Left up to the 200 million TV-viewers of Eurovision, KEiiNO would have won the contest in 2019. Despite being overlooked by the juries, “Spirit in the Sky” ended in 6th place. After winning the Norwegian ESC selection by a landslide, KEiiNO skyrocketed to the top of Norwegian charts. Their mix of uplifting dance-pop, nordic folk, and joik, combined with traditional Sámi elements, has reached a broad audience beyond their nordic beginnings. “Spirit in the Sky” was even the world’s second most viral song on Spotify and is charting well across European iTunes-charts. Perhaps not surprising, as the public in eight countries including the UK, Germany, Australia, Sweden, Denmark, and the Netherlands had KEiiNO on top in the ESC.
“Spirit in the Sky” is a collaboration between Norwegian, German and Finnish songwriters and producers. Having grown up in a small conservative town, 39-year-old singer/songwriter Tom Hugo wanted to write a song about acceptance for being different. He created a sketch with his husband Alex Olsson and teamed up with 31-year-old rapper/joiker Fred Buljo, who as a Sámi person, could easily relate to the story. 22-year-old singer Alexandra Rotan, who had been told she didn’t fit the pop industry standards, came on board soon after, completing the band. Lifting the song up to the Arctic starry sky, German producer Rüdiger Schramm and Finnish producer Henrik Tala were included in the team.
Tom Hugo has had a fair share of releases in Norway and Germany, Fred has toured with his rap-duo Duolva Douttar and Alexandra has toured as DJ-star Alan Walker’s singer. Although the three singers have had some success as solo artists, their dreams were truly realised after joining forces - a force the Sámi (the indigenous people of Norway) believe you can find connecting with nature. The northern lights, dancing colourful and free, serve as a symbol of how KEiiNO believes everyone should be allowed to feel - regardless of who they love, how they look or where they are from. KEiiNO dares to dream that their music will inspire people all over the world to rise above differences and work together.