Sat. Jun 22nd, 2024
UMK24 Sara Siipola Nelli KenttäSara Siipola | Photo: Nelli Kenttä/ UMK

We talked with incredible Sara Siipola before the final of the Finnish Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu 2024 which will take place on the 10th February

ES: Nice to meet you Sara, actually we are your big fans and you are our favourite in UMK this year.

Sara: Oh my God, thank you so much!

ES: And first of all as your fans we want to ask your birthday date, because this information is not on the internet – we will congratulate you on your birthday.

Sara: Sure, I’m 26 years old and my birthday is on the 24th on March.

ES: Your voice is so deep and soulful and it reminds me more of Portuguese Fado or Spanish flamenco. Do you have some connections with these roots, something Spanish or Portuguese in your blood?

Sara: No, I don’t or I don’t think so. I think I’m like 100% finish. But that’s a really big compliment to me.

ES: The where did you get this musical feeling? Did you study singing, did you study music?

Sara: I’m from a small town, like 7,000 people, so when I was a kid I always loved singing and performing but, I was so afraid to tell anyone that it was always in my head, only my family knew that I love to sing. And then when I was maybe 17 or 18 I started to take singing lessons and to really think about what I wanna do with my life and the only thing was – to be an artist.

ES: But you have a different education – something in business, yes?

Sara: Yes, I graduated from a business school in 2016. Then I was like – no I don’t want to do this. It was something I just went through because I needed to do something. I didn’t have any experience from the music business and I didn’t know how to start everything – do I have to email someone and who is this person, is it some producer or what? And everything was so new to me, that’s why I went to this business school, so I had more time to think about everything.

ES: And after that you turned totally to a 100% music career. You had other successful tracks before but you are a rising star now in Finland. What did you feel when you get accepted to UMK?

Sara: Oh my God I was so excited, I was like screaming. My promoter from Sony Music Facetimed me and he never did that before, so I felt like this has to be something with UMK. But I thought that he wanted to see me to say – no they didn’t choose you, he wanted to see my face to tell that. But it wasn’t that!

ES: That’s incredible, congratulations! Because it’s so huge and there’s so much attention now in Finland to UMK and in all of the Eurovision world. It’s one of the favourite selections for the whole Eurovision fan community, especially after Käärjä’s success last year.

Sara: Yes, it was a really huge success, I never have seen anything like that before. The song is in Finnish and that’s crazy, it was amazing to watch his journey at UMK and Eurovision and he deserves all of that.

ES: Yes absolutely, and now there is so much attention to the whole Finnish selection because of him.

Sara: Yes, it’s huge and it’s giving a little bit of pressure also, because people expect now something really big.

ES: And do you know that you are the fan and bookmaker favourite now at UMK? How do you feel it, like pressure or are you happy about it?

Sara: I love it of course, but it’s so overwhelming and it just makes me speechless, I can’t believe it.

ES: Your UMK song “Pasakana” is so touching and it doesn’t matter which language this is, you can just translate these emotions so deep and it touches everyone, everyone is feeling the same. It’s a story about your friend, but how could you feel this so much that you translate it into music, into lyrics? Do you have something like a similar experience or you are a sensitive person that can connect and feel others emotions?

Sara: Yes, I definitely have experienced that kind of feeling many times in my life, but the inspiration for this song “Paskana” came from my friend’s experience, when he lost his father and he tried to live in two different worlds at the same time. He was physically there but mentally not.

What I want to say with this song is that you can be a wreck, you have to be a wreck sometimes you know, we are human, we’re not robots. So that is okay, it’s not shameful and we all feel like that sometimes.

ES: And how do you prepare before your performance? Every time on the stage, when you’re singing this song, should you dive in these feelings again or it’s always with you?

Sara: I think that the song is really driven by the emotions. So technically on rehearsals when every time I sing this “Paskana” I always fall into those lyrics, I really feel it because it’s from something that I have experienced. So I focus on that so I can really give that emotion and the meaning of the song to people.

ES: Is it hard for your soul to feel this again and again, every time on stage?

Sara: I’m really a highly sensitive person, I feel everything. Every feeling that I have it’s so big and overwhelming, but it’s something that has always been in me. So, nowadays I know how to deal with it better.

ES: Can you say something about your staging? How will you be supported on the stage and what could it be for such a song?

Sara: I would say that we are leaving enough space for the message of the song. It’s going to be a big number, but still really simple.

ES: And what feeling do you have when you come to UMK – do you come to fight for the victory or do you just want to show yourself and your art?

Sara: I guess that it’s both of them – of course now that I’ve seen all the hype around UMK and Eurovision, of course I want make this right and win and that would be the biggest thing ever!

ES: And have you dreamt to go to Eurovision before? Are you a Eurovision fan?

Sara: I have always watched Eurovision with my family from a very young age. But because I’m from this small town it always felt so unrealistic that I just couldn’t picture myself on the Eurovision stage. But now it’s getting closer and it feels so weird and amazing.

ES: That’s great, we wish you a lot of luck and to win UMK first and then maybe you will win Eurovision for Finland. Your song – it’s something real, it’s not just lyrics and music, it’s something that comes from your heart and from your soul and everyone is feeling this, when listening to your song.

Sara: Thank you so much, it was so lovely to meet you.

ES: It was our pleasure to talk with you, we love you and hope to see you in Malmö!

Listen to Sara’s song “Paskana”

Sara Siipola “Paskana”

Watch our reaction video to Sara’s song “Paskana”

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