The Grand Final of this year’s edition of Melodi Grand Prix is taking place tomorrow evening, where a total of 12 acts are going to compete to become the one to represent Norway in the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest, which will be held in Rotterdam this May. The 12th finalist was decided on Monday this week, and in a competition of 15 the winner was chosen by the public – Jorn, with his song “Faith Bloody Faith”.
We had a great pleasure to talk to Jorn about his music career, his entry in Melodi Grand Prix, the message behind his song, as well as his involvement in one of world’s most popular games – League Of Legends. Check out all of that and more in this interview right here:
Hi Jorn, thank you so much for finding time in your busy schedule this week to talk to us. For the beginning of the interview, tell us how did you come up with the idea to enter this year’s edition of Melodi Grand Prix?
My old friend Åge Sten Nilsen who is also known as Glam, from Wig Wam, and I, we live in the same area. And also Wig Wam’s guitar player Trond Holter has been playing together with me in the Jorn band for a few years, and we also did this record together called “Swing Of Death” in 2015. They had this song, and sent me the rough demo and asked me if I would be interested in collaborating on that song, and that’s how it started. The song later got accepted for MGP and it was then very easy to yes to the whole project as I could represent the rock scene, what I do and what I come from, and I could do it as myself, as Jorn.
Is this song going to be the start of your next album then as a soloist?
MGP was a great platform to launch “Faith Bloody Faith” as a single, and yes, it will be part of my next album, but most probably in its longer version. In the longer version we also have a guitar solo. I think that shortening the song to meet the three minute rule didn’t make the song any weaker, and we didn’t need to do any compromises, it’s perfect without the guitar solo as well, and it’s maybe more radio friendly as well.
The song features also a couple of different music genres. Can you tell me more about it?
Yeah, the song has a bit international, oriental, Middle-East kind of style. It’s a little bit classic maybe, like the rock songs from the 70s/80s, but it crosses over then to the bridge which is more modern metal, and then the chorus which is this big schlager thing which is perfect for MGP and Eurovision. And my singing is as per usual, traditional rock oriented.
“Faith Bloody Faith” carries a very strong message. Can you tell us more about it, and what does this song mean to you?
The lyrics are very exceptional, I would say it’s an overview on the world, on its development. The religion is there but it’s not defined in a specific way – it’s like an overview on mankind from a bird’s perspective, and the three minutes are a journey from a long long time ago to how we evolved. There are some darker aspects to the song, but there is also a lot of hope, strength and positive elements in the song. Even though I sing “Blind lead the blind through all centuries of time, on the planet of apes” – it’s sarcasm, it’s irony, but at the same time it’s quite a serious lyric. It came out really cool and something that people can relate to and understand. But there are lots of positive things in it, like towards the end of the song “something’s wrong with the world we’re one, you and I we can live as one” – it sounds like a cliché, but there’s a lot of truth in that. We need to unite the world, as it needs to be a better place, and the only way to do it is do it together. It’s cliché if you will, but it’s actually the new real life we are talking about here.
How did you feel when you were selected as the “wildcard” in the second chance round, to join the Final line-up of MGP?
I didn’t take that for granted, as we were voted out in the first semi final. But since then I was contacted from fans from all over the world – Mexico, South Africa, Australia, European countries, and not just rock and metal fans, but fans of Eurovision, saying that they were disappointed that the song didn’t win the semi final. We were really humbled by that, and later I was also being invited to lots of radio and TV shows and I was travelling back-and-forth to Oslo. But this result came totally unexpected and I felt really flattered by it, because I could see that all those years of work made such a big impact on so many people.
Do you plan to stick with the same performance we have seen in the semi final, or will there be some changes?
We have been listening to some comments we have seen from people interested in the show, mostly die-hard Eurovision fans .We have taken notice, and we will look into doing something different with the lightning, there is going to be a lot of fire, and also some of the colors were not optimal. We have also changed some stuff on the floor as there will be some footage on it now, and I’ve also changed the outfits a little bit – I went back to a more classic-Jorn outfit for the Final. We’ll just make small tweeks to make it better and more defined.
You have already had your first rehearsal for the Final. How was it?
It was great. It was not the main run-through, but we got to test the pyros again, and everything works fine.
Did having no audience in the venue affect you?
All of us artists in MGP, we are very much focused on remembering what we are going to do. This is a big TV production, so you always need to know what you’re going to do, where you’re going to stand during the three minutes, to walk to certain points because the cameras go there, look up because there’s a camera coming towards you, etc… And if it comes with a song that’s challenging to sing, you can’t really just flirt with the camera, and also you got to concentrate on the singing. I’m not thinking too much about there being no people in the audience, I think about the people who will be watching the show on their screens.
What are your expectations in the Final?
I’m just truly happy and humbled to be in the Final of MGP. I believe in this song and I think that it can win. I don’t have big expectations and I don’t expect victory in MGP, but finishing in the top five of the competition would be really nice. That’s what I’m hoping for. I will just do my best on Saturday. There are some really good songs that a lot of people talk about, like KEiiNO’s song which is a fantastic song and it has all those Eurovision qualities, or Rein Alexander’s song which gives me James Bond vibes – it’s a very very good song, and it also fits well in the more traditional Eurovision concept. But at the same time, it’s a Contest, and you never know. If the planets are in the right position, anything can happen J There’s always something that happens at the right time, and I think this is true with MGP and Eurovision as well – if you hit that right timing anything can happen, you just never know when is that right timing. If it’s right for rock to win Eurovision – it will, if not – it won’t.
Does Eurovision need more rock and metal music?
Rock and metal is never really that present in MGP and Eurovision. I only remember more mainstream pop/rock, or plain nicer rock, not the heavier, melodic stuff in the Contest. I really believe that more rock and metal singers should include Eurovision in their thoughts when they think about their career. And not just them, I think that Eurovision is very good for all kinds of artists to present themselves, as it really puts you on the map as an artist.
Who were your influences in music at the beginning of your career?
I grew up with Elvis, Tom Jones, Rob Stewart, Cliff Richard, all those great singers, and all of them came from rock and then they developed and evolved into something more mainstream. But still, like a Swiss army knife, a lot of styles, and in the end they could perform what they wanted.
You collaborated with lots of artists from all over the world, and also, you are the voice actor behind Karthus from “League of Legends”. How did this come about?
Riot Games in Los Angeles is the world’s biggest online gaming company, and I started working them in “League of Legends” as Karthus. I’m doing this concept called Pentakill, which is the work of a metal band in the game. There’s no tours here as such in this project, but there are lots of events happening around this game, and I’ve been to going to these events as well.
Thank you so much Jorn for your time, and I wish you the best of luck in the Final of Melodi Grand Prix!
If Jorn is one of your favorites in MGP, make sure you cast your vote for him in our poll right here:
Give a listen to Jorn’s entry “Faith Bloody Faith” right here: