Exclusive: Ott Lepland (Estonia 2012) speaks to escflashmalta.comWritten by Marc Calleja Bayliss
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.