On Saturday the second semi final of the Estonian selection, Eesti Laul will take place in Tartu. One of the 12 contestants battling it out for a place in the final in Tallinn is 25 year old singer Kadiah who will be making her debut in the competition.
We had a long and interesting chat with her about the shock of being selected at the third attempt, how she was able to make the interesting video for the song and her plans for after Eesti Laul.
Hi Kadiah, congratulations on being selected for the semi finals of Eesti Laul. I know from your Facebook status after the announcement you couldn’t quite believe the news, how shocked were you when you heard you’d been selected?
I really couldn’t believe it. In Estonia there is an evening show called „Ringvaade“ where the selected ones are made public. In previous years, selected ones got a phone call during the same day as the show, so they could be prepared for the big night and invite all their friends and family to the TV and share the good news. I remember I would always sit down and watch the TV as the contestants were announced, because despite knowing some friends who had got the call, and I didn’t, there was a little hope in me, that I would still be picked. But the 2 times I’ve tried, I wasn’t. But this year, my third time trying, as the team now has a new producer Tomi Rahula, the calls were not made. I was so sad and I remember that I turned on TV and I saw that this year they surprised few of the contestants. So my hopes were all down. I turned on some other show from Netflix and just faced the fact I wasn’t selected. „You’ll try again next year,” I said to myself.
So I was watching Netflix.. when suddenly my phone just got red. My friend Irina called me and she just yelled at the phone. And then she got quiet and asked: „You don’t get it why I’m screaming, do you?“. And I was like: „Nooo, I don’t….?“ And she screamed: „You were selected! You were shouted out secondly!“ And I was just quiet, shocked. Then I put together the puzzle – this year they just didn’t call. They surprised 3 contestants but other ones were all unaware like me. This day was crazy – all the emotions went up and down. Fortunately they will stay up for quite a while now.
The video to ‘Believe’ is made from old home videos from your childhood, can you tell us about how you managed to select the clips that you wanted to tell the story of the song?
I am so lucky to have these childhood videos because actually we couldn’t afford to buy a video camera in the 90s but we had connections in the community centre so we could borrow it. I didn’t know if there was any usable material on the VHS cassettes but I hoped there was something. I remembered that I sang a lot, so maybe there’s still something captured on the tapes. I handled all the material to my coworker who edited this whole piece himself. He looked at the footage with his own eye and he managed so well. I think it’s important to edit this kind of videos not by yourself and not by some close family members who know the people in the videos, their stories, their personality. The „stranger” will look at it from the audience’s point of view. The editor saw some things I didn’t see at all.
For example, some parts I thought were boring while he noted that there are so many important things to tell – the incredible way my mom looks at me and how much attention she gives me, or why he left original video sound to the background – to keep the incredible emotion as I got a present from Santa. I was just an observer and he made a masterpiece for me.
Can you tell us about the meaning behind the song. I was trying to work out who the person is that you are singing to, At first I was wondering whether you were singing it to yourself in the past but then I thought maybe it was to someone else who was maybe holding you back in some way?
Actually it is about my journey in music. And partly you are right – there are things which have held back my to return to the music – work, school, adult life. Growing up I had always imagined myself as a singer. But I decided to go with the more realistic path and started studying media. I got dragged into a television station so intensively that I worked my ass off. With studying and working every day and not seeing the daylight I started to miss singing. The people who remember me from my childhood thought I’ll become a musician.
But the last 6 years my whole life was television marketing. So when all the people you meet and communicate think you are born to be amazing marketer, then you stop believing in yourself. Or maybe you still believe but your perspective is so different than it was earlier and it’s hard to concentrate on your life’s purpose rather than just working to enable yourself a great adult life.
I believe you’ve sent songs to Eesti Laul before and were unfortunately not selected. What made you come back and try again? What is it about ‘Believe’ do you think has got you into the competition?
There could be so many reasons I was not selected. When I tried for the first time, years ago – maybe I wasn’t ready, maybe there were clearly better songs, maybe the production could be better, maybe I could sing better, maybe the song could be more developed etc. Last year I tried with a song I wrote with two other very great authors, it was in Estonian – very simple but very beautiful. I thought I couldn’t do better, so when I wasn’t selected I was devastated. But I still love these two songs and I hope I’ll release them in the future. They are part of my journey. But „Believe” is a different kind of special. This song could change so many lives. You’ll just have to listen and believe in yourself. There are lots of people who have given up but if this song helps at least one person in the world to pursue their dreams, then I’ve served my purpose.
And of course, with „Believe”, even though I had the melody and lyrics, the song wasn’t ready yet. The competition has always been tough and you want for the track to stand out. “Believe” had to be different, original, authentic. So I sang the song to my boyfriend, Kristjan Ruus, I started with the chorus and right after the first word – believe – he just stood there and said „Wow”. I burst out laughing, thinking he should obviously hear the rest of the song to give feedback. So he started producing it right away. The funny thing is that it is his first ever public production and he really brought the song to life. People keep referencing the cellos and the strings mixed with the distorted bass and the song being emotional and nostalgic. That’s the best feedback there could possibly be. He is an amazing talent and I love how much effort he put to this. Our friend from Stockholm, Charlie Cavonius, added his magic touch by mixing and mastering the track, making sure it was sonically ready for the world to listen. I am forever grateful for them both. In the end I think all of those things made the difference for „Believe” to qualify.
What are your plans for after Eesti Laul? Do you have some music planned for release that you can tell us about?
Firstly, I hope I’ll release the Estonian song which wasn’t selected last year. But there are more songs I’ve written and I would love to do songwriting with other musicians. I can’t wait to open my heart to music again and that maybe someday I’ll actually have time to wake up and sing and go to bed.
What would it mean to you to be Estonia’s representative at the Eurovision Song Contest? And is it a show you’ve watched before and are familiar with?
In Estonia it is a big event. Friends gather together to watch it and everybody talks about it. It would be a dream come true! To sing about your journey in front of the whole world, it seems unreal.
Thank you for answering our questions Kadiah. We at ESCBubble would like to wish you the best at your first appearance at Eesti Laul!
Thank you! My pleasure. Good luck to you too!
Would you like to see Kadiah qualify for the final of Eesti Laul? Please make sure you vote in our Semi Final 2 poll below: