Sissi: “This song is my way of asking people to truly start living. To be brave enough to live.”

This Saturday we reach the final stage of Estonia’s search for its Eurovision entrant, with the final of Eesti Laul 2021. One of the 12 finalists is a familiar face, Sissi, who placed 4th in 2019 with her soulful entry “Strong”.  She’s also the daughter of 2001 Eurovision winner Dave Benton, who alongside Padar and 2XL achieved Estonia’s first success in the contest.

We caught up with Sissi just after her Semi Final qualification and her what her entry ‘Time’ was about, her and Dave’s experience of contracting Covid 19 and her love of literature!

Sissi. congratulations on your qualification for the final, it’s so good to see you back performing at Eesti Laul again. What can you tell us about your entry ’Time’ and what was your inspiration to return to compete again?

This song was my inspiration. It wasn’t my plan to compete again. But then I wrote the song “Time”. The message behind the song is that when we are born we are given a finite amount of time. And it’s constantly running out. And we as a collective so often forget to live. We get stuck in our past and in pain and we stand still. Or we start living for the future and forget to live in the present.

But life is so amazing and beautiful when you start focusing on actually experiencing it. So this song is my way of asking people to truly start living. To be brave enough to live.

I have to ask, I read that in the last year both you and your dad contracted Covid-19 – how are you now and what can you tell us your experiences?

We are now both well. It was a hard experience, one I definitely don’t want to go through again. But I’m happy my dad beat it.

I noticed one of your songwriters is Andrei Zevakin, who is also competing in Eesti Laul himself. I remember you both took part in the 2019 competition, is that where you met for the first time and how did it come about that Andrei helped write your song? 

Me and Andrei actually met in 2015. He invited me to film and record a cover with him for his YouTube channel and ever since then we’ve been friends. So this year he sent me an unfinished instrumental of “Time” and I went into the studio and wrote the lyrics and the melody.

Every Christmas your family holds an annual Christmas concert which I understand your dad organises. Can you tell us how this came about and what it means to you as a family to sing for the Estonian people at Christmas time?

My dad’s been organizing it since I was a small child and it’s just become this amazing tradition. I’m not even sure of its origin story. But It’s hard to imagine Christmas without it. It just brings so much joy to both the people listening and my family.

We spoke to you just after the 2019 Eesti Laul final just after ’Strong’ finished fourth. How much pressure do you feel to match that excellent result?

No pressure at all. I’m a firm believer that all that is meant to happen will happen. So all I can do is do my best and hope that that’s what the people want.

I remember seeing an interview where you talked about your love of literature. Did you have much time to read in the last year, and which book would you recommend to our readers to go and try?

Yes, I absolutely adore literature. I’ve read alot in the past year and found myself rereading Sarah J. Maas’s books. She is an amazing fantasy author. I recommend all of her book series. My personal favourite is the “A court of thorns and roses” series. And her newest “Cresent City” series. These books are truly a work of art that transport you into another world.

Winning Eesti Laul would mean the chance to go to Eurovision. How much would it mean to you to be able to follow in your father’s footsteps and represent Estonia in a global song competition? 

Honestly going to the Eurovision and possibly winning has been one of my biggest dreams ever since I can remember. Me and my family and friends watch the contest every single year so it holds a very special place in my heart.

And finally, the last year has changed the world so much, how does it feel knowing you will be part of this unique Eesti Laul and how important do you feel it will be to entertain the Estonian public at this difficult time?

It means a lot to me to be given this opportunity. I’ve always loved how music can unite and elevate people. How a single song can change someones mood and brighten even the darkest day. It’s one of the reasons I sing. It is slightly unbelievable that I have been given the chance to participate in a concert like Eesti Laul and I’m honored.

Thank you Sissi, we at ESCBubble wish you the best of luck and a good ‘Time’ on Saturday!

Make sure to vote for your Eesti Laul 2021 favourite in our poll:

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