Music

Marcus & Martinus at Eurovision: The Identical Twins Say They’re the ‘Most Competitive’ Act in 2024

There have been many famous brother acts in the history of rock n’ roll, from the Everly Brothers to the Bee Gees to the Jacksons. Sweden is sending a brother act to the Eurovision Song Contest this year, but Marcus & Martinus aren’t simply brothers — they are identical twins. They will open the grand final on Saturday (May 11) with an energetic performance of their hit single, “Unforgettable.”

Billboard sat down with the 22-year-old siblings from Norway at their hotel in Malmö, Sweden, host city to this year’s pan-European competition.

As young as you are, you are seasoned veterans, with a career that dates back a decade. How did you get started in the music business?

Martinus: We wanted always to be football players. That was our dream, and then we started singing together when we were 10 years old. By the age of 12 we had to choose. Should we be serious about music? Should we go all in as football players? Our dad said to us, “Music is fun but football is also very fun.” But music has worked out very well.

Marcus: When we were six, we started in a children’s choir and had a music teacher who made us fall in love with the music. She did an amazing job and three years later, when we were done in the children’s choir, we wanted to do more but we didn’t know how. Then an opportunity came in 2012 when we joined the competition for the Junior Eurovision Song Contest, and we won.

You’ve been in a lot of musical competitions. What are your thoughts about competing with other singers?

Marcus: When we did [Junior Eurovision] we didn’t have any pressure because we were kids and it was for fun and everyone loved everyone there. When we did The Masked Singer no one knew who was under the masks, so we didn’t have any pressure. But then Eurovision is something else. Here you are representing a country and people will have opinions, because they really want their country to win. We try not to read the comments but it’s difficult not to because they are everywhere.

Martinus: We are very competitive people. We play a lot of football, so it’s in our blood that we want to win all the time and we’re brothers as well, so we compete against each other in everything. So I think this year we are the most competitive people in the whole competition, but it’s nice because you’re very focused when you’re on the stage and are very ready. I think that’s just a good thing.

As devoted Eurovision fans know, many artists have represented countries that are not their homelands. Celine Dion from Canada sang for Switzerland; Gina G is from Australia but sang for the U.K.; and you are from Norway singing for Sweden.

Marcus: For us, it was a natural choice because we’ve been working a lot in Sweden the last few years and when the coronavirus came, we were thinking what our next step would be. We had been teen stars for awhile and we needed to get away from that. We’re 22 years old now. We don’t want to be locked in as teen stars forever, and that was very difficult for us in Norway, because they’ve known us since we were 10 years old. We felt like Norway never accepted that we wanted to go further than that. So we thought we should go to Sweden, where they found us later. We signed with Universal Music Sweden. They accepted that we wanted to go past [our teen years] and it feels very natural to represent Sweden because they have helped us through that journey.

When ABBA entered Eurovision, their goal was to break out beyond Sweden and become a global act. Is that one of your goals in the competition?

Martinus: That has been our goal for a very long time and when we joined Melodifestivalen [the Swedish heat to pick the artist and song that will go to Eurovision], that was also one of our goals. If we went to Eurovision, it would be a free ticket to Europe where you can visit a lot of countries. You get a lot of first impressions because people haven’t seen you before. It was a very nice opportunity for us when Eurovision came. We’ve been waiting for this moment and it’s very nice to get back out in Europe.

What is the genesis of your Eurovision entry, “Unforgettable”?

Marcus: We wrote it from scratch, just like “Air” [the brothers’ entry in Melodifestivalen 2023]. We were inspired by “Air” because a lot of Eurovision fans really liked that song and said if it weren’t for Loreen [and her song “Tattoo”], it would have gone straight through [to Eurovision]. People said they really wanted us to try again. “Air” went well [placing second to Loreen] so we thought we should do something similar, but even more Eurovision. We wanted to make something rougher and tougher, but an upgrade from “Air.” As you know, we’ve been on a stage for 12 years. We want to show that experience on stage.

What is the dynamic of being a brother act?

Martinus: There’s a special bond between us. It’s something else when random people get together and start a band rather than being brothers, because we have this special connection and we know each other. I’m the person in the world that knows him best and the same with him with me, so we have that special connection when we are on the stage. We can feel each other’s energy and we can give each other energy and I think that’s the reason why we have gone so far in our career. We work very well together, even though we’re brothers and fight, but I think that is healthy. We’re brutally honest with each other, which also helps us to get better, because you can say, “You were awful today. What happened?” That helps us a lot and our very special connection helps us as artists as well.

Marcus and Martinus performed “Unforgettable” in semi-final 1 on Tuesday (May 7) but were not competing. As representatives of the host country, they are automatically qualified for the grand final, which will be live on Saturday (May 11). The four-hour show will be live on Peacock in the U.S., airing at 3 p.m. ET.

The brothers have toured Europe with Jason Derulo and will be back on the road starting May 30 with their We Are Not The Same Tour, with 26 dates extending until March 25, including a stop at London’s O2 Arena on March 5, 2025.

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