Akuvi: “Som du er” is a critique to my younger self, the forgiving me!

Akuvi (25) is an artist, songwriter and entertainer with Norwegian-Ghanaian origin. She grew up in Asker in a very musical family. Her sister Anna-Lisa Kumoji participated in the Melodi Grand Prix 2019 with the song “Holla” where she reached the gold final. When she was 20, Akuvi moved to Cape Town where she experimented with the music genres and she describes the one she performs as “reggae-infused neo-soul”. She will be the 4th to perform in the final on Saturday.

Hello Akuvi, you are competing at Melodi Grand Prix with the song “Som du er” which is the only song in the final sung in Norwegian language, how does that feel?
I am definitely very excited about that first of all because I am proud of my language and the fact that this particular song was written by me and through my experiences. It’s basically diary pages of mine and most of the times when I write my diary I would write it in Norwegian and so it would only be natural for what turns out to be the song to keep the original language that this message kinda came out with. I am very happy and proud and I also think that it gives me some flavour and something a bit different and unique in the contest.

How did you decide to apply for Melodi Grand Prix?
I was contacted by NRK who is behind the production and I was of course interested because I knew that this is a huge opportunity which can, which will and has opened doors for me as an artist and they contacted me. You know at the end of the day this is a songwriting contest so what they had in mind initially was that I would perform a song that someone else had written but then I told them no because I would rather wanted to be involved in the song writing myself because I have a very particular style and sound, as you can hear the afro sound afro-fusion upbeats type of vibes, is one of the genre I like to create so I gave them a draft and demo of “Som du er” before it wasn’t fully completed yet and they really like the idea and that’s how the other two producers (Andreas Stone, Costa Leon) came together with Amin Zana on board on the project and then we finished the song and added the chorus and NRK listened to the final product and said:” You’re in!” Then a few weeks later they told me that the jury decided for me to be a pre-qualified act and that made me really happy.

The name of your song “Som du er” translates with “As you are” what is the story behind it?
It is basically a song about me begging my lover or my ex to just show me their true self with their flaws, weaknesses. Just be yourself show me who you are as you are, don’t show me the version that you think I’ll fall in love with, don’t show me the version that you think society wants or the one which you assume is the better, sexier or more successful person although I understand that everyone who dates these days tries their best to portray a certain picture through social media and also dating apps. In real life, we always try to come across as these flawless beings. Regarding my ex who particularly inspired the song, he was a compulsive liar, constantly lied to me and that resulted in the worst betrayal. He lied about everything related to him, his background, identity…The lies really took over and in the first sentence of the song I say:”En løgn er en løgn for mye” which means one lie is a lie too much, so I am criticizing guys who don’t take girls seriously and girls who are taking on these projects saying yes to people and relationships where you can see a lot of red flags. The song is also a critique of my younger self the forgiving me who used to give my ex a lot of chances and truly believed to know who he really is. It is not 100% anger although the verses are mainly saying don’t come here or try to mess with me or my girls, I’ve learned my lesson I’m not gonna be fooled with whatever lies you are coming with and the pre-chorus:”Hvis meg hvem du er” is the part where I am actually saying just show me who you are, please. It is kinda a vulnerable song.

Last year your sister Anna-Lisa Kumoji participated in the contest and ended up on 4th place in the gold final. Has she given you any advice?
My sister is my coach and my manager, she gave me the advice on absolutely everything. She will arrive here at Friday and be here for the test runs, she gives me vocal lessons, advise me how I express things best, for the dancing, everything. She is definitely the closes person to me and someone who I wouldn’t be here without.

Akuvi’s road to the final of Melodi Grand Prix 2020

The official video of “Som du er” was recorded in South Africa where you worked on your music for a while, could you tell us more about it?
It was shot in Cape Town, South Africa, where I used to stay. Being there in December I thought to bring something different to Melodi Grand Prix, let me show some of my roots, not that I am from South Africa but at least from the African continent and let me show some colours and give this winter another vibe.

The competition of this year’s MGP is so toughhave you listened to other finalists? Which act do you see as the biggest competitor/like the most?
I have listened to all the songs and I think all of them have strengths and are tough it is gonna be a hard final. For me, everyone is so unique to say that a person, in particular, is my competitor because we really don’t know what the Norwegian public wants. Do they want a ballad or my Norwegian/Afro-fusion song, the Viking concept of Rein, so many different genres and it is hard to figure up who is my biggest competition. But at least what I saw in social media is that a lot of people are comparing Raylee and me and if they say that they like my song they also like hers and vice-versa which makes sense I guess because genres aren’t so different although we have a very different message, sing in different languages and different choreography both of our songs are the only upbeat dancing songs which have the same kind of vibe but I don’t know if I would call it a competition because we are all here friendly to each other.

What is your first memory related to Eurovision?
It is back in 2009 when Alexander Rybak really did amazing was a proud moment to everyone of us Norwegians and was a great moment. Another great moment was last year at Melodi Grand Prix when my sister was in the gold final. I was so proud and it was such a great experience to be there to cheer for her as well.

What are your plans after Melodi Grand Prix 2020?
I am studying to become a teacher and I am also in fieldwork, so while I am doing this I am also teaching in high school and been very busy. After this I would like to go on a vacation and relax for a bit and really enjoy the fruits of my labour and also I think I would like to continue to write music. Almost every day I write something. So that’s what I definitely wanna continue doing. I would like to collaborate with some other artists and producers and just keep the fire burning because in this competition we focus on one song and it can consume you.

Official music video of “Som du er”

Here you have a full guide for Melodi Grand Prix final which is set for Saturday 15th of February at 19:50 CET
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