The 2016 edition of Eesti Laul continues this Saturday with the second semi-final. The eighth act to perform will be singer-songwriter Anett Kulbin.
Despite performing music for all her life, it was not until recently that Anett Kulbin felt confident enough to share the songs she has written herself.
"This is the first song I've told people about and it's so cool that it got into Eesti Laul, it's very exciting for me!" she said.
Kulbin began playing the violin when she was seven and singing when she was eleven. After spending three years at a vocational high school where she was formally trained as a singer, she took a year off to consider her next movements.
During her final years of high school the band 'Wilhelm' was formed, which saw Kulbin compete in the previous two editions of Eesti Laul. Despite this being her third consecutive appearance in the contest, Kulbin is discovering that performing as a solo artist is an entirely different experience.
"There was six of us in the band, so everyone always supported each other. This time it's just me and one other person on stage, so it's a bit scary I guess," she confessed.
"But if it goes really well, you get all the excitement of knowing that you did it, so it's cool. Different, but cool."
The song came into existence during a period when Kulbin felt that she was not devoting enough time toward her own music. It was this that spawned the theme of self-empowerment that drives the lyrics of 'Strong'.
"It felt like a good time for a ballad!" she laughed before adding, "The story is about self-love. It's about letting yourself down and finding yourself again, to give you courage to do things better."
While Kulbin intended the gentle piano ballad as an anthem of self-affirmation, many people have understood the lyrics as a sad love story. This difference in interpretation does not bother Kulbin.
"If people feel like it is about their love story with someone else, then it doesn't really matter. Everyone tells the story to themselves, so it is about whatever they feel that it is about," she commented.
The song was not initially intended for Eesti Laul, but as the timing lined, up the song submission deadline proved to be a good influence.
"It seemed like a good motivator, it turned out at the same time so I thought 'let's do it!" she said.
The other competing entries have also provided some new favourite songs for Kulbin.
"This year the songs are so cool! Eesti Laul is getting so alternative," she said before continuing, "I think Jüri Pootsman's song is very cool and so is Mick Pedaja of course. I Wear* Experiment's song is very nice also and they're cool guys too."
Like many contestants, Kulbin isn't allowing herself to get her hopes too built up regarding a trip to Stockholm, but is instead setting a much more immediate goal.
"I really want to get to the final, but I think everyone does," she said wryly.
"Finals are the plan right now, but if that happens, we'll see then."
This whole experience has given Kulbin a new bravery regarding her creative talents and she hopes to use this to release an album later this year, around October or November.
"At the beginning you feel that nobody cares and nobody wants to listen to your music, but this experience has given me so much courage to let people hear my music," she said.
Anett Kulbin performs in the second semi-final on Saturday 20 February.
Editor: Editor: Dario Cavegn