ESCDaily.com had the chance to speak to the refreshingly honest 20 year old singer known as Paradise Oskar (aka Axel Ehnström) about his stage name, his feelings on Eurovision songs and his participation in Euroviisut 2011!
ESCDaily.com: First of all I’d like to thank you on behalf of all of us at escdaily.com for participating in this interview, and congratulate you on making it to Euroviisut 2011
Paradise Oskar: Thank you! I love to talk about myself.
ED: You are a fairly new artist to the Finnish musical scene. Can you tell us a little bit about your musical experience so far and the meaning behind your stage pseudonym, Paradise Oskar?
PO: Well I actually didn’t consider myself to be an artist at all before YLE contacted me about my song being accepted to Euroviisut. I’d just been singing and playing and writing music and I’d been using Paradise Oskar as a project name so that I could release my music on the internet. I stole the name from a vagabond in a Swedish children’s book, because I thought he was living a great life just walking around and playing music for people.
ED: How would you describe your musical style, and who are your musical influences?
PO: I would call my main musical style modern folk music with a touch of pop, sometimes more, sometimes less. I also get influenced by jazz, even though my own music doesn’t turn out as jazz at all.
I’m mostly influenced by songwriters, and people who sing their own songs, Jimmy Webb, Tom Waits and Bruce Springsteen to name a few.
ED: What was behind the decision to enter Euroviisut, and what did you think when YLE invited you to take part?
PO: I just thought it would be nice to see what people think about the music I write. I didn’t think they would actually want it in the competition because the song isn’t exactly a typical Eurovision song.
ED: Your song ‘Da Da Dam’ tells a story of a boy who decides to make a stand to try and save the planet, gets universally ignored, but continues to persevere. Was it inspired by anyone in particular, is it more fictional, or a metaphor for something?
PO: I was inspired by people’s ignorance and laziness. I thought it was so ridiculous that there are evidence that we’re pretty much destroying this planet by living the way we do, and grown up people act like little children when dealing with the issues. We talk about it but don’t really do anything in practice. That’s why I knew it had to be a story about a child who wants to save the world.
ED: You wrote the music and lyrics to your song entirely by yourself. What inspired you to write this song and was it written specifically for Eurovision? Why was it this song you chose to write/send?
PO: I think I sort of had it in the back of my mind that I could send this song to the ESC but I didn’t write it specifically for the competition. I think it would be nice to hear more songs in the Eurovision SONG contest that are really good pieces of music, not just four chords, a workout melody and a helluva show with women in underwear dancing on stage. That’s why I put all the effort into writing a nice melody and lyrics that actually say something.
ED: All of the songs you have posted online have been in English, and similarly you have chosen to sing in English in Euroviisut, Would you ever record songs in Finnish, or do you prefer to sing in English?
PO: I’ve listened mostly to English music my whole life and I write almost exclusively in English so it feels like the only natural language to write in.
ED: Aside from singing, what are your other passions?
PO: I like reading books, watching movies, theatres, cooking. I just really like culture. And I love studying. It’s so great to know things, and be able to do things.
ED: If you are unsuccessful at winning the ticket to Düsseldorf, what are your plans for the rest of 2011?
PO: I’m going to write music and study music as much as I can. Record stuff and at least publish it on my myspace and facebook pages.
ED: Are you a fan of Eurovision, and if so, what are your favourite Finnish entries?
PO: I have to say that I’m not a big fan. I like the concept, because it unites all the countries and it’s a good venue to discover new music but nowadays the quality of the music isn’t as good as it could be. The problem is that people try so hard to write Eurovision songs. They use the same formula and year after year you hear the same songs over and over again. I’d much rather hear something really genuine from all the different countries. I want to hear fresh music, not music that I’ve heard a thousand times before.
I don’t think I have any Finnish favourites but Laila Kinnunen was quite nice in 1961.
ED: Finally, do you have a message for our readers?
PO: Go listen to my Eurovision song and remember to vote for me! Thank you.
Paradise Oskar takes part in the second semi-final of Euroviisut on the 21st of January with his song ‘Da Da Dam’ which you can hear below! All the best to you Axel, good luck!