Eurovision in Liverpool is now less than a month away. In the run-up to rehearsals we will be getting to know a little more about this year’s artists, their discography and their Eurovision journey so far. The next act we will be previewing is Finland’s Käärijä.
Käärijä’s Eurovision journey so far….
Käärijä was first announced as a participant in Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu in January. His song for Eurovision – “Cha Cha Cha” – quickly became a fan favourite following its reveal. At the final of the competition on February 25th, Käärijä emerged victorious. In a 75% televote/25% jury split, Käärijä finished with 539 points, some 387 points ahead of second placed Portion Boys.
Käärijä will close the first semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2023. He will perform in sixteenth position, preceding Mia Nicolai and Dion Cooper from the Netherlands.
Käärijä also appeared during the pre-party circuit this year. He performed at Pre-Party ES in Madrid, Eurovision in Concert in Amsterdam and the London Eurovision Party.
Tim had the opportunity to chat with Käärijä behind the scenes at Eurovision in Concert!
What do we think of “Cha Cha Cha”
The team at That Eurovision Site has been doing their reviews for this year’s contest. Euan and Stuart gave their thoughts on “Cha Cha Cha”, which you can see here.
Who is Käärijä?
Käärijä is the stage persona of Jere Pöyhönen, a 29-year-old singer songwriter from Vantaa, a suburb of the Finnish capital Helsinki. He first started his journey into music learning how to play the drums, growing to music production when he was 20. As well as this, he had a particular passion for hockey.
In 2014, Jere was rushed to hospital when he was diagnosed with the bowel disease ulcerative colitis, which results in ulcers throughout the colon. The condition worsened until Jere’s life was threatened due to the illness. Emergency surgery resulted in his colon being removed, leaving him with a stoma. The scar eventually healed and can be seen on Jere’s lower right abdomen. However, the incident signalled a turning point in his artistic career, allowing him to focus solely on producing music.
Jere later began to make music as Käärijä in 2017, a play on words for rapping and rolling. Several of the songs in Käärijä’s discography relate to gambling, which ties into the ‘roll of the dice’ motive in his stage name. After releasing music independently, Käärijä was signed to Monsp Records. Two subsequent singles – “Koppi tules” and “Nou roblem” were released. This culminated in his first studio album, Fantastista, being released in 2020. Following this, Käärijä was formally signed to Warner Music Finland.
His song for Eurovision 2023 – “Cha Cha Cha” – was written by Käärijä himself, as well as Jukka Sorsa, Aleksi Nurmi and Johannes Naukkarinen.
Finland’s Eurovision journey
Finland debuted in the 1961 Eurovision Song Contest, finishing 10th with Laila Kunnunen’s “Valoa ikkunassa.” Since then they have competed 55 times, and appeared in the final 47 times. Finland has finished in the top 10 an impressive 13 times. They have won the contest once in 2006, with Lordi’s performance of “Hard Rock Hallelujah” getting 292 points. Finland’s most recent entry was “Jezebel” by The Rasmus. Qualifying for the final, they gained a total of 38 points, earning them 21st place.
What do you think of Cha Cha Cha? Can Käärijä bring Eurovision back to Finland? Let us know your thoughts! Also, be sure to follow “That Eurovision Site” on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok as we prepare for Eurovision 2023!
News Source: That Eurovision Site
Photo Credit: Nelli Kentä / Yle