This year, six artists are competing for the win in the Contest for New Music UMK: Tika, Erika Vikman, Aksel Kankaanranta, F3M, Sansa and Catharina Zühlke. The winner, who will also represent Finland at the 2020 Eurovision Song Contest, will be selected at the UMK Final on 7 March.
Starting on Friday 24 January, the entries will be released, one by one, at midnight in Yle Areena and via music streaming services.
– All entries are top class and show a wide variety of styles and performers. I hope that as many Finns as possible can find an artist and a song that they think would make a perfect Finnish entry for the Eurovision Song Contest. It's also great to see a large group of top Finnish producers and songwriters behind the pieces, explains Tapio Hakanen, Head of Music at YleX and the chair of the UMK jury of professionals.
The UMK finalists 2020
Tika – I Let My Heart Break
Released Friday 24 January
Tika, the winner of the 2018 X Factor competition, is a real power ballad powerhouse.
– I applied for UMK because I love the Eurovision Song Contest and I think that UMK is a great concept. I was given the chance to be a part of this and I really feel fantastic! Whitney Houston and Celine Dion are my greatest idols because they are strong women and they really bring it, Tika explains.
In fact, with her magnificent I Let My Heart Break, the artist follows in the footsteps of these two singers.
Tika, who was adopted from Nepal at the age of one, has already taken part in the Swedish Idol and Voice of Finland contests. She has also appeared in the Swedish Find my Family series, which helped her find her brother and other family members living in Nepal. She loves travelling and nature and is also a fan of crime and murder mystery podcasts.
"This would be at home in the latest James Bond movie. A great song! Her magnificent voice and personality combine into a strong performance. The M-Eazy production team knows how to turn out pop hits and this is a fine world-class power ballad", says the UMK jury of professionals.
Erika Vikman – Cicciolina
Released Monday 27 January
Erika Vikman’s piece is the boldest entry to this year’s UMK. She sings pop songs in Finnish and even though they are made with tongue in cheek, they also have a message.
– When we made this song, I instantly felt that this would make a great entry to the Eurovision Song Contest. In a fantastic coincidence, I then heard that UMK is reinstating the open application process. We first thought that this is a crazy idea, but then we realised that this is how it should be, Erika says, describing her feelings at the time.
– I’m looking forward to a great and exciting trip! Even if I don’t make it, for me personally, this will be an exhilarating and liberating experience.
Cicciolina is an energetic Finndisco piece, where no attempts are made to hide sexual freedom. The influence of Kikka and the past decades come across clearly in the song. With this piece, Vikman wants to remind us that a bold female touch and feminism are by no means mutually exclusive.
– I really believe that my song conveys an important message and I believe in it 100 per cent. I hope that this will also empower the listeners and make them think.
"This song may very well become a pop hit that will still be played at Finnish bachelorette parties ten years from now. The songs of Mökkitie Records are in many ways at the heart of Finnishness and with her charismatic artist personality, Erika is the right person to perform it", the UMK jury of professionals comments.
Aksel Kankaanranta – Looking Back
Released Tuesday 28 January
Aksel Kankaanranta took part in the Voice of Finland 2017 contest and he also featured in the prize-winning megahit Jättiläinen (Giant) of the Finnish artist Pyhimys. Kankaanranta, who comes from Turku, is determined to show that being shy shouldn’t prevent you from performing before an audience.
– People ask me why I want to appear before an audience of one million, even though I’m shy. Why should that be a problem? I want to show what I can do and to provoke strong feelings and reactions. I want to transmit emotions with my singing.
For Kankaanranta, Voice of Finland was a great learning experience and the best thing was the chance to perform before large audiences.
– It was like a baptism by fire. I realised that I’m not nervous almost at all when on stage. I’m also looking forward to UMK and expect that it will be an equally great experience. There I’ll have the chance to concentrate on my performance; in fact, I can be the personal radio beacon of my song, Kankaanranta explains.
Kankaanranta’s piece Looking Back is a sensitive song telling about world-weariness, love and the feeling of inadequacy.
– We set all kinds of milestones for our lives. Are they actually of any value and does achieving them really make us happy, Kankaanranta asks, describing the song.
When not working, Kankaanranta listens to vinyl records and spends time with his dog to whom he also sings.
"Looking Back could very well be an international TOP 10 hit by Sam Smith or James Arthur. A really great piece from Joonas Angeria and a fantastic interpretation by Aksel Kankaanranta. Aksel is a fine personality and it is great to see him at UMK", says the UMK jury of professionals.
F3M – Bananas
Released Wednesday 29 January
F3M wants to be the Spice Girls of the 2020s. Their music is full of wild energy and with their highly distinctive personalities, the members of the trio show that we are all great in our own way. Bananas is a catchy and dance-inspiring pop song performed with an anarchistic touch. It has uncompromising tolerance and boisterous partying as its themes.
Viv, Baby O and Miara, the members of the band, describe themselves as walking jukeboxes.
– We decided to take part in the UMK because we want to show everybody what we can achieve as a band. Of course, it’s also because here we can sing and perform, which are the things that we want to do. We are really looking forward to showing our talent in the Eurovision Song Contest.
"F3M is a combination of the early 2000s power pop á la Gwen Stefani and Britney Spears and the super-energetic bands of today, such as Blackpink and Little Mix. The positive energy of the trio is reflected in the song itself and the Kaiku Songs team has ensured that each second is packed with strong pop hooks", comments the UMK jury of professionals.
Sansa – Lover View
Released Thursday 30 January
Sansa, an accomplished musician, brings a touch of club atmosphere to UMK. After a love affair with indie folk, Sansa has adopted a more electronic style and is now writing timeless pop music. Her cooperation partners include the EDM artist Kaskade, a far cry from the days when she was performing warm-ups for Bryan Adams and appeared in Provinssirock Festival.
Sansa, who comes from Ostrobothnia, names Sia and Robyn as her main musical influences at the moment. Representing Finland at the Eurovision Song Contest would be a dream come true.
– I have always been fascinated by this event and I have dreamed of taking part since I was a little girl. I now feel that the time has come and that I finally have the right song, Sansa explains.
Sansa’s entry, Lover View, is a cool and sensual piece of electropop.
– It tells about the ultimate connection and love, something that we all need, Sansa says, describing her entry.
Sansa values healthy life, which means that when not writing and performing music, she spends time with friends, does physical exercise or enjoys books and television series.
"This is the UMK 2020 finalist who would be a perfect fit for Helsinki's Flow Festival. Sansa’s voice and the way in which she performs are classic Nordic pop at its best and the production of Yotto and Anton Sonin, two of Finland’s top DJs, could well be from Robyn’s latest album", says the UMK jury of professionals.
Catharina Zühlke – Eternity
Released Friday 31 January
Catharina Zühlke, who came second in the Contest for New Music UMK in 2017, is an experienced artist: she has loved performing since she was a little girl and has worked as a professional musician for many years. In 2013, she came fifth in the Finnish Idols contest. Catharina Zühlke is known as a performer of melodious and empowering pop music.
She has German roots, but grew up in Vantaa listening to Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson.
– I have always admired female artists with a powerful voice and this has greatly influenced my own singing style.
Eternity, the song performed by Catharina Zühlke, tells about the power of love.
– When this song was born, all the pieces just fell into place. I got a strong feeling that this song has a greater meaning, Zühlke explains.
In addition to singing, Zühlke also likes dancing and spending time with her friends.
"A touching story, a dynamic song and a great interpretation by Catharina all make this a potential world-beater at the Eurovision Song Contest. Henrik Tala, the Finn behind the successful Norwegian entry in the 2019 contest, has again shown that he is a world-class writer and producer of pop music", the UMK jury of professionals comments.
The winner will be announced on 7 March
The Finnish entry to this year's Eurovision Song Contest will be selected on Saturday 7 March 2020 in a live UMK broadcast. The final will take place at Mediapolis in Tampere and the event will be shown live on Yle TV1 and in the free Yle Areena streaming service, starting at 9 pm (UTC +2).
Eurovision fans living outside Finland can also follow the event in Yle Areena and on the Eurovision.tv website. The event will be hosted by Krista Siegfrids and commentated on by Mikko Silvennoinen. The YleX radio's morning hosts Viki and Köpi will be hosting the Green Room and the Swedish commentaries will be by Johan Lindroos and Eva Frantz.
People living in Finland can vote for their favourite during the live broadcast. The songs and the performances will also be scored by an international jury. The votes by the public and the scores given by the international jury will determine the winner.
Because of limited capacity, no tickets will be sold for the UMK final. However, you can register as a studio audience member at the event. The registration will open on Monday 3 February at 9 am (UTC +2) and you can send your registration to yle.fi/umk.
Chaired by Tapio Hakanen, Head of Music at YleX, the UMK jury of music professionals went through more than 400 entries to select the finalists for this year’s contest. The other members of the jury were the UMK producer Anssi Autio; TV director Juha-Matti Valtonen; choreographer Reija Wäre; Samuli Väänänen, Senior Editor at Spotify Finland; Perttu Mäkelä, A&R Manager at Etenee Records; Ida Karimaa and Katri Norrlin, music journalists at YleX; Johan Lindroos, Head of Music at Yle Radio Suomi; and Amie Borgar, Head of Music at Yle X3M.
You can find the press kit with photos of all the performers here.
UMK20: Media accreditation for UMK20 is now open. Apply for accreditation here on February 21st lastest.
Katso kuvagalleria julkistustilaisuudesta:
UMK-finalistien julkistus. Artistit ovat Tika, Erika Vikman, Aksel Kankaanranta, F3M, Sansa ja Catharina Zühlke.
The Eurovision Song Contest will be held in Rotterdam between 12 and 16 May 2020. The previous winners of the open UMK contest were Blackbird by Norma John (2017), Sing It Away by Sandhja (2016), Aina mun pitää by Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät (2015), Something Better by Softengine (2014), and Marry Me by Krista Siegfrids (2013) and Pernilla Karlssonin När jag blundar (2012). In 2018, Finland was represented by Saara Aalto (Monsters) and in 2019, by Darude and Sebastian Rejman (Look Away), both invited by Yle.