Aksel – "Hurt"

Aksel releases "Hurt" for UMK 2021: "I hope the song will help others who struggle with mental health"

INTERVIEW Aksel won UMK last year, but it was not without thorns: "The amount of hate was honestly something no one should experience".​ He hopes his song "Hurt" can help people with mental issues

Finland will hold UMK 2021, the national final which determines the next Finnish song for Eurovision on 20 February 2021. The national broadcaster recently released the seven artists that will participate and Aksel will indeed return to defend his UMK 2020 win.

He was supposed to represent Finland with Looking Back but unfortunately the 2020 contest was cancelled due to the current world pandemic.

He has just released his song Hurt for UMK 2021. The song is written by Gerard O'Connell, Joonas Angeria and Kalle Lindroth.

Anger and hate

With his song Hurt freshly released, we made Aksel look back and tell us his experience during the UMK 2020 competition and winning the right to represent Finland in Rotterdam.

The amount of hate was honestly something no one should experience.Aksel Kankaanranta

– My experience with UMK was very good, I met a lot of new people and learned many new things. I honestly didn't think I'd win, but sometimes surprises happen and as many who watched the final saw that I was genuinely shocked. Maybe the icky part about it that many fans got angry and disappointed, which is totally understandable, but the amount of hate was honestly something no one should experience.

Sadly, his dream to represent Finland in Eurovision was put on hold as the contest had to be cancelled due to the growing COVID-19 pandemic and Aksel continues to take us back and expresses his emotions about the news.

– At first I felt shocked, and then the disappointment increased as more days went by. But I understand the decision. It could've been a very rich experience, but alas, now we can only look back and wonder.

Due to the Eurovision Song Contest 2020 chapter being closed, Aksel shares with us that Daði & Gagnamagnið for Iceland was his favorite. He describes Think about Things as good and funky and cannot wait for their next release. Although Aksel won't be automatically chosen again for Eurovision with the broadcaster opting for a national selection again, he totally understands the reasoning and continues to state that it's only fair and that he will support the decision.


We turn our attention to his song for UMK 2021 "Hurt" and his intentions of submitting a song:

– "Hurt" was originally going to be released before Eurovision 2020, but obviously that didn't happen so we went along with the plans to send it to UMK 2021. Maybe just that I want to see where this will go, will I be selected again or not, who knows. It was a wonderful experience and I wanted to do it again.

Aksel – "Hurt"

During the anticipation before the artists for UMK 2021 were known, Aksel had ruled out submitting a song for UMK 2021 but during the reveal, people were confused about this name being in the mix. Alas, Aksel clears the mishap:

– Well the initial thing about me saying I didn't want to participate was accidental. I panicked during one interview as I wasn't allowed to disclose the information that I am participating, as I have a contract, so I am sorry for all the confusion around it.

A very personal song

Aksel continues to tell us the story about "Hurt" and also gives us some hints about what to expect to view during his performance:

– "Hurt" as a song is very personal to me. It tells about how you can eventually get back on your feet. I've suffered from mental issues and I can relate to this song very well. I hope this song will help others who are struggling with their mental health.

– In terms of performance, there's a lot more choreography involved, not dancing obviously but it will be beautiful in its own way.

"Hurt" as a song is very personal to me. It tells about how you can eventually get back on your feet. I've suffered from mental issues and I can relate to this song very well.Aksel Kankaanranta

He expresses that his biggest competitor in UMK 2021 will be Teflon Brothers & Pandora with their song "I Love You" but also describes what it means for him to represent Finland on the Eurovision stage:

– I see this as an opportunity to make myself heard. But also as an honor, if I'd be chosen again, I want to represent Finland and convey stories and emotions.

This sways the conversation to Eurovision itself and Aksel tells us that his favorite Eurovision Song is Fairytale by Alexander Rybak because of the violins, but emotionally maybe it has to be the 2007 Serbian song Molitva. Aksel also shares that if he is chosen for Finland, viewers would see emotions, and maybe some memes here and there.

– I've released one single in Finnish and there will be many more songs yet to come, so maybe an EP in a year or two.

So we can expect more of Aksel outside the Eurovision bubble whilst closing the interview he wants to share a quick message with the readers of Eurovisionworld:

– Thanks for all the support, and again, sorry for the confusion , it wasn't my intent.

Meanwhile we would like to wish all the UMK 2021 contestants the best of luck. You can listen to all the songs for UMK 2021 on our National Selection page for Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu 2021.

Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu 2021

Finland will select their Eurovision 2021 representative on 20 February however, due the COVID-19 pandemic, no audience will be attending the final in Tampere.

Finland uses Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu as their national selection for the tenth time.

The winner will be chosen jointly by Finnish television viewers and an international UMK panel. The public will account for 75% of the vote and the panel for the remaining 25%.

Last year the contest was won by Aksel Kankaanranta with his song Looking Back. After the contest was cancelled.

About the author: Steven Spiteri (Malta)

authorSteven has been a huge Eurovision fan since 1995. He comes from a small town called Birkirkara located in Malta and graduated in Business & Administration. Steven follows all the national finals and Eurovision Song Contests every year especially Melodifestivalen and Eesti Laul. He has an endless list of favorites but the all time favorite entry would be Italy's 2016 entry "Nessun grado di separazione" by Francesca Michielin whilst Lisbon 2018 is his favorite Eurovision edition.

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