Karsten Dahl Marcussen is a 32 years old rapper from Arendal who lives in Oslo. Big Daddy Karsten is his stage name and he found the rap genre at a young age, he finds it to have an open, honest and tough way of expressing where he felt he could say a lot in a short time. His first album came with the duo Folkefiender together with the rapper Ego. Karsten was also central as a battle rapper when VG TV (online TV) created Skeez-TV. Big Daddy Karsten has been the headliner at the biggest Pride celebrations in Norway, and has played at festivals such as Skral, Hove and Canal Street. Karsten was not open with his sexual orientation, and given the facts that there were stereotypes about it in the rap industry no one expected that a masculine rapper could be gay and when he came out in November 2016, it led to a lot of attention and it was pointed out in the public that few rappers around the world dare to be openly gay. At the time of writing, Big Daddy Karsten is Scandinavia’s only openly gay rapper.
Hello Karsten, your first album release was in duo Folkefiender together with rapper Ego and then you took part in Skeez-TV rap battles and you became more famous to Norwegian audience through that experience, later on you performed at many festivals including Skral in Grimstad and both Hove and Canal Street festivals in Arendal what festival performance is your favourite?
Hey, Escbubble! First of all, thank you so much for your interest in my entry, that’s so cool!
I think the Hovefestival experience was the most memorable for me. It was with Ego as Folkefiender and it was a hard road to get there. That festival was Norway’s biggest at the time and it had been a dream for so long to grace that stage. But Skral was amazing too, it was a bit of a solo artist achievement and a goal too, but if I would have to choose, I would have to say Hove.
You are first openly gay rapper in Scandinavia what does that mean to you and how it felt when you came out?
At first,I was a bit surprised that people where so surprised (haha!) From just being an underground artist who only rap heads knew about, to be featured in most mainstream media outlets for something I had been trying to suppress for so long was very weird. But mostly an amazing experience!At first,I thought that I didn’t want to be “the gay rapper”, but a rapper who was gay. But rap is a genre that are supposed to be about who you are and where you are from, and my sexuality is such a big part of who I am, so now I embrace being the gay rapper, and love everything that comes with it.
What made you decide to take part at Melodi Grand Prix?
I remember watching the show as a child, but then as a teenager, the music I was into wasn’t a part of it. But after being reintroduced by being a Eurovision jury member in 2017 I fell in love with it again and have been watching and cheering ever since. I have a lot of friends who has been very keen on me entering the competition, and I thought that if I do a song that could work, I’d send it for evaluation. And in March “Smile” was born, and now we’re here.
What was the idea behind “Smile” and what does the song mean for you?
The song is first and foremost about love. About my views on love and the fact that even if I’m not the monogamous type it doesn’t take away my capability of loving a guy (or two 😅). I also know that open relationships (or any relationship) do not come without complications, so to make sure your partner is happy and feel safe is key to a happy relationship. I wanted to present that in a happy, safe, and fun way, that maybe could open a couple of minds to the idea, and make people see that the heteronormative way of doing things isn’t the only way to find true love out there. I am single right now btw, haha.
Usually for Rap music people say that it is most genuine and emotional as it is sung in the native language of the performer yet you are performing “Smile” in English, has the song had a Norwegian version or it was written in English?
Funny you should ask. This is my first year doing music in English and it is a well thought through decision. I want to be able to reach people outside my country’s boarders, and only 5,4 million people speak Norwegian. The song is only written in English, and there will be no Norwegian version of it. I feel that I can pretty much express myself as good in English as in Norwegian now, so I don’t feel like it’s a handicap for me. I have practiced a lot this year. If people want to see how I have “trained” they can check out my Bearmixxxes on YouTube. They are the results of my dojo sessions, I would say that most of those are NOT for children, you’ve been warned, haha.
Can you tell us more about the performance which we could expect from you this Saturday?
OMG, I have THE best dancers. Miguel the choreographer went crazy with this one. I can tell you that it will be the bear and the 2021 village people on stage, and of course I hope you guys will EAT IT UP!!
This year’s Melodi Grand Prix will be held without the audience how will that affect your performance?
As much as I miss the audience, I feel prepared. I have only been able to perform for cameras this year, and it has made me more accustomed to it. So thank you Bear World Magazine for the digital bear weekends you booked me for and Koronerulling, you have helped me adapt.
Last year Melodi Grand Prix marked 60 years from its first edition what is your favourite song which competed at the stage of MGP and tell us why did you choose it?
Ooooh, I think Sprit in the Sky and Grab the moment are amazing songs, I wish I could say that I knew my MGP history, but as I’ve told you, I only have like 3 years of watching behind me, so I have to go with what I know.
In 2017 you were among the members of Norwegian Eurovision jury, how was that experience?
Sooooo much fun, AND STRESSFUL, haha. You only get like 5 minutes to gather your thoughts between performances, but I got introduced to some awesome people, got reintroduced to the best music competition in the world and it lead me to this moment, so I am very thankful for it.
Do you watch Eurovision regularly, if so would you like to share a memory which you have of it or a favourite song from the contest?
It’s not from watching Eurovision regularly, but when Euphoria comes on in the club, my 150kg ass twerk and shakes the room, haha.
Thank you so much for your time Karsten. We wish you the best of luck at Melodi Grand Prix. Do you want to share something else or you maybe have a message for followers of escbubble?
Thank you for talking to me. My message will just be to thank everyone who has checked out “Smile” and to watch and listen on Saturday, I will give it my all, and I hope you like what we’re serving. Peace and love ❤
If Big Daddy Karsten is your favorite in the third semifinal which will take place this Saturday 30th of January, make sure you cast your vote for him in our poll right here:
- Emmy - Witch Woods 57%, 404 votes404 votes 57%404 votes - 57% of all votes
- Ole Hartz - Vi er Norge 17%, 123 votes123 votes 17%123 votes - 17% of all votes
- Big Daddy Karsten - Smile 15%, 105 votes105 votes 15%105 votes - 15% of all votes
- Dinaye - Own Yourself 10%, 72 votes72 votes 10%72 votes - 10% of all votes
Let us know your impressions of “Smile” by Big Daddy Karsten in the comments below and at our social media links!