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You are currently viewing 🇳🇴 Sneak Peek: Melodi Grand Prix 2023 Heat 1

Image Credit: NRK

Melodi Grand Prix is back with a new format, new artists & new songs for 2023!

After ‘Give That Wolf A Banana’ by Subwoolfer saw Norway reach the top 10 once again at Eurovision 2022, they’ll be hoping to continue with their success in 2023.

This year, MGP looks a little different to the last few years. NRK have made changes to the show, and these are:

• Three heats
• No more duels
• No automatic qualifications
• Final result decided by 50/50 jury/televote

Also this year, autotune will be allowed to be used in the shows – you can read all about that by clicking here.

Here’s all you need to know about the artists and songs competing in Heat 1.

Alessandra Mele – ‘Queen Of Kings’

Alessandra Mele is just 20 years old, and has been singing since she was a child – winning her first competition at age 6. She was mostly raised in Italy, and decided to move to Norway two years ago in order to get a closer relationship with her Norwegian family & develop her music. In 2022, she took part in The Voice Norway.

According to Alessandra, ‘Queen Of Kings’ is about “being true to yourself, loving who you want to love, doing what you want to do, and feeling what you want to feel”. She has promised the performance will be a ‘show’, and has a lot of support from fans to be named one of the three qualifiers of the night. You can listen to her song below!

Eirik Næss – ‘Wave’

Hailing from Larvik is singer-songwriter Eirik Næss. He moved to London after school, and in 2012 graduated from the London College of Music. He returned to Norway in 2016 to enter Idol, and since then he’s worked with other big Norwegian names such as Alan Walker, Julie Bergen and Marcus & Martinus (who this year will compete in Melodifestivalen), as well as fellow MGP contestants Alejandro Fuentes and JOWST. He also wrote ‘Vi er Norge’ for Ole Hartz, which competed in MGP 2021. This year, he enters solo with ‘Wave’ a song he penned alongside his friends Ljung and Amalie Olsen.

Eirik’s song is a country-pop number, that has a distinct Scandinavian sound in production. With a good build to the final chorus, could Norway be tempted by ‘Wave’? You can hear the song below.

Rasmus Thall – ‘TRESKO’

Rasmus Thallberg – known as Rasmus Thall – is a singer, writer and producer from Tønsberg. He’s been making music for 15 years, and despite taking to the stage for the first time himself in MGP, it’s not the first time he’s been involved. He wrote and produced ‘Dangerous’ for his girlfriend Farida in MGP 2022, and she helped him write his entry ‘TRESKO’ (English – ‘Wooden Clog’) this year. He’s also the grandson of Anita Thallaug – Norways 1963 entrant with ‘Solhverv’.

His song is about an accident his brother had in 2010, when suddenly a iceblock fell from a roof and hit him on the head, leaving him in a coma for 5 months with questions over his survival. He thankfully recovered, and is credited as another one of the writers for ‘TRESKO’. According to Farida, Rasmus explains the songs meaning as ‘where somebody is too drunk to walk, my brother is trying to learn how to walk again’, and that the song is meant to be inspiring – displayed by it’s uptempo, groovy production. If it is to reach the final, an English version will be released.

Kate Gulbrandsen – ‘Tårer I Paradis’

Kate Gulbrandsen is from Slemmerstad, a village in Røyken, Asken Municipality located in Viken. She first appeared in MGP all the way back in 1987, winning the contest with her song ‘Mitt Liv’ (English – ‘My Life’). She placed 9th at Eurovision, which that year took place in Brussels, Belgium. She entered MGP again in 1989 with ‘Nærhet’ (English – ‘Closeness’) . She returned to music in 2004, and her 2023 song ‘Tårer i paradis’ (English – ‘Tears In Paradise’) marks her 3rd participation in the contest. The song is written by Kate, and Mørland (Norway 2015, ‘A Monster Like Me’)

Her song is a ballad, showing off Kate’s vocal talent on a gentle backing track. She could be a hit with older viewers, which may help her in the televote. You can hear her song below.

Umami Tsunami – ‘Geronimo’

Umami Tsunami is the name of a project, made up of songwriters, artists, producers and those with a creative vision.

Representing the ‘Umami Tsunami’ brand at MGP are a boyband, consisting of some of this years youngest artists – 16 year old Kyle Alessandro, 17 year old Magnus Winjun & 20 year old Kristian Haux. The three boys aren’t new to the music scene – Kyle, from Steinkjer, has appeared in Norske Talenter, Kristian, from Åmil, was on Idol in 2020, and Magnus, from Lillestrøm, is a singer and actor who competed in MGPjr in 2017.

Their song ‘Geronimo’ is a high energy, up-beat number, with heavy inspiration taken from K-Pop. From their Instagram, it appears the boys are working hard in rehearsals to deliver a slick, choreographed performance. With a boyband making it all the way to the final 2 of MGP 2022, could Umami Tsunami do one better and go all the way? You can hear their song below.

Ulrikke – ‘Honestly’

Ulrikke is a singer, actress and songwriter from Sarpsborg. She’s currently playing the lead role of Sophie in the stage production of Mamma Mia! To Norwegian TV audiences, they may know her from her breakthrough into the industry on Idol in 2013, The Voice Norway in 2015, or Maskorama (The Masked Singer) in 2020, which she won. In terms of MGP, she placed 4th when competing in 2017 with the song ‘Places’. She’s best known however as the winner of MGP 2020 with her power ballad and fan-favourite entry ‘Attention’, which unfortunately never ended up being performed at the contest in Rotterdam due to it’s cancellation.

Honestly’ is a ballad, with multiple impressive vocal moments, a crescendo in the first chorus and a sing-along bridge. It’s said to be about wanting to be there for someone you love during difficult times. The song builds throughout, and Ulrikke displays those powerhouse vocals fans have come to love from her previous attempts in the contest. It’s written by Ulrikke, alongside *alleged* Subwoolfer and A1 member Ben Adams. Since the song’s release, it’s received a hugely positive reaction online – which may point to Ulrikke finally getting her moment at Eurovision. You can hear her song below.

JOWST & Byron Williams Jr. – ‘Freaky For The Weekend’

One of this years returnees is JOWST. The DJ, who’s name stands for Joakim With Steen, is back for the second time with Byron Williams Jr. JOWST won Melodi Grand Prix 2017 alongside Aleksander Walmann with the song ‘Grab The Moment’, which placed 9th at Eurovision in Kyiv.

Byron Williams Jr. is a soul, jazz and rhythm n’ blues singer and song writer, originally from Miami. He moved to Fredrikstad, Norway and decided after seeing MGP on TV, that he’d one day like to compete. He used to be a member of The Drifters, and competed in The Voice Norway in 2021.

Their song is called ‘Freaky For The Weekend’, and is an EDM track that is true to JOWST’s musical style. Lyrically, Byron sings about the preparation for a night out after a week of hard work. Could JOWST go all the way again? You can hear their entry below!

Melodi Grand Prix Heat 1 will take place on Saturday January 14th 2023, live on NRK at 18:50 GMT // 19:50 CET.

Who are you hoping to see qualify? Let us know in the comments below!

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