Maria Solheim yesterday turned 39, Happy belated birthday Maria! As a 17 year old she signed her first contract with a record label she moved to Oslo and her debut album “Barefoot” was released in 2001. By the time of her fourth album release back in 2006 Maria had toured around Asia, USA and Europe. Maria has sung in both baptism and confirmation to Norwegian Princess Ingrid Alexandra. In 2013 and 2019, Maria received the State’s one-year artist scholarship for her songwriting and after winning several awards and recognition for her music work Maria is working on her seventh solo album which is expected to be released in 2021.
Hello Maria, first of all I would like to congratulate you 20 years from your first album “Barefoot” was released how does it feel to look back at your beginning and how will you celebrate the anniversary?
Thank you so much! It is kind of surrealistic to think that it’s been 20 years already. But at the same time – so many things have happened. I have had the chance to travel the world, to visit prisons, castles, schools, small pubs and big concerts halls. I feel that I have so many things to be grateful for. It feels so good to start the celebration of the anniversary with a big party. And also to bring this very silent and comforting song into it. 2020 has been a strange year for all of us. I also plan to release a new album this year as a part of the celebration, and I am currently working on that.
What made you decide to take part at Melodi Grand Prix and was “Nordlyset” (Northern lights) prepared specially for the show?
I have always loved MGP and ESC. So to my closest family and friends this is no big surprise. I always watch the show every spring, and gather my children and friends with me. I also dig deep into the other songs from other countries before the actual final. I just love the joy and the lightness of the contest. It is a taste of togetherness and kindness that I absolutely love. Usually I write my music in English, but when NRK contacted me and asked me if I wanted to sing “Nordlyset” it just hit my heart immediately. I come from the northern part of Norway, and I grew up with the magical tales about the northern lights. They are a part of my childhood. And the song is about feeling alone. A feeling that I recon we all have felt more than usually the passing year. But even though so many things have changed the last 12 months some things still stay the same: The stars, the mountains, the northern lights. And there is a comfort in that.
Was the beanie you wore at the artist reveal of second semi-final at MGP a special amulet/talisman for your every new beginning or there is some other story about it?
Hahahaha, the beanie was a poor last decision. The Norwegian winter is tough on my thin northern hair, and I had the worst hairday ever. But I love beanies. And caps. But of course, my dream would be to have Raylees hair.
Can you tell us what was the idea behind “Nordlyset” and what does the song mean for you?
The song is written by four genuinely nice people. Andreas Gjone, Elsbeth Rehder, Torgeir Ryssevik and Camilla North. Camilla wrote her part of the song with her unborn child in mind. That is so touching for me. I had the joy to translate the lyrics to my northern dialect. And as I said earlier: It represents hope in a world in change.
How was it to work with your team and how did the creative process behind the song went given the fact that you released a behind the scenes/music video to “Nordlyset”?
I actually made the “behind the scenes”-movie the night before the press release. I had taken many small videos during the recording process, and also got some small clips from my producer Erik Hillestad. I felt that it was important to show the audience the beautiful people behind the instruments in the song. Especially since I will stand alone when I perform it on Saturday. I got the chance to work with wonderful jazz/folk musicians who never have been in MGP before. And its been a 15 year old dream to work with the arranger of the song: Guitarist Geir Sundstøl. I just love his way of thinking music.
Your entry is the only song in semi-final which will be performed in Norwegian language, how does that make you feel?
Hm. I actually have not reflected much about that. To me it is kind of new to sing in my native dialect. And it makes the song maybe even closer to my heart. And the lyrics reflect very much how I feel these days. So the northern dialect makes it feel very personal and genuine.
Will we be seeing Northern lights as part of your performance? Can you reveal us more about it?
Haha, I am not sure how much I am allowed to reveal about this. But I guess it is no surprise that there might be some elements of light and nature.
This year’s Melodi Grand Prix will be held without the audience how will that affect your performance?
Well, I guess it is the new normal. And I think that I have had some months now to adjust to that. The important thing will be to visualize the people I love, and the wonderful audience inside the camera lens. I have also made a deal with one of the camera ladies that I will sing extra for her.
You are an artist which has sung in both baptism and confirmation of Norwegian Princess Ingrid Alexandra how did that make you feel and how was the experience?
That was an absolute honor. The crown princess have always been supporting Norwegian artists, and caring for the treasure of Norwegian psalms. So for her to chose me on these very special occasions meant a lot to me. Both personally and musically.
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 favourite MGP song is Silje Vige “Alle mine tanker”. I remember so well watching that song as a young girl. It went straight under my skin. And I wanted to be her. But also Ketil Stokkan with “Romeo”. The song is totally catchy and I just love the vibe and the strange choreography.
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?
I definitely watch ESC regularly. My favorite (without a doubt) is Latvia in the year of 2000. Brainstorm with “My Star”. I just fell in love with the leadsinger. I recorded the song on VHS and watched it again and again. There is just something about the way he dances, clearly with no planned choreography. The joy in his smile and in his eyes. And his long arms and legs totally out of control, in a way. I was 18 years old, and I wanted to be his Run away bride.
What are your plans after Melodi Grand Prix?
My plans are to continue the work on my seventh album. Hopefully we will record it in february/march.
How is the work on your seventh album going?
It is going well. I am almost done with the songwriting, and I have chosen a producer and musicians that I have great musical respect for. It will be personal, and it will be a celebration of 20 years as an recording artist.
Thank you so much for your time Maria. 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 <3
There is hope. Always.
Give a listen to her entry “Nordlyset” on Spotify and watch her behind the scenes video at Youtube below
If Maria Solheim is your favorite in the second semifinal which will take place this Saturday 23rd of January, make sure you cast your vote for her in our poll right here:
- Raylee - Hero 40%, 283 votes283 votes 40%283 votes - 40% of all votes
- Daniel Owen - Psycho 33%, 237 votes237 votes 33%237 votes - 33% of all votes
- Maria Solheim - Nordlyset 22%, 155 votes155 votes 22%155 votes - 22% of all votes
- Ketil Stokkan - My Life Is OK 5%, 33 votes33 votes 5%33 votes - 5% of all votes
Let us know your impressions of “Nordlyset” by Maria Solheim in the comments below and at our social media links!