We first heard the Estonian songs at the end of last year when all 24 participants were revealed with their songs released a few weeks later. This week, Estonia starts their televised journey with both semi finals airing on Thursday & Saturday evenings.
Whilst we sadly can’t fly to Estonia this year to continue our coverage in person, we did get the opportunity to catch up with participant Kadri Voorand ahead of her semi final performance of “Energy”. Check out “Energy” below and make sure to check out our interview with Kadri.
Welcome to Eesti Laul! 2021 will be your debut appearance at the song festival so what made you decide to enter this year?
In the evening before the deadline of sending the song, I was supposed to perform in Berlin Philharmonic hall playing my lately released album under the label ACT. The concert was cancelled in the last minute, as was most of my albums international presentation tour during the previous corona year. As an artist and a creator I was lacking the positive excitement that actually drives me and gives me inspiration, like concerts do. It was also a coincidence that I had composed couple of lines that just stood there in the corner, waiting for the day to arrive to make the song out of it. And those lines sounded like a song to share with a wider audience, a clear emotion for everyone to relate to. I strongly felt it in the music and I needed to share it. So I rapidly just took the lines, completed the missing parts and recorded it the same night. By the morning I had the final version and here it is, the song “Energy”. So the piece was not written for the event, nor did I plan participating thoroughly. The decision was emotional , but the outcome is positive in so many ways. I am thankful it happened!
You wrote your song “Energy” by yourself which is great, tell us about the song and the meaning. What message are you hoping to share when you perform your song to the viewers?
I believe in storytelling. I can simply tell my story and if you relate, you will have your own reflections, thoughts and feelings, in the end it will be a unique message for each listener who has really opened their heart while listening. My part is to tell my story in the most honest way and not to waste your time on anything else. My story in “Energy” has different layers. People often ask me after a concert, is it my own life that I write about. My answer is “yes, of course, but…”, it is not transcribable. The lyrics are not autobiographical in that sense, but the emotions are true and mine, and from my personal experience. In “Energy” I find myself in a turn point, thinking, how each of us is given just the amount of energy per one life and I wonder, have I maybe spent too much of my precious energy on decisions and actions based on some group created fear, for example fear for being alone, fears for lost connections, a job etc., instead I could use this Energy simply creating values I believe in. I should listen to the little girl inside of me, that once dared to dream of the world she will create. So now I turn to her and give her a chance.
Going back to the very start, music must have always been a big part of your life with your mother being a music teacher. Has being a musician and performer always been your dream? If so, what is it that inspires you to keep performing and writing new music?
Because I was kind of on stage since childhood with the folk group led by my mother and saw closely the professional musicianship life also because of Gerli and Tanel Padar, who were my neighbors and childhood firends, I did not want to become a professional in my adult life, because I saw how emotionally hard and chaotic that life is. In school I also enjoyed mathematics and languages and always considered to become a nonmusician realist while doing a little bit of music as well. Hahaha! In the end of the day I could not resist my true love, music and the creation process. I needed that part of into my life and actually already made some money with it during childhood. So entering Estonian Academy of Music was a decision made in the real end of my high school time, at the age of 18. Since then it turned into my profession. In time I actually get more and more inspired to make music. While studying it was harder, because of all the goles and tasks, school system put me through. But it always turns me on to spend time listening and creating music. While making it I can dream of things that may not be possible in the real life, but on the level of thinking and on the level of mind there is Life just as important. We don’t have to physically have everything we dream of. Most of the time we spend with our thoughts and I have decided to spend that time well. Music gives me wings and no one can forbid me dreaming or thinking any thought. Every thought is allowed and music helps to spend valuable time in those beautiful ideas. It is magic! And that magic is there for everyone to use. Much better than anything money can buy.
To date you have been very successful within the world of jazz- performing across the world at many prestigious festivals. What have been some of your favourite adventures that music has taken you on so far?
Yes, I have performed on jazz stage most of my career, but the most usual comment on my music is, that it is not jazz. And they are correct. It is not. I create alternative pop or folk, or why not even rock or classical music, simply with an improvisational add. I am inspired by jazz, like my label ACT says. Journalists have always had hard time to define my style. It is eclectic and this is my thing, no borders, just music and storytelling, whatever style it is tonight. What is my favourite adventure, you ask? Meeting the audience, the people across the globe. It is a heartwarming fact to realise that the need for love and and need for letting your emotions out is the same everywhere. Young people, old people, women and men coming to talk to me after concerts, allowing themselves to cry or laugh or share their stories back. I have met the same kind of reactions in the hot Italy or Russia, kind of closed countries like Uzbekistan or China, different cultures like Kyrgyzstan or Israel, coming back to the cold and quiet Scandinavia, including the reserved Estonia, the reactions with true emotions are the same. We are so much alike. The magic that music creates is possible everywhere. Every meetpoint is an adventure!
If you go on to win Eesti Laul 2021, you get to perform your song “Energy” at the Eurovision Song Contest 2021 to over 200 million viewers. Are you a fan of the contest? And what would that opportunity mean to you?
To this day I have enjoyed spending the evening of Eurovision with my friends and watching the show in case I have a free night. It has been fun and interesting. Of course it would be an honor to represent Estonia in the big final, but I have not spent my time or energy on that thought. I just do my thing. I want to share my story and honest emotions through the beauty of music and if there is even only one person that opens her or his heart during that song, I have had my reward! It is always on honor to perform, no matter where or when. I know it may sound simply politically to correct, but that is the way I really feel.
You have already collaborated with a lot of people. If you could perform alongside any artist (alive or dead) who would it be and why?
I would have loved to meet and play with Chick Corea. He has inpired me so much in my school period. To see him close on stage playing and reacting in cooperation. Hhhh, I whish I could! I really hope one day I could create something together with Jacob Collier. I strongly admire free thinking and limitless flow in the process of composing. He’s that guy setting up a whole new level in that area.
Are there any songs or albums that you can’t stop listening to at the moment?
Every then and now I come back to Joni Mitchells orchestral albums with Vinze Mendozas arrangements. At the moment I again started listening to Estonian composer Tõnu Kõrvits “Kreegi vihik”.
Finally, tell us what you have planned for the rest of 2021. Do you have any upcoming musical projects and if so what should we be looking forward to?
There are concerts planned in Germany, Italy, Switzerland, France and Estonia. Hopfully more to come if borders will open. Most postponed from last year. I am also planning to start to record new material with my solo project and also with Estonian Voices.
You can watch Eesti Laul online on the ERR website — with the show airing both semi finals this week. Semi final one is taking place later today (Thursday 18th February) at 18.30 CET whilst semi final two will take place on Saturday 20th February at the same time.
If Kadri is one of your favorites in the second semi final, make sure you cast your vote for her, and for up to five more acts in our poll here: