Rasmus Rändvee: „Open the **** up should be the official national slogan of Estonia…”
After an amazing Junior Eurovision season full of our exclusive materials and interviews, NOW! it’s the time for an upcoming Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam. We proudly present you the first interview from this series made with Rasmus Rändvee – one of the favourites contestants of Eesti Laul 2020.
We invite you to our sicere conversation about a lots of Eurovision and non-Eurovision topics in which you can get to know Rasmus better.
How do you remember your participation in Eesti otsib superstaaria (Estonian Idol)? Which song you were singing there is your favourite? Do you find this program as one of the most important moments in your music career? Do you think this kind of talent shows are good to look for new talents and help them to achieve something big in the music industry?
It definitely marks a huge turning point in my life. Before the show I was just a bloke passionate about music who dreamed about peforming on big stages and going to fancy studios. The Idol show gave me the opportunity to achieve my dreams in a few months.
Even though my personal experiences were super positive, I still think that these kinds of TV formats pose some threat to young singers – it’s a super high level of stress environment and you’ll have a huge strain on your vocal strings. I once went for four days without sleep because I was so stressed that I didn’t know what song I’d peform that week. My favourite song was probably Feeling Good as it’s, in my humble opinions, one of the best songs ever written and I got to peform it with an orchestra.
How do you define yourself musically, which music genre is the closest to you and what kind of songs do you want to create in the future?
Honestly, I try to not define myself too much this days. Trying to write a song in particular genre restrains my creativity. My musical background is from blues, rock and soul, so I guess these will be the strong influences that you can always expect to hear in my music.
Do you wanna be a solo artist in the future or you see yourself as a part of the band Facelift Deer?
A solo artist. I love being in a band, but I now have a band to support my solo career.
Tell us something more about your participation in Eesti Laul in 2013 and 2017. How do you remember it? Why did you decide to take part in it? Can you compare both of your performances? Do you think the experience you have can help you to achieve even better result than a really good third place last time?
2013 was more crazy – we were really young and I was straight out from the Idol show. We approached the whole thing very passionately. 2017 marked the beginning of my solo career and was a great experience overall. We had a great team and in my humble opinion a great show as well. Things had matured a lot over the years and it felt really good to have the confidence after countless live peformances that happened in between. I personally do feel some pressure from the 2017 show, as it cast a long shadow I now have to jump over, but I’m certain we can put up even better show this time.
Could you tell us any details about your future Eurovision performance in Eesti Laul? Are there already some ideas? What can we expect on the stage?
I guess the best surprises are kept in secret… We want people to feel good and elevated after watching the show, so it’ll be a high energy one.
What’s the story behind Young?
It’s based on a quite old demo mine from the period when I used to be a full time songwriter meaning I’d sit 8 hours a day in my little studio room for 1,5 years. This laid the brickwork for my solo career.
We just stubled onto the demo with my producer and decided to give it a shot at 1 a.m. in the night after a long day of writing together. It came to us instantly and it instantly felt good.
Do you find yourself inside the lyrics of Young?
Absolutely. It’s a topic that is at the same time very personal and universal – as a child people dream about getting out of their homes and the world seems your oyster, but life itself can be quite difficult a times. Home is the safe haven where everything is simple and loving. This song is about rediscovering that peace that your childhood offered.
There are the people who find a bit of Avicii vibes in your song Young. What do you think about it? Do you find some inspiration in his music?
God rest his soul. I am inclined to somewhat agree. We didn’t set out to do a Avicii song, but the country vocals with modern production was totally Avicii’s thing, even though I have never listened to his music much.
That said, one Avicii song inspired me a lot – Ten More Days. Go listen to it, it’s totally worth it!
What are your musical inspirations?
Quite everything. Latest inspirations have been Sohn, Labyrinth and Justin Timberlake. Vocally a lot Jeff Buckley and Led Zeppelin.
You made covers of the songs by Billie Eilish and Ed Sheeran. Tell us something more about it?
We did a Billie’s Bad Guy cover – such a brilliant song. I remember stumbling on Billie before she blew up and being like – wow, how does this only have 400k listenings on Spotify. I guess I sometimes have a nose for that kinds of things.
I worked at a musical show that ran 14 times a week a while back. I also sang Thinking Out Loud there and I will probably be able to recitate it’s lyrics back to you at any given moment to the end of my life.
What music means to you?
It’s a way for self expression and a lifestyle. I can’t honestly imagine a life without it – it would be so freaking boring. It’s something unearthy to walk onto a stage with the room filled with people and nothing could replace it for me.
What are your next musical plans for near future (except the ESC)?
I’m playing with the idea of a short album and I’d like to perfect my live shows.
How would you define the Eurovision? What is it for you personally?
It’s a cultural depiction of every country in Europe and brings us closer together through music. I have very fond memories of watching Eurovision with my friends and family back from my childhood.
The slogan for the contest this year it’s: Open Up. What this slogan means to you?
We Estonians are really closed people. Our personal space is like 5 meters and we seldom talk to strangers. But it can be really lonely treading the cold streets and curling up in your small apartment. Open the **** up should be the official national slogan of Estonia, because people around you bring joy and warmth into our lives which we so much need.
How long have you been interested in the Eurovision Song Contest? Do you watch it every year?
I try to. A new experience for me was being in the Jury. You not only have to sit through the good and the bad, but you have to give every song a score, which can be quite difficult.
What’s your favourite Eurovision song and why?
As a huge Serge Gainsbourg fan – Poupée de cire, poupée de son. From more recent years Amar Pelos Dois as it was so sincere and honest. In my opinion it marked the victory of music over show and glam.
What do you think about the winning song from last year Arcade? Was it a good choice?
I loved it and I love the fact that songs like Arcade as starting to get the attention they deserve. For me it gave a lot of Billie Eilish vibes and I think that’s great. It a sign of the times I guess.
What do you dream about?
Reaching more and more people with my music. I’d love to perform all over Europe and meet with people from different cultures.
How do you see yourself in 10 or 20 years? Last year you received a bachelor’s degree, is it also connected with music or it is something different and you wanna go that way in the future?
In music, but I’ll be probably writing more songs to other artists as well.
I am actually soon going to finish by masters as well and I can’t honestly be more happy that my education is almost finished. This way I can focus all my efforts on music.
You are by now one of the favourites artists to win your semi-final or even all the Eesti Laul, according to some Eurovision journalist and fans. How do you feel with this kind of opinion and with such an opportunity to represent Estonia?
Let the best artist win. I’ll just give it my best and try to cherish the moment as much as possible. Of course I’d love to go to Eurovision to peform to 200m people at once (which is 154 times more than Estonian population). I’d feel a responsibility and honour to make my country proud!