Dinaye, Dina Matheussen is a 17 years old and she comes from Asker outside of Oslo. Her career started as a dancer while she started singing at the age of 12. She also has a black belt in karate! Dinaye is known for dancing inspired by Michael Jackson and in 2014 she impressed with the dance in “Norway’s got Talent” on TV 2, where she made it to the semifinals. The 17-year-old also compteded in MGPjr in 2016 with the song “Sterk og Rå” where she made it to the gold final. She also participated as a dancer for Amina Sewali at MGP in 2017. Through Norwegian Idol 2020, she proved her talent for both singing and dancing and received standing ovations for her interpretation of Beyoncé’s song “Run the World (Girls)”. In 2019, she had a hit on NRK P3 radio with the song “Vi er ett“, where in the music video also got to show her Ethiopian roots. The young artist is involved in writing her own lyrics, and “Own yourself” is about the choices you make in life, and how you choose to present yourself to others and to yourself. Dinaye is half Ethiopian and in part of the song she sings in Amharic. The authors of her song are: Christian Ingebrigtsen, David Thulin and Dina, herself.
Hello Dina, the first time you got a chance to be seen by the Norwegian audience was when you took part in the 6th season of the show “Norway got Talent” as a 12 year old you managed to dance all the way to the semifinal last yearyou were part of Idol Norge where you ended on 6th place, how were those two experiences for you and in which way did they help you develop as an artist?
Being on Norwegian Got Talent really helped me develop my stage presence and being able to control nerves for example or emotions that would get in my way. I also think that the competition made me realize that this was something I wanted to do more of. The Idol helped me as an artist because I kind of have an idea now of what type of songs work best for me and I would definitely say that my vocals got better after the show.
You took part in MGP Junior 2016 with the song “Sterkogrå” (Strong and raw) and you ended the show as gold finalist how was that experience and do you think that Norway should be once again part of Junior Eurovision Song Contest like it was from the beginning of the show in 2003 until 2006?
MGPjr was a wonderful experience that I will never forget. It was the very beginning of my career that really helped me gain a fan base. At the time, I did wish Norway was part of Junior Eurovision Song Contest, but I’m not so sure anymore. MGPjr have singers between 8-15 and so I think ranking them with exact points might damage their joy for music, in a way? I don’t feel like putting artists at such a young age in a spot like that would be a good idea.
You won’t be performing at the stage of Melodi Grand Prix for the first time given the fact that you were part of the show 4 years ago in “Mesterverk” by Amina Sewali, can you tell us what memories do you have to that experience and has it made you better prepared for this year’s show?
Dancing alone with Amina was such a special moment that felt unreal. I felt so free on stage. Knowing that I previously have done well on stage like this one, gives me hope and confidence for the semi-final. However, since there won’t be any audience this time around, I think the energy in the room will be very different.
What inspired you to take part at Melodi Grand Prix?
I didn’t actually plan on signing myself up on MGP this year, but I got a dm on Instagram from MGP where they asked me if I wanted to join. So, I thought; “Why not?”
Can you tell us what was the idea behind “Own Yourself” given the fact that you are one of the coauthors of it and what does the song mean for you?
The message behind Own Yourself is that it doesn’t matter what you are in terms of race, gender or age, but who you are and that you are proud of it. Don’t think too much about what others say about you or feel the need to change yourself to get accepted by others. I think during this pandemic there are a lot more people on social media, and so there is more bullying and harassment online than previously. So, I think my message is more important now than ever. And to be honest, I have also had that feeling that I am not good enough. But I want to remind everyone that they are enough as they are and should just be themselves. Own yourself!
You are half Ethiopian and in your song you sing parts in Amharic, last year the song of Israel “Feker Libi”
had parts in Amharic and it was sung by Eden Alene who will be their representative this year as well how does it make you feel to know that Amharic language and Ethiopian culture are being represented in Eurovision?
I am so glad that there are more Ethiopian representatives in the music industry. I love Eden and everything that she does, and it makes me so proud to know that she will be joining Eurovision. And of course, by doing this, more people will get to know the Ethiopian culture and language which I think is amazing!
Being known as a dancer can we expect some amazing choreography at your performance this Saturday? Can you tell us more about it?
Yes! There will definitely be a lot of dance this Saturday. I’m so glad I got to participate in the choreography together with Sofie Løken, in which I will perform with 6 dancers. I can say that there will be afro/MJ inspirations.
This year’s Melodi Grand Prix will be held without the audience how will that affect your performance?
I experienced the same thing last year when I was on Idol. It felt very strange to perform in front of an empty audience, giving that I had to push my energy. Having an audience would give me extra adrenaline and excitement, but I just have to think that there are thousands of people watching at home from their sofas.
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?
My favorite song from last year was “Attention” by Ulrikke, who actually did win. I just think that her song and lyrics are so powerful, and her voice gives me goosebumps. She’s amazing!
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?
Yes, I watch Eurovision regularly. I remember watching the performance of “Nobody But You” by Cesar Sampson and instantly feel in love with the song. It is so vibey and I still have it in my playlist.
In the last couple of years you released several covers at your Youtube, which one was the one you enjoyed performing the most and which artists are your role models and inspire you in your work?
I really enjoyed covering Fallin’ by Alicia Keys and also Man Down by Rihanna. Michael Jackson has been my role model from day one. His dance, his music and lyrics has always been my inspiration. I also love Beyoncé and Bob Marley.
What are your plans after Melodi Grand Prix?
After MGP I’m planning on writing as many songs as I can and get more stuff out. Hopefully, once the pandemic is over, I get to do more concerts. But of course, I also have school in which I will dedicate my time to as well.
Thank you so much for your time Dina. 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 so much for sending me the questions, I can’t wait to show you what I have planned for Saturday. It’s going to be a firework!
Give a listen to her entry “Own Yourself” on Spotify or at Youtube below
If Dinaye is your favorite in the third semifinal which will take place this Saturday 30th of January, make sure you cast your vote for her in our poll right here:
Let us know your impressions of “Own Yourself” by Dinaye in the comments below and at our social media links!