Back in March, Estonian broadcaster ERR confirmed that Eesti Laul 2020 winner Uku Suviste had been invited back to Eesti Laul 2021 for a shot at Eurovision 2021. The “What Love Is” singer will get a direct pass to the semi-finals of Estonia’s national selection. Now Uku has spoken about how this has changed his songwriting style.

Uku was a guest on Estonia’s Raadio 2, where he chatted about his journey so far for Eesti Laul 2021.

Having a guaranteed place in the contest semi-finals, Uku won’t have to first pass the initial preliminary round of the contest, where a jury will select the 24 semi-finalists without knowing the identity of the artists. Uku says not having to pass this round has affected the way he writes, knowing his song won’t specifically have to grab the attention of the selection panel.

He explained, “When we write a song for a competition, there are small filters in our heads that we use based on how we imagine who is listening to the song and how they are analysing it.”

Uku said that the preliminary round is the toughest round to pass and most of his previous entries have not made it past the panel. But he’s excited at the prospect of being able to write without having to keep the selection process in mind.

While Uku has earned a pass straight to the semi-finals, his song will still need to impress the Eesti Laul 2021 jury and televoters enough to qualify for the grand final — and be in the running to return as Estonia’s act for Eurovision 2021.

Uku has also revealed that several songwriters have already contacted him, hoping for a collaboration. Uku is an experienced songwriter himself and has co-written his three previous Eesti Laul entries, twice with Estonian producer Oliver Mazurtshak and once with American lyricist — and “Dream Team” affiliate — Sharon Vaughn. But, as Uku explained, it would be foolish of him not to write his own Eesti Laul 2021 entry.

Uku also says he was grateful that ERR confirmed his invitation for 2021 so early in the process. The March decision has ensured that he has plenty of time to work on his entry for Eesti Laul 2021.

What kind of song will Uku Suviste bring to Eesti Laul 2021?

While Uku Suviste’s Eesti Laul 2020 winning song “What Love Is” was a romantic power ballad in English, he isn’t limited to this one style.

Earlier this month Uku released his follow-up single “Müüdud ja Pakitud”. While it’s also a love song, this time Uku is performing in a more upbeat, funky soul style. The lyrics to the song are in Estonian, showing that Uku is just as comfortable delivering pop in his native tongue.

His previous Eesti Laul entries — “Pretty Little Liar” and “Supernatural” — were an attitude-laden pop-soul track and a fresh piece of synthpop, respectively. If history is anything to go by, whatever Uku comes up with for Eesti Laul 2021, it’s sure to sound nothing like his previous efforts.

What do you think? What style of song should Uku take to Eesti Laul 2021? Should ERR have given him a pass to the grand final? Tell us your thoughts below!

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Generic Eurovision Fan
Generic Eurovision Fan
5 months ago

He should work with Stig Rasta

Moonstar
Moonstar
5 months ago

A techno song, please. Or dance. 🙂

Héctor
Héctor
5 months ago

No shade but it’s not complicated to write something better than “What Love Is”. His previous attempts at least were from the current decade. And yeah, get rid of Kirkorov.

Colin
Colin
5 months ago
Reply to  Héctor

If we are tackling the issue of complexity, there are some very elaborated musical pieces from previous eras and some really simplistic ones from current trends. One does not guarantee the other. I am also not claiming to know a lot about musical arrangements, so I have no idea how hard it was to compose ”What Love Is”, but the lyrics feel quite basic, yeah. There are some more creative bits in it ”I didn’t know what blue is, until I looked into your eyes”, but for the most part the writing is quite simple. As for Kirokov, he had… Read more »

Whisker
Whisker
5 months ago

I am loving that “blue steel” look. And I support Uku writing his own song for the 2021 selection.

Mita
Mita
5 months ago

I LOVED his 2020 entry and the fact that he won Eesti Laul with a record of votes (75%) and topped all charts in Estonia says a lot.

Alex
Alex
5 months ago
Reply to  Mita

His 2020 entry was by far his worst, his 2019 entry was a lot better. He only won with a record because of the audience watching him in Eesti Laul, believe me that doesn’t mean the song was good. He needs to do a lot better than what Love is if he wants to do well next year

VlaD
VlaD
5 months ago
Reply to  Alex

Swine people are entitled to a different opinion. As is the audience that voted for hi.

Una
Una
5 months ago

100% for Uku with a self-penned song. I trust he can compose a good one and win Eesti Laul again. Songwriters must get a chance to submit their songs, win the national competition, and get a good result in the big contest. Good luck, Uku!!

Jofty
Jofty
5 months ago
Reply to  Una

This is really good and positive news. My worry with my the Returnees is that they will tweak their 2020 song and we’ll just get an updated version in 2021. And surely the public will be onside with those who missed out this year? So for example Uku may still win if he entered Baa Baa Black Sheep – or My Lovely Horse! I seem to be in a small minority of those who had love for What Love Is. Fully expect to see the lovely Uku – and some of you guys – Denis, Joe , Una in Amsterdam… Read more »

Una
Una
5 months ago
Reply to  Jofty

Sweet. I believe that Uku or any “returning” artist in a national final for that matter would try their best to make a better song or have a much better song than in 2020. There are some variables of course – self-penned or composed by others or whatever input other people have. I see this as a matter of personal pride and not riding on a possible pitty vote. Because we *almost* never know what can happen in Eurovision. So all the best to Uku! He does indeed seem like a lovely guy.

SYM
SYM
5 months ago

I liked his song, and I think he would have done well but on the other hand he is one of the very few returning artists that can and should sing something very different.

EmilyG
EmilyG
5 months ago

I think that he would have done very well in ESC. His song was the only one that was targeting older people and the ones that really like “all time classic” ballads. It was the favourite song of my mother.

Aubin
Aubin
5 months ago

Everyone is saying that his ”What love is” wasn’t good, but for me, it was (by far) the best song of the selection ! Yeah, it is not groundbreaking, but it is a good power ballad 🙂 I don’t know if it would’ve qualify, and if it did, it would’ve been 9th or 10th, but all the other songs would’ve struggle too !
 
I am wishing him good luck !

Joey
Joey
5 months ago

Maybe just don’t ask creepy Kirkorov to write anything for him – and actually any (Eurovision) artist – anymore. Because boii, his songs suck. They win, because Kirkorov pays them to let them win (at least in Moldova).
The only way Uku could save ‘What Love Is’ is by singing in Estonian. Still no qualifier, but better… ‘:-/

VlaD
VlaD
5 months ago
Reply to  Joey

Kirkorov was 3rd in 2019 with “Scream” which was a F A N T A S T I C song.
Uku won Eesti Laul after 3 attempts with 75% of the votes and his song became a MASSIVE hit in Estonia. So yes, he must work with Kirkorov if he wants to win again in Estonia.

Ashton
Ashton
5 months ago
Reply to  VlaD

Scream was horrible but had a great vocal.

EmilyG
EmilyG
5 months ago
Reply to  Joey

@Joey what a ridiculous comment. When Kirkorov is appointed by a broadcaster everyone complains “why they didn’t organise a national selection”. When a National Selection is organised “they win because Kirkorov pays”.
If Kirkorov pays why Uku didn’t win in 2018 with his Kirkorov song?
 

Colin
Colin
5 months ago

He sounds hopeful and determined to participate. I’d say his chances are already good, given the fact that he was a fan-favorite to begin with and now he has a weight of his previous victory on his side. It totally depends on who will also apply and the quality of their songs, but Uku has proven he can charm the audience. And in Eesti Laul, they have the final say.

James
James
5 months ago

“Supernatural” really showed Uku’s weather forecasting abilities, lol.
 
But seriously, I hope he does come up with an even better song because “What Love Is” wasn’t really breaking new ground.

Joe
Joe
5 months ago
Reply to  James

Amen to that. I have a friend in college (college is an amazing place) who said he knew Uku and that he was a very nice guy, but he also cried when he saw “What Love Is” won Eesti Laul because he knew Estonia just totally sunk their chances of getting anywhere (or would’ve). He’s got the chance for a redemption arc, but he needs to keep the Dream Team far away. My eternal dream is for a year where Philipp Kirkorov’s name isn’t among any of the songwriting credits. It’s been four years. I will take a million Symphonix… Read more »

Erasmus
Erasmus
5 months ago
Reply to  Joe

Same, Symphonix could actually make 100 good songs, while the Dream team struggle to make one good one.

VlaD
VlaD
5 months ago
Reply to  Erasmus

The difference between dream team and Symphonix is that the Dream Team makes UNIQUE songs that stand out while Symphonix produce mediorance songs that an established artist would not even consider for his album.
This is way Dream Team is so successful while Symphonix aren’t.

VlaD
VlaD
5 months ago
Reply to  Erasmus

Symphonix results : (40% success)
 
2011 Bulgaria NQ
2016 Bulgaria 4th
2017 N. Macedonia NQ
2017 Serbia NQ
2017 Bulgaria 2nd
2018 Austria 3rd
2018 Bulgaria 14th
2019 Azerbaijan 8th
2019 Malta 14th
 
Dream Team results: (80% success)
 
2007 Belarus 6th
2008 Ukraine 2nd
2009 Greece 7th
2013 Azerbaijan 2nd
2014 Russia 7th
2016 Russia 3rd
2017 Greece 19th
2018 Azerbaijan NQ
2018 Moldova 10th
2019 Russia 3rd
 
 
 

Una
Una
5 months ago
Reply to  VlaD

Impressive statistics 🙂 Yet the former Soviet block vote for each other. The Greek member of the “Dream Team” – OMG this is massive PR at best – also gathers votes.
It’s a big boys club. Some songs are better than others but it’s still a big boys club.

VlaD
VlaD
5 months ago
Reply to  Una

Dream team is smart enough to understand that fans are only 10% of the audience. So they create songs that targets people outside this bubble.
 

Una
Una
5 months ago
Reply to  VlaD

Well I think this statement would be more accurate right if you added the broadcasters. As per the rules of the contest it’s the broadcasters that participate, not the songwriters/composers.
Your statement rings as if the “dream team” had more power than the broadcasters. And that they target the jury members. It looks so bad.

VlaD
VlaD
5 months ago
Reply to  Una

The songs are created by the songwriters, not the broadcasters.So when a broadcasters are asking a team for a song, the dream team is smart enough to understand that they should target different audiences.
And there is nothing wrong with submitting a song for the juries. After all they represent 50% of the result. Macedonia did that last year and it worked.

Una
Una
5 months ago
Reply to  VlaD

OK, so there are indeed the so-called “jury bait” songs but that does not matter too much when the juries from the same block gives you points. Austria 2018 or North Macedonia 2019 for example are in a different league.
It’s possible for Estonia to qualify with a song not written by the “dream team”.

Erasmus
Erasmus
5 months ago
Reply to  VlaD

Sorry, it’s your opinion, but how are Greece 2017, Azerbaijan 2013, Azerbaijan 2018 – or let’s just say basically all of these entries unique? They are all dated and boring. The only entries I loike of them are Ukraine 2008, Russia 2016 and Azerbaijan 2018 but even these aren’t exactly masterpieces… And I personally believe that Symphonix makes better songs (and I think most people agree with me), but u can have your own opinion as well..

VlaD
VlaD
5 months ago
Reply to  Erasmus

Here we are not talking about your personal taste ,we are talking about results!
Symphonix have a 40% success and dream team has 80% success

Generic Eurovision Fan
Generic Eurovision Fan
5 months ago
Reply to  VlaD

The Dream Team isn’t just Kirkorov and Dimitris K. There are also songwriters like Laurell Barker who co-wrote She Got Me for Switzerland

VlaD
VlaD
5 months ago
Reply to  Erasmus

And please stop using this stupid term “dated”. In music this term doesn’t exist. It has been created by fans as if Eurovision is a contest of modern music.
But it isn’t , this is way Italy has the highest score in the history of televoting with their 2015 entry.

Una
Una
5 months ago
Reply to  Joe

Joe – agreed with no more Kirkorov or other “dream team” for a year – at least – and no more Symphonix. No more SJB either. And no more Swedish except for Sweden.
Otherwisewe’ll keep going in a vicious circle year after year. Same people for multiple countries every single year when other talented people don’t get a chance.

Jofty
Jofty
5 months ago
Reply to  Una

The voice of infinite wisdom speaks once more. Let’s get Philip Vella and Gerard James Borg to write all the songs? Or “John O’Flynn” !

VlaD
VlaD
5 months ago
Reply to  Una

At least the “dream team” is creative enough and submit different style of songs.

Una
Una
5 months ago
Reply to  VlaD

Oh please, don’t say. Please tell us that they deserve a medal for that. Not. Oh wait! They are in the contest every single year with least one entry. This makes it all more of a “one man show” with the understanding that this is a metaphor: now it’s not about the country. It’s actually abour Kirkorov et all. Milanov et all. G:son et all. It’s a *disaster*. Some broadcasters should start taking responsibility and look for more local talent or at least some collaboration outside this t*o*x*i*c bubble.

Jofty
Jofty
5 months ago
Reply to  Una

TVM for example

VlaD
VlaD
5 months ago
Reply to  Una

Since they manage doing well every year they deserve being there.Especially the dream team has created some of the strongest numbers in the history of Eurovision. From “Shady lady” and “You are the only 1” to Doredos and Farid they have all been amazing.

Joe
Joe
5 months ago
Reply to  Una

Well, OK, I didn’t say all of that. I do agree that there’s a bit of a monopoly, but on principle, I don’t have anything against foreign involvement.

Una
Una
5 months ago
Reply to  Joe

Yes of course. Your point is clear, don’t worry. But I still have a problem with foreign involvement when local talent especially from big countries with big music industries is not used. Yet those countries have foreign involvement. The essence of the contest gets lost in a sea of new fancy slogans. To justfy a Canadian and a Bulgarian writing for Germany (2019 and 2020). Two Swedish for France (2020). And so on. Same foreign involvement year after year in multiple countries that serves for the inflated egos. Enough is enough.
 

Last edited 5 months ago by Una
Jofty
Jofty
5 months ago
Reply to  Una

Yes, enough is enough! Maybe it’s born out of desperation not to be humiliated (Germany 2020) or to win (Malta every year)