Just a few days ago, ERR released all the entries competing in Eesti Laul 2019. Next year’s contest features plenty of recognizable names, but also some fresh faces so we thought we would help you a bit by explaining what’s going on, who is who, who wrote what and how the when in the what? …That train of thought went south somewhere there so let’s just get started!
The Swingers, Tanja & Birgit – “High Heels In The Neighbourhood”
We are starting off by getting TWO previous entrants for the price of one. The (at the time) pregnant Birgit glided across the Eurovision stage in 2013, while Tanja was being dragged around just a year later. Now they have united their talents with The Swingers to bring us JAZZ. Yes, that absolutely had to be written in all caps. This isn’t just something they have put together for Eesti Laul either. The girls have been performing with the group for years now. Together they have been doing covers of famous JAZZ tunes as well as “swingified” versions of newer radio hits.
The songwriting team consists of Tanja Mihhailova and veteran Eesti Laul composers Timo Vendt and Mihkel Mattisen. Both having previously been part of the songwriting team for Birgit’s 2013 ESC entry “Et Uus Saaks Alguse”. They also wrote Elina Nechayeva’s entry “La Forza” earlier this year.
Ranele – “Supernova”
Lenna Kuurma is back for yet another year Our first newcomer to Eesti Laul is Ranele. The 29 year old “Activity Leader” and politician is the lead vocalist in a pop-rock cover band called IZ-58 (which Ranele says is VERY popular at wedding). She also has a few solo projects going for her.
The song is written by Marek Rosenberg, Lauri Lembinen, Marco Margna and Anne Loho, all of whom hope to bring something new to the contest. None of them have previously made it this far on Eesti Laul (despite multiple previous attempts).
SOFIA RUBINA (ft. JANIKA TENN) – “Deep Water”
Sofia also co-wrote the song with Janika Tenn and Oljana Kallson. Fun useless fact #1: Oljana happens to be a real estate broker when she is NOT busy writing Eesti Laul entries.
xtra Basic & Emily J – “Hold Me Close”
No, we did NOT sneak an entry to Eesti Laul! Xtra basic was put together just recently by Andrei Zevakin and Igor Volhonski. Together they teamed up with 16 year old up-and-coming female artist Emily J, who gained popularity by posting covers on YouTube with Alex Tervinsky. Since then she has managed to go on tour with Stig Rästa and collaborated with the popular duo “WATEVA” on their hit single “My Love 2 U”.
The song is of course written by Emily Jürgens, Andrei Zevakin and Igor Volhonski themselves.
Johanna Eendra – “Miks sa teed nii?”
Could it be? Actual Estonian in Eesti Laul? Yes, our first entry in the national language arrives from Johanna Eendra – a relative unknown both in Eesti Laul as well as the larger Estonian music industry. Nevertheless, she has been posting covers and medleys on her personal YouTube channel and has even managed to co-write songs for big names like Tanel Padar.
The song is actually a collaboration between Johanna and her brother Joosep Eeendra. He is mainly known for his brief appearance on Estonian Idol.
Victor Crone – “Storm”
A rule change allows foreign artists to participate in this year’s contest so naturally it only took us five entries before we reached someone from Sweden. Fans might remember Victor from Melodifestivalen 2015, where he and Behrang Mihri reached the Andra Chansen round thanks to a unique combination of sounds and two black bars hiding half of the screen.
It just wouldn’t be Eesti Laul without Stig Rästa showing up at least once and this year’s lucky recipient is Victor, who co-wrote the song with Stig, Vallo Kikas and Fred Krieger. Stig, Vallo and Fred have been writing songs together for years now, pumping out hits for artists like Elina Born, Traffic, Karl-Erik Taukar and were also the team behind Jüri Pootsman’s 2016 Eurovision entry “Play”
STEFAN – “Without You”
Tired of trying to explain what the heck “Vaje” stood for, Stefan has left his partner in crime behind and gone solo this year. Their entry, “Laura (Walk With Me), made it to the superfinal earlier this year and finished 3rd overall.
The song is also co-written by Stefan Airapetjan himself and Karl-Ander Reismann. They previously worked together to bring us Vajé’s entry.
Jennifer Cohen – “Little Baby El”
Estonian Idol has given plenty of artists to Eesti Laul over the years. Some that even made it all the way to Eurovision. Hoping to join that list is Jennifer Cohen. While finishing 7th in the latest season of Estonian Idol certainly gave her popularity a big push, she is no stranger to performing, having done so since the age of three.
The song is co-written by Jennifer Marisse Cohen herself along with Chris Hierro and Luisa Lõhmus. Jennifer and Luisa have performed together numerous times both on and off television so it’s no wonder the two of them are now collaborating on this entry.
Sandra Nurmsalu – “Soovide puu”
Another big name gracing the list is Sandra Nurmsalu. We last heard her on Eesti Laul back in 2014 with “Kui tuuled Pöörduvad”. She is best remembered for representing the country in 2009 with “Rändajad” as part of Urban Symphony and making everyone convinced that the elves in Lord of The Rings actually spoke Estonian.
Sandra has left her frequent co-writer and song producer Sven Lõhmus behind this time and enlisted the help of Priit Pajusaar and Aapo Ilves to write the entry. Both men have extensive history with Eurovision. Priit has written four of Estonia’s entries: “Kaelakee hääl” in 1996, “Diamond Of Night” in 1999, “Tii” in 2004 and the masterpiece* that was “Leto Svet” in 2008 as well as plenty of other efforts like Gertu Pabbo’s 2016 Eesti Laul entry “Miljon Korda”. Meanwhile Aapo wrote the lyrics for “Tii” in 2004 and “Kuula” in 2012.
*note: we sincerely apologize for these lies.
ÖED – “Öhuloss”
ÖED (sisters) unites two energetic women – Kristel Aaslaid and Tuuli Rand. Kristel hosted the semi-finals of Eesti Laul earlier this year and collaborated with Cartoon back in 2016 by gluing a bunch of glowing balls on her tracksuit and singing “Immortality”. Tuuli Rand might sound unfamiliar at first, but she too took part in 2016 under the name Windy Beach.
Together they also co-wrote the song along with Bert Prikenfeld (producer of 2017’s 3rd place entry “This Love”) and Egert Milder, who previously took part of Eesti Laul back in 2015 with Liis Lemsalu.
Marko Kaar – “Smile”
Another person making their long time dream come true is Marko Kaar. He is a newcomer to Eesti Laul, best known for being the lead singer of the pop-rock band Empiree.
Marko also co-wrote the song himself along with Egert Kanep, who also produced a “cool” remix of Etnopatsy’s 2018 Eesti Laul entry “Külm” earlier this year.
INGER – “Coming Home”
And finishing off the semi-final one line-up is 19 year old female singer and football player/coach Inger. Inger is not about to give up on either of her passions, making sure to balance both (though probably not on the Eesti Laul stage). She is best known so far for (surprise, surprise) her YouTube covers and reaching the final of “Noortebänd 2017” – a yearly contest for young bands.
The song is written by Inger Fridolin herself along with Karl-Ander Reismann, who shows up with his second writing credit in the contest.