February 4, 2023

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Umami Tsunami Putting Asian Pop on the MGP Map – NRK Culture and Entertainment

K-pop music is an interplay of several things, and a lot going on at the same time. We three guys will have the energy of a hundred people on stage.

These are words of praise for Kyle Alessandro (16), Kristian Haugstøyl (20) and Magnus Winjum (17) who will represent the Umami Tsunami with “Geronimo” in the first Melody Grand Prix semi-final.

Umami Tsunami with dancers during the first round of “Geronimo”.

Photo: Sarah Marie Bruin/NRK

Carl Henrik Wahl is one of the songwriters behind the song and, together with a number of producers, songwriters, artists and designers, has produced music for the Umami Tsunami project.

– The songs we make are a mix between western boy bands and K-pop, which we hope will do well in Norway. The guys who represent us on “Geronimo” are three talented guys who want to hit the stage with an energetic buzz, says Wahl, who has helped write several songs for former MGP artists.

Handpicked boy band

Kyle, Christian and Magnus had their first run-in with dancers at Screen Studios in Nydalen when NRK met them.

– Now we are so tired that we can’t even feel our nerves. But we are really looking forward to Saturday. It means everything to us to be able to participate in this. The relatively new trio says we should publish both the name Umamu Tsunami and our own.

Umami tsunami

From left: Magnus Winjum, Kyle Alessandro and Kristian Haugstøyl.

Photo: Julia Marie Naglestad

Magnus and Kyle met a few years ago, while Christian was handpicked a few days before they were told about their MGP engagement.

“We got to know each other very quickly, and I feel like I’ve known them forever,” says Christian, who became part of the group largely thanks to his knack for high notes.

– Did you have any knowledge of K-Pop before?

– No, it’s new to us, except my concert dances are inspired by K-pop, says Kyle.

The three young artists enter the world of MGP with different experiences and backgrounds.

Magnus Wingum Previously involved with MGPjr and participated in, among others, “BlimE” and “Allsang på grensen”. He has performed in many concerts, played Troy in “High School Musical”, worked as a voice actor and was an actor in “Classen” on NRK.

Kyle Alessandro He charmed the Norwegian people with his singing talent in “Norske Talenter” in 2017. Later, he performed the song “Allsang på grensen” and collaborated with famous artists and producers.

Christian Haugstwill He comes from a musical family and gave his first singing show when he was four years old. In 2020, he tries his hand at ‘Idol’. Now he goes to Folkehoyskole to immerse himself in music.

different music group

The concept of Umami Tsunami started in 2020 with the aim of releasing demos and producing new songs for new voices.

There are a lot of well-written songs that don’t see the light of day, mostly because the song doesn’t fit the artist it was written for. But many of these songs are so good, we haven’t found a voice to sing them. That’s why we came up with the idea of ​​creating a creative music group, says Wall.

– What is the advantage of this collective?

We have great respect for songwriters, and we think it’s a shame when a particular artist slows down the work they’re doing. With Umami Tsunami, more songs could find their way out. Music consumption has increased pretty exponentially, so we’re picking up the pace and making more songs, Wahl says and adds:

Now we have received recognition from the music industry too, so we will organize a songwriting camp for Umami Tsunami. It’s incredibly fun.

Carl Henrik Wahl, Umami Tsunami

Carl-Henrik Wahl of the Umami Tsunami Collective.

Made for a Chinese fighting game

Wahl has worked with Kyle and Magnus in the studio before, and knows what they’re in for. Along with Christian, they have the right combination of vocals they need for this song.

The song “Geronimo” was released a few years ago and was originally introduced to a large game company in China. The song wasn’t picked up and has therefore been put on hold for two years – until now.

Here is the first

Carl Henrik Wahl had the role of spokesperson for Subwoolfer, who won the final last year at the MGP.

– “Geronimo” was written for Asia, so Asian elements were drawn from how their songs were built. K-pop is the inspiration for all the songs that Umami Tsunami makes.

The K-pop genre is South Korean pop music and has become very popular in Asia, but is gaining an increasingly large foothold in the West and the United States.

How do you think MGP audiences will receive Asian-inspired pop music?

– We hope that the Norwegian people are ready for something different. K-pop has a small community right now, but I think we’re at the forefront of development.

Dreaming of a solo job

For Kyle, Magnus and Kristian, MGP is the beginning of a music career. Because the hope is that this experience will open new doors for them.

Everyone wants a place where we can make a living just by writing our own music, doing concerts, talking to people and having fun, the boys say.

Watch Umami Tsunami battle for the final spot in the MGP semi-finals on Saturday at 19:50 on NRK1 and in NRK TV.

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