Meet Eesti Laul 2016 participant Kati Laev
The 2016 edition of Eesti Laul kicks off this Saturday with the first semi-final. The seventh act to perform will be Kati Laev, who will be joined on stage by vocal ensemble Noorkuu.
For a long time now it has been a huge dream for Kati Laev to perform with an orchestra, and thanks to songwriter Urmas Kõiv, that dream has now come true.
The girl from Estonia's biggest island, Saaremaa, who still considers music just a hobby, was approached by Kõiv to sing the song 'Kaugel sinust' (Far away from you) after hearing her perform on YouTube.
"He had the song for a very long time and then he found me and thought I would be suitable to sing the song," she said.
However, Laev did not immediately accept Kõiv's invitation to sing the ballad, citing the unfamiliar genre and her preference to perform her own material as major factors in her initial hesitation.
Eventually she came around to the idea after deciding that it would be a new opportunity.
"I think that sometimes you need to go out of your comfort zone," she said.
Laev will be joined on stage by the vocal ensemble Noorkuu, who were finalists in the 2011 edition of Eesti Laul with their song 'Be My Saturday Night', finishing ninth place.
Laev, who studied international economics and business management at university, has previously worked in the financial sector but has recently started writing music for commercials.
Her biggest project was a television commercial for clothing retailer Denim Dream.
"I really like doing these radio and television projects," she said. "I get to write the music and lyrics and sing in them."
On the topic of the other competing entries, Laev became quite pensive when asked who her favourite was.
After thinking for a moment she answered that she wasn't sure if it was her favourite but that she liked Laura's song.
Laev isn't sure of what will come next, but she will keep music a hobby for now while continuing her work in finance and advertising.
But for now, her main aim is to work hard in Eesti Laul.
"My biggest goal is to represent 'Kaugel sinust' as best I can," she said.
Kati Laev and Noorkuu will perform in the first semi-final on Saturday 13 February.