County News: Norway’s Eurovision hopeful has Sussex ties

Kjetil Morland (far right) and his former band Absent Elk
Kjetil Morland (far right) and his former band Absent Elk

EUROVISION Song Contest fans in Sussex have reason to cheer on this year’s Norwegian entry.

Kjetil Mørland, 34, lived in Shoreham for five years with his wife Nicola, before moving to Norway 18-months-ago.

Recounting his time in the town, Mørland said: “I really enjoyed it. I’m from a small town myself in Norway where I grew up by the coast. I loved being so close to the sea and beach. The place has a nice relaxed laid back atmosphere which I can really relate to coming from Norway.”

The singer/songwriter is gearing up for the competition’s second semi-final, which will be televised on BBC Three from the Wiener Stadthalle in Vienna, Austria, next Thursday. The 16,000 capacity venue will also play home to the final two days later, on May 23.

The former Shoreham man will duet with Norwegian singer Debrah Scarlett on his song A Monster Like Me.

Mørland said: “It’s a song about revealing a dark secret from your past you have been carrying around and haven’t been able to talk about.

“I think it’s a very humane song, everyone has something they are not proud of in their past. The song is about what happens when you reveal your secrets to the people you care about.”

The ex-Absent Elk frontman was chosen to represent his country after winning Melodi Grand Prix – a televised Norwegian singing competition to decide the country’s Eurovision representative.

The final of the competition was held in Oslo’s 11,000 capacity Spektrum arena.

“I never expected to win at all,” said Mørland. “I actually sent the song in as a songwriter for someone else to perform it.

“I wasn’t sure if Eurovision was the right sort of arena for me. People have a bit of an ambivalent relationship with Eurovision, especially musicians. I wasn’t sure if I was right for a stage that commercial. I’m more of an indie musician myself.

“It was fantastic winning. I think it 1.5 million people were watching, so it was a big opportunity to get my music out and recognised.”

When he found out his song had been picked for Melodi Grand Prix, Mørland set about finding a female vocalist to duet with.

It was while trawling Youtube that he came across Debrah – a former contestant on The Voice in Norway.

In the lead up to the semi-final the duo have performed in London, Paris and Amsterdam.

“We are just really looking forward to it now,” said Mørland. “Eurovision is something we both have never experienced. If you asked me two years ago if I was going to do Eurovision I probably would have laughed.

“We are looking forward to giving the best performance we can. We really want to put the music at the centre and have the focus on the song rather than having a big production.”

Providing that the duo make it through their semi-final, they are tipped to do well in the final. Bookmakers currently have them as seventh favourites for the prize.

Mørland said: “It shows people recognise the song and people believe in it. I think we have got as good a chance as anyone. I really didn’t think about winning before the Norwegian final. Now we have won that I think anything’s possible.”

Mørland is also currently working on a new solo album.