Krista Siegfrids may appear to be all sugar, sweetness, sunshine, but she is causing shockwaves.
Finland is used to sending ballad after ballad to the annual popfest extravaganza that is the Eurovision Song Contest.
They have broken the mold two times. The first, when they sent a band called Lordi wearing monster costumes and playing heavy rock, and now, when they have sent a pop princess fighting for equal marriage.
In warm-up gigs for the main event, Siegfrids has ended her song, titled Marry Me, every single time by kissing one of her female dancers.
Conservative suits are fearing it, and the (huge) gay audience is loving it, but the first gay kiss might take place this year on stage in Malmö, Sweden.
Gay Star News spoke to Siegfrids about dreaming of performing at Eurovision, fighting for marriage equality in Finland and the world, and exactly how many wedding dresses she owns.
What is it like for you to be performing at Eurovision?
Well, I’ve been a huge Eurovision fan always. So it’s been a dream for me, I’ve always wanted to participate and the big dream was to represent Finland at the Eurovision Song Contest at some point.
And now it’s just like, I feel like I’m ready for this and it’s a dream come true. I’ve been going through this in my head so many times and now it finally happened? Of course it’s amazing! But I also feel like I’m ready for this.
What do you think of the competition?
I think it’s really hard this year. I’m really excited there’s so many big names this year. For example, Bonnie Tyler [performing for the UK]! That’s really crazy because she’s been an idol to me, I can’t count how many times I’ve been singing ‘I Need A Hero’. I love her voice. So I’ve been admiring her and now I’m going to be at the same stage as Bonnie, it’s crazy!
If you compare yourself and the last winner of the Eurovision Song Contest from Finland, Lordi, you two couldn’t be more different. Are there any similarities?
It’s like Beauty and the Beast! A young girl and Lordi!
Lordi had a great show and we also have a great show. It was an uptempo show, a lot of energy, and I think we have the same thing.
Yeah, I think we’re a bit like Lordi. We’d love to do a Lordi!
I’m really happy because usually Finland sends something like a ballad, or more easy-going, except for Lordi and Team Ding Dong!
I’ve never heard a catchier song to come out of Finland before.
I think this song could be a Billboard! It’s a big pop song.
I’ve been reading on the blogs and some people are calling you Europe’s answer to Katy Perry. What do you think of that?
I take it as a compliment because I think Katy Perry is really good. If someone wants to compare me to Katy Perry, than that’s fine. But I think that we’re still different as there’s no other team like Team Ding Dong. Queen Bee and the Ding Dong Girls, you know?
We love to have fun, we love to entertain people, we want people to smile, to dance and to have fun. If I think about it a little bit more, we want the world to be a better place. We want the world to smile more, have fun. We don’t want to take anything too seriously.
What would you say are your musical influences?
Well I’ve been listening all my life to rock music, pop music, to RnB, but closest to my heart is rock and pop music. My biggest idols of all times were the Spice Girls! When I was a little kid it was my religion, I was a crazy fan, I bought everything I could get. Every postcard, so much merchandise. We even had our own Spice Girls band!
Who were you?
Sporty Spice, because I can do the back flip! I’ve been doing gymnastics. We always performed and we trained after school, danced and singed. I think Team Ding Dong is a bit like the Spice Girls.
In ‘Marry Me’, some people have complained over the lyrics. Do you think people are taking it too seriously?
Yeah, I think so. You have to take it for what it is. It’s a big crazy show number.
The music video is really funny, for example some feminists have been really angry about the lyrics. But if you watch the music video, it’s the woman who is in control.
What if the song is about gay marriage? Slave and master, okay, so it’s two girls, two boys, I don’t think you can look at it that way.
In my world you can joke about anything, and I think it’s fun, it’s flirty.
The lyrics are over-the-top because the whole song is that way! You can’t take it out of its perspective and analyze the words. You have to look at the whole thing.
There are a lot of gay visuals in the video from you grabbing one of the dancer’s bums and the butler checking out the guy. Was that intentional?
I love that part. Yes, completely. My next video is totally gay. My next music video Amen is totally gay!
In Finland, gay marriage isn’t allowed yet and I think that’s wrong. The whole of Team Ding Dong think it’s wrong.
Hello, it’s 2013? I don’t understand how people can hate love in any form. Love is beautiful. We should like that. If I can do something about it and just make the world move on and make it better, I’d like to help. That’s why we’re doing these things as well in the music video because I don’t want it to be a shock to the people. Like, ‘Oh my god, I’m kissing a girl’. It should be normal.
Finland is the only Nordic country without marriage equality…
I don’t like that. Finland is really a modern country but at this point we’re so behind. I think that we’re going to change that. Now we have to take responsibility for it ourselves. We have this campaign in Finland called ‘I Do 2013’ and we have to get names on the list.
On the day the petition started, I believe there were 50,000 signatures in 24 hours.
Now it’s like a lot! Now it’s like 500,000, and we’re going to get more.
Do you think politicians will listen to the people?
I think so, yeah. I hope. I really do hope so. I must think that way.
In Amsterdam and London, you kissed one of your dancers. Was that a statement?
Yeah it’s a statement! Because of love. Love should be equal. Marriage equality for everybody shouldn’t be a bad thing that I’m kissing another girl.
Is that going to be part of the act in Eurovision?
Well, you’ll have to watch 16 May! I don’t want to tell you yet, you’ll have to watch it!
Do you have anything you can reveal?
I know I have to give you something! So, we’re planning this quick-change of clothes but we don’t know if it works yet. We really have to practice it, but if we get it right it will be a really cool effect. So you might see that quick-change!
How many wedding dresses are there?
I can tell you this! I’m going to have a new wedding dress in Malmö every day.
Why do you think Eurovision has got such a big gay fanbase?
I really think it’s because of the positive spirit. Everybody’s welcome. I don’t like when it gets too conservative. I want people to be open-minded, be free and have fun. Just humor, joke about things, do crazy things. Surprise people. And I think this atmosphere is really open-minded and that’s why probably gay people love this so much because they feel like I can be myself here.
I feel like I can be myself here. I feel like I’m accepted. I feel like I belong here with these people. When we performed in Amsterdam and here in London, people are so positive and they’re looking at our show and enjoying it, they haven’t got an attitude. They just support and want to be entertained.
Have you seen the gay parody of your video? (See GSN’s report on the parody and the video here.)
I love it! I love it, I love it, I love it. I think it’s really fun. I love all these ‘Ding Dong’ walks.
‘Marry Me’ is popular in the gay clubs in Europe. Do you want it to be a gay song, wedding song, etc?
I want it to be for everybody. If everybody could sing ‘Marry Me’ to the person they love, it’s about love and love is for everybody. It doesn’t matter if you’re straight or gay really but of course I love it. Some people call it a gay anthem, and of course I love it because I feel it’s for a good cause. Like ‘Yes, this is our song.’ But my mother was more the ‘more people like it the better’.
You were on The Voice in Finland. What was that experience like for you?
That was when I got my first ‘boom’ on national television. It was really popular in Finland. Even though I had been doing a lot of gigs with my band and everything, I became famous over one night. People recognize your face. It was a good experience, I learned a lot about myself and I thought it was cool that I got a lot of job offers after that. More gigs and stuff. I started to make my own way.
Is your album going to be the same sort of music as Marry Me?
Yes, totally the same thing. Pop, rock, dance music. There’s only one ballad. Most of the songs are crazy. Yes, there are crazy lyrics but all of the songs are stories of my life. I’m sure a lot of people will get upset that there are rude songs, but there are funny songs and really just stories of my life.
One final question, what would you like to say to your fans at Eurovision?
Well just join Team Ding Dong! Join our happy team! And… marry me!
Krista Siegfrid’s album Ding Dong is out now. The Marry Me video is below. Check out and support her at the Eurovision Song Contest semi-finals on 16 May and at the finals on 18 May. Gay Star News has its own reporting team on the ground at Malmö, so keep reading for all the latest.