Exclusive; Jógvan talks to escNorge

Söngvakeppni Sjónvarpsins 2013 starts on Friday January 25th, with the first of two semifinals. The second semifinal is on Saturday 26th, and the big final is on February 2nd. In the two semifinals we will meet both new names and old aquaintances, and one of them is Jógvan Hansen. He took the time to talk to us, just one week before it all starts for real.

Wiv; First of all, Jógvan Hansen is a new name to most Norwegians. Can you introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your musical background and your career?

Jógvan; My name is Jógvan Hansen. I am originally from the Faroe Islands, but I have lived and worked here in Iceland for 9 years. But to make a long story very short;
I started playing the violin at the age of nine and I also sang in the children’s choir in my home town, Klaksvík. After that I have played in the Symphony orchestra, and sung in a rock/pop band called Aria which released one CD. I have also made three kids’ CDs with a group called Kular rötur (Cool Roots). In 2007 I won the first season of X-factor in Iceland, and I have since released three CDs here. I have also participated in Söngvakeppni sjónvarpsins three times before.

Wiv; So this will be your fourth time on the Söngvakeppni Sjónvarpsins stage! Can you talk us through your previous participations?

Jógvan; The first time I participated in Söngvakeppni Sjónvarpsins was in 2009 with the song «I Think the World of You», made by Hallgrímur Óskarsson. I made it to the final and finished as third runner up.

«I Think the World of You», from the final. The song starts at 1.55. 

The second time was in 2010 with the song «One more day», by Óskar Páll Sveinsson and Bubbi Mortens. That time I finished second; the closest I’ve come to winning. But I was 232 votes behind Hera Björk who won. The third time I competed was in 2011 with the song «Ég lofa». I wrote it with my friend and producer, Vignir Snær Vigfusson, who is perhaps better known as the cute curly guy in » Sjonni’s friends». I got a 4th or 5th place. I really don’t remember.
These experiences have been great and really interesting. Accuracy, on performance and technique is something that the listener has no Idea about. All the time and effort you put in to it is something you learn to enjoy after you have participated more than once. And you always have some new story to tell from your little school of life.

Wiv; This year you’re singing a duet with Stefanía Svavarsdóttir. Is this the first time you work together?

Jógvan; Yes, this is the first time I sing with Stefanía. She is absolutely one of the best female singers you can find on this island. Great vocal technique and just one of those talents that you know has found it’s place.

Wiv; How did it come about that you were asked to perform this entry? Have you worked with the song writers before?

Jógvan; Well, it’s a small country, so everybody know each other. Sveinn Rúnar and I were chatting the other night and we decided that I should sing the song with Stefanía. Wise choice …

Wiv; How will you describe your entry?

Jógvan; Powerfull, melodic and romantic.

Wiv; Have you had a chance to listen to the other songs in your semi? If so; What do you think of them and which of them do you consider the biggest challenge to your entry?

Jógvan; I really don’t worry about any of the other entries. I never do. It’s not for me to judge which one is the best. I think all of the entries are great. And it’s a question about where you put your energy; in your entry or the in the other participants’ entries. And I know I speak for all of the participants; We are all very good friends and allies and we want the best for each other. It’s such a great way of gathering us all and having a huge party!

Wiv; All songs have to be performed in Icelandic in Söngvakeppni Sjónvarpsins. Is there a chance your song will stay in Icelandic, should you win the ticket for Malmö?

Jógvan; I’m sure that it will be translated to English. If you want everybody to understand what you are singing about it has to be in a global language. This is my preference anyway.

Wiv; So you normally prefer singing in English?

Jógvan; Yes, definitely! I’ve sung mostly in English, and since I have two countries to perform in, the Faroe Islands and Iceland, it’s easier to get airplay in both places at the same time.

Wiv; It has been 16 years since Icelandic was last heard on a Eurovision stage. What do you think of the fact that many (most?) countries choose to sing in English instead of in their native language?

Jógvan; It’s sad but it’s true, isn’t it?! But you can’t argue the fact that you have so many millions listening and only 300 thousand understand Icelandic and again you want everybody to understand what you are singing about. And also with the resent globalization of the internet you have a better chance of surviving the music business. I mean; you can’t expect to be number one in a marathon if you decide to walk the 42,2 km…


Wiv; If you’re not going to be representing Iceland in Malmö, what are your plans for the near future?

Jógvan; I always have enough to do. Friðrik Ómar and I are working on some concerts in Iceland and the Faroe Islands. I’m also working in the studio on some new stuff with Vignir Snær.

Wiv; And if so, do you think you will you try your luck in Söngvakeppni Sjónvarpsins again?

Jógvan; I can’t really answer that right now. It always depends on which songs are presented to me. Maybe I should call it a day after this year…at least for some years!

Wiv; Most Icelanders have a rather strong opinion on the Eurovision Song Contest, some positive and others negative. How about you?

Jógvan; I love it! Icelanders should be proud of the ESC. It’s a privilege to be able to get a spot on a stage where so many people are watching. And the truth is that the negative opinion is an opinion too. Everybody here is giving it attention, whether they like it or not. And when I think about it there is only one thing that has gotten more attention; The eruption of EYJAFJALLAJÖKULL.

Wiv; Are you interested in Eurovision Song Contest, apart from participating?

Jógvan; Yes I am. My sister and I used to record Dansk Melodi Grand Prix with Jörgen de Mylius as host on our VHS and listen to it over and over again. «Vi maler byen rød og himlen hvid af stjerneskær» …..
And of course, as a music lover you can’t help but checking it out to see what other countries are doing.

Wiv; What is your favorite ESC-entry?

Jógvan; My all time favorite is actually your 1995 entry «Nocturne» by Secret Garden. And Óskar Páll Sveinsson, who wrote «Is it true» with Jóhanna Guðrún and «One more day» that I sang, participated in the making of «Nocturne». It’s a small world after all. I just love that melody.


Wiv; Wow, that’s cool! Both that your all time favorite is Norwegian and that one of your song writers was part of it! I normally also ask about a Norwegian favorite, but I guess you just answered that…!

Jógvan; Yes, but there’s always Bobbysocks; it’s on top of my mind as well when I think about your entries. It’s a classic.

Wiv; And our first winner! But what’s your favorite Icelandic entry?

Jógvan; I must say that «Is it true» with Jóhanna Guðrún is my favorite Icelandic entry. Not only is the song brilliant but also Jóhanna did such a brilliant job on the singing.

Wiv; What music do you normally listen to? And which artists inspire you?

Jógvan; Frank Sinatra, Sting, Michael Buble (going to his consert on the 10th of July in London), One Republic and many, many, many, many more! But these are the top ones.

Wiv; When you’re not singing, what does your life look like?

Jógvan; I’m a professional singer. This has been my only job since 2009 and I’m honored to say it. I used to be a hairstylist. I had my own salon downtown. I do miss that place. But this is just better. My hobby is music (again). I mean what does the bus driver do when he’s on holiday ? He goes for a drive… Ok, my biggest hobby might be hunting. I love salmon fishing and bird hunting. My in-laws have a big farm with sheep and horses so I really enjoy taking part in that.

Wiv; Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me! All of us here at escNorge wish you the best in your semi, and I hope to see you on stage in Harpa in the final!

Jógvan; It’s been a pleasure! And I just wanna say thank you to all who take interest in what I do. And remember; Music is medicine for the soul.


«Ég lofa» from the semifinal in 2011.


 «One More Day» from the final in 2010. 


Photos; artist’s own, by permission

Relaterte artikler
2024: Alle låtene
2024: Bekreftede land
Vi teller ned til Eurovision 2024
Utforsk historien