Eurovision

Jonas Gladnikoff: “I actually always find it very entertaining to read comments about my songs, especially the negative ones.” [Interview]

In the run-up to Eurovision, escXtra.com decided it was time to put a spotlight on the people behind the songs: the composers and lyricists. In our second interview of the day we spoke to the man who’s hoping his third entry for Ireland will finally make the top ten: it’s Jonas Gladnikoff! Read what he had to say below!

escXtra.com: Hey Jonas! First of all, congratulations on having a song in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest!
Jonas: Thank you!

X: Let’s talk about you as a musician first. Your group, the Technicoloured Roses, would you ever consider trying for Eurovision with them?
J: Sure, why not! It would of course be great to take the band to the Eurovision stage and to be competing as an artist rather than as a songwriter. Although we don’t normally do a lot of live performances as we have always been more of a studio project. But if the opportunity comes along, we’d most likely wouldn’t say no. But at the moment we don’t have any such plans. Also, I have no idea which country we’d compete in in that case. The girls are from Denmark, I’m from Sweden but I live in Finland, and our most frequent guest musicians are Icelandic.

X: What makes Eurovision so special for you?
J: It’s a combination of many things. The music first of all, of course. But also the rare situation where countries from all over extended Europe come together in one and the same TV-show. And when you add all the crazy performances and the competition aspect of it, it creates a really good entertainment show. Besides, it’s also a great opportunity for singers and songwriters get a chance to have their work seen and heard on an international level. So it’s also a really nice way for viewers and music fans to discover music they otherwise would quite possibly never have found.

X: Swedish composers have been very dominant in Eurovision and in national finals lately. What causes Swedish songwriters to be so into Eurovision?
J: It’s because we have a secret plot to invade Eurovision! Nah, but to be serious, II think it’s simply a combination of the fact that Swedish songwriters are generally quite successful internationally and the fact that Eurovision is very popular in Scandinavia and seen as something positive. No professional songwriter would turn down the chance of having a song at Eurovision when they get the opportunity.  And lately I think it’s spread to songwriters in other countries too, because it’s not just Swedes writing songs for singers in other countries’ national finals any longer, there’s writers from all over Europe. I think it just shows how international the music business is and that country borders aren’t of very big importance.

X: It’s your third entry in the contest, after Et Cetera and It’s For You. Third time lucky to be top 10?
J: I hope so! Beating the result of 2009 and 2010 would be great, and top 10 would definitely be nice. Although personally I think that the only results that are of real importance, are 1st place in the final and top 10 in the semi. Everything else is just a bonus, because in a few years time most people won’t remember if a song came 6th or 11th or 19th. If they liked the song they will remember it and appreciate it anyway, so being part of Eurovision is more important than the result, in my opinion.

X: It’s also your third entry for Ireland. Why do you think you get most of your success there?
J: I think I’ve been lucky a lot, but RTÉ have often also had national final systems that put the focus on the song rather than things like previous fame of the singer. Basically, the song people like the most is the song that wins, and that’s where I’ve been lucky, I think. And getting the song into the national final hasn’t been so much about having the right connections, but just about having the right song.

X: Your entries are often classified as fan favourites: fans mostly like your songs and support them in Eurovision. Why do you think that is?
J: I’m not sure if that’s all true, because I’ve written songs that have been quite slaughtered online as well. But, I definitely think I have an advantage due to the fact that I’m extremely familiar with the contest and know what its fans tend to like. Even if I often write things that are completely different, of course. I don’t often try to write things specifically with Eurovision in mind. And I actually always find it very entertaining to read comments about my songs, especially the negative ones.

 X: Ireland is sending one of the most Irish sounding entries in years and it was written by you, a Swedish composer. How come you are so familiar with Irish music?
J: Well, the Irish trad elements of the song were actually not my idea. Hazel Kaneswaran (co-writer of the song) suggested it when she joined in on the project, and the rest of us liked the idea of incorporating it into the song. But I’m of course still quite familiar with Irish music. Especially as I’ve got to know so many Irish singers and musicians over the last five-six years.

X: Can-Linn ft. Kasey Smith will sing your Heartbeat in Copenhagen. How did the cooperation between you and them start?
J: Once again, it was Hazel who was responsible for that. She put together the act and organized the whole thing. The rest of us just wrote the song, basically. I sent our first demo to Hazel last autumn. She really liked the song and came up with the additions that I mentioned earlier, and then began organizing the act and the performance and everything, basically.

X: What’s the message you’re carrying out with Heartbeat?
J: The lyrics are basically about not giving up. To keep striving for whatever it is one wants to achieve, or simply for a better life. The lyrics mention that “no story is carved in stone”, and I think it’s quite true that we can always influence the outcome of our own story if we just keep trying. Sometimes think might seem really hopeless, but the light might be just around the corner.

X: Finally, I’d like to say thank you very much for this interview! Do you have a message for the readers of escXtra.com?
J: I hope you’ll enjoy the 2014 Eurovision, and that you will vote for Ireland if you like our song! Keep loving the contest and keep being proud of being fans!

escXtra would like to thank Jonas Gladnikoff for taking the time to speak to us ahead of the contest in Copenhagen. You can listen to Ireland’s entry, Heartbeat, below!

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Nick van Lith

I'm one of the founding members of ESCXTRA.com. Eleven years after the start, I'm proud to say that I am now the Editor-in-Chief of this wonderful website. When I'm not doing Eurovision stuff, you should be able to find me teaching German to kids... And cheering on everything and everyone Greek, pretty much. Pame Ellada!

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