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Aksel Kankaanranta will represent Finland at the Eurovision Song Contest 2020

Aksel Kankaanranta sai Eerikan Vikmanilta onnittelut.
Aksel Kankaanranta sai Eerikan Vikmanilta onnittelut. Picture by: Yle Aksel Kankaanranta,Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu 2020

Aksel Kankaanranta has won the Contest for New Music UMK with the song Looking Back, and will represent Finland at the Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam in May 2020. UMK 2021 will also be held as an open contest.

The sensitive pop ballad Looking Back will be heard as Finland’s entry in Rotterdam in May 2020. The Finnish people and an international jury chose the winner in the final of UMK, broadcast live on Saturday, 7 March at Mediapolis in Tampere.

The winning performance

Looking Back is the result of a collaboration between Joonas Angeria and Whitney Phillips, as well as brothers Connor, Toby and Riley McDonough. Angeria, from Finland, has made music for Finnish and international stars like Alma, Vesala, Julie Bergan and Isac Elliot. Whitney Phillips has written songs for Christina Aguilera and Zara Larsson, among other artists. Connor, Toby and Riley McDonough are behind the American pop rock band Before You Exit.

– The song is a combination of love and world-weariness. It describes how people can get disappointed with expectations. I want to make people understand that they should seize the day, said Aksel at the beginning of his UMK journey.

This year, the Eurovision Song Contest will be held in Rotterdam, Netherlands, in May 2020. The Finnish representative will be on stage in the second semi-final on 14 May 2020. The final will take place on Saturday, 16 May 2020, and it will be shown live on Yle TV1 and in the Yle Areena streaming service.

– Finland’s team aims to get to the final with a positive attitude. The same top team that was involved in the UMK performance will be responsible for the show in the Eurovision Song Contest, says the happy UMK producer Anssi Autio.

The winner’s and other UMK finalists’ performances are available on Yle Areena.

The Final Results Yleisöäänet. Picture by: Yle Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu 2020

UMK continues to be an open contest

The 2021 Contest for New Music will also be open. Cooperation with YleX continues too.

– The music business and the audience have welcomed the open contest very warmly, and it was wonderful to see leading Finnish songwriters take part in UMK with great songs. As a result, we had an exciting high-quality final. It’s a pleasure to see YleX and UMK continue their collaboration. We will start searching for new pieces of music in September, so you should start writing new songs this spring, says Tapio Hakanen, Head of Music at YleX.

UMK’s application process for 2021 will begin in September 2020. More information about the application process will be provided, for example, on the UMK website.