The Estonian singer-songwriter, Uku Suviste, has won the Eesti Laul, Estonia’s song competition to determine the country’s representative at the Eurovision song contest, with his song, “What Love Is”.
Suviste won the contest on 29 February with a song called “What Love Is”, co-written by him and Sharon Vaughn, a renowned Stockholm-based American musician, songwriter and producer.
While Suviste composed the music, Vaughn wrote the lyrics. Vaughn has previously written hits for legendary artists such as Willie Nelson and Kenny Rogers, for example. Suviste was introduced to Vaughn by Philipp Kirkorov, a Bulgarian-Russian pop singer.
A long music career
Suviste (37) started his music education at the age of six, in a specialised music class in Tallinn. At the same time, he honed his skills in the Tallinn Boys Choir. In the Tallinn Music School, he learned to play the piano.
After high school, he took a short break from music studies and was admitted to the Estonian Information Technology College, where he graduated as a computer systems administrator. A year after joining the IT college, he went to the Georg Ots Tallinn School of Music to study pop-jazz singing. He also studied at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, for a year and half, majoring in singing, contemporary writing and music production.
In addition to television appearances, concerts and tours, Suviste has performed on stage in several musicals in Estonia, including in “Oliver Twist”, “Chicago” and “West Side Story”. Most recently, he played “Danny” in the Estonian production of “Grease”.
The first win
Suviste has competed in the Eesti Laul – the country’s competition to determine its representative at the Eurovision song contest – several times. In Eesti Laul 2017, he competed with the song “Supernatural” but was eliminated in the first semi-final. In Eesti Laul 2019, he participated with the song “Pretty Little Liar” that placed second in the final. Suviste competed again in Eesti Laul 2020 with his song “What Love Is” and won the national final.
The Eurovision Song Contest 2020 will be the 65th edition of the contest. It will take place in Rotterdam, Netherlands, following the country’s victory at the 2019 contest in Tel Aviv, Israel, with the song “Arcade” performed by Duncan Laurence.
Estonia has participated in the Eurovision Song Contest 25 times since making its debut in 1994. The country won the contest once in 2001 when Tanel Padar, Dave Benton & 2XL scored a total of 198 points with the song “Everybody”, written by Ivar Must and Maian-Anna Kärmas. This made Estonia the first formerly Soviet-occupied country to win the contest.
Cover: Uku Suviste (photo by Kersti Niglas/Facebook).