With less than a week to go until Finland decides on their next Eurovision act, we talked to one of the participants, and returning UMK artist Catharina Zühlke. She will be performing the song ‘Eternity’ on the UMK stage, three years after finishing runner-up in the same competition. Here’s what she had to say!
It is always great to see an artist return to a Eurovision selection, but last time we saw you, you performed under the name Zühlke. Was there a specific reason to return to your full name?
Thank you so much! I’m really excited to be a part of UMK again! I wanted to come back with my full name because it’s my birth given name. My family and friends call me Cata or Catharina.
For those who didn’t already know, you participated in UMK back in 2017 with the song Perfect Villain, where you finished in second place. What was it about your previous experience in the competition that encouraged you to participate again?
My experience in UMK 2017 was really incredible! I enjoyed every minute of it and I’m very lucky to be part of UMK 2020 competition again. The first time I heard the demo version of my song Eternity, I immediately fell in love with it.
You can listen to her UMK 2017 entry, Perfect Villain below:
Since you last participated at UMK, the Finnish broadcaster adopted a new strategy for UMK by internally selecting the artists, however this year decided to return to an open format. In your experience so far, have you noticed any differences in the process from 2017 to 2020?
I’m very happy that the Finnish broadcaster chose to go back to the UMK competition. I think this year the competition has a good variety of songs and artists and I hope everyone can find their own favourite.
How much influence do you have in the creative process of the national selection, in terms of the promotional music video to the live stage performance?
Because UMK is a competition, we have certain amount of time and possibilities to execute our ideas. This year the Finnish broadcaster decided that only the winner gets to do the official music video. Now we have done only the lyric videos for the competition. I’m involved in the planning of the live stage performance.
Your recent song releases have been in English, including both your UMK entries. Do you prefer to sing in English, and do you think the English language is preferable for Eurovision?
I’m aiming for an international career as an artist. Singing in English comes very naturally for me. In Eurovision different languages are an asset but I like the idea that when singing in English that everyone can understand the lyrics and the message.
The UMK Jury described your entry, Eternity, as a ‘potential world-beater’ at Eurovision, do you see this as added pressure, and are you going into UMK with a competitive mindset?
I was really happy and touched by the feedback that the jury gave me. My goal this year is to be brave and sing from my heart!
Speaking of your entry, what message do you want to share through your song?
The song is about love and its power. It’s about the love we leave behind to this world and how it lives through generations inside the hearts of the people who we have touched, until eternity. I have dedicated this song to my dear mother who passed away 7 years ago into rare ALS disease. The message of the song is universal and I felt that this could fit very well in the Eurovision song contest.
Lastly, UMK and Eurovision aside, what are your plans for the future? What can we expect from you in 2020?
My plan is to keep working on my career as an international artist. I also hope to make some good music with great songwriters.
Finland will select their Eurovision entry on March 7th. Listen to ‘Eternity’ below: