In our series of features for this year’s Eesti Laul, Estonia’s selection process for Eurovision, we have been speaking with a number of the artists who are participating. Today, our attention moves to Synne Valtri, and her collaboration with the duo Väliharf. Synne will be familiar to fans of the show, following her entry in last year’s competition ‘I’ll Do It My Way’ which made it all the way to the Eesti Laul final. Synne and Väliharf will be competing in the first semi final on Thursday.
Synne was happy to talk to us about her return to the competition, how the collaboration with Väliharf came about and her passion for her native Estonia.
Hi Synne. Welcome back to Eesti Laul – we loved your song last year, so we were thrilled to see your name in this year’s list once again. Can we begin by looking back at last year’s experience. You brought smiles to everyone’s faces with the delightful ‘I’ll do it my way’ and made it into the grand final. How would you describe the whole experience?, and what was it that made you want to come back to the competition in 2020?
‘Last year’s competition gave me so many emotional experiences, new friends, a fantastic show and all of the hard work behind the scenes. It gave me more power to be certain that this is my way, and my life. I can’t even imagine my life without music and singing but I guess every singer says that!. I came back to Eesti Laul 2020 because people told me to – I even thought I would pass this year, but I just couldn’t. So I had to write a song with my new band and news that we got into the list of 24 semi-finalists was a major surprise. I’m so grateful for this.’
What was the reaction following Eesti Laul 2019 for you?, and what have you been working on since then?
‘I was proud of myself of getting as far as I did and it all gave me more strength as an artist. Since Eesti Laul 2019 I have been making musc non-stop. On 27th January 2019 I made my own band and now we are performing all around Estonia all the time. Many studio hours and a lot of music making.. A lot of work, but I enjoy it so much. I have the best band members ever.’
You’re used to performing as part of a band, but last year you were solo. Was it a conscious decision to come back this time with some friends to join you on stage, because of course you now have the guys from Valiharf. How did the collaboration come about and who’s suggestion was it to enter ‘Majakad’ into the competition?
‘Yes, I’m used to being part of a band, but last year everything changed because of the decision to end my old band at the end of the year 2018. That’s why I was alone. This year I’m with Väliharf because our friend mentioned that this could be interesting combo and he was right!. I have known Väliharf for almost 7 years in person. I wrote song “Majakad” because it fits me and the Väliharf guys also because we all love the sea and powerful emotions. My band (Synne Valtri Band) played guitars and bass and we are making a tight collaboration with Väliharf in this project.’
This year you have chosen to submit a song in the Estonian language. Can you tell us a little about the meaning of the lyrics, is there a message in the song? Did you always plan to perform in Estonian this time around?
‘Estonia is small enough to listen to Estonians’ wishes and we love our language. It’s beautiful. Last year many people told me to sing in Estonian, because then everybody can reach deep down these lyrics and really feel the message, what is hidden inside. “Majakad” tells a beautiful love story between a man and a woman. One is at shore, and the other on wild sea. How she is hoping to see him soon, missing him and she is praying that no harm will come to him. (” I ask stars, to warn you, so you can feel ahead troubles and can avoid them…. here waits for you dreamland. There are many lighthouses what can guide, but some may lie.. so choose wisely to get back home)’“
Estonia has such a rich and diverse music scene and this has always been reflected in the Eesti Laul winners (and of course at Eurovision), bringing something different every year. If you were to have the honour of representing Estonia on the stage in Rotterdam, what would be your specific message to the international audience – what impression of Estonia as a country would you like to leave people with?’
‘I’d like to show all the world that Estonians are warmhearted and friendly people. Also… many tourists visit only our capital Tallinn, what is amazingly beautiful but Estonia have so many colours. So many different people in different areas. South-Estonia for instance is way different to our capital. Our beautiful Islands ( we have many of them) and these people over there are so sweet, kind and just amazing. I wish that our little country gives everybody beautiful memories and brings smile on people’s faces.’
Your song has already gained a lot of interest, with some success in charts and in streaming. Have you been pleased with the response from audiences at home and internationally?
‘As a singer I do it all for pleasing my fans. I do it for them and audience is my reward. Of course I love singing and I absolutely can´t be without singing every day, but peoples reaction is very important for me. I get many many letters every day, where people comment on my concerts or they write me just to tell me that they love me. Isn’t that just beautiful?. I try to make them feel good with my music because I feel good, with them. There could be always more streaming and more listening on social media and other sites but I´d like to earn it all naturally. I believe that all that is meant to come, will. So I will sail in my own tempo’
Have you always been a big fan of Eurovision?, and is it your dream to represent your country at such a big competition?. Are there any songs or moments from the history of the show that got you hooked?
‘Yes, I have always been a big fan of Eurovision. I love those songs and performances. When I was a little girl, I used to dream in front of the big mirror, how I sing some powerful song and I could even imagine the applause. I turned every lamp on my face to make it all more like reality. I loved those moments. Today I am living this life and I could not be happier. I believe that Eurovision songs in my young age, was the keyhole to my present life.’
Synne, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us, we wish you the very best in the competition!.
You can listen to Synne Valtri & Väliharf’s entry into this year’s competition right here:
And a reminder of Synne’s entry from last year’s competition, here is the live performance of ‘I’ll Do It My Way’
What do you think of the song?, feel free to let us know in the comments section!
Six songs will progress from the first semi-final into the Grand Final on February 29th. Vote in our Poll for your qualifiers!