Ester Peony will represent Romania at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv with her song “On a Sunday”. It is an emotional mid-tempo pop track with thoughtful instrumentation.
Romanian broadcaster TVR chose Ester through its annual Selecția Națională format. Over the course of two semi-finals and a grand final, 23 acts became one. On the back of its first-ever non-qualification with The Humans last year, Romania is hoping to get back on track in 2019.
As we count down to Israel, we’ve compiled 10 facts. you need to know about Ester Peony. Are you ready? Let’s do this!
1. She has a Canadian connection
Born in 1994, Ester emigrated to Canada with her parents in 2001. She only lived in the country for a few years, but it was there where the foundations of her music career were built. Aged eight, she started to study jazz singing. Coincidentally, her family lived in Montreal. Not only is it Canada’s second most populous city, but it’s also the birthplace of Greece’s Katerine Duska. However, the two ladies’ paths did not cross until they met in Bucharest last month.
2. What’s in a name?
Israeli passport control won’t be dealing with anyone called Ester Peony. While Ester is indeed her first name, Peony is completely made up. The name comes from the peony flower, which is called “bujor” in Romania. This in turn, links back to her mother’s name — Bujorica. “I wanted to make a connection. I feel close to her this way”, she told libertatea.ro. Legally, the singer is known as Ester Alexandra Crețu.
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3. She has two cats, Juicy and Grizon
In her music video, she’s joined by a fierce looking dog called Igor. But in reality, Ester is more of a cat person. She is the proud owner of two cats — Juicy and Grizon. She told our William, a fellow cat lover, that Juicy was named after the game Candy Crush while Grizon should be pronounced with a strong French accent. Juicy was a rescue cat, which she found on the street when he was no more than a month old. “They make my day more beautiful”.
4. She’s a music graduate
Upon returning to Romania, Ester enrolled in the Dinu Lipatti school High School of Art in Pitești. She started in the piano section, transferring to the classic guitar section at 13. Then in ninth grade she swtiched again — this time to the classic singing section. In 2013, she studied jazz at the Music Interpretation Faculty in Bucharest.
5. She’s the artist formerly known as Ester
Ester’s music career began almost straight after graduation. Then she had yet to adopt her floral second name, and simply performed under her mononym Ester. She released a slew of singles, the most successful of which was 2015’s “Sub Aripa ta” with Vescan. It received widespread radio play and has racked up more than 16 million YouTube views.
6. Her Peony era began in 2018
Despite early hits, Ester parted ways with her record label. In 2018, she made the switch to Ester Peony and released her debut EP independently. The four-song record was titled Dig It. Along with the title track, it also contained “Leaving Tomorrow”, “On My Way” and “So Fine”. She also initially released “On A Sunday” independently, but signed to Cat Music after her national final win. She’s due to release her first album later this year.
7. “On A Sunday” was the very last song to be submitted to Romania’s selection
Speaking to wiwibloggs after her win, Ester revelaed that there may have been an error with the submission. Hence, how “On A Sunday” became the last song to be submitted for Selecția Națională. 2019. A pattern soon began to emerge. Depending on how you look at it, Sunday is the last and therefore the seventh day of the week. Not only was the track the last song to be entered in the process, it was performed seventh in the final. And the final was on a Sunday.
8. She’s great at covers
Much of Ester’s early fame actually came from her covers of well-known hits. She was particularly fond of the French chanteuse Indila, putting her own twist on “Derniere Danse”, “S.O.S” and “Love Story”. She also tackled “My Heart Is Refusing Me”, the first Melodifestivalen attempt from Eurovision 2012 winner Loreen. Of late, she’s focused mostly on original material. Her last cover was Post Malone’s “Rockstar” just over a year ago.
9. She writes for others
She wrote on all the tracks on her EP as well as the vocal line for “On A Sunday”. But she’s also written for others. Her credits include “Scurtmetraj” by DiezZ and Cristina Vasiu, “El si ea” by Dj Rynno feat. Sylvia, and “Dominicana” by Tamy and Pepe.
10. She’s very close to her writing partner
Ester wrote “On A Sunday” alongside Alexandru Serbu and Ioana Victoria Badea. She’s close to both, but shares a particularly strong bond with Alexandru. Not only did he co-compose her EP and share all her industry writing credits, he is also her longterm boyfriend. Speaking to Viva, she says, “I have my dear man beside me. We have been together for nearly six years. We complete each other”. Within ten years, she hopes that they will have a baby girl. But Ester isn’t broody just yet. Before any babies arrive, she wants to have played the world’s biggest stages and composed for the greatest artists, because “why not”?
Do you think Romania could surprise in Tel Aviv? Can Ester win on a Saturday? Let us know in the comments below.