This Thursday sees the first semi final of Eesti Laul 2020 taking place. And first on stage will be 24 year old singer-songwriter Rasmus Rändvee.
Rasmus was born in Pärnu and although still ‘Young’ he has already achieved a lot in his career. His big break came when winning the fifth season of Estonian Idol and he has gone on to compete in Eesti Laul twice as well, once with the band Facelift Deer (7th in 2013) and again as a solo artist (3rd in 2017). Will this year be third time lucky for him? We asked him about his return to the competition, his entry ‘Young’ and his views on what makes a winning Eurovision song.
Hi Rasmus, welcome back to Eesti Laul! How are you feeling about competing again for a third time and what made you come back this year?
I’m feeling good. Some butterflies might be flying in my stomach but it’s all part of the experience. I came back because I had a song that I wanted to participate with, even if I didn’t exactly plan on taking part of Eesti Laul in the first place.
How do you feel after being a such a competitive process as Eesti Laul. Is it a big disappointment if you don’t win or do you see a high placement as an achievement?
Definitely no. It’s a cool place to be. Winning it is just an icing on the cake.
That said I’ve done a fair share of “competitive” singing in my life starting with countless childhood singing contests at a very young age and also winning the Idol show. This experience let’s me be more calm about the “competitive” part and focus more on the enjoyment of the journey.
‘Young’ seems to be a very personal song, I sensed it could be about reminiscing about more innocent times. What can you tell us about how the song came to be written and your own interpretation of the lyrics?
Good observation! The song is about growing up and thus leaving your home behind. It’s about longing for the simpler times – your hometown, family, mothers cooking and dog. I actually wrote the demo quite some time ago. We were listening through my older material with a producer I met and gave this one a try. I’m glad we did!
You first came to fame when you won the Estonian Idol show. How much did that give you a platform for your career and would you go back and tell your younger self to do it all over again?
Yep, I’m not one for regretting anything. Honestly the life I’ve had sometimes feels like a movie – it has offered me so many cool experiences and I wouldn’t trade any of them for a million dollars. If I could say anything to my younger self, it would be that keep going and enjoy the voyage as much as you can.
It strikes me from listening to a lot of your songs how versatile you are as an artist and you don’t seem to box yourself in to any one style. For our readers how different would you say ‘Young’ is to this ‘This Love’ from 2017? And which song from your back catalogue would you recommend to anyone discovering your music for the first time as something you’d want them to hear?
First of all, thank you for the kind words. I just like making music about life itself. If I’m feeling down, as all of us sometimes do, I put this in my music. If I’m feeling happy, agitated or whatever, I just go by the emotion. Honestly songwriting is the most sincere form of self-expression for me. “This Love” was my first solo single, so this is a good starting point.
How much of your time do you spend writing and recording music and what other hobbies do you have when you’re not?
All the time. Music has consumed most of my hobbies, but I still enjoy sailing, reading books and riding my motorcycle.
You’ve been on the Estonian jury twice and scored two previous Eurovision Song Contests. How much have these previous entries influenced you in trying to write the perfect song to represent Estonia?
I love how the most successful songs in recent years of Eurovision have felt like they weren’t written specifically for the contest – Duncan Laurence and Salvador Sobral just sang their hearts out and people felt it. Like them, I don’t stress about Eurovision, when I’m having fun and just putting my soul into music.
Have you thought a little about what it would be like to represent Estonia in Rotterdam. What part of Estonian culture do you think you would best represent as a person if you were to go?
I’m just gonna be myself. Estonians are humble and respectable. If I were to go to Rotterdam, I’d just give by life’s best performance. I believe that most important part of a performance is it’s sincerity.
And finally, what can we expect from you after Eesti Laul? Do you have any good new music in the pipeline?
I have some goodies prepared for what’s happening next. I’m also planning an short album.
Thank you Rasmus for taking the time to talk to us and best of luck for the first semi final!
Best wishes and thank you for the interesting questions!
Is Rasmus your favourite to qualify from Semi Final 1? Let us know in our poll below and stay tuned for more from our Eesti Laul coverage!