Iceland were clear favourites at Eurovision 2020 – before it was cancelled (Picture: RUV)
It’s been a very weird year for Daði Freyr.
The 28-year-old musician shot to viral fame back in February when the video for his entry for Iceland’s Eurovision selection, Think About Things, became an internet sensation thanks to its uber-catchy chorus and quirky dance routine.
Iceland chose Daði and his fictional Eurovision band Gagnamagnið to represent them at Eurovision, and they were the hot favourite to win in Rotterdam. Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic cancelled the Eurovision Song Contest, and there was no winner for 2020 – with rules stating that Think About Things cannot compete in the future.
But even without a live performance watched by millions, the track became a massive hit. It was picked up on TikTok to soundtrack the ‘quarantine dance’, with celebrities like Jennifer Garner bobbing up and down to Think About Things to while away the hours. And 10 months after its original release, Jamie Laing did the cha cha to the song on Strictly Come Dancing’s opening episode, which was watched by 10 million people.
‘Just yesterday it was on Dancing With The Stars in Lithuania, a friend of mine sent me that,’ Freyr told Metro.co.uk from Berlin, where he lives with wife and bandmate Árný Fjóla Ásmundsdóttir and their one-year-old daughter Áróra. ‘It’s so weird.
‘I know that it’s popular in Ireland and that it’s played all over the place, but it’s hard to grasp how popular it is, and then you see it on a mainstream show like that… it feels more real.’
Think About Things hysteria may still be coasting along its peak, but Freyr is ready to put it to bed, announcing that the ‘era’ of the song is over – although he acknowledges he isn’t really the one to decide that anymore.
‘I mean, it’s out of my control at this point, I can’t just be like, ok, no more. [But] I’m just not going to release more remixes and different versions of it. I don’t know how many interviews I’ve done that have been only about Think About Things and how much stuff I’ve done for radio… there’s been a lot of work promoting Think About Things, so it’s the end of the chapter for me personally to stop having the main focus there and start focusing on new music.’
The main focus will now be on Freyr’s Eurovision 2021 entry. He confirmed last month that he and Gagnamagnið – made up of his wife Árný, sister Sigrún and friends Hulda, Stefán and Jóhann – will be back to represent Iceland at next year’s contest in Rotterdam. Freyr had initially said he would not compete again at the national final Söngvakeppnin, but returning for their stab at Eurovision glory was a no brainer.
‘I contacted Gagnamagnið right away to check what their feelings about it were, and we all agreed that we wanted to go,’ he explained.
‘We had got all hyped up for Eurovision because we were going. That’s the main reason I wanted to go again, because we as a group, we’ve competed twice in the [Icelandic national final]. We’ve done a lot of stuff together to try and get to Eurovision, and then we got there and it didn’t happen.’
Freyr doesn’t feel like his new song has to live up to the popularity of Think About Things, but that doesn’t mean that he is resting on his laurels. ‘I just want the stage performance and our Eurovision performance to be better, that’s the main goal. I’m competing in Eurovision to compete in Eurovision. I’m not doing it to get streams on the new songs, I actually want to compete in Eurovision.’
The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has confirmed that the Song Contest will take place next May no matter what, and has set out four scenarios, based on whatever situation Europe finds itself in by then. This ranges from the full Eurovision experience, complete with 41 delegations, press and fans gathering at Rotterdam’s Ahoy Arena, to a remote contest, with performances held in the entrants’ countries.
He’s coming back for more in Rotterdam next summer (Picture: Baldur Kristjánsson)
‘I mean, the ideal scenario would be to have the regular version of Eurovision,’ Freyr said. ‘That’s pretty much the reason we’re doing this, because we want to try that. It would be very disappointing if we had to record everything in Iceland and have this remote competition.
‘At least, I want everybody to be on the same stage. It can be a real Eurovision then. If everybody does it from home, it’s going to be amazing in the rich countries and maybe a little less amazing in the poorer countries. But if Eurovision actually happens, everyone has the same stage, the same equipment, the same cameras, the same everything. That’s the competition.’
It wasn’t just Eurovision that was ripped from Freyr’s 2020 schedule. His European tour, including dates across the UK, has been pushed back until March, and he admits that with the ever-changing restrictions, ‘we’re not certain that’s going to happen either’. But Freyr is still managing a festival billing this week, as he performs at a special edition of Iceland Airwaves.
The live streaming festival, Live From Reykjavik, will see artists including Of Monsters Of Men, Ólafur Arnalds and Hatari perform from iconic venues around the city, and Freyr will be performing from the Metropol in Berlin.
‘It’s still kind of surreal to see my name in that group of artists that have been an influence on me and I looked up to for years. It’s a cool feeling,’ he said. ‘It’s super cool they’re doing an Iceland Airwaves, even though it’s obviously not at all the same as the actual festival. But I’m excited to attend the festival, I’ve never attended a festival like this. I’m excited to have my own personal Iceland Airwaves at home. No lines.’
But after that, it’s (hopefully) back to Iceland for Christmas with his family, before he dives into Eurovision chaos for the second year in a row.
‘I’m going to try and write this Eurovision song,’ Freyr said of his plans for the next few months. ‘It’s going slowly but I think it’s happening. Eurovision is basically the next thing.’
Daði Freyr will perform at Live From Reykjavik by Iceland Airwaves this weekend, November 13 and 14 – for more info, visit the festival website.
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