because they totally made it!! There are many good songs. One of my old favourites is Laura’s Addicted to You. It still plays in my every head now and then.

What would you like to say to your fans who are going to support you during the national selection?

Thank you sooo much for your support! I am happy that you have found my song. I hope you´ll enjoy it as much as I do. Waiting to sing it to you live 🙂

Do you have other passions/hobbies?

I love all my jobs. Being a hairdresser I can be very creative, and working with my hands is very therapeutic! I also love to photograph, and mainly I am taking pictures in kindergartens! I love to dance, and spend time with my friends. And of course to make and eat good food!

How would you describe your ideal song?

Catchy melody, and something that makes you want to listen it over and over again! My ideal song would be love at first sight but still leaves you thinking what there actually was…

We wanted to get to know Tuuli a little bit better, we asked her what her favourite … was:

  • Song: Winter by Tori Amos
  • Artist: Many! At the moment maybe Adele
  • Sport: Dance
  • Dish: Mexican
  • Book: Stieg Larsson´s Millenium -trilogy
  • Movie: Star Wars and Almodovars 🙂

We would like to thank Tuuli for taking the time to do this interview and we would also like to wish her the best of luck for the national selection. Until the show, you can listen to her entry ”Don’t Wake me Up”:


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