Norway: Reviewing the track 'Stay'Written by Marc Calleja Bayliss
The last three entries of the second semi-final are the ones left to be introduced to the public and they are quite interesting noting that they have amassed positive criticism from almost across the board. Sometimes, countries tend to take up examples which they have achieved in the past or maybe even those which had been noted from other countries and one such example might be said to have taken place this year as Norway will be represented by Tooji, an upcoming artist, television host and former model on MTV whose song entitled Stay seems to be extremely similar to Popular by Eric Saade last year. The track which will be doing the honour for the Scandinavian nation was composed and penned by the trio; individually known as Tooji, Figge Boström & Peter Boström.
Tooji was born in Shiraz in Iran in 1988. He had his first birthday whilst fleeing to Norway. The family’s Persian traditions and roots have given Tooji strong references, both musically and personally. A good life with a close-knit family in a new country has influenced his upbringing and life choices since. With a strong wish to express impressions and feelings Tooji has gone his own creative ways, and after art school and theatre school, it was finally music that became closest to Tooji’s heart. In addition to devoting himself to his passions, the experience of working in kindergartens and with after-school-activities, young people and asylum seekers, has given Tooji an even more important mission in life: To give a voice to those who would otherwise not have been heard.
Some choices have been more important than others, and working with refugees in asylum centres has made its mark on him. “I was incredibly happy that I had my family here, a comfy bed, food and a roof over my head. At the same time it made me very sad too see all these people, children and youngsters, with so much misery and sadness in their eyes. It put things into perspective.” Tooji completed his studies in child protection, and he now works as a child protection consultant in the department of after-care, a job he finds intense and socially important, challenging and vital. In encounters with youngsters the problems are often similar, regardless of where they come from.
“When I dedicated myself to causes and people I wanted to help, I knew the political arguments, the rules and regulations – but nobody listened. It was so frustrating! My devotion alone wasn’t enough, and that became an important motivational factor in my burning wish to get a voice that someone would listen to.” To Tooji it’s all about music making it possible. Music is the driving force. Music can provide Tooji with a chance to be heard. On February the 11th Tooji wins Melodi Grand Prix, to represent Norway in the Eurovision Song Contest. The people have spoken. His song “Stay” immediately tops iTunes, and Tooji becomes an overnight sensation. Tooji has found his arena, and we want to listen.
The Critics Voice Their Opinion
- Arabic flavored song in a modern house/techno production. Same synth sound as in “Satisfaction”by Ben Benassi. Tooji has charisma and the moves. Energetic and a nice buildup to the chorus. But unfortunately the chorus is not that strong, just ordinary and once more, six (6) points.
- He looks great..! This song confuses me though as the oriental harmonies are quite strange in my opinion but then the dancing is just sublime! There is something which is positive about this track but it does not garner enough attention to pass, hence three (3) points suffice.
- The performer is doing a great job here - adding some drama, excitement and flavour to an otherwise rather square pop song, written complely by the book. Modern but empty, as well as lacking a real chorus and therefore, will hold back to just six (6) points.
Composers: Tooji, Figge Boström & Peter Boström
Authors: Tooji, Figge Boström & Peter Boström
History of the Nation
The fiftieth entry of Norway in the Eurovision Song Contest was actually sent last year and despite being favourites to qualify with Haba Haba performed by Stella Mwangi, she fell short and did not manage to make it. The country holds the record for the most last place actually managing ten in total from the fifty years in competition, their most recent coming in 2004 with Knut Anders Sorum and the song High but then again, have also won the competition on three occasions, being in 1985 with Bobbysocks and La Det Swinge, then in 1995 with Secret Garden and Nocturne and very recently in 2009 when Alexander Rybak took to the stage with his song Fairytale. In fact, he will be part of the former winners interval act during the second semi-final where Norway is competing.