Birgit Õigemeel with the song Et Uus Saaks Alguse co-written between Mihkel Mattisen and Silva Soro was selected to represent Estonia in this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest following a public and jury vote which just managed to get her into the super-final. With 51.1% of the tele-vote, she was announced as the winner over Grete Paia and her entry Päästke noored hinged co-written with renowned songwriter Sven Lõhmus. Unfortunately, betting odds have not been so favourable with the nation currently found in twenty-second place despite achieving a sixth place finish with the song Kuula performed by Ott Lepland at the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest.
In bright and colourful spring fashion, Birgit has been doing a lot of national promotion prior to jetting off for the Eurovision Song Contest but nevertheless, due to her blooming pregnancy, her stylists have decided to go with a chic look on stage as witnessed in the photograph above. As a matter of fact, designer Antonio Baltman has worked worked on a visually stunning black and white short dress matched with black shoes whilst her three male backing vocalists will be in dashing grey suits and white shirts to complement. Et Uus Saaks Alguse will be performed in slot number #2 within the first semi-final whilst Birgit is currently at number #29 in the Estonian iTunes Singles Chart. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news as soon as it becomes available.
Source: Ilkar.blogspot.com, ERR
Yesterday, Austria was the first country to receive the critique of the reviewers that escflashmalta.com has engaged in support of the participants in this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest. More preview videos are being added with the release of those from Austria and Belarus in the past couple of hours. The formal introduction of each entry continues. All of the information is obtained from the official website of the international spectacle and indeed, pertaining to the running order as decided by the producers, Estonia will be performing in slot number two (2) from the sixteen (16) entries which will be competing during the first semi-final. ERR, the broadcaster resposible for the participation of Estonia in the Eurovision Song Contest will be represented by the song Et Uus Saaks Alguse co-written by Mihkel Mattisen and Silvia Soro with vocals provided by Birgit Õigemeel.
Birgit Õigemeel is without doubt one of the happiest people in the world right now. Her life is full of love and great expectations: the challenge of performing in an international arena, settling in to her new home in Tallinn, and looking forward to the birth of her first baby. There could be no more exciting time for her to be taking part in Eurovision than now, when she and her partner Indrek Sarrap are expecting their first child. And she's not alone - composer Mihkel Mattisen is about to become a parent for the first time, too! It's clearly fate that Et Uus Saaks Alguse (known in English as 'New Beginning') is representing Estonia at the Eurovision Song Contest. Children have played a big role in Birgit's life throughout her professional career, which began in 2007 when she won the first ever series of Estonian Pop Idol. A year later she set up the Tähelaps ('Starchild') charity with politician and good friend Margus Tsahkna in support of the education of children from orphanages.
Born in the small Estonian town of Kohila, Birgit has three sisters: two older and one younger. Her father is a furniture maker, but it's her mother – a singing teacher – whose footsteps she has followed, teaching children to sing in one of her older sister's song and dance studios. In 2009 she teamed up with the internationally acclaimed deep house production duo Rulers of the Deep on the album Teineteisel Pool ('The Other Side'). A showcase of intelligent club music, it won her the award of the Female Artist of the Year 2010 in Estonia. In 2010 she took the role of Maria von Trapp in the 'The Sound of Music' in Estonia. She has also taken part in the national selection for Eurovision on two previous occasions, in 2008 and 2012. Birgit is only too aware that resting on your laurels is a step backwards, which is why she's studying music therapy at Tallinn University. "I'm interested in the deeper effect that music has on people," she explains.
Eesti Laul is the national selection procedure in Estonia and it has proven somewhat successful in recent years following a revamp which was put forward by the broadcaster. A professional jury made up of people from the music industry along with the public both have a stake in selecting the best two tracks competing in the selection process but nevertheless, the public would then vote for the best act. Preceding the final round are two semi-finals, which comprise of ten songs each and once more, both the public and the jury decide on which five (5) songs from each semi-final should make it through. Estonia is known to be a nation with one of the most alternative selection processes when it comes to song genre and have been described by fans and critics as extremely avante-garde. In the first round of tele-voting, Birgit was actually third but having obtained the second best score of the jury, had managed to get her through to the super-final.
The contender there was Päästke noored hinged sung by Grete Paia who had achieved top marks by the public as opposed to fifth place by the jury. The voting in the super-final was extremely close and in the end it was Birgit who prevailed with 51.1% of the vote as opposed to 48.9% for the first runner-up. Estonia will be taking part in the Eurovision Song Contest for the nineteenth time and have managed to qualify to the final on three occasions from nine possible entries, all of which coming within the last four years. Their best result was a victory with the song Everybody by Tanel Padar & Dave Benton in 2001 whilst they also managed to finish in sixth place during last years' edition with the track Kuula performed by Ott Lepland. They will be hoping that this ballad, the second one in a row to be performed in the national language will reach the final against current odds published online. Õnn Kaasa!
Professional Critics Voice their Opinion
Magnus Kaxe: A ballad with country vibes. Birgit sings nicely but the total package doesn't tickle my ears. It's just - boring. This would sound better if the lyrics were in English because Estonian is not a musical language for ballads.
Lina Eriksson: A typical oldschool Eurovision Song Contest ballad. Will it work in 2013? I don't think so. Birgit is a great singer but this sweet song is out of date, production wise as well as melodically.
Matt Mercieca (Muxu): The way it starts is ok, nothing special. there are some country influences which is rare for eurovision. She is gorgeous reminds me a little bit of Adrianne Curry , ok sorry I went totally off topic, i guess this says a lot about the song, very boring , and never seems to go anywhere.
It as been yet another interesting day in Baku, Azerbaijan wit the final acts competing in the second semi-final taking to the stage for the very first time with the hope of representing their country in the best possible way. Some acts ave a tendency to warm up in front of a huge and this might have been the case for Estonia, a nation which has been written off on quite a hefty amount of occasions including with bookmakers who have put the track in a disappointingly low position nevertheless, despite being well below the number twenty in the overall scoreboard, they have started their rise and will most likely continue to do so when they give another rehearsal, one which will certainly pull in votes from both judges and the viewers at home. Estonia this year are being represented by Ott Lepland and his track Kuula which translates into Hear Me actually with the English version released just a couple of days back.
The fact of the matter is that the performer did not do anything special on the stage of Baku, the host city of the 2012 Eurovision Son Contest. He took to the stage wearing very smart casual attire and belting out the notes as he should. He could have taken the son on his own actually but decided he would like some company and that is why the female backing vocalist from the national final marks er return on stage, this time wearing a beautiful white gown. The vocals were out of this world and if he can manage to keep this going, Estonia will be achieving their best result in years, most likely better tan the one they managed back in 2009 with the group Urban Symphony and the song Randajad which finished in sixth place at the end of the evening. Remember that Estonia is competing in the same semi-final as Malta and would therefore be eligible to receive your vote on the evening. View the first rehearsal below and judge it yourselves. It is the kind of song which the Maltese pretty much like actually. Stay tuned for more news on escflashmalta.com in the coming hours.
The latter part of the second semi-final has to be one of the most intriguing spectacles noting that the variety of genres is very much reflected especially following an array of Balkan tunes which will become somewhat synonymous. Despite their beauty, it is somewhat extremely important that they all relate to each other and some of them might be left out and that is why the next ballad is different because it has a different sound, more notable which will be respected by a number of people around the continent. The country that is being referred to is none other than Estonia who this year have decided to send the crooning Ott Lepland with the song Kuula which he composed alongside Aapo Ilves.
He has always beaten the competition by an impressive margin. In the final of Eesti Laul, for example, he received 67% of the votes. Ott was already well known in Estonia when he was still a child. He released four albums of children's songs and performed in the theatre, but left the limelight when he became a teenager and focussed on his studies of music. The result is here: he is one of the most respected vocalists in Estonia, an excellent pianist, and the author of some of the biggest radio hits of recent years.
His vocal coach Maiken has this to say about Kuula: "This song has the potential to be the I Will Always Love You of this century – it is a powerful and simple balance with the potential to become an international hit." Ott's strengths are his powerful voice and down-to-earth demeanour. He is not a show-off, but a true and serious artist. He may be a little reserved, but it is this trait that makes people take him seriously and gives him the charm that has brought him the love of his audiences. Yes, that's what a true Estonian man is like! Get ready, Eurovision – here he comes!
Ott was born on 17 May 1987 in Tallinn. He has released two albums that were aimed at the Estonian market and contained many songs he had written himself. The first book about Ott, Lubage mul olla. Ott Lepland (Let Me Be. Ott Lepland) was published at the end of 2010. A part of the sales revenue is transferred into a grant fund, which helps young people study singing. The grant recipients are picked by Ott Lepland himself. He also donated the 20,000 euros he won on Laulupealinn to Kärdla Town for charity.
It seems that taking one victory after another has come easy to Ott so far. Only time will tell whether his success will continue on the Eurovision Song Contest stage. Ott himself has said: "I feel that I've been lucky. I believe that the reason why I've been so successful is that I've done my own thing and remained true to myself."
The Critics Voice Their Opinion
- Back to ballads. This time a musical piece sung in Estonian. The song slowly builds up to the grand finale. The singer has a great voice and the song is beautifully written. I would have loved to hear it in English because the Estonian language sound a little bit hard for my taste. Nevertheless, well crafted and deserving of six (6) points.
- Without a doubt, this is more of a song to my liking. The music of this ballad is astonishing, it is just wonderful and his voice is amazing, somewhat beyond what I was expecting. This is a maximum points kind of entry therefore ten (10) points.
- One of the best ballads in the line-up, leaving you wonder how tiny Estonia can come up with so many really good songs. Very good singing, powerful and controlled at the same time, complete with very soft and tender lyrics. Nine (9) points from my end.
Performer: Ott Lepland
Composer: Ott Lepland
Author: Aapo Ilves
History of the Nation
This year will mark the eighteenth participation of Estonia in the Eurovision Song Contest and one can remark that there have been a number of positive results especially due to non-consecutive top ten finishes from 1996 until 2002 with the nation finishing at the top of the scoreboard in 2001 thanks to Dave Benton and Tanel Padar and the song Everybody. The following year, they were close but still far by virtue of finishing in third place with Runaway performed by the Swedish singer Sahlene. Since the introduction of the semi-final system, things have been far bleaker unfortunately though and the country has only managed to turn their luck around since 2009 noting that Urban Symphony and their song Randajad finished in sixth place before the country failed to qualify again in 2010 and then reaching the final again last year before failing to make an impact with Rockefeller Street ending in the last place. Ott Lepland will hope to restore some pride in his country with his entry which is doing well in polls and betting odds putting it in sixth place to qualify.
The 2012 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest which is going to be staged in Baku, Azerbaijan draws closer and many artists are preparing to switch on a number of alarm clocks as they brave the different time zone nevertheless, many are looking to perfect their performance off stage prior to even thinking about being there as the preparations for each representative continue. In the past couple of days, one of the acts that we managed to speak to was none other than Ott Lepland, the man who will be honouring the colours; blue, black and white, those that best represent Estonia, the winning country of the 2001 music competition and then of course, host of the 2002 edition, one which the Maltese will surely remember with the birth of a star, that is Ira Losco. Within this interview, Ott speaks about his emergence as an artist, his career and his upcoming preparations for the event.
There are many sides to Ott Lepland as an artist with humble beginnings coming through musical theatre, having performed the lead role of Troy Bolton in an adapated version of High School Musical but then again, as the years progressed, you made a decision to go slightly more mainstream by tackling the Estonian music market and thus signed up for the Estonian version of 'Idol' which was were selected for with the backing of the judges and not only making it to the live shows but finishing at the top of the competition without ever languishing at the bottom two. What can you tell us about your early years and how did this competition make you the artist you are today?
Before Idols I was a simple boy who went to school and liked music. I had studied music in school: both piano and singing. When Idol show came, my friends urged me to take part. I didn’t have any expectations but everything went very well. It made me a lot more self-confident and gave me the possibilty to present my music to Estonia and leave an input to music as such in Estonia.
Skimming through your career achievements, one would notice that the very first time that you made a public debut in terms of recordings was back in 1995 and 1996 having worked with the likes of Seafarm Records and BG Muusik to release four albums but then again, the first major platform in terms of music making came following your stint on 'Idol' wheareas you released a self-titled compilation with Crunch Industry in 2010 and then another album entitled 'Laulan Ma Sing' in 2011. You have been at this for quite some time but then again end up learning new things everyday. What could you tell us about the meaning behind the two albums and do you have general creative control over the songs you publish?
1995-96, as i was a child, i sang children’s songs. Now,15 years later after the Idols i had a possibilty to release my own record. My first album had two of my own songs but mainly songs from other auhtors. My second album has songs from other auhtors too, but half of it contains songs from me as an author. My goal is to move towars releasing more and more music written by myself and i can be only happy that my management allows me to do so.
The very first time that Estonia entered the Eurovision Song Contest was back in 1994 with the song 'Nagu Merelaine' performed by Silvi Vrait which did not fare well at all finishing in twenty four position with just two points to it's name but the broadcaster; ERR took a new musical directiton starting two years later ad the results would ultimately flourish managing to reach the top ten on six of the next seven occasions, with songs that have been noted to be timeless. Amongst such songs was the victory of Tanel Padar, Dave Benton & 2XL with the song 'Everybody'. What do you remember of the first entries sent on behalf of Estonia and what do you remember from winning the esteemed music competition?
I have followed the Eurovision from since I was very young. As I come from a very musical family (my mother is a music teacher) I know pretty much all the songs that have represented Estonia in Eurovision. Now, as an active musician, I have the honor of knowing most of the artists who have represented Estonia as well. What I can recall is Silvi Vrait, then Maarja Liis Ilus, Koit Toome and others. I have followed and I have only positive recollections of the whole thing.