ESC+Plus has talked to Ylona, semifinalist in this year’s Finnish national selection for Eurovision. Ylona will perform “Blazing Fire” in the second UMK semifinal set on February 13.
ESC+Plus: Hello! First of all, thank you so much for your time and congratulations on having been selected to take part in the Finnish national selection for Eurovision 2016!
E+: Can you tell us about you, your musical career and important achievements?
I’m a 22-year-old singer/songwriter from Helsinki, Finland. Music has always been vital to me and I have been performing since I was a little girl. I started taking singing lessons when I was 13 and took part in every music project at school. I graduated from Vaskivuori Upper Secondary School with Music as my specialization. I’m currently working on my solo project and also performing as a freelance-singer. UMK is really the most important achievement for me so far. It can make my dream of becoming an international artist come true.
E+: What impelled you to take part in “UMK 2016”?
UMK is the best way for a new artist to be introduced to people. It really gets things move forward. And what a great chance to perform in Eurovision!
E+: How did you feel when you knew you had qualified for the semi-finals? Did you expect it?
I was coming home from a band rehearsal and got a phone call. I was so happy, amazed and grateful! I had hoped and waited for it, also kind of expected it, but still I was surprised.
E+: What it would mean for you to represent Finland?
Finland is a beautiful country with so much talent and great musicians, so it’d be such an honor to be the one to represent Finland.
E+: Can you tell us about your song? What is the story behind the lyrics?
The song is written by Finnish hit makers Tero Kaikkonen and Jaakko “JS16” Salovaara. JS16 has produced the megahit “Sandstorm” with Darude. My song is about the hidden strength in all of us. When this strength is released at the right moment, it helps us to achieve what we thought was impossible. It’s the strength that pushes us to pursue our dreams regardless of pain and fear. This power is exactly what I need during this competition!
E+: Why do you think your song has to be selected for Stockholm? What are you strengths to reach the top in the competition?
The song is great with it’s power and story. The story deserves to be heard all around the world. It gives motivation. The song as well as the whole performance will be a great competitor to all other countries in Eurovision.
E+: Have you started to prepare your stage performance for “UMK 2016”?
Yes. I practice a lot to make the performance as good as possible. I think that the show will surprise the audience.
E+: Do you usually watch Eurovision? What are your favorite songs in the history of the competition?
Yes. Every time. It’s a great event to gather together with friends and watch the show. Many of my favorites come from Sweden like Loreen and the winner of 2015, Måns Zelmerlöw. I still listen to their music a lot.
E+: If you could choose a Eurovision former participant to sing along with, who would it be?
Måns Zelmerlöw. He is so good and charismatic!
E+: Besides Eurovision, what are your plans for this year?
I will be making music at maximum. So music and music. I would also love to travel around the countries.
E+: Finally, can you send a message for our readers and Eurovision fans?
I encourage you all to follow your dreams because everything is possible! I hope you love my song and if I’m chosen to Eurovision 2016, Finland will need your votes. Enjoy music and have a nice time while following Eurovision!
E+: Thanks for your time and good luck!