RIVER: “Just the other day we made a song with a little gospel vibe!”

RIVER is a pop/country band from Skien and consists of Thomas Heiland (29) and Lennart Karlsen (50) . Thomas and Lennart are in factfather-in-law and son-in-law, and together they are ready for the big MGP stage!

Both of them have long careers in music as artists, studio musicians and songwriters. For ten years, Thomas has been half of the Norwegian pop phenomenon Cir.Cuz and has worked with, among others, John De Son, Morgan SuleleKatastrofe, Sandra Lyng, Jahn Teigen, Ole Evenrud and Carina Dahl. 

Lennart has been a musician all his life and is a well-experienced instrumentalist in gospel, country and church music. He has made several albums, but also written for others. Gradually, he has also moved into the pop segment and has, in addition to the above-mentioned artists, also worked with Monika Nordli and Steinar Albrigtsen.  RIVER has collaborated with many artists such as Alexander Pavelic, Erik Smaaland, Kristoffer Tømmerbakke, Magnus Clausen, Tommy La Verdi and Vanessa Campagna. The latter is an artist and songwriter from Nashville with number 1 hit on Billboard and an Academy Award. 

Hello Thomas and Lennart, the two of you are father and son-in-law and how did the rest of your family react when you said that you wanted to start RIVER? 

Hehe, it kinda just happened. Early on we connected with music, and the rest just came natural. The whole family have been super supportive.

So far you have cooperated with many musicians including: Alexander Pavelic, Erik Smaaland, Kristoffer Tømmerbakke, Magnus Clausen, Tommy La Verdi and Vanessa Campagna among others and could you tell us which of the collaborations you had so far made was the one you are most proud of?  

We are proud of all of our collabs, having to be so lucky to work with that much talent is just a blessing. 

Thomas you won’t be performing at the stage of Melodi Grand Prix for the first time given the fact that you were part of it back in 2014 as a member of Cir.Cuz singing “Hele Verden” you Mats didn’t manage to go to the final but can you tell us more about the experience and memories you had and how does it feel to be part of the show as part of a duo once again? 

The team is just so so professional, same as then we just feel so taken care of. Feeling blessed to get the chance to do it again! 

Lennart even though you haven’t appeared at MGP before you are a well experienced musician you have released several albums and built your career in gospel, country and church music can we expect some gospel songs from both Thomas and you to be released on some upcoming RIVER album?

That could possibly happen. Just the other day we made a song with a little gospel vibe! Maybe our next single? 

What made you decide to take part at Melodi Grand Prix? 

We got a request from NRK, and we just could not say no! We sent a demo of «coming home» and they fell for it, so here we are! 

Can you tell us what was the idea behind “Coming Home” and what does the song mean for both of you? 

The song is about «Coming home» coming back home after a broken relationship, coming home from a bad period, coming home from what ever your situation is. The song is about what it means to you. 

Could you reveal us more about the performance which is going to take place this Saturday? What can we expect of it?

We can say that we focused on the music, but we can promise a good show! 

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

Of course it will be different, but our viewers will not notice! We are good actors! Hehe.

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?

Jahn Teigen is a MGP legend, and Thomas actually got the chance to work with him before he left us. So that it our obvious choice. 

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, from time to time. Laureen – Euphoria is a banger!

Most of your previous releases were in English but there is a song in Norwegian “Håper du er lykkelig nå” do you plan to release more music sung in Norwegian or you will perform all of your songs in English?

We just go with the flow in the studio, for the most its on English. But a Norwegian tune shows up from time to time! 

What are your plans after Melodi Grand Prix?

Just focus on the music! Work hard in the studio and build a foundation till it all opens up again! 

Thank you so much for your time RIVER. 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 u so much! Please vote for us and follow us on social media. Facebook: We Are River Instagram: weareriver

Give a listen to their entry “Coming Home”  on Spotify  or at Youtube below

If RIVER is your favorite in the fifth semifinal which will take place this Saturday, make sure you cast your vote for them in our poll right here:

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Let us know your impressions of “Coming Home” by RIVER in the comments below and at our social media links!

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