Meet Eesti Laul 2016 participant Jüri Pootsmann (2)
The 2016 edition of Eesti Laul continues this Saturday with the second semi-final. The second act to perform will be the winner of the 2015 Estonian Idol, Jüri Pootsmann.
Jüri Pootsmann didn't tell his family that he was entering into the local version of the Idol franchise, and only a small number of his friends knew about the plan.
Ten weeks later he was crowned as the sixth winner of the competition.
"I wasn't doing anything exciting and I love to sing, so I thought 'why not try?" remembered Pootsmann.
Like most Estonians, Pootsmann began his musical journey by singing choir back in his hometown of Rapla, which is about 50 kilometres south of Tallinn. After he finished school he began to sing solo and even formed a band before Idol changed everything.
"Everything has gone so fast since I won," he said.
Pootsmann doesn't appear to be slowing down either. In November he both released a self-titled EP and it was announced that he would be taking part in the 2016 Eesti Laul.
For Pootsmann this represents something of a childhood dream.
"I wanted to enter the competition as I've always watched Eurovision and Eesti Laul since I was a little boy. It's tradition in all Estonian families I think," he said.
Pootsmann submitted two entries for consideration into the competition, 'Play' and an Estonian language song called 'Aga Siis' which failed to make the cut.
Pootsmann is a fan of both songs but thinks that the selection panel definitely made the correct decision.
"I feel like if you calculate all the results [at Eurovision] people generally prefer English. Although we have done well lately in Estonian too," he said.
While Aga Siis was originally written for his album, Play was written specifically for Eesti Laul by the co-winner of last year's competition, Stig Rästa.
"I really wanted to call Stig, but I was too afraid. I was pushed by one of my friends whose fault it is that I'm singing this song," he recalled with a grin.
"He had a few demos which didn't feel right, but then I went to the studio and there was this song and it felt like the song."
Pootsmann is still trying to figure out what style of singer he wishes to be but is not in a great hurry to commit to a specific genre.
"I really like trying everything I can right now, because I think it's allowed. I'm still growing as a singer and I'm still so young," he reflected.
When asked if there were any of the competing songs that he particularly liked, Pootsmann's colours as an Eesti Laul fan were shown as he rattled off a list containing a large portion of the entries.
"I have many favourites," he stated before confessing that he thought that I Wear* Experiment's song was amazing, that he was obsessed and knew all the lyrics to Laura's song, that he really liked his former schoolmate Mick Pedaja's song and that Anett Kulbin's song had great lyrics. He also spoke very fondly of Cartoon's song and revealed that he has collaborated on a track with them that will be released after Eesti Laul.
Pootsmann feels that the competition this year is very good because unlike last year, people are not sure of the winner. He does however feel the stress of being considered a favourite.
"I don't like the media pressure, I just want to do the thing I want to do," he said.
Pootsmann's main goal in the competition is to make it to the final and perform in the Saku Suurhall but he still spoke excitedly about the possibility of representing Estonia at the Eurovision Song Contest.
"It's not like I have to go there [to Eurovision], but it's a really good opportunity for a singer because it's a huge stage and the whole of Europe and Australia watches you."
Regardless of the outcome, Pootsmann is still intending on heading to Stockholm in May, provided he can obtain tickets.
"I think I'm going to Eurovision anyway because it's so close, but I don't have tickets because they sold out so fast. Do you know how I can get some?" he asked.
Jüri Pootsmann performs in the second semi-final on Saturday 20 February.