Ahead of Eesti Laul, which will begin airing on January 12th, Shiloh interviews Merlyn. Merlyn will compete in the first semifinal of Eesti Laul on January 12th with her song “Unicorn Vibes”.
Can you tell our readers a little about yourself? Why did you decide to become a singer?
I started my singing career at the age of 9. Initially, I was singing in a choir, but within a few years realised that I was a solo singer who enjoyed singing solo more than in a choir. So I started taking solo singing lessons. I became more widely known when I was 19 and became the lead singer of a girl band called Nexus. Nexus was active from 2003 to 2006 and was one of Estonian’s most successful girl bands at the time. The band received a number of well-renowned music awards and multiple songs won The Hit of the Year title. Since 2008, I have launched multiple solo projects, won a number of rewards like The Newcomer of the Year, and many songs have become ‘past year’s most played‘ at local radio stations. I can sit all day long and just play.
What made you decide to participate in Eesti Laul this year?
Because I have not participated in Eesti Laul before, I wanted to do things differently and show up with something completely new. For nearly 20 years, I have only been singing in Estonian, so to release a song in English – where I also rap, which makes it very different – is a very exciting project for me to launch. The song is a little bit in camp style and slightly exaggerated, but the message is universal and relatable.
Do you have a favorite Eurovision entry from previous years, or other favorite memories of the contest?
I think my favourite is Katrina & The Waves – Love Shine a Light (1997 UK), it was a very memorable song that I liked from the very first moment.
What was the composition process like for your song “Unicorn Vibes”?
I always compose my songs by coming up with the melody first, and this was also the case this time. When the melody had been finalised, a phrase “Unicorn Vibes” came to me. How interesting, I thought to myself, and wondered whether it would be possible to create a song based on this theme/topic. And then I suddenly realised that Estonia has highest number of “unicorn” start-ups per capita in the whole of Europe, which inspired me to pursue this theme further.
What do you think makes your song stand out from the other entries?
Not only does the song stand out with the melody and the lyrics, but also with the promo look that sees me in very colourful attire that incorporates a lot of “unicorn” elements.
Do you have a favorite song among the other Eesti Laul entries? Who do you think is your biggest competition?
I think it is difficult to judge a song solely based on its music video. I think it will be easier to get a feel for the different songs when they will be performed live on stage in the semi-finals. I expect there to be plenty of surprises and the songs will only be truly revealed at that stage. However, when it comes to Eurovision, a song in English has in my opinion a much higher chance of succeeding.
Can you give us any hints as to what we can expect from the live performance?
During the live performance, you can expect to see me in a colourful sequin attire and with pink hair. I will be accompanied by male dancers on stage.
Finally, what would you like to say to people who may be discovering your music for the first time through Eesti Laul?
So far in my singing career, I have been focusing solely on music aimed at the Estonian market, so why not discover some of the local Estonian pop music, some of the most popular songs have over a million listens on YouTube. In Estonia, my artist name is Merlyn Uusküla.
Eesti Laul will have semifinals occurring on January 12th and January 14th at the Viimsi Artium, and the finale occurring on February 11th at Tallinn’s Tondiraba Ice Hall. Both shows will be hosted by Tõnis Niinemets and Grete Kuld. You can read about all the songs participating in this year’s Eesti Laul here.
Merlyn Uusküla, known mononymously as Merlyn, first came onto the Estonian music scene as the lead singer of the girl band Nexus. Nexus was formed in 2003 and split in 2006, and was one of the most successful Estonian girl bands of that era. Since Nexus’ disbandment, Merlyn has enjoyed a successful solo career in Estonia, releasing music consistently since 2007. Many of her solo songs have charted in Estonia, but “Unicorn Vibes” is her first foray into the international music scene.
Estonia’s Eurovision Journey
Estonia has appeared at almost every Eurovision since their debut in 1994. They have won the contest once with Tanel Padar, Dave Benton and 2XL in 2001, singing “Everybody”. Other notable Estonian entrants include 3rd placer Sahlene with “Runaway” in 2002 and Ines with Once In A Lifetime in 2000, who placed 4th. More recently, their highest-placing entries have been Urban Symphony with “Randajad” in 2009 and Ott Lepland with “Kuula” in 2012, both of whom finished in 6th place. In 2022, they elected to send STEFAN through Eesti Laul to the contest with “Hope”. He successfully qualified for the final and finished in 13th place with 141 points.
Estonia has used Eesti Laul to decide their competing entry every year since 2009. Before then, they used another national final format, Eurolaul, dating back to their first attempt at participation in 1993, where they failed to make it through the pre-qualifying round.
Will Merlyn succeed STEFAN as Estonia’s Eurovision representative? What do you think of her song “Unicorn Vibes”? As always, let us know what you think by commenting below. Also, be sure to follow “That Eurovision Site” on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Tiktok as we prepare for Eurovision 2023!
News Source: That Eurovision Site
Photo Credit: Merlyn