Consultant during the day, national performer during the night. That was the life of Frederik Leopold in the months leading up to the Danish Melodi Grand Prix. Today, he shares his thoughts on participating in one of the best-known Danish song competitions whilst continuing his 9-5 job as a consultant at Deloitte.
Photos by Alexander Gjørøy/ESC Norge & Julie Spuhr Foto
As long as he can remember, Frederik has always been singing. In the beginning, it mostly consisted of singing around the house and humming different tunes at school. But when he turned 13 years old, he was gifted his first guitar and that is when he discovered the joy of playing music.
Suddenly, music became more than an unconscious act; it became tangible and started developing structure. Having a sister who could play the piano, and having played competitive sports for years, Frederik was determined to prove that juggling a football was not the only impressive thing he could excel in.
Focusing on his strengths
For the first few years, Frederik’s heart still belonged partly to football. Whilst navigating school, football and music on the side, Frederik was offered the chance of a lifetime. One of Frederik’s friends had shown a video of him singing to the Danish music producer Cutfather, who has very impressed with his talent and was adamant to meet him in person.
On his way to Cutfather’s studio, he received a phone call from the football club F.C. København offering him a contract. Only two months after accepting the offer, he also went on to sign a record deal. Being only 17 years old at the time, he explains it as being an extremely surreal experience.
“At the time, school was my biggest priority. After school, I would have around eight training sessions a week, and I still played music. Football started going south, whereas music took off. I thought I had reached the peak with football and ultimately made the decision to redirect my focus.”
He spent the following years developing more music. None of the songs became hits, but his experiences in the music industry helped him develop a thick skin. After finishing high school, his focus was set on completing his studies at Copenhagen Business School and securing a stable job.
“I have always enjoyed having different things to work on. It gives me energy knowing that if things do not go well in one place, then I can redirect my focus to another. I believe this kind of variation is extremely important for someone like me.”
After finishing his master’s degree in International Business, Frederik landed the job as consultant in Deloitte Digital. He expresses his interest and passion for helping clients understand the digital space and prepare them for the future. Having worked in the firm for less than two years, Frederik already recognises the impact he is making for clients.
Ready, set, go!
Frederik had not always been sold on the idea of performing in the Melodi Grand Prix, but later saw examples of how the competition helped artists get their big breakthrough in the music industry. After Danmarks Radio contacted him and asked him to perform, he agreed on the condition that they could find the right song for him. Working back and forth, writing and re-writing, the single “Stuck on You” came to life.
When he told his friends and family about participating in the contest, Frederik was immediately met with excitement. Though his manager had never experienced an employee wanting to compete in a song competition, he showed nothing but support and enthusiasm. He shared some parts of the journey with his Deloitte colleagues, who were all ecstatic on his behalf – it created an encouraging and positive spirit in the team.
Frederik did not have much experience performing in front of big crowds and the realisation of what he had signed up for hit him when he was told that one million people would be tuning in.
“It was definitely out of my comfort zone. But I believe that you have to take risks, as it adds colour to life and makes you more qualified in all aspects. It was also to get an experience that I could look back on and hopefully get the chance to release and play even more music.”
Participating in the competition further confirmed his passion for making music. However, Frederik also expresses that working full-time in the music industry is not the right fit for him as it is not structured enough.
He emphasises that having to live off music means that you must be among the top 10% of artists in Denmark. He quotes the famous saying in the music industry “Don’t quit your day job” and references the formerly successful Danish rock band Sort Sol whose members now have ‘normal’ 9-5 jobs.
Frederik finds that Deloitte allows him to take on a more rational way of thinking, whereas the music industry allows him to get in touch with his more sensitive side. Although the competition was time-consuming and intense at times, Frederik never compromised when it came to performing at work.
Lights out – now what?
Before joining the competition, he had never performed with in-ears, which is a device that allows artists to hear themselves. Frederik compares standing on a stage with a sales pitch, where you must be as convincing as possible. He also expresses the value of teamwork, which in his case was 50 people coordinating choreography, stage and sound.
He experienced his fair share of valuable lessons during his time in the competition, which made him develop a profound respect for the people in the industry.
“Like most things, it requires training, training, training! It is all about imagining the feeling of standing on the stage and having the final product in mind. That focus has been extremely important for me. Now, having completed the show, I know the things I need to improve and all the small elements that go into making a great performance.”
When asked what is next for him and his music career, Frederik immediately reveals that more singles will be released in the nearest future. He also envisions a new direction for him that is not only sweet, superficial pop songs, but something a bit more aligned with his character.
Having experienced the creative and chaotic music scene along with a full-time position at Deloitte, Frederik recognises the need to ‘land’ again after having gone through some very intense months. He encourages everybody to find a hobby outside of work and dedicate time to bettering yourself at it. He also stresses the importance of having variation in your everyday life, as it contributes to your work and personal development.