Ketil Stokkan:”Mr. Simen Sand, choreographer of “Romeo”, will help me out this time too!”

Ketil Stokkan is someone known to Eurovision audience as he represented Norway in 1986 with the song which became a huge Norwegian hit “Romeo” at Eurovision the song ended on 12th place with 44 points. The second time he was part of Eurovision was in 1990 when after he won MGP with “Brandenburger Tor” (The Brandenburg Gate) at the contest he got only 8 points which was enough for 21st place. But his first Melodi Grand Prix appearance dates back to 1983 when he performed “Samme charmeur” which ended on second place. Ketil works as a teacher in primary school and at the same time he performs many concerts every year.  He began his musical career in various bands already in middle school. In 1977 he became a member of the band “ZOO” from Stokmarknes, and released 8 albums with them. The most famous songs from the period with “ZOO” are “Evig Ung” (Forever Young) and “Vent, Ikkje Legg På” (Wait, Don’t Hang Up). Then followed a period with various dance band projects and solo albums. Stokkan has released eight albums four of which came out in the period 2011-2018. The latest album, “Nu kjør vi”, was recorded live in Trondheim in 2017 and released in 2018.

Hello Ketil, you are a legend of Melodi Grand Prix and first I would like to ask you how does it feel to be part of the show and setting up a record making it your fourth time at the contest you also became the artist which made the longest absence from MGP stage since the last performance, being back at the show 31 years after you won it back in 1990 with “Brandenburger Tor”?

It feels great, I`m thrilled and very excited! I`m also honored to have my song picked out of a list containing almost 1000 submitted contributions.

What made you decide to take part at Melodi Grand Prix for the fourth time and was “My Life is OK” written especially for MGP?

The 2020 pandemic led artists all over the world into frustration,- no live communication or interaction with an audience. Suddenly MGP/ESC is the only platform left to reach out, to convey our art, music or dance, to people. I was originally writing music for someone else, but the song (and the lyrics) grew on me, and somewhere along the process I thought the song fitted my voice.

I know this is going to be a tough question but which out of the four songs with which you competed is your favourite: “Sammecharmeur”, “Romeo”; “Brandenburger tor” or “My Life Is OK”?

I care about all my songs, all 120 of them, and so it`s hard to say whether I was a better composer in -83, -86 or -90. This years` song, “My life is OK”, has a good feel and a mature text,- and I think it can reach out to a larger, International audience.

Can you tell us what was the idea behind “My Life is OK” and what does the song mean for you?

The idea is to give you a song which is easy for anyone to play at a party or a nachspiel, an unforgettable refrain/chorus,- but with a touch of seriousness within the text.

All of your previous songs were performed in Norwegian language what made you switch to English for “My Life is OK”?

Most countries switch to English, especially countries with a small population and a “small” language. I’ve also released 5 albums which included English lyrics,- and so it comes naturally to me.

Can you reveal us more about your performance which we will see this Saturday? Can we expect any interesting choreography like you did for “Romeo”?

He, he, I`m too old for spectacular choreography, but I will move with the dancers as god as I can. I managed to have Mr. Simen Sand, who did the choreography for “Romeo” in -86, to help me out this time too. Be aware of the screens around the stage, my shoes,  my gloves and the “sign”.

This year’s Melodi Grand Prix will be held without the audience how will that affect your performance?

 Sorry about that, but I`m a professional,- I will find you all through the screen.

Last year Melodi Grand Prix marked 60 years from its first edition and you are part of that history with your three performances what is your favourite song at MGP or memory from the contest?

Everyone in Norway went off their rockers after Norways` success in -85, and -86 was crazy. My last composition/song will always be my favourite, but I still remember a song by Umberto Tozzi and Raf from -87 that I was fond of: “Gente di mare. I think it came No. 3 that year. But there have been so many good songs through 60 years, it`s really hard to pick “the one”.

You performed at the stage of Eurovision back in 1986 and 1990 would you like to share any memory or anecdote which you have of your two previous appearances at the show?

 I loved performing with the “Garlic girls”, and I enjoyed that whole year between -86 and -87.

Have you watched Eurovision regularly after the last time you participated at it, if so could you tell us your impressions of the show, has it changed a lot and in which way?

 I`ve seen all ESC shows since I was a kid. It´s become bigger, better and more glamorous,- and now even Australia has joined. What`s next?

What are your plans after Melodi Grand Prix?

Spend some time in our new cottage by the sea, finish a few more songs, release another blues album (!) and keep safe.

Thank you so much for your time Ketil. 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?

Keep safe, keep up the spirit and enjoy MGP/ESC 2021. Remember also; your life is OK!


Give a listen to his entry “My Life is OK”  on Spotify  or at Youtube below

If Ketil Stokkan is your favorite in the second semifinal which will take place this Saturday 23rd of January, make sure you cast your vote for him in our poll right here:

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Let us know your impressions of “My Life is OK” by Ketil Stokkan in the comments below and at our social media links!

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