Growing up in Bodø in northern Norway, Sundnes spent many an evening tuned into NRK – either radio or television. Reflects Sundnes, “When I was approached to take over the reins of the national portion of the Eurovision project in 2007, I jumped at the chance. This is something that I grew up with, Eurovision is an institution, and there is nothing that I have enjoyed more than travelling around Norway interviewing people and working with this project during the last several years.”
Analysis and Creativity
As the Master of Ceremonies for the last several national broadcasts of the Norwegian finals, he has worked closely with a wide range of artists. It was in 2008 that he met Alexander Rybak, who would take Europe by storm just a year later in the Eurovision finals in Russia. Once Rybak won the Norwegian competition in early 2009, Sundnes knew that this was a talent that could win the entire European contest, and the teamwork was put into high gear.
Sundnes explains, “What I do is a combination of artistry, pure analytical hard work, and teamwork. I surrounded Alexander with the best talents available both within NRK and outside in terms of choreographers, dancers, musicians, make-up artists, wardrobe designers, and so on. Then I told Alexander to just work hard – and have fun. Not to worry about what the final result would be in Russia in May 2009. I knew that with the solid backing of the team Alexander would shine as the pure artist that he is, and that he would take home the victory to Norway.”
“When you listen to his song that won, ‘Fairytale’, it has a magical quality about it – and you can see on his face that he is just enjoying every moment. Alexander worked for this huge success from when he was just a very young man, practicing his music when others were out having fun. Now it is his turn. Just before he was going to go on stage in Moscow for the final, Alexander turned to me and said, ‘I am not worried about winning, now I am just going to have fun’. I replied, ‘Fun! You are going to win this thing.’ And then he and his team went out and did it!”
This is the type of success and creativity that is one of the trademarks of the Oslo region – shown in the wide range of people that come from not only all over Norway, but all over the world.