Video interviews and written information provided by our Danish correspondent Christian Kaad.
Denmark are the next country to decide tonight, as Dansk Melodi Grand Prix 2018 is held. Ten songs will compete for three spots in the superfinal with a five-member jury (50%) and a public vote (50%) helping to choose the winner for Denmark and the representative for Lisbon.
Our Danish correspondent Christian Kaad has been chatting to the participants, so #YOU can get to know them better! Check out all of the latest on tonight’s participants below.
Ditte Marie – Riot
It will be a very well-known face that will be the opening act at Dansk Melodi Grand Prix 2018. It’s the third time that Ditte Marie Agergaard Kristensen, better known as Ditte Marie, sings in the pop competition. This year she does it with the track ‘Riot’!
Ditte Marie was born and raised in Gjessø outside Silkeborg, but lives today at Nørrebro in Copenhagen with her boyfriend and the couple’s son Eddie, who Ditte Marie gave birth to in December. She is educated in aesthetics and culture at Aarhus University, but has lived for music for the past few years. For five years she was a lead in the band Le Freak, with whom she also went to Dansk Melodi Grand Prix 2011 with the song “25 Hours A Day”, which finished 3rd.
The following year Ditte Marie went to Grand Prix as a soloist with the song “Overflow”. Today she acts as a soloist at home and abroad in many different musical contexts. She has also toured with well-established artists like Clemens and Johnny Deluxe. Therefore, she had originally also decided that would be that with the Melodi Grand Prix – just until she heard “Riot”, which she could not say no to. The Melodi Grand Prix is close to Ditte Marie’s heart.
“What’s so beautiful at a show like the Melodi Grand Prix is that it creates a community and that for one night we can lean back and forget the stress and a bit of all the everyday misery. Therefore, I feel extremely privileged to join again and I am looking forward to being on stage in Aalborg” says Ditte Marie. “Riot” is written and composed by a trio consisting of Lise Cabble, Theis Andersen and the Swedish Chris Wahl. Lise Cabble has won the Danish Melodi Grand Prix three times, with “From Mols to Skagen” (1995), “New Tomorrow” (2011) and the later Eurovision winner “Only Teardrops” (2013). In addition to being behind ‘Riot’, Lise Cabble is also the author of song number two “Starlight”, at this year’s Melodi Grand Prix.
Theis Andersen has previously published music under his own name and has worked in recent years with artists like Medina, TopGunn, Page Four and Noah. Chris Wahle has written several songs for the popular South Korean groups Twice and AOA, as well as for Spanish singer Ruth Lorenzo, who participated in Eurovision for Spain in 2014.
Contribution producer at Dansk Melodi Grand Prix 2018, Mads Enggaard, who has selected the song, says that “”Riot” is a strong, upbeat pop song based on the power of struggling to hold on to the one or the one that you love. It’s a feeling most people can get into, and I can imagine that it’s a song that can make people dance up on the barricades. The song has a very clear and easy-to-understand idea, but it also contains a story that goes a little deeper. In addition to a stone-proof vocal, Ditte Marie also has a beautiful and generous personality that does not hold on to any emotion or festivity.”
Anna Ritsmar – Starlight
Anna is only 17 years old and thus the youngest participant in this year’s Grand Prix field, but in no way does it mean that the debutant Anna Ritsmar from Hillerød is unclassified in the world of music. She has already been in the Spektaro group, that release their first vinyl record later this year, and in the group Aufori, who plays Danish-language indie music. In addition to performing with her two bands at cafes and nightclubs, Anna Ritsmar uses her time to help in a music studio in Copenhagen. The many musical projects have meant that Anna Ritsmar is currently on leave from high school, where she otherwise went to 2. G. Someone may also recognize Anna from The X Factor, where she reached all the way to the bootcamp stage in 2016.
Even though Anna Ritsmar has a lot of experience in performing live, it’s nevertheless her greatest performance that awaits her when she takes the stage at Gigantium in Aalborg to perform the starlight song. “There are quite a lot of people to sing for, so I think I’ll be getting nervous when the show is approaching. But I’m really looking forward to joining and thinking it will be a huge experience!”
“Starlight” is written and composed by one of the heavyweights of the Dansk Melodi Grand Prix, namely Lise Cabble. A total of 13 songs have been recorded by the former Miss B. Haven singer in the Dansk Melodi Grand Prix, of which three songs have won and have gone on to the Eurovision Song Contest as previously mentioned. The uniqueness of “Starlight” is that it is the first Grand Prix song that Lise Cabble has written and composed entirely on her own.
Contribution producer Mads Enggaard motions that “”Starlight” is a song describing the happy crush where you let go of everything around and just living in the present in your own universe with the one you love. Anna is an artist who has the sweetness and magic needed to bear a song that dares to challenge the traditional way of building a song.”
“The song dares to be small and a bit fancy, and it makes you go into Anna’s world where music stands as the great love declaration for one’s loved.” Anna also told ESC United that she had a lot to say in the process of the song and that she wanted a more organic sound, and it felt more like a partnership between her and Lise Cabble rather than Lise just giving her the song. Lise told us that Anna simply just went in, nailed it at the first take, and she knew right away that it meant she had the right song paired with the right singer.
Rasmussen – Higher Ground
There will be a lot of noise when Jonas Flodager Rasmussen, who in the Grand Prix context is just called Rasmussen, debuts at Dansk Melodi Grand Prix. The 32-year-old singer, born and raised in Viborg and today lives in Langå with his wife and their two children, is used to the stage and says “I’m going to do my absolute best on the stage. That said, it could be nice to win too, I can´t deny that”.
“Higher Ground” has been written and composed by the two Swedish songwriters Niclas Arn and Karl Eurén, who both have had many songs at Melodifestivalen over the years. Most successfully, they had “Kom”, which became a big hit for the group Timoteij in Sweden eight years ago. Niclas Arn has also participated in the Danish Melodi Grand Prix in 2014 where he was one of the songwriters behind Rebekka Thornbech’s ‘Your Lies’, which came third.
“Higher Ground” is a really powerful song that, in a very modern way, is capable of pulling threads from our Nordic cultural heritage with clear references to Vikings, Armor and Spray” said Mads Enggaard. “The message is strong and forever applicable; an invitation to seek peaceful solutions to conflicts and inspired by the story of the viking Magnus Erlendsson. Our Viking, Rasmussen, is a God-given singer who can deliver the song of the great surplus needed for this epic tale to get winds in the sails!”
Sannie – Boys on Girls
Sannie entered the record books when, in 1994, she debuted at number one on the British charts with her first single “Saturday Night”, a massive international hit still played in clubs around the world. At that time she appeared under the name of Whigfield, but today she uses her first name. This also applies when she is now debuting in the Dansk Melodi Grand Prix.
Throughout the nineties, Sannie had hits like “Another Day”, “Think of You” and “Big Time” across major parts of Europe and Australia, and today she is still roaming around the world. For the last couple of years she has also been able to experience home as part of the concert “We Love the 90s”.
In 2012, Sannie released her fifth and last album as Whigfield, and since the name change, she has moved from the light pop music to a more house sound. It resulted in the singles “How Long” and “In the Morning” in 2016, both of which went to top five in the British dance charts.
Sannie was born in Skælskør, but spent several years of her childhood in Côte d’Ivoire. For a number of years she also had her life in the big cities of London and Barcelona, but since 2004 she has been living outside of Milan in Italy. For the Danish Melodi Grand Prix 2018, Sannie returns home to Denmark for a while – and she is looking forward to it.
“I’ve always followed the Melodi Grand Prix, so I’m very proud that I’m allowed to join. To me, it’s not so much about competing, but more about showing the Danes my new project. And of course, it’s also a good excuse to come back to Denmark and eat a lot of liver puffs!”
“Boys on Girls” has been created in collaboration between Sannie herself and the Italian songwriter and producer Domenico Canu as well as the Scottish singer and songwriter James Reeves. Domenico Canu is a member of the Italian group Planet Funk, who released the ever-popular “Chase the Sun” in 2000, and has also worked with popular dance names like Scooter, Benny Benassi and Groove Armada. James Reeves, who as an artist is named Sonny Reeves, has previously worked with among others, British hitmaker Tinie Tempah and G FrSH.
“Boys on Girls’ sends the mind towards the free life where with one drink in one hand and one partially dressed with the other can enjoy life without worrying about anything but just what you have fancy”, said Enggaard. Sannie has years of experience in performing dance-loving, eager songs and guarantees a lavish show that has both elegance and a glint in the eye.
Sandra – Angels to my Battlefield
She is a brand new name on the Danish music scene, and the talent is not to be mistaken. 20-year-old Sandra Hilal from Brønshøj is so ready to show Denmark her talent. Sandra helps in a production school, but it is the music that fills most of her life. She has sung and played the guitar since she was very young, and she has, among other things, uploaded several cover songs on YouTube. It was also here that the songwriter and producer Lars ‘Chief 1’ Pedersen discovered her for a few years back.
The two have been in touch ever since, and now their collaboration culminates in the song Sandra is going to sing on stage at Gigantium in Aalborg, “Angels to My Battlefield”. “It’s a crazy bold opportunity I’ve got to introduce myself and my music to the Danes, and I’m really looking forward to it. Hopefully they will feel my performance and take the message of the song”, she says. In addition to Sandra herself and Lars ‘Chief 1′ Pedersen, Ronny Vidar Svendsen, Anne Judith Stokke Wik and Nermin Harambasic are also behind the song. Chief 1 hit the sound wall as part of the rap band Rockers By Choice and has worked for the past three decades with a string of the greatest musicians in the world.
As a songwriter, he has participated in the Dansk Melodi Grand Prix four times earlier – and won three times. In 1997, Kølig Kaj won with “Stemmen I Mit Liv”, in 2012 Soluna Samay won with “Should’ve Known Better” and in 2015 it was Anti Social Media that ran to victory with the song “The Way You Are”.
Ronny Vidar Svendsen, Anne Judith Stokke Wik and Nermin Harambasic are all part of the popular Norwegian songwriter and production company Dsign Music. Together they have written a myriad of hits for stars like Kylie Minogue, Blue, Girls’ Generation and Nabiha. The team from Dsign Music is together with Lars’ Chief 1 ‘Pedersen behind Ricky Martin’s latest huge hit “Vente Pa ‘Ca” from 2016. The song peaked the charts in several South American countries, sold four-fold platinum in Spain and was also nominated for two awards at last year’s Latin Grammy Awards.
Mads Enggaard says “Angels to My Battlefield” is Sandra’s tale of a connection to another world, to people we love and have lost but which we still need. It is a personal and touching prayer that our past must give us strength and help us to see the challenges we face in our eyes. Sandra is her own, and throughout her life has been driven by a need to express herself through the music, and she shows us here that she is a mature and homogeneous artist of a very young age.”
Lasse Meling – Unfound
He was discovered on YouTube when he was only 13 years old and already has a handful of hits in his back catalogue, but nowadays 19-year-old Lasse Meling is ready for his life’s greatest performance as he goes to the stage of Dansk Melodi Grand Prix with “Unfound”, which he himself has contributed to writing.
Lasse Meling was born and raised in Frederikshavn, and it was from there in northern Jutland that he was spotted six years ago by the renowned songwriter and producer Jesper Sidelmann. As a result, Lasse Meling flew to New York, where he recorded music with names like Terrance Laurel, Arrow Benjamin and Curtis Richardson, who has worked together with world stars like Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez and Rihanna. Lasse Meling’s breakthrough hit “All About You” was released in 2013 and was followed by the EP “Relations” the following year. Since then, there have been a number of singles produced in the company of, among other things, the successful Danish duo Ultramarin.
The latest single from Lasse Meling is a recording of the song “Never Give Up on You”, which was the United Kingdom’s contribution to the Eurovision Song Contest last year. Now it’s the song “Unfound” and an appearance in front of all of Denmark, a dream for the young singer and songwriter.
“The Melodi Grand Prix is an event that I have always followed, so I am looking forward to being part of the show. It will be so cool!”, says Meling. The song was written by Lasse Meling together with veteran Kim Nowak-Zorde and The Arrangement producer team. Kim Nowak-Zorde is behind hits like Sanne Salomonsen’s “Taxa” and Christopher’s breakthrough hit “Nothing in Common”. With “Unfound” he participates in the Danish Melodi Grand Prix for the fifth time. In 2014 he was one of the songwriters of Basim’s winning song “Cliché Love Song”.
“”Unfound” is a song about finding yourself in the midst of failure and loneliness and about choosing a direction that points to a better future, despite the fact that love is not always as you hope.” said Enggaard. Lasse is a talented young artist with a characteristic crisp and soulful voice, and his modern sound and narrative contribute to the fact that an otherwise strong pop number becomes even more catchy.
Carlsen – Standing Up For Love
Harmonies are at focus when the sisters CARLSEN go to the stage in this year’s Melodi Grand Prix. The three sisters – Vanja Carlsen (43), Laila Carlsen (39) and Barbara Chaparro (32), all born and raised in Thorshavn on the Faroe Islands – have music in their DNA. Their father is a pianist and their mother is a singer, and when the sisters were children, the family recorded a number of Christian children’s songs in Faroese. Since then, the three sisters have sung in gospel choirs, like they both together and individually sang in countless combinations.
Since 2000, Vanja, Laila and Barbara have sung together under the name CARLSEN, which has resulted in a tour of the United States as well as the release of an EP. The three sisters still live in Thorshavn with their families. When they do not spend time singing and music, Vanja works as a cardiologist at Landssygehuset in Thorshavn, while Laila and Barbara work as hairdressers and makeup artists in a salon in the city.
The Melodi Grand Prix has always filled up a lot with Carlsen sisters childhood homes, where the grandfather’s videotapes with the shows were played and where names such as Herreys, Kirsten and Søren, Nicole, Carola and Tommy Seebach formed the soundtrack of the sisters’ childhood. It is therefore also a bit of a childhood dream that fulfills the Carlsen sisters when they are going to participate in the Danish Melodi Grand Prix with the song “Standing Up for Love”.
“It’s huge and very unreal suddenly even having to be part of something that has meant so much to us in our childhood. It would be great to be allowed to represent Denmark at Eurovision!” they said excitedly. The song is written and composed by the two Swedes Thomas Thörnholm and Michael Clauss and the American Dave Rude.
Thomas Thörnholm and Michael Clauss have had several songs at Melodifestivalen, and have also worked with big Swedish names like Magnus Carlsson, Alcazar, Jan Johansen and Rednex. Dave Rude is a member of the American rock band Tesla, for which he has written several hits, and in addition, he has written and produced songs for artists like Lil B and Chris Lie.
Enggaard says that “the sisters from the Faroe Islands have sung together their whole life and, with “Standing Up for Love”, give us a song, most of which is a positive love manifesto and an invitation to meet with an open heart without fear and doubt steering us. The trio completely redeems this song with their beautiful voices that merge into convincing harmonies in a way that it is hard not to surrender to the message of love and the belief that we can make a difference by standing together in the name of love.”
KARUI – Signals
She has sung all her life and moved within a myriad of styles, but it will be the first time that 19-year-old Annelie Karui Saemala, artistically known as KARUI, throws herself into the Grand Prix music. That’s what she does when she debuts with the song “Signals”, which she herself has contributed to writing. KARUI is born and raised in Herning, but currently lives at Skovbo Efterskole at Ringsted, where she teaches the students in song, helps to arrange entertainment at school and generally acts as a kind of sister-in-law for the students.
In her youth, KARUI has sung in both gospel bands and classical choirs. She has sung solo songs, and she has been the lead in several cover bands. In addition, she has played several performances with The Danish Opera. It is therefore a scenic woman who occupies Gigantium in Aalborg, but she still has to get used to the idea that she is going to stand alone in the spotlight, she recognizes. “I’m really excited, but I’m sure it will be a great experience and I’m looking forward to it. It’s a tradition in my family to follow the Melodi Grand Prix, and I think it’s also some fun that the winning entry fights for their country”
“Signals” is written and composed by KARUI itself as well as the songwriter Jeanette Bonde, who debuted in the Danish Melody Grand Prix last year, where she performed the song “Hurricane”, which she herself contributed to writing. This year she can add another Grand Prix song to the CV! Daniel Fält has participated at Dansk Melodi Grand Prix as a songwriter twice before, winning in 2014, where he was one of the writers of Basim’s winning song “Cliché Love Song”. He has also written songs for artists like Christopher, Sanne Salomonsen, Johnny Deluxe and Anna David.
Enggaard: “Signals’ is a moody demonstration of unforgiven desire and longing. It’s a song with a sound that dares to challenge what you might normally associate with the Grand Prix, but actually catching inspiration from a genre we’ve previously seen stand out in Eurovision. KARUI delivers the silent-proof like equilibrium RnB diva and puts on the feelings that connect to the difficult game that can be between two people in the early stages of falling in love.”
Rikke Ganer-Topsøe – Holder Fast I Ingenting
31-year-old Rikke Ganer-Tolsøe was born and raised in Glostrup and Amager, but today is living in Hvidovre. Rikke Ganer-Tolsøe has sung all her life, but it was only three years ago when a friend shared an appearance with her on Facebook that she started singing to the public. Since then, Rikke has a Facebook page with several followers, where she shares both her own songs and cover songs, as well as being a sought-after singer especially for weddings. Aside from music, Rikke Ganer-Tolsøe uses most of her time on the women’s universe kvinderudenfilter.dk, which she founded in 2015.
Rikke Ganer-Tolsø’s performance for the Dansk Melodi Grand Prix 2018 will be her greatest performance ever, and even though she is very excited she also has a couple of concerns, she admits. “It will be superfluous for me to come up to such a stage with light shows, dancers and everything. I do not think I should jump too much around – that’s not the case”.
Behind “Holder Fast I Ingenting” is a trio of experienced Danish songwriters who have previously proven that they all know how to screw an effective pop song together; Rune Braager, Clara Sofie Fabricius and Andrea Emilie Fredslund Nørgaard. They have previously worked with a number of Danish and international artists such as Sanne Salomonsen, Joey Moe, Hot Chelle Rae and Jillian O. He participates this year with his contributions number nine and ten in the Dansk Melodi Grand Prix. In addition to “Holder Fast I Ingenting” he also has the song “Music for the Road”, which is sung by Albin Fredy. Clara Sofie Fabricius debuts as a songwriter in the Dansk Melodi Grand Prix, but has over the last ten years been featured on the music scene at home with her own hits like “Når Tiden Går Baglæns”.
She has released four albums in her own name, of which the latest “Understrøm” was published in 2016. Last year, she also contributed to writing and producing the winning songs of Thomas Blachman’s two X Factor finalists, Mia and Chili. Another debut as a Grand Prix songwriter is Andrea Emilie Fredslund Nørgaard. In 2015 she achieved rotation on P3 with the single “Glasskår” and has also released the single “Wild Horses”.
Enggaard: “Rikke Ganer-Tolsøe sings the song with a vulnerable mildness that emphasizes poetry in the text of the otherwise very dance-friendly song. It’s a song that’s about being separate from the one you love, and Rikke has lots of experience in communicating emotions through music.”
Albin Fredy – Music For The Road
He is a showman all the way to the and is ready to give it all at this year’s Dansk Melodi Grand Prix! 36-year-old Albin Fredy Ljungqvist, born and raised in Falköping, Sweden, who has lived in Copenhagen for the past ten years, has been engaged in music and shows all his life.
For the last 11 years he has been part of Wallman’s dinner show in the Circus building in Copenhagen, the first seven years as a singer and the past four years as assistant director and vocal coach. In addition, Albin Fredy also publishes music in his own name, which last year resulted in the EP ‘Falling for the Last Time’, which includes a duet with American singer Alexis Grace. With “Music for the Road”, Albin Fredy is in his second time at Dansk Melodi Grand Prix. In 2013, he participated with “Beautiful to Me”, written by, among others, Bryan Rice.
Albin Fredy does not hide from the fact that he loves the Melodi Grand Prix and that he is also looking forward to participating again in the big pop festival. “As a musician and working on shows, the Melodi Grand Prix is almost the curriculum – you must have seen it! We’ve always been watching it closely in my family, it’s almost like Christmas Eve” he says. “Music for the Road” is written and compiled by the trio Rune Braager, John Garrison and O. Antonio. The song here is Rune Braager’s tenth contribution in the Dansk Melodi Grand Prix. Formerly, he has been writing “Two Are Stronger Than One” to Me & My and “Venter” for Christian Brøns and Patrik Isaksson. In 2009 he also supported Andorra’s contribution to Eurovision. In addition to this song he also co-wrote “Holder Fast I Ingenting”.
John Garrison is a British singer and songwriter who has been successful both in his own name and as part of the rock group Budapest. In recent years, he has also performed as a songwriter and producer for others and has worked with Leona Lewis, James Blunt and Mads Langer.
Enggaard: “Albin Fredy is an experienced performer and in “Music for the Road” he is a lone rider who takes us on his journey where the music is both subordination and protagonist when he sings about moving on in life after a break. The power of choosing music to save oneself is reflected in the number that extracts its energy from the dance genre, while this references to the country genre.”
All ten of these acts will be performing in the national selection DMGP tonight, and we will bring #YOU all of the action as it happens live on social media!
Who should represent Denmark? What do #YOU think? Share your thoughts with us on our forum HERE or join the discussion below and on social media!