Kaja SigvaldaIt took a little longer than expected, but Daði Freyr is finally ready to compete in the Eurovision Song Contest
Although Eurovision 2020 was unable to move on, fans pretty much agreed that Icelandic singer Daði Freyr was the competition’s honorary winner that year.
His charming participant Think About Things became an early favorite among Eurovision supporters – not least thanks to his bizarre music video with matching sweatshirts and hammering choreographies – and gained a life of its own outside of the competition and became a viral hit on TikTok.
Think About Things ended up in the UK’s top 40, a rarity for any Eurovision song, let alone one that didn’t even make it to the finals.
Baldur KristjánsDadi Freyr
Daði will represent Iceland again at this year’s competition, with the new song 10 Years, and despite his popularity in 2020, he is far from complacently entering the competition.
“I don’t have the feeling that we won anything last year because we didn’t start,” he said with a laugh. “There was no competition. So this doesn’t feel like a comeback, it feels like the first time.
“This year we’re only there to finish what we started, to go on stage and perform.”
Before this year’s competition, HuffPost UK spoke to Daði about the Eurovision stigma, which he sees as his biggest competition, and why winning in 2021 would mean so much to him …
Have you always been a fan of Eurovision and has your mind changed over time?
My mind has definitely changed quantity over the years. I think there’s a stigma against Eurovision everywhere to some degree – that it’s very cheesy and stuff – and I had that thought. Before that I never thought that I would start at Eurovision because I would be a “serious musician” and I didn’t think Eurovision was serious enough.
But since I was more involved, I see that you have three minutes when you stand in front of 180 to 200 million people with 25 cameras or something on you.
You’re on this huge stage, with so many people working on the production, that you can come up with ideas that I could never make myself – I’m not Beyoncé, I don’t have all the resources in the world to just make a little ridiculous . But at Eurovision you have three minutes to just do something that is just super polished … and create a performance that I couldn’t do anywhere else.
What is your first memory of watching Eurovision at home?
I think my earliest memory is in 1999 and I was living in Denmark at the time. This probably isn’t the first time I’ve seen it, but it’s the first time I’ve specifically remembered. I remember sitting on the floor and I remember it [Icelandic entrant] Selma was in second place … and that was it.
Do you have a favorite memory of being part of Eurovision?
I haven’t really experienced it first hand, it was all about the internet and numbers and a picture with a name and a comment. So I couldn’t really feel what this really means. I’m really looking forward to just getting on stage and performing.
Birta RánDa∂i and his Eurovision band Gagnamagnið
Who are you rooting for this year?
I think Ukraine. I really like this song [Go_A’s SHUM]. This is definitely the one I’ve heard the most, and I think the only one I’ve heard outside of the competition.
I’m very excited to see what they do on stage. It’s a dark song but still uplifting, it has that weird contrast and it’s catchy and energetic too.
EBUGo_A will represent Ukraine at Eurovision in 2021
What are your three favorite Eurovision songs?
The reasons why I like Eurovision Dancing Lasha Tumbai has so much of it. It’s just fun and ridiculous, and you don’t see that anywhere else, especially on a huge stage with so much production. It’s just a crazy song, with crazy costumes and a crazy dance, it’s just fun. I also like how iconic Verka Serduchka is and how the Eurovision community really welcomed her as the god of Eurovision.
[French entrant] Sébastien Tellier definitely influenced me. I think he is the artist I discovered through Eurovision and then heard the most. I just really like his music in general and I heard about him for the first time through Eurovision.
His song Divine is different. It’s catchy, there’s a lot of emotion behind it, but it’s still quirky and weird.
euphoria von Loreen has changed the way many people see Eurovision and how you can use the platform to do different types of performances. It’s just a pop song blast, it just works.
And the performance on stage was really powerful too. To do well in Eurovision it’s one thing to have a good song, but you really have to capture a moment, and that means staging too. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to make all the confetti and the pyro – that’s how it works I Approaching Eurovision, I want to do anything, but with Portugal four years ago he just got on stage and sang the song and won from it. You just have to capture the moment.
Johannes Simon via Getty ImagesVerka Serduchka appears at Eurovision in 2007
What would it mean for you personally to win Eurovision, especially after last year?
I don’t really care where we end up in the competition, it’s probably more important for Icelanders in general [Iceland is yet to win Eurovision, having first competed in 1986].
That’s a lot more of why I want to win than anything else. OK, it’s a nice trophy – the glass microphone, I’ll admit it would be pretty cool to have that on the shelf – but mostly it would be cool if Eurovision was in Iceland.
I put a lot of time and effort into our performances and everything that surrounds our aesthetics in Eurovision. I think it would look very good on my shelf, the trophy. And it would mean a very good party in Iceland next year.
This interview has been edited for clarity and length.
We will publish an interview with a new Eurovision legend every day leading up to this year’s live final. Come back on Wednesday when we talk to former master Måns Zelmerlöw.