“Insert song here” was the task for “Eurovision Song Contest” executive music producer Savan Kotecha at various points in the script of the Will Ferrell musical comedy that Netflix released last year. Kotecha, his fellow recording engineer Fat Max Gsus and their fellow lyricist Rickard Göransson are nominated now at the Oscars in the Best Original Song category for the climactic “Husavik” ballad. Kotecha explains in their exclusive interview with Gold Derby (watch the video above), “The challenge with this one was, really, we were just going off of what the character — what she wanted to say,” referencing Rachel McAdams‘ character from the titular band Fire Saga.
Göransson adds that “another starting point” for them was the objective to craft a “credible song” that believably could have competed at the real annual Eurovision Song Contest. He clarifies that they did not seek to write a song with the same comedic tone as the film overall. “We should treat this as a tribute to Eurovision, so let’s write the best possible melodies and best possible songs for this movie,” recounts Göransson about what Kotecha told him and the song’s producer Gsus in their initial conversations about the project.
The songwriting trio has already won the equivalent trophy from the Society of Composers & Lyricists Awards, which represent for film musicians what the Screen Actors Guild Awards are to actors. Kotecha is a past Golden Globe nominee in Best Original Song for Ellie Goulding‘s “Love Me Like You Do” from “Fifty Shades of Grey,” as well as a three-time Grammy nominee. He was first nominated in their equivalent category for that track, then in Album of the Year for songwriting Ariana Grande‘s “Thank U, Next” and most recently in Best Compilation Soundtrack for producing the “Eurovision Song Contest” album.
Göransson has also produced and written for Goulding and Grande; Gsus’ credits are less extensive. He adds, “I haven’t released very much at all, so there’s probably nothing you’ve heard,” admits Gsus. He smiles, “I’ve mainly made death metal and obscure Swedish hip hop,” although Gsus can be heard on guitar on The Weeknd‘s current top-five hit “Save Your Tears.”
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